She didn't want to be there. The attic was hot and dusty and it didn't help that she was slightly hungover. Her nose itched and her head was pounding. She fought back waves of nausea every time she bent over or stood up. Her blind date from the night before had imploded on an epic scale and she had tried to self-medicate with one too many glasses of wine. It was just one more bad date in a long series of bad dates. At least this time she hadn't gotten into a shouting match over politics or left her phone in the Uber. Maybe she just wasn't cut out for romance. She didn't want to be there, but she had promised her mom that she would help and they had put off packing up her grandmother's house too many times already. She didn't want to be there, but her mother definitely didn't want to be there. They had a "complicated" relationship. Her mom always felt as though her grandmother disapproved of her wild ways and bohemian lifestyle and her choice to raise a daughter on her own instead of settling down. They never really had a chance to reconcile before her grandmother passed. And now they were cleaning out her house and her mom had to stop to cry every other five minutes or argue with ghosts that weren't there. The attic was the last big challenge. A lifetime of memories was stored up there. No one wanted to tackle it, but at least it was quiet and quiet was exactly what she needed right now. Quiet, a dark room, a soft bed, Advil, and a cold washcloth over her face was what she really needed, but she'd settle for just quiet as she went through rusty steamer trunks, disintegrating cardboard boxes, and creaky wooden fruit boxes.
She sneezed. Frantically she looked for something clean to wipe her face with as snot dribbled down her mouth and chin. A few minutes before she had seen a drawer of handkerchiefs and proceeded to pull one out. Underneath the pile of cloth she felt something hard and rectangular. It was an unassuming jewelry box made of white leatherette that had aged to a yellowish cream color. It was cracked in some places and the gliding was rubbed off in others. A little brass key was stuck in the lock and she carefully turned it until the lid popped open. The inside was flocked and she could tell that it was once the color of the red wine she drank the night before, but had long since faded. In the middle of the box was a bundle of papers tied up with a red ribbon, still bright and scarlet. The paper was no longer white, but a soft buttercream. They had a floral smell, a heady blend of roses, lavender, orange blossoms, and tea. This perfume mixed with the scent of the attic, wood and dust and mothballs and age.
She knew she didn't really have time, but this was a mystery and curiosity got the best of her. She shimmied the stack of letters and cards out of the ribbon and proceeded to read. They were love letters and old Valentine's Day cards trimmed in paper lace. Flowers were pressed in some of the pages and yellowed photographs were tucked between others. The letters were simple. They weren't filled with poetry and a lot of "be still's" and "betwixt's". They were letters to and from her grandparents, detailing their lives together and their love together. She never knew her grandfather. He had passed away before she could remember and was a shadowy figure from the past that her grandmother never talked about. She never knew why her grandmother never talked about him. She had imagined some terrible tragedy or family secret. Now she knew. It wasn't out of hatred or resentment or shame, but because she was heartbroken and couldn't afford to be sad.
The last letter was from her grandmother to her grandfather. He was in the hospital and she was writing the letter on her break at work. In it, her grandmother thanked her grandfather for a good life together. She wrote about how proud she was of their daughter and how artistic and creative and brave she was. She could almost hear her grandmother's voice, saying how she admired her mother for being her own person and so fearless. She also mentioned the weather and how she'd have to air out the winter coats and pick up birdseeds on the way home. It didn't feel like a last love letter. Despite the sadness and unfair twists of fate, a tomorrow would come where birds were hungry and you didn't want your best winter coat to smell like old attics and mothballs. The world would carry on.
I'd like to think that the main character of this short story gave her mother the stack of letters and that it helped to heal old wounds. I'd also like to think that after the main character read the letters, her faith in the possibility of finding love was restored. (Or at the very least that her headache went away and she doesn't lose her phone on her next date. LOL!) This kit was inspired by this short story and is a blend of buttery creams, antique golds, and rosy reds and wine. This kit is made up of vintage plastic, vintage Czech glass, Czech glass, river stones, Swarovski crystals, gold-plated pewter, waxed Irish linen, vintage seed beads, a Luxury Bead Blend, and a wooden pendant from us at Allegory Gallery.
Here's how our Challenge Kits work: Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit. Challengers are encouraged to make something with the kit and share pictures and descriptions of their finished work in the dedicated Facebook page. Challengers can use as much or as little of the kit as they like and supplement the kit with beads from their own stash if they so desire.
There is no specific reveal date for this challenge.
Now, here's the fine print: There are only 10 Design Kits available! Once we receive your order, we will process your kit and send it out within ten business days. Usually it's faster than that, but we like to make sure that there is plenty of time to make the kits perfect. HURRY! Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis! (Sorry, no exceptions!)
Shipping of the Design Kits can take anywhere from one business day to ten. For international orders, it may take longer! If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! we will do our best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately we can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service. NOTE: Chosing Priority Shipping at checkout will provide for a tracking number, insurance, and faster shipping than First Class Service.
All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.