Thursday, March 4, 2010

Time Train - Chapter 7

Here's a little change of pace in the ongoing saga of "Time Train."

Florentine Lily Porterhut sat in her chair in the salon, quietly knitting a sleeve to a sweater she would never finish. One day, she thought, she vowed to learn how to knit a proper collar. Next to her on a small end table sat the remains to many aborted articles of clothing: a mitten without a thumb, an open-toed sock that was more an elbow warmer, and something that looked like a potholder.

Florentine often filled the days with such trivialities. Her marriage to a young scientific wunderkind afforded her a life of luxury and relaxation. While her husband was busy making science, she would sit in the salon participating in one of her many loosely kept hobbies. There was the knitting, of course, but before that she had studied impressionist painting, the piano, and even the bandalore, a sort of precursor to the yo-yos of later days. Many hours she wondered at the strange device that rode up and down the string.

But secretly, both to Rhubarb and to herself, she dreamt of a life of adventure. In her heart of hearts, just once, she wished that her husband would ask her along on one of his scientific outings. She had no understanding of the sciences, in fact almost no inclination toward them at all, but still she wanted to be a part of something. While she also took kindly to Rhubarb’s dog, Columbus, she envied him something fierce for his ability to eagerly embrace her husband’s visions.

During her activities, her mind often wandered to thinking about where and what Rhubarb and Columbus were doing. And only recently did she have to wonder when as well. Perhaps her husband had gone back all the way to the time of dinosaurs, which seemed to be one of the few scientific topics in which she was interested. Or maybe he had gone into future to a time when ... when perhaps no person was still living. Such morbidity annoyed her and reminded her of why she disliked contemplating the very things her husband often spoke about in their bed. No matter, for as long as Rhubarb and Columbus were home promptly for supper, she would not worry.

“Bong! Bong!” the grandmother clock chimed from the hallway, breaking Florentine from her reverie.

“My, my. Two o’clock already? Where does the time go?” As she rose from her chair she added the five-and-a-half-foot-long sleeve to her pile of discarded knittings. “I’d better get to the butcher. Rhubarb is bound to be starving upon his return, and today would be a good day for a fine supper.”

Florentine put on her coat and stepped into the hallway, passing the grandmother clock and one of the few paintings she had been proud enough of displaying in her home. It was of a bowl of fruit and unfinished, such that, to other people, it appeared as the homely visage of a rather aged woman whose head was both balding and decapitated. Reaching for the door knob, Florentine took one last glance back at the piece of sleeve she had made. “One day,” she thought, “One day.”

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