A Heart Set Free

>> November 18, 2011

It's been a long time since I've posted something for Friday Fiction. I've dusted off this little treasure and spruced it up a bit in honor of our veterans...and the ones who love them with an ever lasting love. 

♥ ♥ ♥

I love my job. Some may think it appears mundane, but the thrill of the hunt gives me a sense of adventure every day. I’m the sorter at a thrift store. I rummage through boxes and bags of donations and decide if things are sellable or trash, and separate it into various departments. 

“Whoa, Marj. You’re gonna like this stuff,” Ricardo unloaded several boxes. “There’s some old stuff in here.”

I could hardly focus on the piles in front of me. I kept looking at the stack Ricardo mentioned. I knew there’d be treasures in there. I could feel it in my bones.

“Can’t stand it can you, Marj?” Emily giggled.

“What can I say? Fifteen years on this job and it never gets boring.”

By break time I made it through the first pile and the good stuff would be ready for me when I returned.

The next half hour I pawed through boxes that appeared to have been sealed up, stored, and never opened again. “There’s a story here. I can feel it.” 

I began to notice the items were all women’s things…until I opened what quickly became known as: the box. This is when the story began to unfold. 

“Oh, Emily,” I held up a vintage wedding gown. “Who would ever get rid of this?”

Emily gasped and fingered the pearls and lace embedded into the delicate fabric. “It’s beautiful.”

“That would look good on you, Em,” Ricardo winked. 

Emily ducked her head to hide her flushed face.

I gently pulled out a perfectly folded WW2 military uniform; everything from hat to shoes. Beneath the uniform I found a small cedar chest and a tin box. I lifted the wooden lid and discovered a set of dog tags, a pocket watch, and his and her wedding bands. 

“Look at these,” my eyes were wild with wonder. I held in my palm two perfect gold rings. “There’s not a scratch on them…like they’ve never been worn.”

“Wow, I wonder about the dress. Do you think it was ever worn?” Emily held the lacey bodice to her chest. 

I reached in for the aqua painted tin. “Oh my goodness,” my hand flew to my mouth. “It’s full of letters.”

“Love letters?” Emily reached across me and picked one off the top of the pile. 

“My dearest Rose,” Emily read out loud. “I will never forget the forlorn look on your face when we were forced to part. It pulls at my very soul. Sometimes when I lay in my bunk at night I see those doe eyes of yours; big, round, brown eyes, full of fear. I pray every night for you to have peace in your heart concerning my well being.”

“They’re stacked in chronological order,” Ricardo thumbed through the treasured letters. “None of them are written to him, they’re all addressed to Rose.”

“Not quite,” I held up a flowery envelope. “This was in the cedar box.”

Ricardo took it from me for a closer look. “There’s no stamp or address.” He slid the crisp stationary out of the never sealed correspondence. 

“My Beloved Henry,” Ricardo smiled. “Why don’t we talk like this anymore? No one writes letters constantly declaring their love these days.”

“Just read it already.” Emily blushed, unable to hide her anxious nerves. 

“Your mother and father were notified today that you were missing somewhere in France. They couldn’t verify if you are dead or alive. I’m stunned with grief, but I want you to know that I will wait for you. My heart belongs only to you. I will dutifully pray for your safe return upon which I will proudly become Mrs. Henry Moore. All my love, Rose.”

“Do you think he made it home?” Emily’s eyes glistened.

“Hey Marj,” Shelly called from her office. “Did you find a box with a WW2 uniform and some letters in it?”

“We’re looking through them right now,” I hollered back.

“You need to put it all back together. It wasn’t supposed to be donated. The owner is on his way to pick it up.” 

“Hey, look at the last letter.” Ricardo handed me a modern envelope.

“My Precious Hank,” I scowled at the change in the name. “Someday I hope you will receive this box. Even if you don’t, I believe the act of recording the truth with pen and paper has helped to set my tormented heart free. Please read these letters in the order they are written and know that you were conceived in deep abiding love.”

Emily gasped next to me. “She was…”

“Yes, and he…” Ricardo interrupted Emily’s detective mind at work.

“So tragic, yet beautiful,” I tried to process it all. “Let’s box it back up before the owner gets here.”

It wasn't long before a frantic man arrived to claim the box full of love, passion, secrets, and repentance. I went back to sorting but my mind churned with thoughts about Henry and Rose…and Hank.

I love my mundane job.

6 comments so far...Care to leave your thoughts?:

Rebecca 11/18/2011  

I want to sit and read the box of letters. Everlasting love...what a treasure. Beautiful, precious, and rare. Awesome story, my friend.

Rita Garcia 11/18/2011  

A beautiful story, beautifully written. Hugs!

Joanne Sher 11/18/2011  

Oh, Mari. This is absolutely, positively BEAUTIFUL. In every way. Marvelous storytelling!

Sarah Elisabeth 11/18/2011  

Oh wow, from the line, "I'm a sorter at a thrift store" you had me after those perfect set up lines. What a story, had me breathless and afraid the boss would make them put it all up before they found the answer. So many layers in this, simply amazing!

Yvonne Blake 11/18/2011  

O so romantic! I love it!

Sparrow 11/19/2011  

Oh, I remember this one. Sweet story! Was hoping to see a bit of your WIP, though. :-)

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