The Gift

Debbie Stanton | Stories

The Gift

by

Debbie Stanton

 

Adele made a cup of tea and took it to her living room. She sat near the picture window and savored the tea. Autumn leaves would soon fall. The world would go on, even though a year ago her parents died. Adele always loved autumn, but now she wasn’t sure.

What seemed like hours later, Adele still stared at the apartment building across the street. She supposed it was time to work on her homework, but the enthusiasm she possessed had taken a detour and left Adele. That’s okay, Adele thought. Just do a continuation of my life–go to university and follow my writing path.

Don’t let what happened spoil your dreams. Throw yourself into your work and fake it till you make it.

Adele retrieved the journal from the bookshelf. A journal, in fact, that had belonged to her mother. Maybe Mum has some encouragement from me.

Adele curled up on the sofa and covered herself with the fuzzy throw nearby. As she read the journal, what her mother had written about became unfamiliar.

Adele didn’t know how she had missed this while she was going through her parents’ belongings. Then she found it–a sealed envelope. It was addressed to her in her mother’s handwriting.

“Dearest Adele,

Nobody is ever promised tomorrow. I’m writing this now so you’ll have some encouragement from me, even if I’m no longer living on this earth.” Adele gulped air. How did her mother always know just what to say? She continued reading the letter.

“Maybe, hopefully, you’ll believe me this time. You have a gift, Adele.  Please don’t give up on your writing or treat it like everyone has the same talent as you. Believe me, they don’t.” I don’t know, Mum–you wrote me such a beautiful letter. 

“Life will be just so-so if you get to the end of your life and you haven’t experienced all you can from your writing. Besides the gift others receive from your writing, it will be a gift for you to receive, too. You love to read, and it will be fun for you to come alive through reading what your characters do and say, what their surroundings look like, and the conflict they work to correct.”

Adele put the journal down and wiped fallen tears from her cheek. I don’t know what you want me to do, Mum. Adele picked up the book again and eagerly read more of the letter.

“I know that writers are solitary people, but even they need to talk with others. Please consider going to a class, maybe at the community center, that lets you just have fun with writing. Don’t try so hard to write well that you forget what you love about writing. This is a gift to you, Adele. Maybe someday you will realize your dad and I feel about you like you feel about writing. You love it with all your heart, and that’s how we love you.

“Your words, in fact, will keep us close. Write like the wind, and in this way we will always be with you.

Eternal love, my darling,

Mum”

Oh God, Adele thought. She put the letter back into its envelope and stuck it in the journal. Adele snapped the journal closed and jumped up from the sofa. I’ve gotta get out of here.

Walking in her neighborhood was good for her, and she arrived at the Fine Arts Building. She read the flier that was taped to the door. The words created a warm feeling in her chest. They said:

“Have fun with us as we try our hand at creative writing. There won’t be any judgments but plenty of encouragement and possibilities.” Adele decided to go to the event, which would start in four hours.

Adele arrived at the dark auditorium, and an usher showed her to a seat front and center.  He handed her a blank notebook and pen and disappeared. The screen was black with the red words which said, “Come and Create.”

Once the speaker arrived on the stage and called everyone to order. Low lights went on, and Adele looked around. There were only four other people in the whole auditorium. She supposed the pandemic had something to do with the low attendance. No matter, she was looking forward to having some fun with writing, just as her mother had written to her about.

The attendees were given the topic to create a story about. They could come to the front and read their stories at the end if they desired, the woman said.

Adele wrote like the wind, something else her mum had mentioned. Later on when she read her story, she got so excited that she read with haste. The woman asked her to start over and read slower this time, which Adele did. A great big smile graced her face as she read. It was almost like she didn’t know what she’d written.

When all the attendees but one read their stories, the speaker invited comments about the stories they’d heard. When it came time for Adele’s story to receive comments, the comments shocked Adele. They echoed her mum’s words. Maybe this is the truth and not just a coincidence.

“You have a gift,” someone said. That is the comment Adele now held onto. “Please get your writing out in the world if you haven’t already.” Adele thanked them, but her words weren’t heard. Adele’s behavior continued to this day, she realized, that of losing her voice whenever she was overcome with emotion.

As Adele walked home that evening, a few leaves scattered across the sidewalk with a gust of air. Adele smelled the tang in the air. And just like that, she knew that autumn would never be sad for her again. She’d take her mum’s advice. She’d write like the wind and receive a gift.

 

 

 

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