She finds her purpose in them


Jessie Warren

A photograph taken within the sunlit side room of an antique store in Traverse City.

That night, she dreamt she was in the elderly woman’s house.

Opening her tightly shut eyelids, she aspired to once again be perched upon her cupboard shelf, watching in maternal felicity as the family plucked pots and pans from the racks that surrounded her. Hopefully, they would take her down gently, snipping the ends off flower bouquets and displaying her proudly upon the dining room table. 

She would have a purpose once again, even if it only lasted until daylight. 

However, this time was different. The cupboard was nowhere in sight, along with the paintings that adorned the beige walls and the rugs that patterned the creaking floorboards. The woman was gone, along with her children and her children’s children, and the room was growing progressively colder with each passing second. 

She looked around, called them out by name, even strode through the rooms she’d never seen before and caressed the dust that remained where objects used to lay. There was nothing besides her, and she started to wonder if maybe it was about time she got going. Tears rolled down from her tired eyes, gracing the foundation below her and wiping away the only remnants of life left.

And then she woke up.

Instead of opening her eyes with appetite, she let them rest where they were, knowing well-enough already the image that would meet her. Since the reality of her dreams had shifted into simple delusion, she had found a sort of home within the antique store walls. They smelled like the elderly woman, and sometimes a specific vase or a particular plate would come along and remind her of the friends she once had. 

Yet, like the dream, this day was different.”

Yet, like the dream, this day was different. Upon finally letting her eyelids flicker free from one another, she was met not with the dirty surroundings of her usual shelf, but instead with the scintillating sapphire of the shoreline. In the night, she must have moved, for past a lens of transparent glass lay the water, a sight she had not seen since she found her way to the antique store. 

She let her eyes adjust upon the beach that lay before her, taking in the bobbing and bustling colors that navigated their way through the sand. Children tugged upon their parents’ pant legs, pointing eagerly towards the water that crashed and combined before them. The parents set up their spots, fanning out towels and pulling sunscreen from deep within their beach bags. Rest weaved itself together with activity, excitement standing hand-in-hand with irritation.

While she could not hear nor understand what was being said, she overlooked the consistent flux of color and sunshine for hours on end, watching as folks meandered their way up and down the coastline. 

And, after years of collecting dust, the vase finally found her purpose again.