Catch up with the story at these links:
Chapter One & Two
Millicent goes to a shelf in the back of the room that seems primarily to hold old teapots, books and small figurines. Toby and I curiously follow close behind her.
Millicent runs her fingers across some of her things, and then picks up something with each hand and spins one hundred and eighty degrees around to us.
“I know that we’re supposed to sort my things into either Goodwill or ‘keep’, but I think that you kids might appreciate a thing or two from my collection--one thing for now. Marley, this is for you.” Milly deposits a silver chain with a little golden heart dangling from it into the palm of my hand. It’s beautiful. “And Toby, you keep this.” She passes Toby a dog-eared book with black ink covering the title, rendering it illegible. "I know that I may seem a bit off my rocker, but that’s just what a lot of years of drugs will do to you.” Toby and I exchange a startled look, and Millicent laughs. “Just kidding.” I’m not sure whether or not she really is. “That’s what a lot of fun, happy years will do to you. Marley, that necklace you have there is the one that my first boyfriend gave to me, some sixty years ago. I hope it’s good luck to you.” I smile.
“Oh, Millicent, you shouldn’t--”
Milly waves her hand at me. “Now don’t argue, just take it. He was also the first boy to break my heart, so I’m happy to get it off my hands. What’s my bad luck will hopefully be your good luck.” I laugh and shake my head, looking down at the necklace.
I see Toby flipping the book over in his hands and staring down at it. He opens it.
“And that, Toby, is the journal from my great, great grandfather. He worked in the circus as a stablehand, and had many stories that I think you may enjoy.” Toby shakes his head, staring down at the book in awe. He’s always loved things like that, and I have no idea how Milly would know it.
“I can’t take this, Milly,” Toby says, though I know that he’d like to go home right now and read the whole thing from front to back.
“Of course you can. I’ve read it too many times to count, so I have no use for it now. It’s just taking up shelf space, and when I’m dead they’ll throw it in the trash anyway.”
Toby smiles gratefully. “Thanks.”
Milly leads us back downstairs to the designated sorting boxes. I clip the necklace around my neck, and Toby sets his book on the kitchen counter.
Even the worst circumstances can sprout hidden blessings, Mrs. Nutters told us. I’m beginning to think that’s exactly what she is. A hidden blessing.
TO BE CONTINUED...