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Maple Street Memories #6

Episode Six

Thoughts of the fancy restaurant she knew only by reputation swirled in her mind as she contemplated what she would wear to such a place.  “How about Thursday this week?”

“Perfect.  I’ll make a reservation and see you there.”  They settled on a two-thirty date and she hung up the phone.  She stood with her hand on the receiver, stunned.  She had two days to find an outfit that would be fitting for the posh restaurant.  She ran upstairs to look through her closet.  As she flicked through hangers holding drab and worn dresses, she remembered the blue silk dress she had discovered.

She hurried to her mother’s bed and unzipped the plastic.  She rushed to try on the pretty dress.  She knew from the style it was at least twenty-five years old.  It was a cheerful periwinkle blue and had short layers of fluttery sleeves and rows of tiny covered buttons that drew attention to her trim waist before it met the flare of the skirt.

“Wow,” she whispered.  She’d never seen her mother wear this dress, but it was beautiful.  She twirled in front of the mirror and went in search of shoes.  She rushed downstairs, thankful she hadn’t called the pastor to retrieve her mother’s clothes.  She dug through the shoeboxes and found a pair of low heeled pumps the exact shade of the dress.

She had remembered seeing the shoes but knew she would never wear them.  Now, she slipped them on, thankful she and her mother shared the same shoe size.  They were a touch snug, but she thought she could wear them around the house and stretch them out a bit.

She took another look in the mirror before hanging the dress up in the closet.  She spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the house while she read her novel.

*  *  *

Thursday she was able to get off work fifteen minutes early and hurried home to change.  She parked the car at Pierre’s with five minutes to spare.  After a few deep breaths to calm her pounding heart, she smoothed the skirt of her dress and approached the door.

The maitre d’ led Mary to a private booth, where an older gentleman stood and took her hand.  “Ah, you look just like your mother.  Beautiful,” said Mr. Bernard.

Mary smiled and took her seat.  “Thank you again for meeting me.”

His eyes twinkled and he said, “It’s my pleasure, Mary.  I’m only sorry I didn’t know of your earlier call.  I’m saddened to hear about your mother.” The waiter appeared and Mr. Bernard spoke to him in French.

“If you’ll allow me to order, I know you will love it,” he gave her a grin.

“Of course,” she said.  Her stomach was flopping around so much, she wasn’t sure she could eat.  She took a long drink from her water glass.
“I know from your letter you’re curious about the house.”  He paused until the waiter had delivered their soup. “What I have to tell you may come as a shock.  Your mother and I were quite close long ago.”

She noticed the sheen in his eyes and took a spoonful of soup.  The faraway look she saw suggested he was visiting the past.


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