Rain-washed along our street in a wave, pushed by the wind.
Half-formed bubbles floated on top as if someone was blowing through a straw trying to amuse unseen children.
It has been this way for the past three weeks, helpful for my writing, my desk in front of the large bay window.
Early one morning, I noticed a yellow garment drifting by. A small jacket, possibly a child’s. A beam of light broke through the clouds, illuminating the jacket as it passed. It caught on the corner of the street.
I decided to retrieve it, not knowing why and as I stepped outside, the rain stopped and the silence felt like a soothing balm.
Inside the pocket, I found one large marble, a whistle and a very old tin soldier.
The jacket must belong to a boy. I doubt it would be a girl.
I placed a card in the corner shop, hoping the owner of the jacket would want it back. I wanted the story of my find, a child’s treasure. I remembered my own, long ago squirrelled under my bed. The fires of yesterday blown out now.
Saturday morning, I answered the doorbell to a beautiful young woman holding the hand of a young girl of about five years old. I asked them in and went to get the jacket.
As I handed it to the woman, the child snatched it from her and checked the pockets, smiling at her treasures.
“Jessica, what do you say?”
Thanks received, I asked if they would like tea, that I had cake.
A ploy, giving her mother that look that only a child can, without saying please.
I served the tea with a small glass of orange for Jessica.
I asked Jessica’s mother if I could talk about the three objects I found in the pocket.
“The marble was the first time Jess won a game, I told her to keep it for luck to remind her she is a winner. The whistle is for unwanted attention, should she feel uncomfortable. It has a very loud sound and scares of dogs and other nuisances.”
Her look told me I was supposed to know what she meant, and of course, I did.
The tin soldier was the last gift from her father. He told her it would remind her that he would always be by her side, fighting in her corner. The Gulf War I understood.
I thought the mother to be in her late twenties, too young to be alone with a child. The Gulf War ended a year ago. I couldn’t bring myself to believe she wouldn’t have found someone yet. I hoped not, because I intended to be that someone …