Another broom has appeared on my hearth, but as ordered last time, I have relinquished it to Mr. Tenk, though I must admit I was very reluctant to do so. It may sound strange to say (though perhaps not so strange as other things I have said and done in this journal) but it is a very comforting thing to be around and to hold.
Perhaps it is the feel of the handle, or the weaving of the rushes, but every time I hold it I am reminded of something happy. Some odd memory I thought was long gone, buried beneath the sorrow of the last few years.
This morning, for instance, as I was cleaning around the hearth, I picked it up and suddenly remembered Maggie and Pocket dancing together after closing.
It was one of those rare moments where it was just the three of us: I was sweeping up and washing the last of the cups and the two of them were wrapped in each others arms, giggling and swirling in a quick waltz front of the hearth. Maggie jumped away and spun around in quick circles, like a tiny dervish and, for all the world, seemed to lift up into the air before Pocket had seized her down again with an exclamation and a laugh. They must have forgotten I was there, because for a long moment they had stood in front of the fire, foreheads pressed together, nose-to-nose and hand-in-hand and even the world had seemed to hold its breath.
We had been in such good spirits the whole day that I, eventually, made a teasing remark and thrown a wet rag at the two of them and we had all gone back to work.
I rather wish, now, I had left them alone!
Then, this afternoon, I had knocked the broom over as I was sweeping and when I picked it up, Oh! Suddenly I could smell something sweet, like the blossom-laden spring breezes. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but then I found I had to sit down as the memory rushed back. It was my daughter! Or, rather, it was the way my daughter’s hair had smelled after she had her bath. On cold days she and I would sit before the fire and I would brush her hair, and as it warmed up from the heat, it would smell just like the spring blossoms in our garden. James would usually be there too, smoking one of his long, thin pipes and dressed in his house robe. He would always pretend to read the newspaper, feigning disinterest as I told Rebecca fairy tales. Sometimes he would become as engrossed as she did in a story I was spinning and he would set the paper aside and pull Rebecca into his lap, resting his chin on her head as they both listened to whatever I was saying.
Now, Remembering the past is not so new, I realize that, Journal, but in this case it was sweet for one particular reason: I was permitted to simply enjoy them.
Normally if I remember something joyful Samuel’s voice comes to me, whispering into my mind what comes after these sweet moments. Tainting the brief joy with lasting grief.
But this time, this time, the sweetness of the moments lingered on long after the initial remembrance and there was no terrible thought of what came after, simply the joy of a good moment. It made my work suddenly easy, stilled the shaking in my hands, the constant desire to hide away. It seemed to ease my fears and even to dull the constant aches that assail my still-healing injuries.
It was difficult to put the broom aside, even more difficult to feign disinterest in it, telling Mr. Tenk to take it with him. As I write this, though, it has not left the building. Mr. Tenk is sleeping on the hearth with it tucked against him. I hope it is giving him dreams at least as sweet as the memories it invoked in me.
Perhaps when he wakes I should ask him to leave it…I sense nothing nefarious in it.
And it is so strangely comforting,