They say that everyone in a small town has some role to fill—an
unofficial position that seems to suit their personality. Miss Mabel, the
biggest gossip this side of the Mississippi River, served as town crier. I, as mediator, was sent to diffuse Miss Mabel;
to put an end to the words she scattered about like thistle seeds.
“I’m leaving Eleanor.” I sat on the velvet loveseat. “Tonight.
Here…” I pressed a card into her
hand. “I want you to have my mother’s
sweet roll recipe. It’s the only copy.”
“Oh, Henry…” Miss Mabel clutched the card tightly.
“Miss Mabel, you understand I’ve come to you in confidence?”
Her eyes had taken on a dreamy look. Her prim little mouth was working out the
best combination of words and syllables with which to share my news.
Her eyes snapped forward.
“Of course, dear.” She made a motion
of zipping shut her lips and tossing an invisible key over her shoulder.
I nodded. “Alright
Miss Mabel raised an index finger. Mock unzipped her mouth halfway. “But Henry?”
She spoke from the side of her mouth.
“Yes, Miss Mabel?”
“Could I just tell Milicent?
Poor dear, she’s been so worried about…”
I jumped to my feet. “Absolutely
“Oh, dear.” Her eyes
widened behind her bifocals. “I
I kissed her cheek. “Goodbye
then, Miss Mabel.”
By afternoon, the news was all over town. Concerned friends emailed Eleanor. Passersby frowned at me in the street. Eleanor’s father leaned upon the doorbell
until I admitted him. By midnight,
forty-nine of our friends had contacted Eleanor. At two o’clock in the morning, my best man was out searching for
Miss Mabel sat at the kitchen table and bit into one of the
sweet rolls she’d made after Henry left.
She flipped the newspaper to the local section and read the headline: Local
couple renews wedding vows. From the page,
Henry and Eleanor smiled in black and white.
Miss Mabel's story continues here
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge