Garage Sale

348 Chestnut Avenue. If it’s the house I think it is, I do not want to miss this garage sale. If this is the place, it’s the only mansard Victorian in a neighborhood of ordinary suburban ranches.  We lived on Chestnut when I was in the sixth grade, and I walked by this special house on my way to and from school every day. I always wanted to peek in the windows, but of course, I knew that would get me in trouble, so I walked right on by. I knew my little sister would tell on me. The same family has lived in the house for thirty five years. I figure the husband or wife passed away, or they’re moving into a retirement home, and I’m dying of curiosity to see what items they have for sale. I want to get over there early, so I give my kitty, Larry a couple of goodbye pats, and I’m out the door. The address is only three miles away, but as I say, I want to be one of the first people there.

While I drive, I speculate about the kind of treasures I might find. I love antique jewelry best, even if it’s costume jewelry. Clothing, not so much. Same with Victorian era paintings. Always children wearing black, with big heads and creepy eyes who are holding flowers. I’ve seen too many of those on Antiques Road Show. Anyway, I find a parking space on the street, and as I hoped, I’m one of the first here. Just one older couple here before me. I see two racks of clothes, and a half a dozen tables filled with boxes of books and figurines and even some rocks. I start at the back, and I see an intriguing box full right away. This one box has a sweater on top.. a beautiful periwinkle colored handknit sweater. It looks brand new. There are a couple of hardcover books, a hardcover, old edition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a lovely edition of A Tale of Two Cities, by Dickens. I unwrap an item stored in newspaper, and find it’s a beautiful milk glass vase, about ten inches tall.. perfect for some of my pink roses. And best of all, I open two small cardboard boxes and in one, i find an absolutely gorgeous sapphire pendant on a piece of deep blue velvet ribbon, and a gold bracelet with deep violet stones alternating with what I think are pink tourmaline stones. A woman who seems to be in charge walks over and says, you can have that whole box full for fifteen dollars. … What I’m thinking must show on my face because she says, the books are damaged and the jewelry is paste. The stones are glass… And even though I don’t like her attitude, and I really want this stuff, I tell her that the books are worth quite a bit, and the purple stones in the bracelet are spinel, a very valuable gem.  And I think to myself, I don’t want to cheat anyone. … She laughs at me and says, look, the stuff in this box is worthless, and on top of that, it’s haunted. … Haunted??  … Yes. Now I’ll take seven dollars for all of it. And if you want it, I’d suggest you take it for that…  And I say, fine.. and I give her the seven. I take the box and drive home. I don’t bother to look at anything else there, because I love what I have.

So I drive home in the pouring rain. It’s barely forty five degrees. But that’s December in Oregon. And that’s when it dawns on me that a December yard sale is hardly common, and that’s an understatement. Time to go home,  get comfortable and maybe watch an old movie. I’m in the mood for a Hitchcock. Maybe Vertigo. So that’s what I do. I take off my shoes, put on a big sweatshirt, pour myself a glass of Chardonnay and slip in Rear Window because I changed my mind. I leave the box on the floor beside the couch, but I take out the bracelet and put it on because I love it so much. I sit back on the couch, and after just fifteen minutes, I feel sleepy. Time for a rainy day nap. I put down my wine..  I have Larry cuddled beside me, and I drift away.  I don’t know how long I’ve slept, but when I wake up, I’m driving in the desert, somewhere far east of Portland. And it appears I have a companion lounging on the back seat. It’s a coyote. Yes, that’s right.. not imagining it. A coyote with glowing lavender eyes. And he talks. I know. I’m going completely bonkers. He says.. hello, Rachel.  I see you’re wearing your new, special bracelet. It was meant for you. And for a minute I thought you weren’t going to buy it from me. … That was you?  So you tricked me. … Yes. Yes I did. I’m Trickster. That’s what I do. Don’t be mad at me. It’s time for us to take a journey together…

By M. Raynes

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