Kaleidoscope

Free Kaleidoscope by Tracy Campbell

Book: Kaleidoscope by Tracy Campbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tracy Campbell
softened as she looked at me. She seemed to be  lost in some kind of memory of her own, remembering something pleasant—boy, I wished I could feel like that more often.
    “Oh Jade, of all the obscure things to remember!” she gushed. I stared at her, confused. Her recollection cascaded over her lips like a dancing fountain, fast and clear.
    “Before we moved, when we lived on the other side of town...I was driving around the area because I needed a new change, and I could tell that you did too. I was looking at different neighborhoods to see where we might want to live, though it would be awhile before we actually got around to moving. I believe you weren't feeling well that day...”
    “I didn't want to go to school because I had menstrual cramps,” I said automatically. Whoa, did that voice just come from me? How...how did I know that?
    I was at a loss as my mother continued. “Well, be that as it may, I could tell you were really down about something, but not even I can tell you what for. You've never been much of a talker as far as your feelings go...” she trailed off and sighed before continuing.
    “Anyways, you went with me and to cheer you up, we stopped at that old thrift store to have a look. And you saw that ridiculous little gnome figurine and just HAD to buy it. We weren't leaving the store without it! So I bought it for you as a souvenir, and we ended up buying this house just a few months later. Actually, we still have the gnome...”
    With that, Mom rushed from her seat and shuffled off down the adjacent hallway where the master bedroom was located.
    “Where are you going?” I called after her, but I knew she wouldn't be able to hear me. Instead, I waited impatiently for her to return.
    Before long, she hurried back into the living room, carrying with her a small, ceramic gnome figurine. “You never asked about it after we moved, but I had it in a small box of your things in my closet, just in case you wanted it. I completely forgot to mention it after a while! I got so busy working at the bank, and...well, do you want to put it in your room or something? It is yours, after all.”
    I looked at the small figurine and took it in my own hand. It was only about four inches long and painted in festive green and brownish red colors--very earthy tones that were characteristic of something I'd choose. On his head, he wore a little brown hat with a golden buckle, and he was grinning a smile so big that his eyes were squinted shut.
    And suddenly, I remembered the whole scene with a clarity I hadn't experienced with any memory more recent than those I had from when I was twelve years old.
     
    ***
     
    The thrift store looked more like an antique shop; its knick-knacks and old furniture severely outnumbered the amount of clothing and other goods within the small, privately owned business. Low wooden counters with shelves beneath them stretched along, parallel to each other, to create three aisles within the store in its front. The back portion of it had been reserved for a cash register desk, an enormous wall of pictures and frames, and a few rows of miscellaneous clothing, organized by where it was  worn on the body.
    My own misery began to crawl away into my mind as I looked around. I was fascinated with the surfaces populated with so many...things. There were all types: wooden clocks and book ends, cooking gadgets (some newer, and some antiques), and a plethora of small ceramic figurines in all shapes, colors, and sizes. They seemed to have a society of their own within the thrift store, overtaking mostly the far left aisle, farthest from the entrance. One could get lost just looking at all the different figurines for hours.
    I could hear Mom in the distance speaking with an attendant, making pleasant, idle chit-chat as I perused the racks and rows of items. I wasn't looking for anything in particular—I was more just noticing the interesting variety of objects and wondering how they came to be in their

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