I dug around, searching for what Grams could have been looking for. The storage room was like a second-hand attic, a place for things that didn’t have a place in the attic. She used to organize it, and make it look like an office, rather than a storage room. But when she grew older and began to have back problems, she eventually found it as too much work and quit.

“What was it again?” I asked Grams, who was standing in the doorway.

“It’s a green trunk, pretty small, but big enough to fit two cats in it. There’s also a purple one. Keep an eye out for that one too,” she called.

I sneezed as a cloud of dust blew out as I tripped over a tower of boxes, falling face first onto a pile of old clothes, probably first meant for donation. “Can you get a lightbulb? The flashlight went out ages ago,” I wheezed, sitting back and dusting of my pants.

“Oh, sure, honey. Anything for my sweetheart,” Grams nodded and disappeared, hopefully searching for a lightbulb in the kitchen. And what she really meant was, ‘Sure, honey. Anything to find the trunks!’

I coughed and sneezed, and then began to make my way up to standing when something under the clothes poked me in the palm of my hand. I sat back down again and inspected my hand the best I could in the dim light. A small scratch was mostly all it had done. But what was it?

I carefully dug through the clothes, sneezing violently as clouds of dust wriggled off of the top. Underneath a few coats sat a tiny metal ballerina, most likely lead. What was this? 

I decided to tuck it away and ask Grams on a rainy day. When I was little and asked a lot of questions, she would laugh and say, ‘Tuck it away, and ask me on a rainy day.’ And so I waited. Only one rainy day came, and we spent hours asking away, discovering more about each other and growing closer.

I kept moving the clothes, searching for more, but I found two metal boxes underneath. I felt on them. Two metal trunks, one green, one purple?

“Here we are!” Grams said cheerily, holding up the lightbulb. I jumped and exhaled, realizing that I had been holding my breath the entire time I was searching for the hidden ballerina. 

“Thanks,” I said, taking the lightbulb. I stood on my tiptoes, delicately screwing it in.

Grams flicked the switch. It flickered, but at least it was something. "I think I found them," I announced, shuffling back through the clothes.

"Oh, I meant to donate those years ago," Grams scowled, her hands on her hips. One thing was sure about Grams: although she had back problems, she never lost her spunk, sense of humor, and attitude.

"Grams, are these the trunks you were talking about?" I asked, attempting to hold them up and failing.

She peered into the dusty room and adjusted her glasses. A smile instantly lit up her face. "Oh, yes! Bring them out here, hurry!" She was nearly jumping for joy.

I carried them one at a time and thunked them on the coffee table in front of where she sat. "Whew. That's the last one. Boy, am I gonna need a good shower!" I exclaimed, wiping a firm layer of sweat and dust off of my face.

Grams laughed. "Oh, dear. Let's open these when your Gramps gets back from the volunteer center."

I noticed drips outside and remembered the ballerina. "Grams, when I was searching around while you were getting the lightbulb I found this just under the clothes, which made me search more and find the trunks."

Grams held it in her fingers. "Oh, deary me," she sighed.

"What? You don't have to tell me if you don't want to," I reassured her.

"No, I will. Back when my sister and I were young, she wanted to become a star. She had the worst singing voice, terrible at makeup, and couldn't do much else." Grams eyes were misty and in a faraway state.

I scooched in closer, eager to hear the tale. Grams laughed and pulled me in close.

"It was her birthday, it was. And Aunt Cindy gave my sister Sarah the tiniest wrapped up gift you could imagine. Near disappointment, my sister unwrapped it slowly, to find this little ballerina.

"And she was inspired to become a famous ballerina. So Ma and Pa sent her to a fancy dance school, and she was quite good, really. But then she fell and broke her ankle, and was never able to dance again. Poor Sarah was heartbroken when she was given the news. locked herself away from everyone for years. Died alone, she did." Grams clicked her tongue sadly. "Tis a shame, tis true. Well, I better make supper for us."

She toddled off, leaving me in shock. This little ballerina came from a poor heartbroken girl? How sad, tis true.

December 06, 2019 22:20

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