Mrs Ruth Jones – Short Story #24

Olive Trees, Van Gogh (1889)

Faint, miniscule Mrs Ruth Jones proceeded from their red bricked abode gracefully through the mild morning air with the slight hesitancy of a young feline having just awoken from a slumber. Arriving upon the city street with ease, she met the customary intonations of such a perfectly pleasant autumn morning: the bird’s sweet song, sung in stark staccato swiftness, the traffic’s tumbling hum, the tap tap of heels harshly landing upon pavement, and the brush of wind wildly swooning to life all the whispered colors of  autumn: calming reds, tender oranges, and bold yellows. The city was alive with the smells the sounds the delights of this vivacious and energetic October morning. And Mrs Ruth Jones bore the state of mind fit for these festivities. She strolled amongst autumn’s performance, which very well may have danced it’s dance only with her in mind, yet she moved with definitive intent towards Jack Connolly’s corner grocery store.

Must get cream. Fresh. Not that horrid paste like last. Don’t care if it’ll take another hour to walk to Jim’s for a fresh cup. And eggs, sugar, and what else oh yes a stick of butter. And bread. Now what’s all the hurry Ruth, slow down. Smells of burnt toast and the fishy sea. Bit chilly. Must remember to bring the coats down later. Paper said the weather won’t likely drop soon, but oh you never can tell these things. Besides, they need to come down anyway why not now? Get Henry to do it as soon as he’s back and no later or he’ll throw off his shoes and have a sit and never get him up, that chair of his, by God he’d sleep in it if I’d let him. Where’s that paper I’ll write this… Oh goodness is that Mrs Tims? Poor thing. He was a good man. Drunk a little too much but they all do from time to time. She looks a wreck, oh poor thing. Hello, how are you dear? And the children? Back to school already? Why yes, I will say hello to him for you and surely he says hello to you too. Yes, yes, indeed. Me too. Please dear someday soon come pay me visit, won’t you? Yes we’ll plan it then. Goodbye! Poor thing.

Mrs. Ruth Jones’ entrance was announced with a silver clanging ding followed by a tired and slight look from the cashier balancing books,wholly disinterested in the woman who now sought refuge from the morning in his shop. She quickly found her items and carrying them all in her arms, as all women and most men are able to do quite easily, she set the plenteous items down in front of disinterested cashier who ran them one by one and with a bit of glee proceeded to read to her her total.

—That’ll be sixpence and four, ma’am. Yes, and four. Thank you ma’am. Here you are.

The cream looked well enough and upon a careful investigation it seemed of a better variety from what she had taken up before, so then Mrs Ruth Jones, with little regret, existed the store triumphant and perfectly successful in her odyssey. By way of Morse and High St. she came to the conclusion that it would be best for her now to take a luxurious moment for herself in form of a nice walk in the basking final rays of autumn. Must take advantage before the gloom of winters night consumed the days, when little would be done out doors. While passing strangers and other wanders, Mrs Ruth Jones liked to imagine that she could try their lives on like clothes, as in some way she might hop from one to another and see what they saw, feel what they felt, and know what they knew, if only for a moment of passing time. But she knew the impossibility of such omnipresent omnipotence, save God and perhaps his angels too. Had they the same endowments? Wasn’t sure. I wonder what would Father Comely say about it, probably of its irrelevance to living the good Christian life. But who knew either way?

The back alleyway which lead humbly towards her home drew her closer and closer into the realization that this is where she lived, she, Mrs Ruth Jones. It’s undetermined by all or any to know why or for how long she might live here, or why she might not live there or in another home or with another man or as another women. But she supposed it didn’t matter. She was whoever she was and will always be that which she presently is or that which she shall become and no other and nothing else. Life to life, day after day, end to end, she remained and did not remain, she began and ended, she was and she is Mrs Ruth Jones.

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