For each moment of happiness – #fictionfriday
They say that somewhere far beyond what mortals see there is a scale of life; for each moment of happiness, a stone of sorrow is dropped onto the scale.
When the Keeper of the Scale saw that Annie Cross’s life had been weighted with sorrow for far too long he selected a stone the color of an early morning sunrise. It was round, worn smooth and without jagged edges. He gave a smile of satisfaction then dropped the stone onto the happiness side of Annie’s scale. That was the day she knocked on Judge Oliver Doyle’s door.
As she looked into the blue of his eyes, she knew he was the one.
* * *
Exactly 3.2 miles from Ophelia Browne’s Memory House Bed and Breakfast there is a small clapboard church. It is set back from the street and surrounded by oaks that have stood for centuries. If you lift your head and search the treetops, you will find the steeple. The tip of it is just a bit above the tallest oak and when the sun is high in the sky a person must shade their eyes, to catch even a glimpse. Although the steeple is sometimes difficult to see, on Sunday morning when the bells chime they can be heard throughout all of Burnsville.
Pastor Willoughby claims the Good Shepherd Church will accommodate 90 parishioners, but today 120 people have crowded in. It is the first Sunday of June, yet hot as the middle of August. The side windows have been thrown open and a soft breeze drifts across the room but it is not enough to cool the crowd squeezed shoulder to shoulder.
The first time Ophelia came to this church was the year she and Edward were married. That was almost seventy years ago yet nothing has changed. When she steps into the vestibule her mind slides back to a sadder day, the day of Edward’s funeral. Before the melancholy of remembering can take hold, a young man steps up to her.
“May I?” he asks and offers his arm.
“Ophelia smiles. “Thank you,” she says and slides her hand into the opening that is offered.
Charlie Doyle is Oliver’s brother.
Together he and Ophelia walk slowly down the aisle.
The first pew is the only spot where there are still seats. The left side is reserved for the bride’s family, the right side for the groom’s. Charlie guides Ophelia to the pew on the right side and waits for her to smooth her skirt and sit. Once she is seated, he gives a pleasant nod and turns back to the vestibule. Ophelia is the only person in that pew. She is Annie’s family.
The tall white-haired man on the right side looks across at Ophelia and smiles. He stands, goes to her and extends his hand. “Please,” he says, “Come and sit with Laura and me. We should be one family now.”