By Vita Forest
In the middle of the madness, they had seen it one day at a stall at the markets. Nicola had watched as Bea picked it up, turning it over in her hands, feeling the weight of it. It was made of ceramic and decorated with roses, daisies and the smiling faces of pansies. Bea held it for a long time. She looked at if from the front, at the cheery blooms in magenta, scarlet, cornflower blue and gold. She examined it from the side, at the delicate chain of daisies that ringed it. She held the doorknob and twisted it a little, as if opening an imaginary door.
“Show me,” Nicola said.
Bea passed it over wordlessly. Most things she did at the moment were wordless. Wordless hugs, silent tears, stony stares into space.
“Where will we live?” She had whispered that day when they told her it was ending, really ending this time.
“I don’t know yet,” Nicola had answered, her arms around her. “We’ll have to sell the house. We’ll have to see how much money there is.”
She remembered how Bea’s head had dropped forward, her hair obscuring her face. Nicola’s arms had tightened around her as they rocked back and forth.
“Pretty,” said Nicola looking at the doorknob, looking at Bea, looking at the price tag, looking up to see the marketeer beaming at her expectantly.
“I made it myself, ” she informed them, “It’s hand painted and then glazed. The flowers are based on the ones in my garden.”
“Hmmm,” answered Bea and walked on. Nicola put the knob down, smiled and did the same. But she had seen how Bea had cradled that pretty thing in her hand, how her eyes had lit up. It had given her an idea. Later, while Bea sat texting at a table with her Chai latte, Nicola had sneaked back and made a purchase.
After dinner she knocked on Bea’s door. She was sitting at her desk poring over her books. The exams were only weeks away now.
“I got something for you,” Nicola said. She held out the small paper bag. Bea looked up questioningly and took the bag. She drew out the soft pile of red tissue paper and silently peeled it back until the door knob was revealed, nestled in the wrapping.
“And no matter where we end up,” Nicola said, “We’ll put that handle on your door and that will be your room.”
Bea stared down at the present for a moment. Then carefully placing it on the desk, she rose from her chair and hugged her mother.
It was going to be ok.