- She knew she
shouldn't be in that room, but she was. James was out, picking
up a few things from the market, leaving Shelle to her own devices.
She had gotten into the attic somehow and was surrounded by boxes,
trunks, and her own reflection in an old-fashioned mirror. She
almost choked on the dust in the air, but she ignored her hacking
coughs as she peered through the dim sunlight shining through
a small window as she observed her surroundings. A blue trunk
with gold caught her attention because the colours reminded her
of Lindy. She approached it soft of foot lest she disturb the
memories of the room. She opened it and found newspaper clippings
of James and Lindy's wedding, the two bands James was in, him
and his best friends of his first band-there were plenty of those.
There were some old clothes in the trunk also; full of colour
and the whole Sixties style. Shelle tried some on and giggled
at her reflection. She sorted through other boxes and found pictures
of James as a baby and growing up. She found pictures of Lindy
as a young girl and of their families and of their children.
She looked closely at the ones of their children; she hadn't
met them in her visions or in real life.
But the best of them all was a colour photograph of James and
Lindy on the porch steps of the registry office where they had
gotten married. There was an innocence about the picture and
simple charm. The picture showed the newly wed couple kissing
amidst flash bulbs of pestering photographers and the rains of
rice from friends and fans.
Shelle put the picture to the side and dug in further, breathing
in the past of the ones she loved that she had only read about
in books. The pictures provided a movie for her. She lived their
past as the scenes changed. Then she came upon a shot of Lindy
and Shelle's father, about twenty, arms around each other's waists,
smiling. Shelle grinned and put that one to the side as well.
And then, leafing through some more, she saw two very familiar
faces, in a gold frame. It was her mom and dad! They were standing
on the porch steps of the Chapel of Love smiling as the minister's
wife took their picture. Shelle's parents had told her about
their wedding numerous times so she knew the chapel's name and
all. It was a small wedding, like James and Lindy's, no wedding
dresses or tuxedos involved. But James and Lindy had to wade
through the media circus and Shelle's parents had to wade through
the air and sunshine of a beautiful day.
So Lindy had forgiven her father-they had reconciled. She kept
the picture and didn't throw it out and even framed it! The last
picture she found was of herself, as a dark-curled, mischievous
baby, in the rose garden of her family's first home. And it was
also in a small frame.
She had gone through many of the boxes for those pictures and
now she went back to the trunk. She put her hand in to feel and
felt something soft and woolly. She pulled it out and knew instantly
what it was.
It was yellow, knee-length, with buttons on both sides and a
cloth belt. It was Lindy's yellow coat that she had worn to her
wedding. Shelle tried it on, taking off all of the hippie stuff
she had put on earlier. The coat complimented her perfectly.
It fit her girlish curves and fell just a little below her knees.
She picked up all of the pictures she had gone through and put
them away, taking the framed ones and the two of James and Lindy
and Lindy and Shelle's father and slipping them into the coat
pocket. She put everything in proper order and left the trunk
open so she could put the coat back when she finished wearing
She wanted to clean the frames so she started to get up and find
some glass cleaner "stuff" that would polish the glass.
But then she heard James's voice.
"Shelle? Shelle? Where are you?" He was whistling.
"Coming, coming," she said loudly and clambered down
the stairs to the kitchen.
"Well, well, I've picked up some...." James looked
up from the grocery bags as he saw her enter the room.
"Hey, James," she greeted. His answer was silence.
"What's wrong?" she prodded.
"Where have you been?" he demanded. "Shelle, where
have you been?"
"I...I was in the...attic," Shelle replied softly.
"The attic? This is my house; you're a guest...."
"I'm sorry," Shelle said, a tear sliding down her cheek.
It hurt her to have James mad at her. His anger drowned out her
James put his head in his hands. He then lifted it and said,
"No, no, I didn't mean that. You're family, it's okay. I'm
not mad. It's just that..."
"The coat!" Shelle wailed, stricken. "Oh my gosh,
James! I'm so stupid-I forgot I was wearing it-Oh, I'm sorry!"
She quickly started to take it off, but James stopped her.
"It's okay, Shelle," he told her gently. "I was
just surprised to see it-I haven't seen that thing in years.
Come sit with me." They went to the couch and sat down.
Shelle told him about everything she'd found and knew James wasn't
mad or anything.
"James?" she said quietly when she was done talking,
"Can I show you something?"
Shelle slid her hand into the coat pocket and brought out all
the pictures and showed him.
James didn't cry or get sad. He laughed. He was laughing because
he remembered his intense happiness the day he and Lindy had
gotten married. They had had an argument the night before the
big day, but still got married. He remembered his first daughter
with her being born and he was happy.
They discussed the pictures and events and then Shelle asked,
timidly even though she wasn't,
"Could I have that picture of you and Lindy?"
James looked at the earnest child and handed it to her after
reading the date on the back: "James and Lindy Mac-March
1969. Marylebone Registry Office."
He kissed the top of her head and hugged her. Then he did something
else. He smelled the coat and kept the scent of Lindy's faded
perfume in his mind and then said,
"Shelle, I'd like you to have this coat. It's yours. I want
you to have it and I'm sure Lindy would want you to keep it,
"Thanks, James." Shelle smiled and gave James the remaining
pictures as she got up to telephone her parents about how great
she was doing at camp.
When she was connected, she waited as the phone rang.
"Mommy?" she said. "It's me. Yes, yes. Yeah, I'm
havin' a great time. Yeah, the line's bad. We're out in a forest.
Maybe that's why. How's everyone doing? Uh-huh. Yes. Well, I
just called to tell you I'm fine and I'll see you in a few weeks.
Okay. You too. I love you. Yeah. Give my love to everybody. 'Bye."
Shelle hung up and turned to James. He was outside so she went
upstairs again to look around. She saw a light in one of the
rooms and went in. There were guitars and platinum records and
On a small table was a picture of Lindy with a burning candle
by it. A vase full of fresh flowers stood tall and under the
vase was a piece of paper. Shelle lifted the vase and picked
it up and knew what it was. And a memory that had somehow been
forgotten in the space of a few weeks came back to her.
- ...So he settled himself down at the kitchen table-the scene
of many happy family dinners and confidential talks-and put the
tall white candle where Lindy usually sat.
I'll always hold a candle for you, he thought sadly, even if
there aren't any, I'll always have one in my heart.
Lindy seemed to smile at him through the dim candle-smoke and
that pleasing sight gave him the courage to take his pen to hand.
It was about three days after her death, the night that James
and his children had returned home to England.
His undying love for Lindy and their children kept him awake
and helped him write. His love formed words and fell into place
as his tears fell softly onto the paper like a drop of water,
unheard, but seen by all.
He wrote on; praise of Lindy and words of love fell onto the
paper as the candle burned low and his children slept in their
childhood rooms above.
It was just about the night of the day she had found out that
Lindy had died. Her heart ached as she closed her eyes to sleep.
The stunned feeling she'd had was starting to wear a little,
but she tried hard to battle off her tears and keep them inside.
She pulled the blankets tight under her chin as she lay, but
when she closed her eyes, she saw something. Instead of the blackness
behind her lids, she saw James, alone in an ocean of darkness
at a table, writing by the light of a candle.
A few days later, she picked up the newspaper and on the front
page was a colour picture of James and Lindy and something written
under it. The heading was "Loving Lovely Lindy" and
Shelle knew that the words written there were by James himself,
sitting alone at his kitchen table by the light of a candle.
- Shelle shook herself back to the present. The paper she was
holding was the original press statement-all in James's cursive-print
writing. But as she placed it under the vase again, she felt
something and closed her eyes.
- James finished writing at dawn, with the sky just barely
a faint gray. He re-wrote another copy and sealed it up and sent
it out. He then took the original and went up to his music room-one
of Lindy's favourites because of the view from its window. There
was already a picture of her on a small table so he placed it
right by it. Then he went out to the fields and picked some fresh
flowers and put them in a vase and put the vase on the table
and put a lit candle there, too. Then he turned and went into
his bedroom that had once been Lindy's too.
- Shelle opened her eyes. Other people in the world would call
James crazy, but he wasn't. He was only trying to pay homage
to the bride of his youth and Shelle felt the sweetness of the
room; it was almost like James was in there, a young man again,
kneeling to his lady and giving her flowers.
Shelle went outside and picked two yellow lilies-Lindy's favourite
flower-and then ran back upstairs to what she would later refer
to as "Lindy's room." She put the two flowers under
the picture and then turned, softly shutting the door behind
© Lissa Michelle Supler
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