Wallflower Girl (Chapter 7, page 2 of 3)

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"Hi, Patricia," this newcomer greeted her, and Anne suppressed a surge of panic. Who was this hippie? She must be a close friend.

"Hi," Anne replied, smiling.

"I brought that jewellery. Here. Put it in the display case." She handed Anne a box of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made of strings of beads, but skilfully executed, the little stones arranged into patterns of flowers, leaves and birds.

"Oh, these are so pretty," Anne exclaimed, holding up a pair of dangly earrings that had a pattern of daisies made of little yellow and white beads.

"Thank you." The hippie looked down modestly, then up again, smiling.

"And here, this is for you. I don't know why, but I just had to make it. I think the spirits told me you needed it."

She pressed a necklace into Anne's hand. It was a string of irregularly shaped clear pink stones, ending in one large one shaped into a heart.

"Oh, thank you, but I…"

"I know. You've hated pink since elementary school. Who would know that better than me? But you need it. It's rose quartz, for fertility."

Suddenly, Anne's face, she was sure, was exactly the same colour as the necklace.

"Oh, look at you," the woman laughed. "I don't know how someone so repressed can stand to be friends with Eccentric Ethel."

"I'm not repressed," Anne replied.

"Huh," Ethel snorted. "I remember how nervous you were about your wedding night."

"That was six months ago. Things are different now." But the burning in her cheeks increased.

"I see." Ethel slipped off her little glasses and winked at her friend.

"What about you?"

"Who me? Oh, I'm going out with Reg tonight. We're going to get our tarot cards read."

"Tarot," Anne scoffed. "Why don't you and Reg just get married and try living a normal life?"

"Normal, bah. You're too normal for your own good, Patty, baby. Life's too groovy to spend it all at work. I'll get a real job someday, but it won't be in any truck stop."

"Of course not, Ethel. You're an artist. It would be a waste."

"I have a new hobby, you know."


"Yeah, Reg bought me a camera at that last concert we went to. I've been taking pictures everywhere. Here, let me show you."

She hurried outside. Through the door, Anne could see her friend's VW van, covered in spray painted peace signs and smiley faces in every colour imaginable. The girl returned a moment later with a black bulky box from which a telescopic lens protruded.

"Put the necklace on, Patty, and I'll take your picture," Ethel urged.

Anne complied and the camera flashed.

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