It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next! — My contribution is written below!
The old woman walked straight towards me with small object in her hand.
“Olivia, I am sorry to keep you waiting.” How did she know my name?
“Excuse me?” The woman had river lines through her face and eyes; she looked like she was a few hundred years old. Her hands were small and frail with loose skin barely covering the bone; she walked with a slightly slumped stoop. I had never seen her before in my life.
“I have the piece you were looking for.” She replied, as if we had been talking for hours.
“But… I just walked in the door.” I wanted to tell her I simply needed a place to wait out the storm, but she interrupted me.
“Oh, don’t be silly, child.” Her voice crackled and croaked out the words. “Here, take it.” She pushed the small object into my hand and I could see it was an old hinged trinket box. “Go on now, open it,” she urged.
I am not sure why I played along with her silly charade but I opened the small box and inside was a ring. It was identical to the one I wore on my right hand. I glanced quickly to my hand and the ring was not there. “How did you get my ring?” I was a little angry; I didn’t much like parlor tricks.
She looked at me, “Child, that ring has not become yours yet.”
This was getting old, “This is my ring. I had it on moments ago when I walked through your door. My fiancé gave me this ring just a few days ago.”
She laughed a small laugh. “Look, my child.” She pointed into a dark corner of the shop where an antique full length mirror stood on wooden legs.
I looked in the mirror and when I did, I could hardly believe my eyes. The woman in the mirror wasn’t me. As I walked closer I realized it was me, only decade’s maybe centuries ago. The woman in the mirror was dressed in century old clothing and she had long blond hair in curly ringlets. I kept my curls cut short and flat ironed. She wore no make-up, but a long dress that touched the ground and push up bodice. I reached up and felt my short locks, but the woman in the mirror felt her long blond curls.
The shop keeper in the mirror was a young spry woman who stood tall and watched from behind me. I turned around to look at her and she was the same old frail woman I had met when I walked in the room.
“I don’t understand.”
She walked up behind me and placed a frail hand on my shoulder and turned my head to face the mirror again. I watched the young shop keeper talk to the other me. “This ring will bring you great love, but it will also bring you great heartbreak. You must decide now if you will take the heartache to have the love.”
“What kind of heartache?”
She shook her head behind me, “My child, I can’t tell you the details. I only can tell you that you have a choice. You can choose to live your life without love and without heartache or you can choose the ring and receive both.”
I looked at the woman in the mirror, the other version of me. She looked sad, there was something in her eyes that was missing but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I was begging the other me to give me an answer.
The shopkeeper spoke from behind me, “She can’t tell you what to do. She already had her choice and took it.”
I didn’t want my eyes to take on the sad look of the past me, “What did she choose?”
“I can’t tell you that either, my dear.”
“I simply came in here for a dry place to wait out the storm. What is going on?”
“What storm?” she asked me.
I turned around and looked out the window. The sun was shining bright; there was no rain pouring, no wet sidewalks or dripping cars, no indication that it had rained in quite a while.
“I wish we would get a storm,” she continued, “this drought is going to kill us.”
What in the world was happening to me?
“It’s time child.” She turned me away from the mirror and back to face her and the small box that held my ring. “What is your choice?”