Twenty-year Game – Chella Courington

Chella Courington

Twenty years ago Camille was thirty. Twenty years from now she will be seventy. She counts years like a handful of coins, knowing they will be spent for trinkets, a pair ofgold earrings or the mermaid wind chime sculpted from copper wire, its tail outlined ingreen with amethyst squiggles and silver glitter, a dream no doubt as all mermaids are, atangible vision with a gold star in one hand and a blue shell in the other, and Camille held it in the breeze to catch the currents before hanging it on the ornamental apple outside their glass doors, an ageless woman with golden locks reminding Camille of the ballet dancers who hung in frames on her childhood wall, their forms perfect in pink, toe shoes never scuffed or dirtied, perpetually on point, waiting in this moment, unruffled by the past or future, and later when she read “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” she thought of her ballet dancers, and how lovely they would look encircling any vase, almost touching hands, the audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for Margot Fonteyn to reach out from the ceramic, alive, and offering Camille a charm, a talisman for longevity, a silver marble almost an inch in diameter that she placed in her left palm, and suddenly she felt the continuity of it all, how the urn and Margot and the mermaid met at the center, life converged, and there were no tears, for existence was a sequence of bubbles, fragile and full of color, bursting into another, and though Camille could see them vanishing into the distant light, she felt they somehow would continually be, not in her sights or those of anyone else standing on earth now, but the bubbles were always somewhere always becoming something new because today, June 23, was the day she felt, for the first time truly felt, those she loved endlessly around her, leaving snatches of notes and crumpled tissues to remind Camille that time was arbitrary and depended on limited eyesight, but existence continued forever to wrap her in its threads.

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