Becca bolted through the door, clutching her latest treasure. “Mama, look!” Becca exclaimed, suddenly remembering mama was sleeping. Silently Becca crept across the flat to the single bed she and mama shared. Lifting the edge of the tattered blanket, she peeked under the bed and slid the shoebox from its hiding place. Becca settled herself on the wood floor placing the shoebox in a small patch of light shining through the dusty window.
Plopping the new treasure in her lap, she opened the box and inventoried its contents; a small seashell, two bottle caps, a piece of twine, a silver ring, an old key, and a shiny glass bead. The bead had been her favorite find until today. Becca lifted the teardrop shaped crystal from her lap. Colors danced across the wall as Becca twirled the teardrop in the light. It was perfect, she thought.
Becca picked up the twine and threaded it through the hole in the teardrop. She centered the crystal on the twine and tied a knot. Laying it in her lap she considered her treasures once again. The seashell already had a small hole. Mama had explained how mollusks would bore holes into shells for a tasty meal. Becca was amazed how perfectly round the hole was. The ring, key and bead will slide easily onto the twine, but what about the bottle caps? Becca recalled seeing a small nail in the cupboard drawer. She picked up the bottle caps, quietly retrieved the nail and slipped outside. Becca tossed the bottle caps on the ground and picked up a large stone. WHACK! She hit the nail hard piercing the metal bottle cap. Again, WHACK!
I did it! Becca thought. Bottle caps in hand she returned the nail to the drawer and resumed her work. The fraying twine and rough holes in the bottle caps created a challenge, but Becca was beaming when she finally held up her creation and slipped it over her head.
She glanced at the table, remembering the lunch mama always made before her nap. Picking up the neatly wrapped sandwich, Becca slipped outside and sat on the front stoop. A crowd was gathering across the street, as they did every Saturday. Becca loved watching her neighbor, Alec, transform the dull, grey concrete into faraway lands. What would it be today; a color filled meadow, a river’s edge or maybe majestic mountaintops? Becca could never settle for wondering. She finished her sandwich, brushed the crumbs from her hands and carefully crossed the street, depositing herself on the sidewalk next to Alec.
“Hey Becca, must be nap time,” Alec said, familiar with their Saturday routine.
Becca smiled and watched silently. It was mesmerizing watching him work, each brush stroke bringing the painting to life. Alec’s paintings were beautiful and at first it was disheartening to see the rains or street cleaners strip the sidewalk to its original dull canvas, but Becca had grown to anticipate each week’s masterpiece.
“It’s so pretty,” Becca said, admiring the emerging waterfall. “I could never paint like you,” Becca added, “You make it look so easy.” She so envied Alec’s talent and often wished she knew how to do something so special. Watching the people was nearly as much fun as watching Alec. Their smiles and comments reflecting the delight his paintings brought them.
“What you got there?” Alec asked, admiring Becca’s new necklace.
“I made it!” Becca replied. “Just found the crystal this morning.”
Alec enjoyed listening to Becca’s weekly treasure updates as he painted. “It’s lovely,” he said. “Quite the talent you have there.” Becca tilted her head and Alec could tell she was bewildered. “Not everyone can see the beauty in everyday trinkets.” Alec explained, “It’s a special gift God has given you.”
“You think so?” Becca asked.
“No doubt about it.” Alec replied.
“Becca…” the familiar voice drifted across the street and Becca looked up to see her mother waving from the doorway.
“I guess I never thought of that,” Becca said as she waved good bye to Alec and sprinted towards home. Reaching the curb, a glimmer by the drain grate caught her eye. Becca picked up the trinket, looked at her mother and smiled. “I have a special gift!” Becca proclaimed as she skipped inside, plopped the treasure into the box and slid it back under the bed.
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