If an inanimate object could smile, the yellow vase would have.
For years, it stood in the centre of Jessica’s dining room table, an eyesore, but an heirloom. She had to keep it. And she had to display it. Aunt Edna would be upset if she didn’t. And she didn’t want to upset Aunt Edna. Ever.
The way it all started with the vase, is when Aunt Edna got it as a wedding present from her sister. Only problem was, the man she was marrying was the man her sister was also in love with, at one time. In fact, was engaged to for almost three years.
Well, Aunt Edna managed to squirrel Forrester away from her sister by constantly telling Edith how wrong he was for her, how she knew things about his affairs with other women. Edith broke off the engagement as a result of her sister’s concern, and then about six months later, Edna was wearing his ring. She said it couldn’t have been helped. She was counselling Forrester in his heart ache over Edith’s sudden change of heart. And of course, one thing led to another.
“The man was hurting,” was Edith’s explanation to her sister, as though his pain was her ticket to his heart.
Well, the vase was a wedding gift from Edith the day Edna married Forrester. But Forrester couldn’t tolerate the colour yellow, he said. He didn’t mention that he recognized the gift. That he had originally given Edith the vase with a huge bouquet of yellow roses, to declare his love, way back at the beginning of their relationship. Anyway, Aunt Edna said because Forrester wasn’t that thrilled with the vase, that she should give it up, but not permanently. After all, it was a gift from her sister. Edna didn’t know the history. “Keep it for me till he passes, will ya,” Aunt Edna would hold Jessica’s chin in her two claw like hands, staring into her eyes until Jessica felt her head nod up and down, almost against her will. “This is an important part of our family history now.” Though Jessica didn’t know why.
“Yes, of course Auntie. Its the least I can do.” But she didn’t want it. So when the accident happened, it was all Jessica could do to keep from clapping her hands and doing a joy dance, finishing off the pieces of the vase so it couldn’t possibly be put back together. Edith wasn’t as elated. She loved seeing the vase on Jessica’s table, loved hearing Edna ooh and ah over it, because after all, it was a special gift from her sister, and she would always cherish it, bringing a Cheshire smile to Edith’s face.
“Auntie, I knocked the vase with the handle of the vacuum cleaner. I’m so sorry. I can put the pieces in a box if you want to keep the remains for sentimental reasons.”
“That’s fine dear,” Edna was understanding, but disappointed.
“Well, I will get you another one just like it,” Edith consoled her sister. “After all, it’s meant to be an heirloom, one that will carry with it a message throughout the generations of our family.”
Jessica was confused at what the message might be, but she knew it was important to Edith, and to Edna, though what she didn’t know, that it was for very different reasons.
Another yellow vase now sits on Jessica’s table, waiting. Edna is pleased that the heirloom is once more intact and ready to move ahead. After all, it’s a symbol of Edith’s forgiveness of her sister’s perceived betrayal. And Edith is happy the vase stands once again as her own declaration of Forrester’s love, long before Edna.
Jessica isn’t sure the vase won’t hit a box in the attic, once the sisters are gone. And put away once and for all, its’ dubious legacy.
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