General Fiction posted May 12, 2019 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 

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First Impressions

A chapter in the book The Iceman

His Eyes are on the Sparrow

by Loren

Ending of previous chapter:

Camille laughed. "Magical?"

"Aye, Camille, magical."

"Then do bring up the cake of ice and water. I will meet you at the top of the stairs."

As she said this, a pair of doves glided through the gilded sunset to land upon the balustrade.

Chapter III

Camille stood on the second story landing, outside her apartment door. She held her hands behind her back as if hiding them.

She heard Danny making his way up the stairs and when she saw the top of his head, before their eyes could meet, she called out, her voice unsteady:

"It's a brace."

Danny looked up and smiled. "If that is what you call climbing these stairs, then aye, it is a brace." The ice cake was resting over his left shoulder, water dripping onto his shirt.

"No, I mean my leg. I had polio." She glanced down at her feet.

He stood a few steps down from her and looked up. "Well then, does it help you walk?"


"Then it is a good thing. " He moved to stand beside her. "Now, if you'd be a good lass and open the lid to your icebox so I can put this cake down, it would be dear. 'Tis heavy and end of day makes it seem more so."

Camille blushed. "Yes, of course. This way." The kitchen faced west. Open cafe curtains allowed the rich glow of the setting sun to pour into the room. She opened the lid of the oak ice box; its hinges gave a quiet squeak.

"I'll drop this in and go down to get the water for your garden. My Lady sends her thanks for lessening her load at end of day as well. That was our last cake. It's a good and charitable thing you're doing tonight, Camille."

"My Lady talks?"

"Aye, at times she does. So much that I can't keep my thoughts apart from hers."

Camille laughed. "Would she like a carrot? My Lady, I mean."

"Aye, she would. There's Timothy Grass stored in the back of the wagon soaked with melted Brigadoon water to quench her thirst. I've put it in front of her as I toted this load up. The carrot will be a prize and she'll be most beholden."

"Which she will tell you."

"That she will, I'm sure." He looked in her face.

She seemed startled by the warm, intelligent blueness of his eyes, even the one half-hidden by the drooping lid. So much so, she blushed. "Yes, then let me get it from the vegetable bin."

Just then, the phone rang. "Excuse me," Camille said as she moved to answer the phone. She picked up the receiver.

"Hello? Yes, Papa." Her face brightened but the light suddenly faded. "Yes, I'm sorry. I forgot, I meant to say, Dad."

She bit her lower lip. "Of course, I understand." She shook her head. "No, I'll be fine. There's plenty of food in the icebox."

She glanced up at Danny. "The iceman is here and has put a new cake in." She paused, listening. "Yes, I'll tell him." Her eyes went back to the receiver. "Okay, yes. I'll see you when you get home." She stood silent for a moment.

"Your da?" Danny asked as she hung up the phone.

"Yes, he asked that you empty the drain tray under the icebox. The last iceman didn't do it and it caused a mess." She shrugged. "I'm sorry if my pa," she caught herself, "my dad sounds so harsh and demanding. He never used to be that way."

"I take no offense, Camille. It is the same as when My Lady kicked me, it was done out of fear, naw out of meanness. She kicked out what was closest to her. And glad I was it was me she kicked out at so I could be the one to forgive her. Fear and pain are the same, Camille."

She cocked her head as if pondering his words. "So, you say." She looked back to the icebox. "It looks as if I can now just use the water from the drip pan to water the plants on the balcony. I won't be needing the water from your wagon."

"No. No. No, Camille. That would never do." He walked to the kitchen. "I'll empty the basin as your Da asked and pour it down the drain. Then I'll go fetch the melted water from Brigadoon Lake." He nodded towards her. "Remember, it is, as you called it, magical."

She smiled. "Yes, magic water, to make the flowers even more beautiful than they are now. " She stopped. "Do you really think that possible, Danny? That there are things that can make the ordinary extraordinary or even the peculiar mundane?"

She was unable to hide the glance she made at her leg. Blushing, she said, "How often have I wished to be no more than common?"

"If you speak of your brace as making you uncommon, Camille, then you are wrong. And yes, I do believe there are things to make the ordinary extraordinary. But, to have such a miracle, you must first believe."

She handed him the carrot without responding to what he'd just said. "I'll have your dollar ready when you come back up."

"Thank you, kindly." He took the carrot and paused at the door. He glanced at the balcony just off the living room. "And now I'll be asking if you have a ladle to dip the Brigadoon water from the pan?"

She looked around, her eyes stopping at the mahogany china hutch where her father had stashed her mother's Bible earlier. She walked to it. "Only this." She held up a delicate, translucent cup, embellished with a lavender rose. "It's chipped, but I think it will do."

Danny nodded and smiled. "Aye, that would do proudly, I'm sure." He took it from her hand and examined it. "'Tis Irish Belleek from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, home of my ancestors. Though it be chipped, it will not hinder its new service."

Both fell silent as soft coos from the doves nestled on the balustrade outside drew their attention from the room.

"Good," Camille answered, breaking the quiet. "Then I'll take it out to the balcony and wait for you while you fetch the water."

It is odd, how, at times, a room can become unbearable in its silence when someone leaves a room. Monsters, born out of quiet, leap out. The serenity, the protective wall of company destroyed. It is said, that at such times, it is wise to fill this emptiness with goodness, even goodness unawares.

Absently, Camille turned on the radio. Momentary static emanated but was quickly replaced with the voice of Norma Zimmer from the Lawrence Welk show singing: 'His Eyes are on the Sparrow...'

As Danny left, a stray cat with feather-gray hair rushed past him . With unseen purpose, it made its way to the balcony and stepped outside.

The waiting doves did not fly away as the voice of Norma Zimmer continued in the background: "...and I know He watches me."

To be continued....

As always, thank you for reading and your reviews. Loren
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Artwork by Susan F. M. T. at

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