Enjoy this sparkling story by Joanne Fox
Everything changed when I spotted the snow globe girl at the Sunday boot sale. The snow globes I’d collected from around the world contained pretty scenes and landmarks. Never people.
But there was a wistful note in the girl’s expression that seemed familiar.
She sat on a bench beneath a blossom tree. A yellow dog leant against her pink skirt. When I shook her, she was showered in flurries of white petals.
“Three quid,” said the man behind the trestle table.
“Two,” I replied. Which felt mean, when I saw the care he took clothing my bargain in bubble wrap.
I placed the snow globe girl on my bedroom windowsill, between the Taj Mahal and Ayers Rock.
At midnight, the rustling curtain woke me. The moon’s silver fingertips crept across my snow globe collection. Something was missing. The tree, the bench and the dog remained inside my newest globe. The girl had gone. No cracks in the plastic. No water on the windowsill.
I shut my eyes tight and pulled the quilt over my head.
When I let the morning in, she was back. Just a dream, I told myself. But peering closer, I saw leaves in her hair, as if she’d been fighting through hedgerows. Impossible. The leaves must have been there before, and I hadn’t noticed.
Was the girl searching for something?
Next night, a draught of frosty air disturbed my sleep. When I dared look, once again my restless friend had escaped. Every night, it was the same. The girl disappeared, only returning with the dawn. I made out the tiniest blister on her heel, as though she’d walked for miles and miles.
Logically, I knew it was pure imagination. But the idea began to grow that the girl was searching for someone. Or maybe running away.
And I must admit, I’d done my share of that. The flat was supposed to be our first home – Aaron’s and mine. Then he announced he’d found a job on a cruise ship. He’d never mentioned his wanderlust before. Until he met a certain croupier, who was off for a three month stint around the Caribbean.
Travel. I had thought. I could travel. Even as I proudly bought souvenirs from Paris to Peking, I was only running from heartbreak.
Somehow this snowglobe girl was a reminder of that loneliness. I was tempted to drop her out of the window. But, daft though it may sound, I was actually worried about the yellow dog.
The girl continued roaming
So I went back to the boot sale, with the excuse of needing cheap Christmas decorations. The man on the bric-a-brac stall recognised me. From under his trestle table, he produced an entire box of snow globes.
“Where did you get them?”
“Ran a gift shop with my wife.” He shrugged. “Ex-wife, rather.”
I bought a snow globe granny, knitting. Maybe she’d be a steadying influence. No chance! The girl continued roaming.
Undeterred, I enlarged my snow globe family every Sunday. A cosy couple outside a thatched cottage. A Dalmatian, as company for the yellow dog. worked.
Chats with the stallholder became a regular feature of my boot sale trips. Soon he was down to his last snow globe. A floppy haired boy, strumming a guitar. I’d overlooked him before, with his patched denims and worn boots. Was this the person my snow globe girl hoped to find? I watched the man’s hands, as he deftly parcelled up my latest purchase.
Both boy and girl were together in one snow globe
That night I listened way past twelve. When I opened a curious eye, what I saw was an even bigger surprise. For a brief moment it appeared both boy and girl were together in one snow globe, sitting on the bench, amid swirling petals. A glance passed between them.
Although, of course, it may have just been wishful thinking mingled with my dreams.
Imagination or not, it was a comfort to believe I’d brought the pair back together, as they were meant to be.
From then on, peace reigned. I guess, eventually, we all have to stop running. And, with Christmas drawing near, I decided some company would be nice. So I followed the smell of burgers and blare of carols down to the boot sale.
“Thought you weren’t coming,” grinned the man from beneath his Santa hat.
It was my turn to offer him a box. “Mince pie?”
He took one in his neat, careful fingers. And right on cue, the snow began to fall.