"The Blessing House"
Previous Chapters... Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five
While Lewis Rogers was fast asleep in an arm chair enjoying the hospitality of the Blessing House in Musgrove, Vermont, on the other side of the continental U.S., in an ultra-modern apartment in Portland, Oregon, Abigail Sommers was trying not to listen to her neighbor, Florine yack on about her disastrous date that evening with a fast talking salesman, pushing a promising stock. "He was only interested in selling me some smelly old stock!" Florine wailed, disappointed that the salesman hadn’t made the kind of pitches most women expect from a man, but feigns shock at his advances. Abigail was working on applying the final finish on 19th century bureau, when she heard the frantic knock, and Florine’s high-pitched squeal through the door, "Abby, I know you’re in there! I can smell that awful furniture stuff from out here. Open the door, honey!" Abigail wanted to hide, to pretend she wasn’t home. She couldn’t bear Lord knows how many hours listening to Florine’s dating woes. It was especially irritating when Florine’s vocalization elevated to accentuate her Southern rearing. Reluctantly, Abigail opened the door, and Florine flew in and bawled, "Can you imagine, darlin’, he was only wanted to sell me some smelly ol’ stock," she repeated. Florine continued to lament, but Abigail was hardly listening. She made perfunctory responses, as she went about cleaning up, and admiring the bureau and, yes proud of her craftsmenship.
Abigail Jane Sommers was tired, but there was no reason to be tired. She was twenty-nine years old, and had a successful furniture refinishing business, work that allowed her to work on her own time and terms and in her own space. Her space, at the moment, was a furnished apartment, hideously modern (according to Abigail’s sensibilities) angular furniture, oddly shaped accessories, and containing none of the warmth and richness of the old style pieces she loved to restore. Now, as Florine voice came back to prominence, it was just as piercing and angled as this apartment. Abigail knew that she had to leave. Portland is a very nice place, she thought, but it was not the place.
The next morning, Abigail awoke and lingered in bed for several minutes. After a while, she showered, dressed, poured herself a cup of coffee, and sat at the glass table. She took notice of the table as it perched on a metal pedestal and she chuckled to herself. As she sat, sipping her coffee, an intention took form. That afternoon, she delivered the newly restored bureau to her customer, returned to her space-age apartment, and packed her things.
Her last task in Portland was to tell Florine that she was leaving. "I’m going to visit my Aunt Josepha in Vermont. She has been ill and I want to spend some time with her...she’s my only relative." Abigail reported. Florine was aghast at Abigail’s seemingly effortless ability to pick up and run off, and more importantly, to run off without having a six hour discussion about it with her. "When will you be back?", cried Florine. Trying not to prolong the agony of further conversation, Abigail replied, "Not sure, but I’ll call you." Of course Abigail had no intention of calling Florine, just as she had no idea where she was going. And, as for Aunt Josepha, the fact was, Aunt Josepha had died the year before, leaving Abigail enough money to live moderately comfortable. And, when Josepha lived, she lived in Boston, so why did Abigail say Vermont? "I never heard you talk about an Aunt Josephine!," spewed Florine, miffed at not being privy to Abigail’s pedigree. Ignoring the mispronunciation of her favorite Aunt’s name, Abigail merely shrugged, having given Florine more than enough courtesy on the matter. "Well, take care...we’ll talk soon." Abigail left the building, and with blind eagerness of who knows what, she leaped into her second-hand Mercedes station wagon that would chauffeur her, a suitcase of clothes, a neatly wrapped 19th Century quilt, and a box of tools. She drove off.
As she drove past state lines and county roads, and highway signs, Abigail Sommers felt more excitement inside her than she had in all her twenty-nine years. Somewhere, deep within her, where the soul resides, a voice, the voice of truth, was telling her that she was going home. The impetuous expectation revealed no destination, but her soul’s announcement was enough to trust the adventure.
In the small town of Musgrove, Vermont, life went on as usual. The Musgrove Gazette reported the daily happenings, and the front page chronicled the successful rescue of a wounded goose, and on page seven was a brief mention that the Blessing House remained tenant unfriendly. Lewis Rogers, alone in his office, scratched his head as he read the cursory article. He wrung his hands, snatched up the Gazette and threw it across the room, then sat down heavily, and slouched in his chair. He did not hear the front door open. A woman’s voice, "Bad news?" Lewis Rogers looked up and saw a beautiful young woman standing at his threshold. An earthy beauty with red hair tinted by the heavens, and eyes the color of honey. The sunlight enveloped her in the small space and she appeared like a vision.
Read Chapter 5