Friday, July 1

The Wooden Heart - VI



Click here to read this story from beginning. 


Lady couldn’t forget Gypsy woman’s words for many days later. Wooden heart began to look silent like a messenger who has finished his job. Lady missed its talking, days when it seemed like a little boy trying to catch attention of her by shouting out loudly.
Sometimes she wondered if Gypsy woman was right and though about the person wooden heart spoke of. But it’s not easy to think about a person when your heart is bruised and wounded all over. Every place where such a thought can touch, there was already a wound and we all know that wounds pain even if a petal of flowers touches them. “There is no sense in her words.” She told herself when her thoughts hurt her. “Fortune tellers are really very clever in manipulation of their clients. Look how absurdly I put more coins on her hand than she asked for and how her words are stuck to my mind.”

One day, during usual cleaning and dusting, she took off the wooden heart from its place and dusted it with a soft cloth. She certainly had not sharp eyes of a professional carpenter therefore she couldn’t look out for the tiny arrowhead like dart uprose from the design and dart pierced into delicate skin of her thumb. A drop of blood ran out and slid down on the shining surface of polished heart, making its path towards root of small dart.

Lady noticed a tiny dark stain, like a stain of dried up blood, size of a chickpea or slightly large, in root of dart. Drop of blood ran from her thumb stopped right at that stain and began to dry there. “…..you’ll recognize this person when your blood will spill over his blood.” Gypsy woman’s voice echoed in her mind. She brought the wooden heart closer to her eyes widening in awe and try to examine the tiny stain. It’s not easy to recognize a drop of blood beneath shine of wax unless evidence of your heart confirms it. Though she was trying to examine the stain and reach a decision, her heart had already gave the verdict that this was a dried up blood drop apparently ran from a finger of the person who carved this design.
“Is this drop of blood really from his finger?” She thought. “If it is really a drop of blood and if there is really him to fulfill the prophecy of Gypsy woman.”  
Though stuck to her mind, so much stuck that it bothered her. “You hopeless romantic! Why can’t you think about something else?” She quarreled with herself sometimes, without any positive outcome. Quarrels hardly bring a positive outcome unless reconciliation closes them. She remembered carpenter’s telling that heart was made by his assistant. It wasn’t difficult to find carpenter in such a small town but she wasn’t sure whether to go in pursuit of fulfillment of prophecy or not. When she thought about it, it all seemed completely absurd and fancies of her desperate mind but when she listened to her heart she found it imploring to go and meet the carpenter’s assistant. 
Lady ventured to follow her heart one day. She got the address of carpenter’s workshop and went there. She had no specific idea about what to do, she had a plan to talk with carpenter about repair of some broken furniture and she expected to catch a glance of his assistant meanwhile. That was all she thought.

But things are hardly ever the way we think, carpenter wasn’t there. Only his assistant was sleeping on a newly made bench. Lady stood there and wondered what to do next. But she didn’t need to think for long, boy suddenly woke up and startled at seeing her even though she said “Hello” in a very soft and mellow voice. “Where is master? Where is he?” Boy asked nervously, getting up and jumping down the bench. “I’m sorry but it’s not my fault, master knows I’m not well today, I got an ache in stomach.” This first impression disappointed lady very much; she didn’t imagine a lazy and such coward person. Though she knew professions leave their deep marks on personalities and a carpenter’s assistant can’t be expected to an educated and well-mannered person but she had at least image of someone as busy as honey bee with timber and tools and someone who could return a hello with a smile.
“Where is carpenter? I want him to repair some broken furniture of mine house.” Lady said.
Boy seemed relaxed. “Master didn’t return from city yet? Thanks God, you frightened me too much lady” He smiled and lady noticed her yellow teeth stained with dark stains of tobacco or something like that, adding further to her disappointment.
“You better talk with him lady; he’ll be back in an hour. If I said anything wrong, he’ll be angry with me therefore I can’t help you.” Boy didn’t sound at all to have anything like manners.
Lady turned back, and then stopped for a moment. “What should I do? What should I do?” She panicked. “If there’s any truth in prophecy of Gypsy woman then shame on me. Am I left for such rascal by fate?”

She again stepped towards door and stopped again. “At least I can know if he is really the person who carved and etched this wooden heart.” She thought. “If he can make such a thing, he has certainly a good heart regardless his clumsy appearance.”
She turned back to the boy who was watching her confusion with typical interest of boys. “This heart” Lady took the wooden heart out of her purse. “I bought this heart from your master, he told me it were you who carved this heart? Is that right?”
Boy’s eyes showed a glimmer of wickedness. “Of course that was me” He moved close and took the wooden heart from lady’s hands. “How can I forget? This heart took me a long time of toilsome labor”
“I want another wooden heart like this but with a different design” Lady said “Can you please come to my home in evening? I’ll tell you what design I want” She wasn’t sure if this was a right move to make but she wasn’t able to evaluate all pros and cons at the time.
Wickedness in eyes of boy got multiplied. “Of course lady, it’d be a great honor for me to be at your home. But you see I’m not in a good condition to have such an honor, can please give me a few nickel coins so I’ll not look that clumsy when I’ll be at your home this evening?” This was the last nail in coffin of her expectations, she never imagined the person of prophecy begging from her at very first encounter. She took back the wooden heart with as much politeness as possible for a desperate person, put a few nickel coins on hand of boy and got out of the workshop.

The farrier at the front of carpenter’s workshop called her. He was an old acquaintance of her father and remembered seeing her as a little girl. They talked for a few minutes, farrier inquired about her father and afterwards said sorry for making her sad. Lady asked about the carpenter, told of broken furniture in the house and then chatted briefly about little things, like weather, crops, birds and carpenter’s assistant to which lady gave more attentive ear than weather or crops.
“His mother died long ago and his father has kicked him out due to his bad character.” Farrier told her. “He is not a good boy. He wastes his pay in gambling and wine, carpenter had caught him stealing his money once.”

When lady left the farrier she was totally sure that Gypsy woman’s prediction was mere a lie and  her blood drop fell on the stain of wooden heart was mere a coincidently. But there was another arrow for her on bow of fate. When she passed from tavern, she listened loud laughter from inside the tavern and recognized the voice of carpenter’s assistant. 
“What a beautiful tart she was” Boy was saying among cackles and cachinnations. “I wonder what she wanted but I’m sure the story of broken furniture was all but a lie and inquiry about wooden heart as well.”
“So what do you intend?” Another voice asked.
“Nothing, I have got my lot from her in the form of this pint. I’m not interested in carving a wooden heart for her” Boy laughed loudly, he was drunk, obviously.
“May be the matter is not of a wooden heart but a real heart ……….” Rest of words was so offensive that lady couldn’t control her rage. Her face turned red with shame and anger. “What an immodest hussy I have made myself in pursuit of this absurd prophecy” She grumbled. “Now a rascal should talk about me this way?”

She wanted to rush in the tavern and drag out carpenter’s assistant grabbing his collar and kick him with her feet to teach some manners but she knew she can’t do any of this. She stood there biting her lower lip in utmost rage then at once her anger turned towards wooden heart. “This is because of you, all because of you” She said grinding her teeth and threw the wooden heart away with all force of her arm.  

(Click here for last part of this story)  

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