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Vessels

A short story in small installments: PART I

Caspertina Passala was 103 years old and sleepy, and her granddaughter had sold her clay pots.

Lydia was responsible for the yard sale that would help organize their over-full family compound and she didn’t know that the pots were something her grandmother would have wanted to keep. After many consultations about whether to keep or sell this or that, everyone said, “Don’t bother her; let her sleep.” Lydia glanced at her granny, dozing in the porch chair with her ancient Macaw on its perch beside her, head tucked back in repose. Yes, let her dream in peace, Lydia thought. And so, the pots were sold.

Olivero Russo was only passing by accident that day, because the shoe repair shop on his street was closed for renovations and he was searching for another. He was charmed by the simplicity of the hand-coiled pots, with the marks of the maker plain in the vessels’ idiosyncrasies. He bought the four plumpest ones. Then he had to return home without getting his shoes repaired, because his arms were full.

He put the pots in a corner of his large back porch and rushed back out, worried about the loosening soles of his best shoes, which he needed to be perfect for the many meetings and engagements he had over the coming months. Who would have guessed that retiring would be so much work? And he wasn’t about to do it with shabby shoes. As a functionary and a representative of the City itself, he always strove to conduct himself with dignity. So, the pots lay neglected and mostly forgotten on the porch. Every once in a while, dashing past them, he would think how Merida would have loved them and wonder what creative things she’d have done with them; but Merida was dead these many years.

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