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Vessels

A short story in small instalments: PART X

Day by day, she rolled and splashed and got dirty. She could see Willmar before her and feel his touch slide over her skin and smell his freshness from being outdoors. She felt the flutters of another life within and then the wondrous scent of newborn, when she buried her nose in Nora’s feathery hair; and working the clay carried her deeper into the memories.

“Lydia, where are the coiled pots I made?” she asked one day.

“The coiled pots? Let me go see.” Lydia rummaged through the shed for a while before she remembered the ones she’d added to the tables for the yard sale.

“Oh, Granny, I sold them. Were they something you wanted to keep?”

“Sold? Oh, dear.”

“I’m sorry,” said Lydia. “They were so old and misshapen that I thought they must have been ones you made when you were just learning. I didn’t know you wanted to keep them.”

“No, of course. I wonder who bought them?”

Seeing her grandmother look so disappointed, Lydia went back to the ledger book for clues and talked to everyone in the family and to the neighbours. Since the town was small and people knew each other, it took her less than a week to find the pots. She carried the cardboard box into the yard and set it on the porch with a big grin.

*

“I found them, Granny!”

Caspertina Passala leaned over to peer into the box. “Lydia! What a thing to do. Thank you, love. Who had them?”

“Giuliana Lupi. She said as soon as she got home, she wondered why she’d bought them, as she has so many pots already. So, she was happy to sell them back to me.”

“How lovely. Spread them out so I can see.”

Lydia crowded the pots onto the little worktable, putting them in wobbly stacks. One in the bottom of the box had split in its journey to Giuliana Lupi’s and back. “Never mind,” said Caspertina Passala; then: “Where are the big ones?”

“There aren’t any more.”

“But the biggest ones aren’t here. There are three or four—after I got a bit of practice with these small ones, I made some big ones before I moved on to throwing.” These were the pots Caspertina Passala had been seeing in her mind’s eye the whole time she coiled and splattered and remembered.

“I don’t know, granny,” said Lydia, crestfallen. “I guess somebody else must have bought those ones.”

“Well, never mind,” said Caspertina Passala, but a little sadly.

“I’ll try to find out who,” said Lydia.

But nobody knew.

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