Reviewed July 8, 2020
Their order came out while Betsy and Henry’s conversation moved forward as a spark began to ignite itself and they slowly found each other’s company comforting. “I doubt that the Irish team will win the cup this tournament,” Henry said to Betsy’s bold statement that the Irish were the best team in the world. “Well who do you think will win if your so confident,” Betsy asked? “I think the new team from the US has a strong shot,” Henry replied. Ghost piped in, “I think I am going to go and see if my friends started their poker match yet,” and floated up through the ceiling.
“Kind of distant isn’t he,” asked Betsy?
“Not knowing his identity takes a toll on him because he doesn’t know what kind of peanut butter he preferred during his life.”
“So, it’s about peanut butter is it?”
“Well, its more complicated than that. When we met, I found him weeping in a cave that he had been trapped in for a long time. He had no idea of how much time had passed.”
“A cave, your rather adventurous. Where were you?”
“In Ethiopia. I had been drafted by the Ministry to accompany an Air Squadron in attempts to find clues…” Henry broke off his sentence, “sorry I forget most of that is secret. You’re so easy to talk to.”
Betsy blushed, “I don’t get out very often. I’m very fond of my apartment, its exquisite.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It has charm, well, for instance it has hard wood floors throughout, and the master bedroom has wood paneling, and someone had the idea to put wood panels on the ceiling. Plus, the view, well I can see part of downtown and the river.”
“An ideal place for sure.”
“It’s given me a lot of inspiration for my work.”
“What do you do?”
“Let me show you,” Betsy said digging into her purse for her personal sketch book. “Here, take a look.”
Henry accepted the little book and began to flip through the sketches. They were enchanted to come to life, sparkle, make sounds, and bedazzle the viewer with an assortment of popping colors and movement. “These are amazingly well done.”
“Thank you,” she blushed again. “I almost never show them to anyone.”
“Do you sell them, or…” Henry let the question dangle?
“I’ve sold two when rent was due, but they are mostly personal. I don’t see myself selling them.”
“Well as you said earlier, exquisite.”
“What do you do now, you said you just got off shift when we met?”
Taking a sip of his coffee before responding, “I work at McFeenie’s a little market a street or two North of here.”
“You didn’t sound like you enjoyed it, probably not as adventurous as being in Africa.”
“No, but there is always a never-ending steam of customers who Ghost helps entertain with his little hauntings.”
“Oh, that must scare the Muggles. I am imagining a jar of pickles chasing some kid or something to the like.”
“Not far off, tonight I caught him hiding in a gallon of milk waiting for some unsuspecting kid to grab it. Who knows what he would have done?”
They both laughed and their conversation continued until Henry saw Abram and Lizzy enter the shop and he stood up waving to them both who excitedly waved back and started toward the table.
“Lizzy has a new poem she’s going to recite tonight,” Abram said ecstatically.
“We heard; Dottie told us when we ordered. Everyone this is Betsy,” Henry introduced everyone.
Everyone could tell that Lizzy was both excited and nervous for her recital later in the evening. That did not stop everyone at the table from having a grand time and they all began to form the beginnings of a friendship with Betsy. Which unbeknown to them made Betsy’s month. It had been a hard one, the college she gave tours at had laid her off in order to install kiosks which would tell potential students and their parents about college life and allow them to use other employees to fill in the details about what college life is like. Now in between jobs, she had truly been contemplating finding a rich wizard family that needed a housekeeper or a portrait drawn. One of the many reasons she had been studying the wanted posters recently and had been excited when she thought Henry was a wanted man.
The clock ticked by fast and after a few spectacular performances Lizzy was called on stage by Dottie who always announced the performers. “Next, we have Lizzy, one of our long-time local performers. She has a new poem for us tonight. Everyone give a big round of applause.” She stepped away from the microphone while clapping and let Lizzy take her place. The lights dimmed, and Dottie said a spell lighting the candles around the room, giving the restaurant a cozy feeling, like one has during a power outage in a rainstorm, allowing one to enjoy a special kind of silence filled with the roar of nature.
Lizzy cleared her throat, tapped the mic sending a few pops reverberating through the room. “This poem is about my time at school and how much it helped me through my life. I titled it, ‘A Hand Always Given’.” The crowd was silent and edged forward to listen, she was famous in The Crispy Bean.
Over hills we traveled,
many of us new,
at the spectacular castle which held our future,
Different walks of life directed us to the same place,
where we learned and grew,
and became emboldened.
Whenever we lost our way,
a hand was always given,
and though we stumbled,
no one was ever utterly lost.
Now on our own,
we grasp our way through life,
always thankful for the lessons,
we were taught,
at the spectacular castle.
Everyone jumped to their feet and the applause rang loudly throughout the room. Lizzy bowed and walked off stage towards their table as people patted her on the shoulder and cheered. Abram stood up and pulled out her chair for her. “Thank you,” she said sitting down and pulling up to the table, hiding her face in her large cup of decaf tea. Truly a shy, introverted person Lizzy always felt embarrassed at the slightest amount of praise.
The show continued while they enjoyed their drinks, and no one noticed Abram’s hand clasp Lizzy’s under the table.