Fridayflash: Sacrifice

An oldie…

My mother’s gift was a cedar chest. Intricately carved, with scenery from the homeland at the sides. The craftsman had etched my name, my personal name, on the lid: Peony, in the old script. Touching it brought back memories. Memories of my mother’s own cedar chest.

The chest was tucked away in a corner of her bedroom. A solid presence, with its own secrets. My mother opened it one day and I peered inside, seeing her wedding gown still cling-wrapped, her wedding shoes, old jewelery faded ivory in color and a handful of mothballs. What caught my attention was the white fur pelt. My hand trembled when I stroked it.

“Sacrifice,” my mother had said. Age did not seem to affect her. Her hair was a glossy black, combed and oiled daily by nimble fingers. “I gave up a lot, Peony.”

I was young then. Just fourteen, in secondary school and brimming with youthful energy. I loved the moonlit nights, the games in the dark. Such were the days of being carefree.

Then I met Bruce at uni and things changed as always. He courted me, an ardent lover he was. Presented me with gifts, with delicacies in pretty boxes and with poetry. He knew the old language, spoke it fluently. I guess I was instantly enamored.

He proposed. I accepted. My mother smiled her enigmatic smile, ordering the cedar chest. It came promptly, carried in by stoic-looking deliverymen.

Sacrifice. I placed my hand on the cedar wood, feeling its warmth. Soon, it would be filled with my own secrets, my own fur pelt.

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