“Caroline, as a little girl, you’ve shared some of your dreams with me over the years. Do you remember little Sabrina?”
“Of course! She’s still on the shelf in the upstairs storage room,” Caroline answered. She took the last forkful of her second helping of dumplings, then put her silverware down while she chewed slowly in the ladylike way her grandmother had trained her to do. She hadn’t thought of one of her favorite dolls in long time, and was curious about why Gran Vanna had. She could see Sabrina in her mind, with a beautiful little dress the color of sunshine and a bonnet adorned with butterflies.
“You carried her everywhere, pretendin’ to be her mother. You always had crayons and paper or coloring books in your ‘baby’ bag. You told me that when you grew up, you were goin’ to be a mommy and teach your babies to draw pictures like Uncle Wyeth and Poppy Noble.” Her grandmother paused and smiled. “Once, I heard you talkin’ to Sabrina as you sat on the steps, imagining that there was a storm outside. You told her never to be frightened, because you would both always live here at Painter Place, and that God was here.”
Startled, Caroline sat speechless for a few moments with her hands clenched in the embroidered seashells on the linen napkin in her lap. “I remember,” she whispered.
“Child, I just wondered—will you share with me today what some of your dreams are, now that you’ve grown up?” asked Savanna Painter gently, her brown eyes looking steadily into her granddaughter’s blue ones. “Do you still want to have babies that will always live at Painter Place, and is God still comforting you here?”
Caroline gasped and raised her right hand to cover her trembling lips, using her left one to absently pull her hair behind her ear. She looked out the window through tears that blurred the view of the distant chapel. Gran Vanna sat completely still and waited.
“Yes. Yes, of course I do. How could I have forgotten?” Caroline whispered.
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