Lillian sat at her kitchen table with various art supplies spread before her. The low gurgle and hiss of the radiators filled the small apartment with soothing background noise and chased away the chill. She took a sip of tea and studied the two Valentine’s Day cards she had painted. They needed something else. After a moment’s consideration, she added a few dots of metallic gold paint and smiled at the effect – a hint of elegance now adorned the otherwise homey watercolors.
She leaned back to view the images. For her sister Annette, she had painted a red scalloped heart framed by a wide border that depicted her orchard – the trees hung with red heart-shaped apples. For Charles’ sister Kate, a garden reminiscent of the one on her farm, with hearts around the edges.
Both images filled her with longing for the women in her life. How she would love to take a morning walk through the farmyard with Kate, or an evening stroll through the orchard with her sister.
She placed her chin in her hand. And then there was Izzy. Still in England with Red since Christmas. The few letters she had received from her were filled with an underlying happiness, despite some of the grim scenes she described. Though the city was full of rubble and weary soldiers were still returning from distant shores, there was a sense of hope. A belief that better times lay ahead. Any mention of Red positively glowed with love and admiration – the descriptions of him with the patients he cheered on in the hospital, the cozy pubs where he and Izzy often met for dinner, their walks along the little village stream.
And yet. Nothing was mentioned of their plans. Would they return to the States? Would they begin a life together? Or would they go their separate ways?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of hurried footsteps on the stairs – only Gabriel moved with such eagerness. Only Gabriel could make running up the stairs sound like happiness.
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