Pearls Aren’t The Only Way To Wisdom #microcosms

Natasha Bess rolled the opalescent orb in her fingers. It was getting more difficult to tell the difference, she thought. Rheumy cataract-ridden eyes and a numbing in her fingers left Natasha in doubt about what she was holding.
Carefully, forcing her shakes to still, if only briefly she dug a nail into the surface. It made no dent.
Satisfied she kissed the stone and put it in the right pocket before picking up the next one.
When she’d run from the Germans in 1938, her mother had sowed fifty pearls into her petticoat. After a lifetime eking out their value Natasha had three left. So many stories behind each one: buying off the border guard, acquiring papers, then a second set; food, her passage; changing her appearance oh so many times; setting up Abe in business and buying off that gangster – and losing Abe in the process; schooling John and Ruth and burying them both within two years of each other.
She battered away a tear and scratched the next ball. It gave a little and she slipped it into the left pocket. Mendelssohn may be a clever man, he may already have taken her freedom and her dignity but he’d yet to find her remaining pearls.
They all knew she was dying; they were generous with their painkillers but she’d not fought tooth and nail to do things her way only for this petty fascist of a director to kill her off and keep her pearls.
She kept counting. Yes, she had enough pills. With a deliberation that characterised her life, she swallowed each gem and pill in turn. There would be an autopsy, the pearls would be found and they’d go as her will required, to help others escape want and cruelty, not to line his pocket.

This week’s prompt words from Microcosms are: Emigre; therapy centre; drama

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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28 Responses to Pearls Aren’t The Only Way To Wisdom #microcosms

  1. Rowena says:

    This is brilliant, Geoff. I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You had me at “opalescent orb” but gosh…! Well done, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rogershipp says:

    Such deliberate determination… Well told!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Superb! Now here’s a character that needs more air time!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    What a fantastic take His Geoffleship!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erika Kind says:

    That’s a wonderful story, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. willowdot21 says:

    A strong woman 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    My ex mother-in-law traded many family valuables to get out of Germany and she never went back.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mahesh Nair says:

    In her life and in her death she fought like a champion. And this champion’s backstory is filled with fear, anxiety, and pain. Nice build up, and you gave it the ending it deserved, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rowena says:

    Hi Geoff,
    Thinking back to our days at 1000 Voices for Compassion, I wanted to share an “interesting” piece I wrote on my blog yesterday. It could be described as a bit dark but I found it rather cathartic https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/speak-even-if-your-voice-is-shaking/
    I also wanted to share an incredible story of survival by journalist Cynthia Banham who survived a horrific plane crash in INdonesia and lost both her legs: https://www.smh.com.au/national/you-can-lose-so-much-and-yet-be-happy-cynthia-banham-s-revelation-20180314-p4z4av.html
    You and I can both be quite philosophical and she addresses some big issues. Given her remarkable recovery, it also looks at the situation of post traumatic growth, which I have experienced myself. I am looking forward to reading her book.
    I hope you’re having a great weekend. Mum and Dad finally made it up for the kids’ birthdays and we had dinner at the sailing club. Tomorrow, Miss has a big audition for the local youth in performing arts program and another audition in ten days for DVA The Musical which was written by one of her dance teachers, KA Russell, who has just returned from playing Victoria in CATS South Korean Tour. I can tell you I’m not a stage MUm. I’m just the taxi driver and roadie travelling behind her…and yes, they’ll know I’m there. I’ll either accompanying her on the nose trumpet on the foghorn. I’m off antibiotics and just managing to keep Fergus at bay.
    Anyway, its long past my bedtime.
    Goodnight!
    xx Ro

    Like

    • TanGental says:

      We are in the process of moving my mother in law to a new flat with a warden and the Vet into her first grown up place… I’m allergic to cardboard I’ve decided… now on our way to mother in laws old house to clean it ready for a sale… retired? Who knew it was such hard work

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        I’m definitely coming back as a pampered pooch! You’re twin moves remind me of the proverbial airport scene…arrivals and departures and both are no doubt quite emotional. When I first moved out into a student house, my mum always used to bring a jumbo jar of Vegemite with her and I had quite a collection on the shelf. Clearly, she loved me more than a small snack sized jar could express. No doubt the move will unearth many treasures and memories and some reflective moments.
        While packing boxes is a pain, carrying them seems worse, which is no doubt another job for the great retired one, or does the vet have some strapping bloke trying to impress with his muscular strength by any chance and you could get let off the hook? I remember moving out to Glebe near Sydney Uni and being terrified of driving over the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the North Shore. I hadn’t had my license very long. I can alsmost picture myself driving along clenching the steering wheel with my eyes closed, which was probably wishful thinking.

        Like

      • TanGental says:

        the vet has a bloke and he is fit but busy like her so muggins gets the gig. As for packing MIL, yes we have encountered wonders of galactic stupendour…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Geoff, you’ve always struck me as a good sort…a rock. Your daughter is very lucky!
        I was talking to a friend today about the jobs Dad gets lumped with. My Dad, if he’s anything to go by, gets to make all the hard phone calls. When we were kids and were out and it was raining, he’d go and get the car. Dad also taught me to drive…and then paid for some lessons.
        I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read that article I sent through about Cynthia Banham who lost her legs in a plane crash, but I noted that it was her father who told her and her father who told the doctors no more but it was the boyfriend/partner who bought the diamond earrings. He’s been an amazing support to her and after they had a baby, he left work to look after him and she went on to get her PhD.
        I don’t know if you read a flash I wrote recently which is eerily like her story but was inspired by a relative of mine fighting melanoma: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/dying-diva-friday-fictioneers-2nd-feb-2018/
        I think I’d probably love to be a fly on the wall sorting out your MIL’s place. I love anything historic!
        Hope you have a great week!
        Best wishes,
        Ro

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Thanks Ro. Yes Cynthia is some woman, isn’t she. I hadn’t seen the flash but yes it resonates too. You have a good week as well

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rowena says:

        Thanks, Geoff. Seeing Miss dance has been such an amazing experience, that I’m feeling quite invinsible atm.

        Like

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