The place was enchanting. The path that led to the wooden door of the tumbled-down cottage and towards the florists’ shop just by it was surrounded by wildflowers and trees. The bougainvillea plants formed a canopy over the path as I walked towards the florists’ shop. In contrast to the cottage and the path leading to it, the florist’s shop was neatly arranged. Set apart from the hustle-bustle of the city life, this pretty, quiet place already had my heart. I walked up to the shop and beckoned the florist. A wooden placard carved with the words ‘Petals’ hung at the top of the shop. Some moments later, a tall woman, possibly in her early twenties, emerged from the shop. She smiled at me and said, ” Hello, Ma’am. How may I help you..!?” ” Hello..!!” I called back ” Actually, I am here to check whether everything’s fine regarding the order that had been placed for the Stockholm- Fayne Wedding. I hope you remember that I had called you day be the fore yesterday to place the order..!” “Yes, Ma’am, I do remember. I have placed an order with my suppliers and asked them to send them to me by this Saturday. Ma’am this, is the list. Do check once.” She said, grabbing a piece of paper from her desk and handing me the handwritten list. The list reads –
Roses (Yellow, orange, mauve ) Tulip (Pink)
Dahlias Transvaal Daisy.
“Ummm…I think I had also mentioned about the Larkspur..!” I said, wrinkling my brow as I tried to recollect if I had mentioned it or not. “Oh..! Extremely sorry Ma’am…!” She apologized. “I may have missed it out. There was quite a commotion going on at that time, so I guess I couldn’t pay much attention. Hope you understand..!” “I do..!” I said, smiling. She smiled back ..”This is one of those times of the year when everyone is either getting married or dying, all at the same time..! I will immediately contact my suppliers to add the Larkspurs to the list. Don’t you worry..! However Ma’am, due to the latest advancement I cannot reasonably assure you when the order will arrive. It may be delayed by a day or two. I will confirm after having a talk with them regarding this. So Ma’am, could you wait while I ring them up..?” “Sure, go ahead..!” I said. I looked around while she tried to dial the number on the telephone.
Suddenly my eye caught the sight of a bunch of pretty white flowers peeking at me from behind the branch of a tree. I was charmed. I quickly pointed towards them while asking the woman,” They are so beautiful..!! Can I pluck a few of those?! ” “Sure!” She replied. I smiled and wove my way towards the tree. Once there, I started plucking the flowers and placing them in the little wicker basket that I was carrying. I was almost done when a faint light caught my eyes. Bewildered, I looked straight ahead, trying to figure out its source, when I saw that it was emanating from a hollow of a giant oak tree. Curiosity got the better of me as I sprinted towards
It. It was an average-looking oak tree, nothing extraordinary. However, what I saw inside the hollow of the tree had me questioning my sanity. For, there was a squirrel, looking as cute as a button, sitting there burying its face into a book, dozens stacked by its side, wearing a set of oversized quintessential grandmother spectacles, with a walnut shell filled with what seemed like hot tea by it. I was amazed. I had gone completely blank. How could a squirrel wear a set of spectacles and read something..!? How could this be even possible…?! I considered the idea of being in a magical, fairy-tale dream and tried to pinch myself out of it, though I wanted this dream, if it was one, to continue a bit. However, I was proven wrong. It wasn’t a dream. It was as accurate as day. As it was often shown in movies, I rubbed my eyes to snap myself out of a daze, but nothing worked. The squirrel remained there, reading the book and occasionally sipping the tea. I was still in a daze when a faint voice reached my ears. I heard the florist calling me. I hastily turned around and, still stuck in a whirlpool of thoughts, hurried towards the shop. Once at the shop, the florist said something that I am not sure I heard, for I was lost in my world. The woman handed me a list and a date and bid me goodbye. I walked down the path and climbed into my car. It felt otherworldly. Finally, I was shaken back to reality when my driver called out to me loudly asking, ” So Ma’am, now do we head towards the Inn or do you have some work left at the baker’s..?” “Huh..!? No, let’s go to the inn. I will squeeze in the visit to the bakery later on, perhaps. I am not feeling well!” I called back, my speech punctuated by silences. I sighed and looked down into my basket, and carefully placed the list there. Suddenly, I noticed a slightly wrinkled, tiny yellowish paper, as if from an old book. I was sure it had not been there before. I picked it up, and my eyes grew more comprehensive with the second as I read what was written there. For there, on the page was written a famous saying by Francesca Lia Block – ‘Magic can be found in stolen moments.’ I looked up, trying to catch a glimpse of the tree. However, strangely I didn’t get to see it. Ultimately when I was about to move my sight away, I looked down to find someone there. It was standing there, wearing the spectacles, a book, and paper in hand, waving at me. I tried looking at it more clearly. The squirrel chuckled at me and winked as my car pulled out of the drive.
Sudeshna Chandra is a fourteen-year-old girl, a student of Ashok Hall Girls’ Higher Secondary School, who is very passionate about English. She loves to read and also writes short stories. She has written more than ten short stories till now.