How to Look at Lace

7:40 AM

This story is for Writing on the Weekends with Jessica. Want to join me?

Her life was far from perfect. It was far from rich which was proved daily by the wealthy customers that frequented her shop. Tina’s lace shop was known throughout the city as the best place to get the fine lace you needed; she had a lot of business so most people thought that she was rich herself.  How wrong they were.

Tina imagined that if that expansive lace in the corner could talk, it would laugh at her for the shabby little room above the store that she called home. That one old table and chair that Tina was afraid would break soon, and the bed with the lumpy mattress, were the only furnishings in the run down room.

The laces that she had  to decorate the rich ladies' very slips would have cringed at the sight of her closet. It held only one change of clothes of the plainest kind. The lace from the far corners of the earth would have frowned at the lack of even one cheery object to decorate her surroundings. Yes, the life that Tina led in her shop and the life she led in her own room were worlds apart.

Tina brushed a tear from her eyes as she unlocked the door to her shop. Perhaps, someday, when she had saved enough money for the rest of her family to come over from Spain, things would be better. She worked hard and long and she went without as much as possible so that her family could join her here, someday.

Tina opened the door and took a deep breath of the morning air but it didn’t seem to make her feel any better. She turned back to the lace and began to rearrange some to make it look more appealing but gave up; her heart wasn’t in it. She went into the back room and sat on a chair and put her face in her hands. The lace all around her taunted her even though she tried to shut it out. She felt as if it were a prison, something to be endured.

“Hello, is anyone here?” Someone called from in the shop.

Tina jumped to her feet and walked out and found a young girl in shabby clothing standing in the middle of her shop looking around. She was being very careful not to touch anything with her dirty hands.

“Yes, can I help you?” Tina asked, thinking that surely this girl had gotten lost and needed directions.

“Yes, I am here to buy some lace. I only have a few pennies that my siblings and I have saved but won’t it buy a little bit of lace?”

“What do you want it for?” Tina said more out habit of than anything. She only had one or two laces that this child could afford no matter what the use.

“My sisters and I are making our mother a new dress for her birthday. She hasn’t had a new one in a long time. My mother’s sister gave us some beautiful cream colored fabric and we want to put some real lace around the collar to make it special,” the girl explained.

“I see. I will see what I have,” Tina said, looking around for where she has stashed that lace that had come in the other day. It was not the best made, but it was the best that the girl could probably hope to afford. She finally spotted it up on the high shelf in one of the back corners.

“I wish I could have a store like this,” the little girl exclaimed as Tina mounted the ladder to get to the lace.

“Why would you want that?” Tina said, with a sad excuse of a laugh. “You wouldn’t make much money and you can’t use the lace for yourself because you need to sell it.”

“That’s okay, but I would get to spend all day looking at the beautiful things. It would be so much better than having to work in a factory with all that noise and ugly things around. Lace always reminded me of clouds and heaven. What about you?”

“What do you mean?” Tina asked ad she descended the ladder with the wanted lace.

“Well, why did you start a lace shop? What did it remind you of?” the girl asked.

“Home,” the word slipped of Tina’s tongue before she even had time to think. “There are all sorts of beautiful laces in Spain, and my mother pointed out all the different types to me, so when I came here, it was the one thing I could sell that kept me close to the home I had left.”

“How wonderful! It must feel like you get spend every day at home and in the most beautiful place in the world. You must love lace a lot, don’t you?”

Tina was about to answer that she didn’t really but she stopped. She looked around the shop and remembered her excitement when she first opened up this shop. She hadn’t thought about the reason she had chosen lace in so long. Setting down the cheap lace, she went over to the counter and pulled out some of the beautiful new lace that she had gotten in. It was not the most expensive that she had, but she had just sold some the other day to a lady who had declared it was perfect for a cream colored dress.

“Here, will this do?” Tina asked setting it before the girl.

“Oh, it is perfect. Will seven pennies be enough?” the girl asked.

“How much do you want?”

“Well, enough for the coller of course, but some for the sleeves if I have enough for that.”

Tina smiled. She wasn’t going to tell the girl that this lace was far out of her price range to begin with. Carefully she measured the out what she thought the girl needed and then a bit more and cut it and packaged it.

“There, do you need anything else?” Tina asked handing her the small packaged.

“Can I come back sometime and just look? My sisters would like to too. We wouldn’t touch anything,” the girl said with a pleading look in her eye.

“Come back any time,” Tina said with a genuine smile.

“Thank you, goodbye!”

“Goodbye,” Tina said, and watched the girl leave. Turning back to the store Tina was caught off guard by how beautiful everything was. That lace in the corner looked exactly like some she had seen a Spanish noble woman wear on the boat that brought her here. And there, on the top self; that looked like some her mother had worn at that party. Why had she not recognized the design long ago? Had it been here long?

Tina fingered the lace and marveled. How could her shop have gone from a prison to a virtual palace in a matter of moments? Perhaps it was all in how you looked at the lace.

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  1. Oh! Sarah. This is beautiful. It's amazing and heartwarming. You always do write such amazing stories. Thank you for reminding me of how to look at things in my own life. I love this story!

  2. Very good, Sarah! There is a great life lesson in that story! I think we all get discontented at times. It is so important to remember all the blessings God has given to us and live out our lives with joy that our heavenly father loves us and is watching over us. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    ...and participating!


    Say hi to Rose and the rest of your family for me! I'm praying for y'all!