Pearl's Garden by Rhyselle

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A/N: B2MeM 2010 Challenge for Week One (Doriath): Create a story, poem, or artwork in which a character is stuck in a location for an extended period of time. How does she or he cope with it?

Pearl's Garden

Pearl grumbled as Eglantine left her bedroom, carrying the tray with the remains of Second Breakfast. She eyed the window that looked out over the grainfields of her Dad's farm and wished that she could be playing outside with her friends, but Mum said that she couldn't walk on her sprained ankle for another whole week! Pouting, the 10-year-old flopped back against her pillows and glared at the ceiling, after casting a jaundiced eye on the toys her 6-year-old sister had spread about the floor of the room they shared.

It had been the painted wooden duck that had been Pearl's literal downfall, left in the middle of the floor, and she'd stepped on it while carrying a big basket of freshly laundered clothes into the bedroom. Pimpernel had howled because the duck was broken, and Pearl had done so because her ankle hurt.

The first few days when everyone had though she'd broken her ankle and it had swelled up so horribly were a blur of sleeping draughts and nasty tasting medicines and pain, but as the weeks wore on and they realized it was "only a sprain", and the pain had eased off, Pearl was beset by the worst thing of all--boredom.

Summer was her favorite time of year, when Mum's flower garden was at its brightest and best. She loved to grub in the warm brown soil, pulling out the weeds so that the flowers would grow better. Mum had trained the morning glory vines up over a trellis and they'd grown so thick and lush that there was a hollow beneath the tall, twining stems that she could crawl into and peer out between layers of leaves and unfurling blossoms. The roses bloomed sweetly, scenting the air, while white daisies nodded in the breeze. She couldn't think of a more marvelous place to play.

But now, she was stuck in bed "until further notice". it wasn't right that Pimpernel was outside playing in the garden when it was all her fault!

She was still muttering crossly to herself when her Mum came back into the bedroom and settled herself in the rocking chair with a workbasket on her lap.

"Pearl, grumbling about it won't make the time go faster," Eglantine scolded, picking up the tiny yellow jumper that she'd been knitting on over the past several days. "Read your storybook."

"I've read it, Mum; five times!" Pearl whined. "I miss the flowers!"

"I asked your Dad to bring some in for you when he comes back from checking on the wheat in the outer fields." The knitting needles started to flick back and forth, and a sleeve began to take shape on the small garment, catching Pearl's attention.

"Mum, who's that for? Who's having a new faunt?"

Eglantine blushed, and Pearl's eyes widened as she sat up away from her pillows, ignoring the twinge in her ankle. "Mum! You?"

She sat up straighter as her mother nodded and said, "It's a secret, though, until we're sure everything will be all right. Can you let everyone think that I'm making it for your cousin, Rosamunda's little one?"

Pearl nodded, wide-eyed; impressed she was considered a big enough girl to keep a grown-up secret.

"Here, let me show you how to do something, and you can help with some of the decoration for it." Eglantine picked up some green and pink yarn from the basket and a set of double-pointed needles she used to make caps and mittens, and came over to sit on the bed. "I need three flowers for the front of the jumper. I'll show you how to make the first one, and you can make the other two, yourself."

Pearl watched, fascinated, as the small morning glory took shape, her mother explaining just what to do, then letting her try it. It was the first time Pearl had knitted anything but flat scarves, and it was harder than she thought it would be, but she loved the way the yarn and the needles slowly built up the trumpet shape of the morning glory flower in her small fingers. Triumphant, she handed the slightly wobbly blossom to her Mum and started the second one.

By the time someone had brought elevenses, lunch, and tea to the bedroom, and Pimpernel had been chased indoors to take her meals and a nap, Pearl had finished not only the two flowers her Mum needed, but two more besides before the yarn ran out.

"Mum, can I--may I--make some blue ones?" she eagerly asked.

"Oh, I'm sure I can spare some blue wool, and yellow and lavender too."

As the once interminable days of her confinement passed, Pearl knitted flower after flower, and leaf after leaf, turning her bed into a bower that echoed her favorite place in the garden.

In later years, when Pearl bore her first child, Eglantine gave her some old knitted baby clothes, and she smiled and wept as she touched the still soft, knitted flowers on the front of the small yellow jumper; remembering the day when her Mum had taught her how to bring a garden inside of her room.

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