by Nickie Anderson
Text copyright ? 2012 Nickie Anderson
All Rights Reserved
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
So, detective, I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job or anything, but I think you're asking all the wrong questions, and all out of order. How did I find Jorinda? Why were we out there? Why didn't I call the cops? You know, all those crazy things.
Look, now-don't be offended. I get that you have your forms to fill out and procedures to follow, but if you want the whole story, if you want to know the thing from A to Z, then you need to put down the pencil and let me do my thing.
You got a tape recorder? The police keep those old things around-at least, you see them on TV, right? Oh, you do have one. Good. Because I'm only telling this story once.
You have to start things at the beginning. See, that was one of the questions you didn't ask. You didn't ask about the beginning of me and Jorinda, and I know it doesn't seem important, but it really is.
Back in high school, I was in the band. Don't laugh, man. I know it's a little weird-a big meat head like me, in the band. I should have been on the football field instead. But my grandpop, he always played those old jazzy records, like some Miles Davis or Armstrong, and I took a liking to the trumpet. I had plans. Big plans, man. I was gonna bring that jazz back, and band was the way to do it.
Anyway, you know how band is. There's a hundred kids, and maybe ten of them know what they're doing. The rest goof around and wait for the teacher to yell at them. Jorinda was not that kind. On that first day of class she came in and sat down real quiet in the front row, just staring at all the sheet music on the walls. You could tell it meant something to her. I liked that.
She played the flute, which can go one of two ways. Most of them flute players, they didn't know what they're doing right off, and it's all squeaky and whistly and hollow sounding, but when Jorinda picked up her flute and started playing, it was beautiful. Sad, but real pretty, too. Each note she played, it meant something, and all the notes together meant something even more.
We had band after lunch every day, and I noticed that Jorinda would sit in the band room to eat. I couldn't tell you why. She was cute, you know, with long black hair down her back and that perfect chocolate skin-but I was telling you about band, right? So I noticed she came to class a bit early, so I started leaving lunch early, too, and coming to the band room.
She would sit there alone in the room and play her flute. I'd sit at the top of the room, in the shadow by the door. I didn't want to interrupt her, not with the way she played. It moved me, like some of the old records my grandpop played. You don't hear music like that much anymore, music that makes you feel funny and think a bit too much. That was how Jorinda played.
I loved listening to her. Each day, it was a different song, a different melody, but every one was sweet. I should have been jealous-she had so much talent, more than I could ever have-but I was so into the music there wasn't room for jealousy.
It went on like that for weeks. She'd go to the band room for lunch straight off, and I'd sneak in a few minutes after and listen to her play until the bell for class rang. One day though-and I'll never forget this-one day I came to the band room and she wasn't playing the flute. No sir. She was singing.
You think you've heard singing before, right? Well, I thought so, too, but then I heard Jorinda. Now that was a voice. I mean, just pure and beautiful and it made me tear up and want to jump for joy at the same time. There was magic in it. My momma, she always told me that when I was in love, I'd know. Right then I knew. That was it for me-I wanted Jorinda, and I wanted her bad.
I kept coming back to the band room each day for lunch, trying to figure out what to say to her. Some days she played the flute, others she sang. I just listened and listened and kept imagining that her music was for me.
One day, I couldn't take it no more. I came in, and she was singing a song that could break your heart, and I walked down those steps to the front row of the class. She didn't stop singing; she smiled a bit and kept going, like she didn't have a care in the world, like she wasn't the least bit surprised to see me standing there. I sat on the ground in front of her chair, and when she finished she said, "I kept wondering when you'd try to talk to me."
And I know I blushed, man. I always tried to keep my cool around the ladies, but this one... whew. She had me sweating bullets.
I said, "Well I'm talking to you now, ain't I?" and she laughed, and reached down to help me up from the floor. I will never forget the way she looked right then, her smile shining, her eyes so bright and happy. I knew that her music, her magic, had been for me after all.
I see you're wondering why I told you this, and I know you don't think it makes a lick of difference about how Jorinda and I met. I guess that part doesn't make a difference to you, but it is important that she could sing. I mean sing.
After that day in the band room, Jorinda and I were never far apart. I was absolutely crazy about that girl. Some of my friends, they would rag on me a bit, tease me about liking quiet, shy Jorinda, but they didn't know what I knew. Jorinda had music; Jorinda had something special that no other girl could ever hope for.
We dated all through high school, and then into college. I gave up on the trumpet and got my football scholarship, and studied business management. Jorinda, she still sang pretty as ever-she studied music, and was always getting these fellowships to go perform everywhere.
I was real proud of her, too. Talent like that? You don't come across that every day. I kept trying to think of how I could tell her I was proud of her, and show her how much I loved her, and I realized-
-Dammit man, just ask the girl to marry you.
We'd been going together for more than five years. I know, sir, it's hard to believe. It was even harder for me to believe that a girl like Jorinda would stick by a guy like me, but there you have it. So I had this whole thing planned out, how I was gonna propose to her. You know, these days you can't just get down on one knee and expect the woman to say yes. You gotta do a hot air balloon ride, or rent a yacht, or I don't know, all kinds of crazy stuff. You gotta be romantic. So I had a romantic plan in mind.
Jorinda, she was gonna be off performing at this concert in Chicago one weekend. I had gotten her momma to tell me her ring size, and I went to pick out the perfect ring for her.
Picking out rings is hard work, you know? You know, I see. These women can be picky little things. I went to about a dozen stores, talked to all the sales clerks, stared at-
Well, OK, I won't bore you with the details. The main thing is that I saw a lot of pretty rings that weren't gonna happen on my budget. I panicked, but then I remembered Jorinda once told me she didn't even like diamonds.
What's that? Yeah, I know. I'm a lucky guy. She really digs pearls, something about her astrological symbol or something. So I thought-there's the ticket! I'll get her a pearl ring, and we can both be happy that way.
But don't you know that most of these big jewelry shops don't sell pearl rings. I guess it's not profitable or something. So I started checking out the pawn shops-
-Don't laugh, man, that's disrespectful. I was out of ideas.
So as I was saying, I started checking all these pawn shops, but they just had ugly crap. Like nothing gold at all, no matter what the sign on the door said. I was starting to go a little crazy, worrying about getting Jorinda a ring and all, and then I found it.
There's this weird shop down on the corner of Lincoln and 3rd-you know the place?
[Let the record show the store in question, 112 Linc
It's right next to that little bookstore. Well, I'd always thought it was closed, but one afternoon I was walking around downtown and I saw the door open. I got this feeling, you know? Just a feeling that I should walk inside. The shop was all dark and smelled musty and old, but I couldn't shake the feeling.
"OK," I thought, "I'll go check out what's in here." I mean, what could it hurt? I was just gonna take a step in, and then a step back out. But when I took that step in, I forgot all about leaving.
It was a funny little store, filled up with all kinds of occult stuff, like tarot cards and crystal balls and stuff. But, like, real nice ones. And there were scarves, and old coins, and the farther I walked in the less it smelled like old stale air and the more it smelled like incense.
There was a display case next to the register, toward the back of the store, and it was filled with all sorts of funky old jewelry-little pins and pendants and stuff, weird looking necklaces with crystals, like they were for some kind of hoodoo.
Then I saw it. In the middle of the case, there was this beautiful pearl, round and white as the moon, set in a gold ring. And I thought to myself, "I gotta have that one."
There was nobody at the register, so I rang the bell on the counter a few times, and this crazy-looking old lady walks up.
[Let the record show this woman has not been located-investigation into her identity is ongoing]
She had hair up to here, all frizzled out, and so many necklaces it was a miracle she could stand up and walk. She came up to the counter and kinda croaked at me, all raspy, and said, "Can I help you?"
And I said, "You bet. I want that pearl ring right there."
She looked at me all funny, like she was inspecting me or something. I'm a big guy, but I was about creeped outta my skin. A little old lady making me feel like that! I was about to leave the store, but she finally spoke again.
"Who's it for?" she asked.
"My sweetheart," I told her. "I'm gonna ask her to marry me."
I got another look, but this one was a bit kinder, and she said, "Give me your hand."
Well, she had the ring I wanted, so what did I do? I gave her my hand and she flipped it, palm up, and started tracing the lines criss-crossing it.
"You love this girl, deeply and truly," she said next, but it wasn't not even a question. It was fact, coming from her mouth. Even though I knew I loved Jorinda before that, coming from this crazy old lady it sounded even more real.
"I do," I said, and it was as solemn as a church vow.
She traced another line and sucked her teeth.
"What is it?" I asked. I was getting worried from her reaction-me, getting worried! I don't know what it was about this lady, but something made me want to pay real close attention to what she said.
"You will have great sorrow, but it can be overcome." Sorrow? I was looking for a freakin' wedding ring here, and this woman's talking about sorrow. I was about to get upset, but the woman stopped me. She said, "I will sell you this ring. I know you see it as a gift for your sweetheart, but it is much more than that. Never lose it. It will help you in your time of need."
Well, I was real confused at that point, wondering about sorrows and time of need and all that, while the woman packed up the ring into a nice little box.
"How much do I owe you?" I asked, because you see, I still had my budget.
How do you like that! So I was all excited about picking up this free ring for my girl, and I was sitting on cloud nine when I walked out of the store. That lasted for about two blocks, until I realized I never told that crazy old lady Jorinda's name.
Oh, so now I got your attention? Well good, because the story only gets weirder from here.
I puzzled over that old lady for a day or two, wondering how she knew Jorinda's name. I decided I was crazy, it must've slipped, even though I'm sure it didn't. Anyway, I tried to ignore that and focus on how to propose to Jorinda instead.
I wanted to do something romantic-something flashy. I wanted to do something so she'd see how much I cared about her. But I couldn't afford to fly her out to any tropical islands or nothing to propose, and she wasn't into fancy French restaurants or anything like that. She was always one for private things.
So I thought about a picnic. You should do one for your lady. They love that. I had this whole picnic planned-I'm talking wine, and strawberries, the whole thing. But I didn't know where to have it, and Jorinda was always so busy, I wasn't sure when I could steal her away for a few hours.
I decided to call her vocal professor-who would know her schedule better, right? Her vocal teacher, she used to be an opera singer. Real famous. She sang in that place in Australia, and in Italy, the whole bit. But she had some vocal chord damage or something, so she became a teacher. I decided to drop by her office and see when Jorinda was gonna be free, no practice or rehearsals or anything.
[Let the record indicate that Mrs. Belinda Kione is the instructor in question]
I walked in, and there's this woman, all elegant, her hair slicked back, diamonds around her neck. You know, the kind who always look like they're about to go to the country club for a luncheon. She smiled, and said, "What can I do for you, sir?"
I don't know what I was expecting from her voice, but it was all hoarse and rough, like she had been smoking her whole life. No wonder she couldn't do opera no more. It threw me for a second, but I finally told her I was gonna propose to Jorinda, and asked what days she wouldn't be in rehearsals.
Well, this teacher, her face just dropped, and she looked downright angry for a minute. Kinda scary, even. But then her lips pulled back up into a smile, and she looked so happy I thought I must've imagined it. Like it was a trick of the light or something. So she's smiling, all smiling except her eyes, and she said, "Oh, young man, I'm sure Jorinda will be delighted!" She pulled up a schedule and flipped through it, giving me a list of days when Jorinda was off. I said thank you, and was about to leave the office, when the lady asked me how I was gonna propose.
"I was thinking about a picnic," I said.
"Oh, how romantic!" said the lady. "Where are you going to have the picnic?"
I was still stumped there, and I told her so. Now she smiled again, but this one showed too many teeth and made her eyes narrow slits. If I could've run, man I would have. It was weird, and I know I should've been listening to my gut instinct there, but-
-But there I go, getting ahead of myself again. The lady, she smiled, and said, "Oh, young man, I know the perfect place! My great-grandfather had a mansion outside of the city, and it still has a beautiful garden out back. That would be the perfect place for a picnic." She wrote down the address for me, and I thanked her and about ran out of the office.
I decided to check out the mansion, so the next day I hopped in the car and took a drive down there. What'd you ask? Oh, yeah, the address-I have it here in my pocket. Here you go.
[Let the record show that the address given was 204 Cherry St]
So I get to the mansion, and it's just like the professor said. A huge, beautiful brick house with white columns up front, and a big circle drive. I hopped out of the car and walked around the back of the mansion. There was a garden that went as far as you could see, filled with all these different flowers-little waves of yellow, pink, and purple. I though to myself, this is perfect, just perfect. I picked out a little grassy spot in the back, surrounded by a circular flower bed, and decided that's where I was gonna propose to my Jorinda.
So now I had the ring, and I had the place, and all I needed was to get Jorinda out there. I checked the schedule the professor lady gave me, and picked a Thursday afternoon. Then I went to the grocery store and got all the good picnic food I could think of. I got a huge bag, and a big old blanket, and had everything in my car ready to go. The ring was in my pocket, and I was so nervous I wanted to puke, but excited, too. Real excited.
That Thursday, I got up real early and made my Jorinda pancakes, just like she likes, with lots of butter and no syrup and hot coffee on the side, and I said to her, "You don't have any rehearsals or nothing today, do you?"
And she said, "No," and gave me this look, like she had half an idea of what I'm planning, so I tried to cover my steps. I told her, "I was just wondering, because if not, I was thinking we could spend the day together. I don't have any football practice, either."
Of course, she was happy because usually one of us is busy, so we wheeled around downtown and walked a bit and window shopped, then when lunch time rolled around I told her, "I got a place in mind to eat."
She looked at me a bit suspicious, but said, "OK," and hopped back in my car. I drove off, heading down to that old mansion to set up our picnic. We pulled into the front, and Jorinda gasped a little bit. "This place is beautiful," she said, and I just nodded because it really was. It was like something out of a fairy tale.
I grabbed the bag I packed out of the trunk of my car, and we made our way back to that grassy spot I had picked out. When we get there, there was already a picnic laid out for us. I was confused-all the food I bought was sitting in the bag in my hand. And anyway, this spread was a hell of a lot nicer than anything I could afford. The picnic blanket was new, not the old raggedy one I had brought. There was a proper basket laying there, with crystal glasses already filled with wine. I only had some little plastic cups, and the bottle of wine I packed didn't look near as fancy as the one sitting in the bucket of ice.
Well, Jorinda, she's just beside herself. "This is for me?" she said, squeaking a little bit. You know how women do when they get excited. I didn't have the heart to tell her no, that our real picnic is sitting in my hand and I don't know who all this stuff belongs to, so I just nodded.
Man, I was such a fool. I wish I had said something-
-But there I go, jumping ahead again. So we settled ourselves on the blanket, and pulled out some of the food. There's pears and grapes and peaches, and they all looked perfect, exactly ripe. Then Jorinda pulled out a few blocks of cheese that I knew were expensive because they didn't even sell those kinds at the grocery store. It was the kind you buy at the fancy specialty shops downtown. She's digging in, all excited, munching on a bit of this, a bit of that. It was all so weird to me, and something felt off, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Jorinda by Nickie Anderson / Fantasy have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on18 votes