The Carriage Driver – The Diarist
She often wondered where her publisher found the worn leather journals he kept supplying her with. He would arrive, give her a new journal as a gift and scurry around looking for a diary that was filled and rush off and set in motion another book. He would have a copy made and rush it to her illustrator who had done every title from the very first.
In the early days, the publisher sat and drank tea. He went through the proprieties of polite society and then scurried off with her latest journal. These days she hardly knew that he had arrived or taken a journal and left a blank journal. She sat and wrote. She made her tea and listened to music that made her soul tremble, and she scribbled her adventurous thoughts - rich and dark, creating tapestries of sanctuaries, and flowered pathways and lush valleys. Her bees would buzz and her birds would sing as they flowed from her pen. She was both singular and universal.
Her writing room was simple. With the success of her second work of poetry, she took the funds and bought a hundred-year-old fold down desk and placed a modest lamp on it. Now fourteen books later the desk feels like hers and her hands are fragile.
Her illustrator took her words and garnished her pages with pastels of glimmering water, birds-on- the-wing, and youthful bodies casually draped. He drew vines climbing along trellises, peaches with a morning blush, anything as soft as her words as sweet as her thoughts. He rejected most of his work himself. He just kept tacking them all along the walls of his small studio. There were drawings of eyes so deep that you could walk right into them, there was sketch after sketch of the most delicate female forms. There were kittens and dancing muses, none ever good enough to make the pages of her books.
His hands had become gnarled and caused him pain. There were pastel crayons in cans. There were watercolor paint brushes laying in every nook and cranny and charcoals of every description. His publisher would arrive carrying a bag of groceries, which included coffee. He would set down a fresh supply of pens and Indian ink, crayons and he made sure each new color found its way into his toolbox. He would take what he needed from the walls and go join them with the words of his diarist.
The publisher gave himself credit - set in motion the outpouring of love flowing from his gifted flowers.
Her poetry titled, “The Inner Light of Her Eyes’ was still selling copies after all these years.
Mission walls can be seen in the distance
and garden paths lead to emerald pools
resting after a morning swim
you ask yourself the meaning of happiness
and you rise, and raise your face to the sun
noon turns to dusk as you walk through the meadows
night brings you dreams that see you safely to dawn
It was a warm Spring evening, she found herself outside walking along the commons. She wore a long flowing dress which was so common among the young girls with stars in their eyes. Her auburn hair caught the breeze as she skipped through the grass.
A young man walked along the commons, his dungarees bunched at the ankles were paint stained, as was his shirt and his fingers. His thick black hair was disheveled. His lean body moved with swagger. There was nothing rushed about him.
She watched him approaching with interest.
Nuelle’s ears twitched as the Carriage Driver became aware of their approach. She was the first to arrive. Climbing aboard, she announced ‘what a wonderful evening for a carriage ride,’ loud enough for the young man to hear.
He stopped and looked up into her eyes. He wanted terribly to paint her from that very instant. “Can I share the ride with you?” He asked, climbing in before she had time to reply. “My name is Maxwell. I am usually very shy, but there is something about you…”
He did not finish his sentence.
“I’m Gene. I am a writer. I see so much in everything, I can hardly put my pen down. I hope to make my living writing.”
“I hope to find a job where I can illustrate books.” He made a face, “But no one will hire me without the proper experience.”
At the Carriage Driver’s light touch of the reigns, Nuelle pulled onto the cobblestoned street. The air was scented and she thought to take the long way towards Wordsworth, then Byron Street, down Milton heading back up to Hogarth and Trumball near Breed’s Island. The sea air drew her as strongly as fresh cut hay.
The couple sat chatting and it was not but a moment before she took his hands in hers as they talked.
Nuelle whisked her long white tail as the wheels clattered on the cobblestones. She turned into the long curving entrance to a castle whose spires touched the sky. The wheels played a symphony as they moved along their path at a slow gate.
Maxwell scooted closer to Gene. Their legs touched. “Would you look at that castle? I never knew there was a Trumball Castle.”
Nuelle did not stop, the couple watched as they passed the castle with sparks of lights dancing in the windows, and big inviting doors they felt sure hid mysteries.
“Wish I brought a pen and a journal, I could write all day just about such a beautiful entrance.” She squeezed Maxwell’s hand.
“I feel the same way. If I had a jar of Indian ink and a sketch pad, I could create a fairytale lane leading us to the safety of that castle. Surely there is music there.”
Their heads turned as Nuelle continued on and the castle receded into the distance and the cobblestone orchestra laid down their instruments.
Both Gene and Maxwell turned and climbed to their knees on the seat and watched the sky and sea from above. Their senses were spinning magnets trying to absorb the energy and sights as they continued on.
The Carriage driver was an old hand at this trip. He often wished he could make the trip more often. The carriage and Nuelle leveled out as they reached the destination. She pulled to a gate that had swung open to reveal a beautiful garden. The birds and flowers and bees and trees that flowed through her poetry greeted her. The carriage driver climbed down and extended his hand to help first Maxwell then Gene climb down.
Maxwell stared, he turned in a circle, he was sure that he had drawn everything before him. The garlands and vine covered trellis, the singing bird-on-the-wing, and the happy bees. He had drawn the winking flowers and the colorful dragonflies and delicate female forms.
Maxwell and Gene turned and looked at the carriage drive. Gene took the two steps that separated them and embraced him. Maxwell seeing this also gave the carriage driver a hug who then climbed back onto the carriage and gave Nuelle the touch of the reigns as she began the journey home.
Maxwell and Gene watched a tall, lean man wearing a tuxedo approach the open gate. When he arrived, he said, “Follow me, please.”
The two did just that. The man walked slowly allowing Maxwell to take in all the beauty of the garden and allowing Gene to compose in her mind. She said, “Max, I think we are on the other side of sunset.”
The person leading them reached the door. He swung it open and waved the couple inside. The swinging of the door caused the members to put down their pens, or their books or papers or to stop typing and turn towards the door.
Upon seeing Maxwell and Gene in the doorway, every member in the room stood and began their applause.