Sixteen Pages

"I held it as if at any moment it might have slipped from my grasp and I would have completely lost every part of my Dad forever"

Essie May Davis started her typewriter collection when she was nine. And now when her life has completely changed, She clings to the beautiful machines like they might slip from her grasp forever.

A story about love, loss and the overwhelming feeling of forgotten stories.


3. Page Three

Queenie was watching me from the counter as I walked in through the front door with dad's typewriter. The quiet twang that the bell above the door always had sounded in the quiet antique shop. She had green eyes, the same shade as one of my typewriters and they looked at me unblinkingly as if all she wanted to do was make me happy. It didn't work. She greeted me with a friendly "Hey Essie," to match her eyes
    All I really felt like doing was sitting down and crying but I gave the faintest of smiles and gave her a less chirpy "Hey Queenie,"
    I looked around the shop. The cluttered tables and shelves looked the same as always. The smell was still the same, a dusty old kind of smell that hung heavy in the air. I hadn't been there since July two months ago for Queenie's sixteenth Birthday. Queenie and I were the same age. She was three months older than me but we were still born on the same year and we were both in the same grade not that we went to the same school. 
    Aunt Margot walked in carrying two of my typewriters in their cases, "Queenie, help me with this please. Essie, do you want to just mind the front counter while we unpack your stuff?"
    I shrugged slightly. She smiled as I slipped behind the counter and rested Dad's typewriter on the floor next to my feet. For the next five minutes I watched as Aunt Margot and Queenie slowly hauled all my typewriters through the shop and up the stairs to the house. I watched as the ascended the stairs for about the third time with two typewriters each when the door to the shop opened again with the same twang it had when Queenie and Aunt Margot had walked through it just before. 
    "I didn't know they employed people here." he said with a small frown, "Is Queenie in?"
    "They didn't employ me." I said.
    "Okay, but is she in?"
    "She's just gone upstairs." I answered, "Who's asking?" 
    "Me, I'm asking! Who do you think?" he said and I could see the frustration crawl onto his face. 
    I rolled my eyes and asked again in a more direct way, "But who are you?"
    "Oh, sorry" he said and just as the frustration had appeared, embarrassment did the same, "Felix, you?"
    "Essie," I said bluntly.
    Felix was one of those beanstalk looking guys and his scruffy brown hair fell just short of his eyes like it had been cut recently. The way he looked at me was like her was constantly frowning and I made me feel like I'd done something wrong. 
    Queenie came down the stairs again and as soon as she saw Felix she sighed,  "Oh, mum, I forgot I was going to the movies today."
    Aunt Margot had appeared and with one had on her hip and the other on her forehead she said "Queenie, I need you here."
    "We can catch the movie on Saturday," Felix smiled.
    "Thanks dude," she smiled she said nudging him on the shoulder.
    "So what's with Essie?" He asked.
    "She's coming to stay." Queenie said, walking out of the shop to continue unpacking my typewriters and I was grateful that she hadn't mentioned my mum.
    "Hey, if you need some help-" Felix called to her as the door shut.
    "That'd be great Felix." Aunt Margot smiled and opened the door for him. 
     looked through the displays in the front window and watch him pick up the first typewriter I'd ever gotten and walked back towards the shop. As he walked in and the bell twanged for the umpteenth time he put the typewriter onto the counter with a soft thump to remind me how heavy it was. 
    "Wow, you've got a lot of these." was really all he thought to say to me then.
    I shrugged. 
    "Where is this going?" he asked.
    Queenie walked in then and said "Hey, c'mon. We've gotta take these upstairs. That's not too heavy for you is it?"
    "Course it's not!" Felix retorted and he lifted it up with some effort and the frown returned to his forehead as he tried to concentrate on lifting the heavy machine.
    I wanted to laugh or smile but I couldn't. I looked at my feet and at Dad's typewriter sitting there by them. I hadn't ever opened it and I never had the urge to, I didn't want to open it then either. It felt like if I opened it there would be something there, something that I didn't want to see. Some kind of truth I didn't want to hear. I decided that the sooner I could forget about it the better. The longer it stood in my sight the more it haunted me. 
    I picked the typewriter case up by the handle and felt the weight of the typewriter inside it. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, not because I was worried or mad or scared but because I needed a breath, I needed that strange sort of comfort just because my lungs felt like they were failing. I walked up the stairs at the back of Aunt Margot's antique shop and down the hall to the spare room I had guessed would be mine. The door was pretty plain and as I stood in front of it and took another deep breath. I turned the doorknob and it felt like the slowest thing I'd ever done. 
    I walked into the room and all I could think about doing was putting Dad's typewriter where it belonged on top of my wardrobe, where I couldn't see it.
    "Why are you putting that up there?" I turned in shock to see Felix leaning against the doorframe and behind him, Queenie struggling to see beyond his bony shoulders.
    I shrugged, "That's just where it goes." 
    "But seventeen typewriters? Don'tcha think that's a bit much?"
    I shrugged but Queenie shoved him, "Seriously Felix? She's had enough can't you see?" 
    "Sorry, Queenie. I had to ask."
    When I looked at them together like that there was this strange sort of contrast between them and not just because Felix was skinny and tall and Queenie was more like a short vase with all its curves. Queenie had this dry sense of dignity that kept her from being Felix. Felix had this way of laughing while wearing a frown and still meaning it. His facial expressions made you want to laugh simply because they didn't make sense but Queenie had a smile when she meant it and a frown when she meant it, she didn't mix her expressions like Felix seemed to be so good at. 
    I couldn't really laugh at his puzzling expressions now, I didn't feel like it and even if I did I couldn't. I sat on my floor facing the scattered typewriters and Queenie leaned over Felix's shoulder saying that they'd get my other stuff from the car.
    I turned my head halfway towards them, nodded and went back to staring at my typewriters-all of them bar one. 

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