Mrs. Reynolds Waits

Mrs. Reynolds sat on the edge of her seat, shoes bouncing on the floor. She looked up at the brown wall clock, eager to check the time, but in a moment she remembered the old thing hadn’t worked properly since the Reverend had come in last Tuesday for tea. The wild gesticulations which always peppered his conversation resulted in the clock being drenched within a quarter of an hour.

So Mrs. Reynolds got up quickly from the tattered armchair and made her way into the dining room, where she’d left the golden watch chain ever since dear old Mr. Reynolds had passed on. That is, she attempted to move quickly, but so withered and creaky were her bones that it took approximately the same amount of time for her to move from room to room as a turtle might take to walk a few yards. 

In her attempt at haste, Mrs. Reynolds’ distracted mind nearly forgot to take the fabric and needle with her as she went to check the time. But she had left the room so many times now throughout the day that it was becoming second nature to take her work with her. After all, it could hardly be left behind—she’d been sewing the new dress for nearly a week and what with all the embroidery she had planned, but not yet begun, it was likely to be a full fortnight before little Elizabeth received the gift.

Mrs. Reynolds could feel her heart beat faster as she crossed the threshold, maintaining a steady turtle’s pace. She snatched up the watch chain from the table and let out a disappointed sigh, as she had already done twenty times that morning. 

Two hours now… two hours… 

The old woman had been waiting nearly half a century for this day, and now that it had come at last she could hardly dare to believe it. She was all aflutter, feeling as she used to when she was just twenty, and would wait impatiently for Mr. Reynolds each night out on the doorstep. The moment could not come soon enough. 

So compelled was she by the thought of what was to come that it wasn’t until she noticed small red droplets forming on her finger that Mrs. Reynolds realized she had poked herself with the sewing needle. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so distracted by something as to do that—it must have been thirty, no, forty years ago now. So Mrs. Reynolds made her way back to the dining room and wrapped her finger with a thin strip of gauze before returning to her needle and thread, though her hand shook so much with anticipation of checking the time once more that the gauze ended up an inch away from where the puncture had been made. But Mrs. Reynolds did not mind; she could think of one thing only—what was to happen in two hours’ time. She rushed (or rather, tried to rush) back to the table and gathered up the watch chain as quickly as her fingers could wrap around it—only two minutes had passed.

Less than two hours now… less than two hours…

Mrs. Reynolds knew she could not contain herself much longer. Back in the drawing room, she set down dear Elizabeth’s dress, for she would only ruin it if she continued on in this state. She sat on the edge of the chair once more, shoes bouncing on the floor and fingers tapping on the arm.

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