Vase of Flowers

Vase of Flowers

A Story by Lady Sothis

You never know where you might find a friend.



Elderly Mrs. Helen Wright placed some lilacs on her kitchen table as she slowly sat down on a worn chair.  She neatly arranged the flowers in a pretty if simple jar.  After a few seconds, her thin fingers stopped working and she sat there, stock still, peering at the makeshift vase.  Staring back at her was a long, thin face.  As she looked at it, the corners of her mouth gradually rose into a rather reminiscent smile.

Seventy years ago, an almost five-year-old Helen Schiller had joyfully received a crystal vase for her birthday.  Despite the fact that this was not the friend that she had begged her parents to provide, she was still more than content.  With caring small hands, she placed it upon her dresser as her one showpiece.  There it sat for several days, until its young mistress was informed that it was designed to hold flowers.  It was not long empty, for some fresh Shasta daisies soon occupied it. 

After Helen had placed the vase back where it belonged, she stood gazing at it for several minutes.  However, as she was turning away she saw a fleeting movement in the glass.  Timidly, she walked up to the vase again.  Taking it off its pedestal, she saw to her great amazement that there was another girl staring back at her!  Granted, this girl was very faint, and Helen could barely see her, but she was quite sure that this newcomer was staring back at her through the vase. 

The girl that Helen saw seemed rather odd, for her face was all twisted and distorted.  Helen could only see her head, and that was beyond the point of recognition.  It seemed to be bent back and around the middle of the vase.  The face was also transparent and shiny; with ripples and waves moving throughout it.  The features seemed to lack almost all form of color, only possessing faint white outlines to illustrate where the hair began and stopped, where the eyes were supposed to be, and where the mouth looked back at Helen in wonder. 

It took Helen quite a while to begin to have the slightest ideas about this other girl.   Then it struck her like a bell!  She had asked her parents for a friend, so her parents had done the best they were able and placed a friend inside her vase!  But to send a friend like this, with only a clear white head?  Helen did not want a friend as ugly as the girl in the vase!  As soon as this thought crossed Helen’s mind though, she saw that the expression on the other girl’s face quickly changed from one of curiosity, to one of disappointment.  At that point Helen decided to make the best of the friend that she had been provided with.  Quickly she attempted at communication, but the other girl only opened her mouth. 

In disgust at this rude gesture, Helen placed the vase back on its shelf.  Seating herself, she thought about this girl in a vase.  Her parents had obviously intended for Helen to become friends with her, but how could she be friends with a girl that would not speak to her?  Glancing back at the vase, Helen saw that the girl was gone.  Helen then walked up to see if the girl would come back and perhaps ask forgiveness for her dreadful behavior.  As Helen took the vase again, the girl gradually came back, and with her, Helen’s hopes.  Yet the girl refused to say anything, not even bothering to open her mouth. 

This final disappointment almost caused the crushing blow to destroy the budding friendship, but not quite.  Helen was furious at the refusal, yet one option remained.  If the girl was inside the vase, then how could Helen hear her?  Deciding that this was more than likely the cause for the absence of communication, she placed her ear next to the flower stems and listened.  Hearing nothing, she again spoke and listened but nothing resulted. 

Taking her ear from the opening of the vase, Helen again scrutinized the girl.  If Helen could not hear this girl, then perhaps the girl could not hear her.  That was the answer!  Neither could hear the other, so neither could respond.  Wait though; the girl had to be able to hear her, because Helen could faintly see her face and mouth moving in different expressions.  Giving up the impossible task of discovering the other girl’s mystery of speechlessness, Helen decided to take her as she was. 

As it turned out, this method worked out famously.  Helen determined that the girl must be able to hear, and this became a great source of comfort.  Whether something went well or awful, Helen could always tell her little friend and know that she understood.  When Helen fell down the stairs, she took the vase of flowers down from its pedestal and poured out the whole terrible story.  The girl in the vase even shed tears over the tragedy, but cheered up when she saw that Helen was more relieved of the sorrow.  On the day that Helen caught her first butterfly in a jar, she told the new wondrous tale to the girl in the vase, and her little friend seemed to almost laugh aloud with joy!

Never was a friend more sympathetic, more understanding, or more tender.  She always seemed to somehow have gone through the exact same circumstances and understand how Helen was feeling at every moment.  Then one day, Helen’s parents informed Helen that they were going to a new home, in some place called “New Jersey.”  At first this worried Helen, for she was afraid her parents would make her leave her precious vase behind.  But this was not the case, and Helen carefully took the vase off its shelf, and carried it down the precarious stairs.  As she was walking down them, the rug beneath her slipped.  Clutching the railing with both hands, she managed to keep her balance, but she heard an awful “CRASH!” and in complete horror saw her vase shattered upon the stairs and landing.

At the sound of her wild lamentations her mother came running, and quickly surveying the scene, rushed to her young daughter with sounds of comfort and questions of well-being. 

“My vase! My friend!”  Helen’s wailings came forth.  Examining the scene, her mother saw the true source of such weeping.  Taking Helen into her arms, she carefully walked to the kitchen to retrieve the broom and dustpan.  Amongst Helen’s passionate pleadings for the attempted repair of the precious vase, her mother swept up the remnants.  After the complete situation of disrepair was explained to her, Helen expressed only one wish.  Not quite understanding the great importance of the vase, yet wishing to please their daughter, her parents relented.  The next day, a small, sad funeral was held in the back yard, in which Helen and her parents buried Helen’s short-lived but best friend; the vase of flowers.   

© 2008 Lady Sothis

Author's Note

Lady Sothis
Just so you know I purposely tried to make the perspective that of Helen's, just in case you thought the writing was a bit odd. ;) Any and all critique would be most welcome!

My Review

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I really liked that. A good take on childhood.

Posted 13 Years Ago

Helen seems like a loveable character; I would love to see you develop her character even more in future stories - with more depth!

I love the story line; it has great potential for a much long tail or even a book
� Along the lines of "The looking Glass"

Posted 13 Years Ago

I really enjoyed this.
The emotions where great.
You're an excellent writers.

:] I didn't find anything wrong with it, but that's just me, I suppose.

Posted 13 Years Ago

This was a cute heart warming story.
A ballad of lonilness for young people everywhere yet the old adage seemed present "Friends are everywhere."
I would say that I wouldn't recommend the exclamation points but if the audience is younger, then it added to the perspective wonderfully.
Amazing job.

Posted 13 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on June 6, 2008


Lady Sothis
Lady Sothis


I live in the middle of a forest, surrounded simply by a Bible, a dog, a piano, and a pen. Generally I specialize in short stories, although I've attempted a novel or two. more..

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A Story by Lady Sothis