Initiator: Anne Rabe – Water Lilies in the Clouds


Initiator Artist: Anne Rabe
Artwork Title: Water Lilies in the Clouds
Size: 20 x 20″
Medium: Photography
Price: $650

Responder Author: Barry Hampshire (SOLD)
Writing Title: Seeing Things Clearly
Price: $65

Honking geese startled Madge as they flew over her head. “I don’t remember geese when we were kids, do you?”

Ken, who sat next to her on a bench, said, “Goodness. You mean after World War II? I don’t recall.”

Madge wiped her eyes with a tissue. “Is it misty today? I can’t see the water lilies in the lake clearly.”

“No. You’re not wearing your glasses. Where are they?”

Madge looked indignant. “What are you talking about? Glasses?”

“Madge, you’ve had glasses for years. If you remember them, you see the lake without any problem.”

The following morning, they sat together on the bench.

Ken said, “The lake is beautiful this morning. Aren’t you pleased you remembered your glasses this morning?”

“I bring them every day. What do you mean ‘remembered?’” Madge dabbed her eyes. “I do bring them every day.”

“Yes, dear.”

Concerned, Ken asked, “Dear, do you remember what we had for dinner last night?”

“Of course, I remember. It was, it … was it lasagna?”

“Spaghetti. Close enough.”

Madge sat quiet for a few minutes. “We used to race our bicycles around the dirt pathway that ran along where those trees used to be. Didn’t we?”

“We did.”

“Do you remember when you fell into the lake? You were trying to grab a beautiful lily for me. Even soaking wet, you were handsome. I knew I’d marry you.”

“Yes, and here we sit, reliving childhood memories. I love it and I love you, Madge.”

“Love you too.”

A few days later, Madge sat on the bench, fidgeting. “I’m anxious and I don’t know why.”

“Did you have a second cup of coffee this morning? I wondered why there wasn’t enough for my second cup.”

“No. Of course, I didn’t.”

“Are you sure?”

“No, I’m not sure.” She pondered. “Ken, I’m scared. I don’t remember things.”

“I know.” They sat silent for a while.

Madge brightened. “Wasn’t there a fence near those bushes? We sat on it, reading stories on warm summer days.”

“You can recall so much of our childhood, can’t you?”

“Yes. I can.”

Two days later, Madge again forgot her glasses. They sat, looking out over the lake with its lilies.

After a while, Madge said, “I wish you had told me to bring my glasses. I can’t see the lake very well. It appears the lilies are floating in the clouds.”

Ken chuckled. “You’re right. The clouds are being reflected in the water. The lilies are floating in the clouds.”

“Maybe I see things more clearly without my glasses, after all.”

Ken reached out and squeezed her hand. “I believe you’re right.”

She lifted her head and let out a long sigh. Her head slumped forward.

Ken stared at Madge for a full minute. “Oh, Madge.” He hesitated. “I never told you this, but I bought this piece of land with the lake, years ago. I didn’t want it to be developed. You had so many memories here. This was your lake. Maybe I’ll keep it, it’ll remind me of you. I’ll bring your glasses with me every day. I may need them to see the lilies one day.”

© 2023 Barry Hampshire