Just Because Things Are Pretty, That Doesn’t Mean Things Are Pretty

It was the first thing Melanie spotted when she walked into the Kiwanis Club’s 8th Annual Craft Sale, and she wanted it immediately.  It was pricey, though, the wooden snowman peeking out from the bottom of an old white-washed window frame.  Fifty dollars pricey.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as cute as this before.  I should buy it before someone else snaps it up,” she said to herself.  “No, don’t do that. You might see something else that you want more.  Walk around first.”

So she did.  There were over one hundred vendors at this year’s sale, selling everything from baked goods and hand-knitted baby clothes to wooden crafts and glasswork.  She contemplated buying a five dollar pound of chocolate fudge, but then walked away before the seller finished helping another customer.  She gently caressed the tips of a pair of sparkly earrings that caught her eye, then just as quickly decided they weren’t right for her.  She also stopped to consider a ceramic pumpkin powered by LED lights that she thought would look nice in her window this Halloween, but couldn’t commit to it.

Booth after booth, Melanie found herself having the same reaction.  Lots of things grabbed her attention, just not enough for her to actually buy them.

“I don’t get it,” she said after going back for a second look at the snowman that had first caught her eye.  “I usually buy at least a couple of things every year.   Why should things be any different this year?”

Because, everything was different this year, and that’s what was really bothering Melanie, not the crafts.  So much had changed since last year’s sale.  Eight months ago, her husband of twelve years walked out on her, and their son opted to go with him.  “I just have more in common with Dad,” he had said.

All of those pretty crafts she bought over the years made her home look pretty, and made it look like the sort of place where happy people lived, but that didn’t mean things were pretty for the Jameson family.  Nasty fights had led to prolonged silences.  Prolonged silences then led to separate bedrooms.  Separate bedrooms led to a legal separation.  There’s not a knickknack in the world big enough to disguise that level of ugliness.

For the first time ever, Melanie left the craft sale empty handed.

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