The Misused Muse

“Cinnamon, what’s the matter?” asked Aunt Rissa.

Cinnamon wiped her nose and shrugged, plopping down on Rissa’s comfy chair.

“I’m bored and nobody wants me around,” said Cinnamon.

“Well I do honey,” said Rissa.  “Come on. I was thinking of baking cookies but I just decided to make a blueberry tart instead.  You can help me.”

Cinnamon followed Rissa into the kitchen with a heavy sigh.  She didn’t want to bake, but at least Aunt Rissa hadn’t sent her away.

“Talk to me,” Rissa ordered as she tied on an apron.

“Gran just got a big idea for the library committee,” Cinnamon said as she slumped into a chair at the table.  “She told me to shush while she worked it out.  I just wanted her to play sidewalk chalk with me,” she added with a sniff.

“Where are your friends from the neighborhood?” asked Rissa.

“Family vacations.”

“All of them?” asked Rissa.  “Even Jimmy?”

Cinnamon rolled her eyes.  Rissa knew full well that Jimmy’s mom was always at work and couldn’t afford vacations.

“Jimmy told me to go away ’cause he just started writing a comic book and I was distracting him.”

“I’m sorry hon,” said Rissa.  “I bet this would be delicious with a little caramel!  What do you think?” she said, setting down the batter bowl to dig through her cupboards.

“Mr. Cosel’s writing his symphony,” continued Cinnamon, “and Mrs. Hayward said the next chapter of her novel just came to her, and she needs to write it down before she forgets it.  Nobody ever wants to play with me!”  The tears she thought she was done shedding spilled over again.

“Oh, hey now,” said Rissa, abandoning her search for caramel to wrap her arms around Cinnamon.  “That’s not true.”

“It is!” cried Cinnamon.  “It’s not just today, Aunt Rissa, it’s always.  Everyone’s always too busy to play with me!”

Rissa took a chair and considered Cinnamon thoughtfully.  At last, she cracked a wide smile.

“I never noticed it before, Cinnamon, but I see it now, plain as day.  See everyone’s born with a gift of some kind, and I just figured out what yours is.”

“Mine’s getting in the way,” grumbled Cinnamon.

“I can see how it feels like that,” said Rissa, “but no.  Your gift might be the most special one of them all.  Think about it, Cinnamon, you inspire people.”

“I inspire people to yell, ‘get out!'” said Cinnamon.

Rissa laughed.  “Gran just got a good idea,” she said, “and Mr. Cosel is working on a symphony, and Mrs. Hayward got an idea for her novel.  She’s been working on that thing for years.  It’s great that she figured out another chapter.  Jimmy’s starting a comic book, and the moment you walked in, it was suddenly clear to me how much better a blueberry tart would be than the oatmeal cookies I’d been planning to bake.  You see?  It’s you, Cinnamon.  You inspire the people around you.  Not every neighborhood is so filled with creative people, you know.”

Cinnamon studied Rissa for signs that she might be joking, but Rissa looked completely sincere.  Rissa did know things like that.

“Really?” she asked.

“It’s a special gift,” nodded Rissa.  “We’re lucky to have you.  Tell you what,” she added, jumping up.  “Give me five minutes to get this in the oven, and then we’ll bring the timer with us and color the sidewalks while it bakes.  How does that sound?”

Rissa was true to her word, and five minutes later they were scraping colorful chalk across the sidewalks.  They made paths lined with flowers, hop-scotch and constellations of sunshines, and soon Jimmy was helping.  Soon Gran brought out a folding chair, to sit and watch.  Mr. Cosel made them laugh when he came out playing his violin, and Rissa and Mrs. Hayward tried to jump the hop-scotch while making it look like dancing.  Rissa ran to her apartment when the timer dinged, and a few minutes later was back, serving the most delicious blueberry and caramel tart anyone had ever tasted.

“I know what your special gift is, Aunt Rissa,” said Cinnamon, and everyone laughed because they thought she was talking about Rissa’s baking.  Cinnamon went to Rissa’s ear.  “You make everything better,” she whispered.

Rissa wrapped her up in a big warm hug, the way that only Aunt Rissa could, and Cinnamon smiled.  Yep, that was Aunt Rissa’s special gift exactly.

Written by W. C. McClure http://www.wcmcclure.com. The names, events and characters in this short story are fictitious. This story may be shared (and please do); just please be sure to share it in its entirety, unaltered (and including this fine print), with credit given to W. C. McClure. Comments are welcome at http://www.farsideofdreams.com. Oh, and if you want to show your support, tell your friends about this short story blog – and pick up a copy of “The Statues of Azminan” by W. C. McClure. Thanks!