Welcome To Palmyra
The warmth from the sun bares down harshly on my face and neck although it did nothing to shield out the bite of the cold. I zip up my jacket mid-way to my chest in hopes of warming myself further. The gloves on my hands did nothing to warm my frozen digits. I was not in my element. This wasn’t Texas. It was Maine.
Standing in front of this home was symbolic to me. It represented everything I went through to get to this moment. It represented the struggles and hardships I faced. And for that I was proud.
It was all mine.
Taking a deep breath, I take the final few steps to the doorstep of my new home. The door was a light mint color, thanks to my mother. She said it would give off a homey feel to anyone that happened to pass by.
I didn’t believe that.
Looking down at my feet, my doormat had ‘Welcome’ in large bold print. I move my feet against it to remove the offending dirt from my shoes.
Retrieving the key from my pocket, I shove it quickly into the lock and turn it, hearing the satisfying click.
The moment of truth.
Pushing the door open, I was greeted with exactly what I wanted with hints of my mother here and there. My color scheme for my home was mainly neutral. I wanted it to be tame to the eye and aesthetically pleasing.
Doing a 360° spin and inhaling deeply, I smile.
It was perfect.
Making my way to my bedroom, it was all me. The movers had taken the liberty of arranging everything where it needed to go. My clothes had been strategically hung up and stored by color. That had to have been my sisters doing. She was very particular when it came to things like that.
I could see that she had also taken the audacity to line up my shoes and organize them as well by color. They looked amazing. I needed to thank her later.
Taking some time to adjust some objects that weren’t to my liking, I was startled out of my organizing haze by the shrill shriek of my cell phone.
I could hear it vibrating against my desk table and I quickly make my way to the device. I pick it up and look at the Caller ID.
The very person that I have been trying to avoid. The person that is the reason why I moved so far away from my hometown. However he helped make getting this house a reality. I owed him at least this phone call.
Hesitantly, I pressed the green answer button and push the phone to my ear wondering what he had to say.
His rich and gravely voice floats through the phone as if he had just awoken from a deep slumber. He told me once that he liked to talk to me when his thoughts were empty and pure; fresh from sleep.
He had always been the only one to always call me by my full name. Even my parents resorted to the shorter version.
His voice always made me shiver even in the slightest when he said my name. There was always an underlying tone to it that made me on edge and grip on to his every word.
I could hear his deep breathing as he awaited my response. “Yes..?”
There was a bit of rustling in the background. “Are you finding everything in order and to your liking?”
Looking around, there was only one answer appropriate. I always kept my words short and clipped around him. No need in getting him riled up.
“Yes. Thank you.” There was a brief pause as if he were trying to find a different meaning of my words.
“I’m going to come and see you soon.” His tone left no room for argument. When Vincent said he was going to do something, he always did it. No matter what.
Shaking my head but realizing that he couldn’t see me, I answered. “Is that really necessary? Everything is fine.”
“Of course it’s necessary Evathia. I said I’m coming so I am. I want to see what you’ve done with the place.” There was a momentary pause, “Has Leah contacted you yet about the shop?”
Leah was one of Vincent’s contacts. He had introduced me to her many years ago and we clicked instantly. When I had found out that she owned a shop here in Maine, I quickly asked if she was hiring. She beamed her million dollar smile at me and nodded.
She went on to explain that her grandmother had previously owned the shop and had left it to Leah in her will. Leah was originally going to sell the place but seeing as her grandmother put her heart and soul into it, she decided to keep it and rename it after her.
She was looking for staff to help her out and was doing her best to keep the place just as her grandmother had left it.
At the end of our lunch that day, we decided that if I found a home in Maine, that I would start at the shop the day after I settled in.
I had left the lunch buzzing with excitement. I would finally be able to put my degree to use. I was glad to know that it wouldn’t be just a piece of paper hanging on my wall. A reminder that I had spent 4 years to accomplish nothing.
Now it meant something.
“Evathia. Are you listening to me?” He sounded impatient.
“Yes, I’m listening to you. She contacted me yesterday. I’m supposed to be going in today to scope it out and if all goes well, I’ll be starting full time tomorrow.”
He clicked his tongue, “Good. Tell me how it goes. I’ll see you soon.” With that he abruptly hung up without giving me anytime to respond. I took the phone away from my ear and placed it back on my desk. He wouldn’t be calling again anytime soon.
As I was straightening out the pillows on my bed while keeping a watchful eye on the clock, I began to think about my unique relationship with Vincent. The way he treated me was odd. When we met in college, we were always very good friends. Nothing more, nothing less. Love wasn’t my concern in college. I was there to get my degree and get out. Simple as that.
Vincent must have felt the same way as he never tried to progress our relationship into something romantic. I was glad that he didn’t as he wasn’t someone that particularly caught my eye.
He wasn’t unattractive, he simply just wasn’t my type.
However when we both graduated, the way he treated me changed drastically. He began getting involved in the everyday things in my life. When I told him that I was searching for a home in Maine, he told me he would help me out. I asked him how much he wanted but all he did was shake his head and told me not to worry.
Two weeks later, he told me he found a home close to Leah’s shop. He told me it was a fixer-upper but that he had people available to help me with the renovation. So with the help of his team and lots of suggestions by my mother. We had come up with this final result.
Vincent still refused to let me pay for anything.
I wasn’t sure what he was getting at but I was desperate to find out.
Looking at the clock, I brush my hands on my jeans and decide it was time for me to go check out the shop. I’ve never seen it before but from how Leah describes it, it sounds like a quaint place. Perfect for a beginner like me.
Grabbing my shoulder bag from the couch, I swiftly exit, determined not to be late at the time I set for myself. I lock my door and began my quick walk down the block the the place I would be working at soon enough.
Five minutes later, I found myself in front of a small café.
Lola’s from what Leah tells me is supposed to be a mainly breakfast place. They are known for their delectable omelettes and crepes. However, in the afternoons they did have a few dinner items and finally dessert. That was my playing field. My job here was part time cake decorator and waitress as well. For $15 an hour this job was perfect for me to start off on.
Adjusting my bag on my shoulder and removing the beanie from my head, I push open the door and step inside.
Little bells on the door jingle, announcing my arrival.
A couple of curious eyes look up from their food to glance at who had entered. They held curiousness behind their pupils and held my gaze for a moment. Losing interest quickly, they return their gazes to the food in front of them.
Making my way up to the counter, I quickly spot Leah. She was covered in flour and was rushing around. Although there was a hint of distress on her face, her mouth was tight in a wide grin. She spins around at the exact moment that I was about to open my mouth.
“Eva!” Her dark eyes lit up with excitement. She brushes her hands on her apron and makes her way over to me. I took the time to silently observe her. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun. Some defiant strands had made their way out of the scrunchie and framed her face nicely. The makeup she had on was minimal but it worked for her.
She comes up to me and wraps her arms around me. I returned the hug. Pulling back, she looked directly into my eyes. “Welcome to Palmyra.”
Something about the way she said it was off. Shrugging it off, I gave her a warm smile. “Thank you. It’s beautiful here. Although a tad cold.”
She laughs. A real laugh as I could see the crinkles near her eyes. “You’re right about that. Different environment than Texas?”
“Much different. I hope now is an alright time to come by. I wasn’t sure when I should come.” Her eyes dart to the clock on the wall. Her eyebrows furrow quickly but instantly went back to their original position.
“Now is a great time. The lunch rush is just dying down. Come come. Let me show you around and introduce you.” With that she turned on her heels and walked behind the counter towards a door. I followed her having to quicken my pace with how fast she was moving.
She pushes open the door and I follow her in. There were about four chefs ranging from all different ages. They seemed static but their movements were fluid. The pungent smell of bacon was prominent in the air.
Leah claps her hands, instantly gaining the attention of everyone. They stop what they were doing and instantly turn to her. “Everyone, this is Evathia. She’ll be with us from now on. Please try and assist her when she needs it.” Looking around there were kind smiles from everyone. There were a couple murmurs of ‘Hello’s’ and ‘Hey’s’ going around. At least they were friendly.
I quickly waved my hand to acknowledge their greetings.
Leah began pointing at people and saying their names. “From left to right, that’s Drew, Angie, Jeff, Collin, and Damion. That’s basically everyone. Katie is on lunch but you’ll meet her soon enough. Take some time to get situated. If you’re up to it, you can get a little taste if you’d like.” With that she winks and quickly makes her way out to the front.
Looking around the kitchen, everyone had gone back to what they were previously doing. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen was exactly where I wanted to be.
My observation was quickly cut short when Leah called for me.
“Eva!” I hear Leah’s voice ring out for me at the front and I make my way to her. The café had thinned out a bit but there was still a small crowd. They were all aborbed into their papers or laptops, oblivious to what was going on around them.
“Yes?” I looked at her expectantly.
“Do you mind working a bit? There’s a large group coming in soon and Angie will be going out to lunch in a bit and I can’t handle it by myself. I’d really appreciate it.”
I hadn’t expected to be working today but I didn’t mind. This would be great practice for me tomorrow.
I nod and take the apron that she was extending to me. It had the cafe’s logo presented loud and proud on the front. At that I smile. I place my bag underneath the counter and quickly put on the apron. It fit me snugly and I hoped I look as good as I feel.
Not two seconds after I had put on the apron, the bells on the door jingled alerting me that the group had arrived.
Looking up, I spread my mouth into a tight smile however it quickly fades when my eyes finally register what I see.