The next afternoon I went to my mother's greenhouse where I knew she would be watering her petunias. Mother loved petunias, and entered them in many shows, always winning. That was the reason Madame Finch never came to the high teas anymore, she hated losing.
“Mother,” I asked timidly, knocking on the greenhouse door. “I wanted to ask you about the portrait of me in the first parlor.”
“That old thing,” she asked, continuing to spray the flowers with water. “It's awfully drab don't you think? It's about time we had a nicer family portrait replace it.”
I bit my lip, glad Elsie could not hear what my mother, our mother was saying.
“It's a picture of me, Mother.”
“Oh yes, I know darling but things have changed a great deal. Wouldn't it be nice to have a smart family portrait take its place?”
My spirits perked up.
“Well that's what I've come to tell you, Mother. Can I hang the current portrait in my room?”
“I suppose you can but I don't know if you may,” she said idly.
“Of course. My next high tea isn't until next week, plenty of time for a portrait. You will be taking part, won't you, Carla?”
I sighed. The high teas were boring even with Elsie there. Without her they would be deadening.
“I wouldn't miss it for the world, Mother,” I said, making my way to the door.
I hurried as quickly as I could without running to the parlor where Elsie smiled from her frame. Her eyes followed my entrance into the room and she moved from her frozen position once she saw it was me.
“You're moving to my room!” I told her gleefully.
She cried and clapped her hands together..
“Oh this is perfect! Wonderful! Quick, quick! Move me now,” she urged.
I removed the frame awkwardly, it was a little big. The other photos nodded at Elsie as she left.
I carried Elsie up to my room and hung her on the wall. Not too near the window and warm sun, but not too close to the door either.
“I'm afraid there is very little company here,” I told her. “I'm mostly the only person you'll see.”
“That doesn't bother me. Not in the slightest. I'll be able to leave my frame more often.”
With that final statement Elsie turned her back to me and flounced out of the side of the photo.
I stared at the spot where Elsie had resided, only moments ago ad then laughed, long and loud.
One of the upstairs maids past by and poked her head in.
“What is the joke, Mam?”
“Nothing, Belle, nothing,” I sighed happily.
I had a friend, a friend who would always be there, no matter what. Thomas was a good friend, but Mother never approved, so our time together was short. But Elsie would stay, she wouldn't leave. And we would always get along. Because she was just like me.
This will be continued...again.