Written by Maria Drummey on Friday the 13th of August 2010
The button lay undetected for many years, gathering dust, the thoughts and the fears of those who came and went on soft and frightened footsteps, on the creaking wooden floorboards in the drawing room in which it lay, wedged between the cracks, stuck quite fast and always overlooked. Liberation came, quite by chance when a most unexpected, but longed for visitor burst into the drawing room and ran, rather than tiptoed across its dusty wooden floor and flung open the almost permanently drawn curtains, letting in a welcome burst of sunshine. A beautiful young creature, with bouncing curls and dancing eyes. The button sighed to itself with melancholy, as it wondered how soon this sparkling spirit would become dampened by the mournful ghosts of the house and in particular the drawing room. How soon before she too started tiptoeing across the creaking floorboards, whispering in hushed tones and keeping the curtains drawn to block out the light and the life outside. But the button had not reckoned on Martha's free spirit, obstinate optimism and, most importantly, her keen eye. The Sunlight shone through a chink in the heavy dusty curtains, through the motes and dust, illuminating the corners and cracks in the floorboards, as it danced across the room, much as Martha herself danced across the room to the dusty corner and squealed with delight when she spotted the button wedged between the floorboards. "What is this beautiful thing?” she cried, "all covered in dust and trapped between the cracks...”. Martha worked hard to free the button from its quite secure prison. "Oh, it's a button...I think it might be Grandfather's button...” "If it is, you shouldn't remove it...” her brother's voice came in soft and frightened tones. He had been in the house and it's drawing room a great many more times than Martha and his heart was already too crushed with sorrow, and his spirit too dampened with unknown fears, to see the life in this opportunity, the hope and joy in this innocuous little button, all tarnished with age and dusty with time spent lingering in the cracks between the floorboards. "It must be from his Sunday best...” her brother murmured. "We buried him in his smartest suit, remember?” He looked towards Martha who was turning the button in her delicate hands, quite engrossed. "It must have been here ever since, in this room, where we laid him out before the funeral...”, his voice tailed off in sadness. "But, it's beautiful!” cried Martha, "Look at all the detail, it just needs a little clean.” Martha grabbed the hem of her dress and determinedly rubbed at the little button, clearing the years of dust and grime covering the button. Her brother was still distracted, muttering quietly, "This room has always held the ghost of grandfather, we've never felt happy or contented here since he died....his voice trailed off, "Anyway, I'm not sure that you should have picked that up, or be cleaning it....it's disrespectful, it's not right!” "Oh Richard, don't you see,” Martha cried, "It's been waiting for me to find it for all these years, watching you all tiptoeing around, feeling the atmosphere, but too scared to talk about it.” "We were just so sad when Grandfather died,” her brother's voice was defensive. "The house has never felt the same, this room...it's been as though he was still here, but unhappy, unsettled, unable to rest, always watching us”. "No, he wasn't here,” smiled Martha with the firm but kindly tone of one chiding a foolish child, afraid of the dark, "just his button, trapped here all these years, waiting to be discovered.... I think it will look lovely on my new Summer jacket, it will really catch the light, it will shine”. Martha's eyes glowed, "It will be lovely to have something that once belonged to Grandfather, small and bright, just as he was.” "I think this house and, in particular, this room, has been closed and shut away in darkness for far too long. "This little button is just the beginning, it's time to cherish this house again and let the light and life back in”. Martha gripped the now sparkling button tightly which revelled in its new found freedom. "It's time to live again, it's time to make this dusty house a home, too many memories and emotions have slipped and lay trapped between the cracks, like this beautiful brass button”. "It's time we gave this house and our futures a lot more care and attention, no more hushed voices and unhappy memories. We must let the light in and remember him with joy and happiness, it's what Grandfather would have wanted”.