Fantasy Love Strange Older Protagonists georgia ballet

Porcelain Skin

By Laura Blackwell
2,162 words · 8-minute reading time


From the author: Ruth is living out her retirement alone, and she feels the aloneness all the more when she receives a music box that belonged to a loved one...until she steps into the world the music box opens for her.


Ruth was weeding the vegetable garden when her grandnephew’s ridiculous tiny car crunched the driveway gravel. She stood and stretched her back, wondering whether he would commend her work ethic or instead lecture her about overdoing it.

Instead, Michael held a wooden box out to her. “I met an old family friend the other day,” he said, beaming.

Ruth stared at the unfamiliar thing. It was bigger than a recipe box, smaller than a shoe box, and made of heavily polished rosewood. “All right,” she said cautiously.

Michael’s smile slipped. “It’s from Helen’s son. He wants you to have it. You remember Helen, right?”

“Helen was my best friend,” snapped Ruth. “She died in 1982. It’s been thirteen years, but I haven’t forgotten her.” Never forgot the gentle smile, the scent of her lily-of-the-valley soap.

“He said this was on her dresser as long as he could remember,” Michael explained, looking disappointed. “He thought maybe you gave it to her, because you two used to go to the ballet...

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