Was it simply luck that had caused her to turn down this street? There were so many little streets winding through this French town Chartres and delights around each corner. She lingered over charming storefronts and snapped photos of ornate doorways and pastel macaroons deliciously displayed in windows. She’d been thinking of her little shop and how to make it as enticing from the outside as it was on the inside…and suddenly she stopped short. There was a beautiful shop, with a lovely sign and the name written in a feminine font.  Clementine….Decoration et objets de la maison. It took her breath away. Elegant and not too formal. She could use this as her inspiration. She pictured flourishes painted around the windows of her shop.

Her husband sighed in exasperation. He’d been grumpy since the morning train ride from Paris to Chartres. She never knew what might set him off…it could be something very small.

She turned to him and said with a smile, “Thank you for indulging me. Let’s find you some good French cheese to use for a picnic, shall we?”  They walked on, winding their way down cobblestone alleys and found a shop that suited him and after much deliberation he bought several small pieces of cheese.  She thought again of her shop and how she enjoyed having a place of refuge and creation. It was much needed with so much stress in her marriage. He did resent the shop and the attention it took away from him, but the added tension still didn’t eclipse how much joy the shop brought her every day.  She’d wanted children, but four miscarriages later had realized it wasn’t meant to be and at that point decided to pour her energy into opening up the shop of her dreams. It was her baby and truth be told, her escape from the miseries of her marriage.

Years later, she visited Chartres again, with friends. The marriage was over, thankfully, and her life was much happier. They wandered down familiar small streets. She searched for the little shop Clementine and it wasn’t there any more. Gone, like so many shops….just a memory now. Perhaps one day her own shop would be just a memory too.

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