A story written collaboratively by Christine Grimard, Tamar Harris, Cam Lavender, Joel Parker, Colin Throness, Lesa Dee Tree, Penelope Turpin and one anonymous writer. Competing against nine other teams, this group—coached by Caroline Adderson—wrote this piece at Vancouver Writes, a Vancouver International Writers Festival event at the Winterruption Festival, Granville Island, in February 2008. Their story went on to win the top prize of the evening.
1. Marion at four was an asocial young girl. She was fascinated by things that other people never saw or heard. She was content living in her own small world. The moan of her lasso, which she spun over her head for hours on end, made her squeal with joy. Watching the progress of a bee among the garden flowers could occupy her for hours. All that would change when she started school.
2. Marion at sixteen is in the chaplain’s office at St. Mary’s boarding school. She’s in trouble again. Ms. Burkins noticed the protruding tufts of unkempt hair under her arms. With every jumping jack, Burkins’s eyes were drawn to the unruly curls—between them her unclaimed womanhood shuddering, warm and glistening in the glaring fluorescents of the gymnasium at St. Mary’s.
Standing before the chaplain at her desk, Marion held her arms high. “Simply not acceptable,” said the chaplain, pulling at her bifocals for closer inspection. Marion felt a curious warmth gathering within her as the chaplain moved her hands across Marion’s bare arms.
3. Marion at twenty-five caused another stir. Her tasselled breasts shimmied in the sultry light. Doug touched himself awkwardly in his gesture of self-appreciation. This was his route. The stop where he waited for the #99. The stop where the curtain was sometimes open. He identified with Marion’s need for self-expression.
Marion made him feel normal. A movement signalled to him that he was not the sole audience member.
A boy, not more than eight, approached him.
“Dude. Five bucks.”
“Watching my mom.”
4. Marion at fifty sits by a table holding a magnifying glass and looking at the jewel that she’s been asked to appraise. When the policeman came in with his query she couldn’t tell him right away the true value of the diamond. Now she appraised the cut, clarity, colour and carat to determine the exact value of the largest stone she had ever seen. The policeman had vouched to return the next day.
To Marion’s surprise, the following morning brought not the same policeman but, in fact, his partner, who informed her that the man she had seen the day before had been killed in the line of duty. It was at this moment that Marion came to a decision. She handed over not the diamond she had appraised the previous day but a much smaller stone. The only question was what to do with yesterday’s treasure.