second year jennings brooks

photo by melody modarressi

photo by melody modarressi


Mercy is strong willed but always fair. She’s extroverted, but if she doesn’t want to talk to you, she won’t. Before I knew her, I thought she was a people pleaser, a pushover. Now I know I must win over her trust (though she would probably give it to me anyway). Her eyes are hard and sharp, the color of brewing storm clouds. Her hair is blunt like her words, her jawline cutting; but when she smiles you can see the single dimple by her left eye. She has lines carved into her forehead from reading too much and crow’s feet beside her eyes from laughing - at least this is what she will tell you. I happen to believe she hides a story she may not be willing to tell. Mercy spoils her grandchildren Greed and Glutton, baking them lavender cookies and rosemary shortbread. She only gives them two, but will turn a blind eye if she catches them snatching more before supper.

Pride is Mercy’s lover. They’ve had a tumultuous love affair, drifting closer yet further apart with every moment they spend together. Mercy has learned how to celebrate Pride in his times of triumph, and forgive him in his moments of arrogance. When it rains, Mercy opens the windows in her house to let the soothing sound drift in. She’ll invite Prejudice and Deceit over for steaming cups of lemongrass tea. There they sit, watching the baptismal pursuit of rain and sipping their tea. The neighbors scorn Mercy for befriending Prejudice and Deceit. But Mercy knows that they are often misunderstood, and when you truly get to know them, she isn’t so different at all.


Whimsy wears her grandmother’s nubby cashmere sweater and splendid, twirling silk skirts that just brush her ankles. She replaced the laces of the oxfords she found at the vintage shop near her house with rainbow colored ones. She can never tie them quite right and often trips, but never tumbles. Whimsy lives in a sky blue cottage with a pale yellow porch that resembles the color of her hair. When I go to visit Whimsy, I often find her in the garden behind her house, tending to the exotic herbs and flowers she grows. If you visit her in the fall, she will make you tea with wild fennel and Egyptian eucalyptus. In springtime she brews yellow poppies and lemongrass.

I used to be embarrassed around Whimsy. She often stops to talk to strangers, either to admire their eye color or ask their opinion on which shade to paint her porch next. Judgement and Fear avoid Whimsy; they find her peculiar and too talkative. I used to try to be their friend, only to realize I rather liked being with Whimsy instead. When we go on walks in the hills behind her house, we rarely speak. Instead she hums old show tunes to herself that I can never quite recognize. I want to be more like Whimsy, but she never wants to be like anyone else. Except maybe the wind or the smell of sunshine at dawn. Maybe that’s why she’s first to rise in the mornings and last to go inside during a rainstorm.