Once on a dark winter’s day, when the yellow fog hung so thick and heavy in the streets of London that the lamps were lighted and the shop windows blazed with gas as they do at night, an odd-looking young woman sat in a cab with her husband and was driven rather slowly through the big thoroughfares.
Her mother had just died and she announced to her husband that they must perform a final journey to complete her mother's past life. Lolita looked just like her mother and she knew she would eventually inherit her husband’s wealth as he was quite ill. Her mother had begun as servant for his family and had worked hard to stay alive.
Lolita had been an only child when the sickness came over London and watched her grandmother die. She roamed the streets until the cook came from the main house to take her under her wing. She was brought to where her mother worked and she got Lolita employed to bring in the coal with the younger boys. It was a dirty job and one day she became so filthy that the cook had her remove her woven cotton dress to be cleaned.
Upon removing the dress the cook saw a gold ring hanging on a pink ribbon around Lolita’s neck. She immediately clutched it in her hand and ran outside while the cook tried to chase her down. The cook was too slow and Lolita hid among the tall gladiolas until the coast was clear. She clutched the ring even tighter as her grandmother said it was the only thing of value left and to guard it with her life.
Lolita peered at the grounds through the foliage and wondered where to hide it. She eventually climbed a tall tree and slid it down a thin branch. There it gleamed close to the trunk where it stayed for years while the tree grew around it. When Lolita was eighteen years old she married the son of the family she worked for and became a woman of wealth.
Even though she had everything she wanted she still glanced out the window everyday to see if the ring was still on the branch of the tree. By this time all she could see was a glimmer of that ring because the tree had consumed most of it with age.
Now her mother had died and she needed the ring back to complete her life. She saw the arborists in the yard as their cab pulled into the driveway, and then watched them slowly cut down the tree. As they carefully pulled down the branch with the ring she smiled. She had done her job and now it was time.
The workman handed her the ring that she had hid away all these years. It was really the only thing that mattered to her and she had kept it safe like she promised.
Lolita was now finally complete and ready to continue the journey that her Grandmother had started.