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Go away
by Katerina Charisi
2016-05-04 08:38:02
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I couldn’t wait to meet Michael’s sister coming from Francisville, but when we all sat on the table, I was totally disappointed. Mary had a constant sour face and a weird smile, trying to distant herself from the others, like she never belonged with them. It looked more that she visited her parents just because she had to, not because she really wanted to. That same day I figured she came around when she just wanted something, like an old ceramic pot she remembered being in the house when she was little. Frances tried too hard to convince her and her husband to stay over for the night, but she insisted that they had to go soon after they finish their lunch. They were busy. Marianne at times sat sunk on her seat, or overacting in everything, calling Frances “mother” and Jacob “Papa” to show Mary that she was the one now who enjoyed Frances’ cares.

There was something odd about the Myers. I just couldn’t understand what it was.

“So, how did you end up here? Michael said you just left everything behind for him. I’m not sure if I would dare to do something like that,” Mary said, always with that same weird smile on her face like a mask.

“He did, huh? Well, I didn’t just left everything behind. I thought about it well. I wanted to”.

To be honest, that was exactly what I had done. I quit my job, left my place, my city, my friends and familiar faces, my life. But, I started a new life here! I just needed time.

 “Michael managed to get me so excited about living in nature and in a quiet place, away from the noises and the fast rhythm of life in the city that we decided to give it a try. I think it’s nice having someone else to care about things for once. I always lived alone. It’s all new to me, but I try my best.”

lily01_400_01She just nodded and looked her mother sideways.

“We all going to do our best and help the girl”, Frances said. “She’s just wandering around all day, not knowing what to do or how”, she giggled. I felt terrible. “She didn’t see the whole place yet. There are the sheds, the crops and the wells, the woods too. Till now, she loves walking to the swamp, without telling anyone”, she said those last words quite slowly.

“Anyway, It’s not easy for a girl that grew up in city’s luxuries to start a life out here. You know how life here is, Mary. It is tough. But, she is not afraid to get dirty, I’m telling you! The girl is not afraid of the dirt or the hard work, and she wakes up before the sun comes up”. She looked at Marianne while telling this. “That’s the best start for a good life out here”. Marianne gave me a look with her eyes half closed and I saw her fists closing to her sides before she put her hands under the table. Was it my fault that I didn’t sleep until 11?

Mary smiled. “I hope you got yourself a car”. There was the car again. “No”, I replied, “I don’t have and I don’t need one”. She frowned. “How are you going to move around? Don’t tell me you are just going to sit here, waiting for someone to come. You can’t move otherwise. You can’t walk to the town. Even if you could, you will soon get too bored or tired to even think about it”. I wondered if Michael had asked her to make me change my mind about the car. I looked at him for some support, but he got his eyes on his plate, playing with his potatoes.

“I will manage. We already have a car and that will be enough. If-when I need anything or anywhere to go, Michael will drive. That’s all”. She shook her head.

“Remember what you said, I’m just saying. Winter is coming. Nothing is close. You must drive up to Jacksonville for Darien’s store, and I’m not sure he even got something on his selves except booze anymore. It’s either Francisville, or New Orleans, and that’s over an hour driving. Even the school in the town closed. I hope you two make it”. Now it was Marianne’s turn to giggle. I swallowed my pride and didn’t say another word for the rest of the day. Michael never mention the school, or that there was nothing in the town. Ok, it was a small town, but I thought it had at least the basics.

“Oh, we will be fine”. At least Frances got my back. “We do have three cars at the moment, one for each man. When the happy couple there move out and marry, we still have two cars and three drivers. Sam drives too, remember?  I think Jenny is right. It’s not that necessary for her to drive, if she doesn’t want to. We managed all these years, didn’t we?”

They all just lifted their shoulders murmuring something and then started talking about all sorts of things that I couldn’t understand, leaving me struggling with my own thoughts. I was impressed about how Frances seemed to know everything about anyone in town, while she rarely left the manor. I felt a weight leaving off my chest when Mary told her husband - who hadn’t talked at all, either- that it was time to go. Her presence was ...heavy.

“Phew”, I heard Marianne behind me as we looked at their car going all the way down. Frances was washing the dishes in the kitchen and the two brothers with their father had a drink in the porch. “She’s gone”, she added. “You sound relieved”, I said, although I already knew that.

“I didn’t get a stomach full of holes without a reason. It was the worst two years of my life, until they finally move out”.


“Yes, she and John lived here too. Frances dreamed to have all of her kids around her forever, but one by one they all go as far as they can get”. She rubbed the back of her neck. “I’m sorry. God, I don’t know why I even open my mouth some times. I shouldn’t say that. I’m sorry”.

“It’s okay”, I replied but I didn’t like her words.

“I should go and ask Frances if she needs anything”.

“Mary is kind of weird, that’s for sure. But doesn’t look bad. I’ll go with you”.

“Oh, wait until you know her better and you’ll change your mind, don’t worry. You don’t have to, Frances won’t let us do anything, anyway. I just have to ask. They are all kind of weird. But they all have their buttons too, if you know what I mean. Just keep your eyes open and your ears and mouth shut and you’ll be fine”.

I sat for a while next to Michael but soon I got bored listening to them talking about cars and guns. Thick clouds were above and the sky was turning dark grey, promising heavy rain for the night, still the view to the lake was stunning. I had to get out of there. I had to think.

“I’m going for a walk” I said and stood up. “What, now? It’s getting dark!”

“I won’t get far”.

“You won’t walk out of that gate”, Michael insisted. Jacob smiled at me. “Let the girl go where she wants, son”.

“Just wait a little, okay? We will go together anywhere you want”, he said. “Just wait a little”.

And so I waited. And I waited, and they went on with their talking, having one drink after another, while they all forgot about me. Couple of times I tried to tell him to come, he just said okay without even looking at me, tapping my leg and then forgot me again. When I stood up and walked away, no one even noticed. 

I walked to the side of the manor and all the way to the back, facing the woods. Their voices and laughter came to my ears mixed with the sound of the wind between the trees. I put my arms around my shoulders. There was no moon. The sky was pitch black. It smelled rain. Soil and a metallic scent. There were no lights at this side of the manor. I looked behind me at the big house and its presence swallowed me. A light trembled behind a window and I quickly counted the windows, so that was Cornelia’s room. Had she seen me? After that day with the mouse trap, I never went down there again. I went closer, stumbling on the rocks for not seeing anything. She was there, with her small eyes and her carved face full of shadows from the lamp on the window pave. We just stared each other for a few moments and then she waved at me. I waved back and she left the window.

Weird old woman, I mumbled. Weird Myers. A thick and cold raindrop fell on my head and the wind blew, whistling between the trees. I decided to go back but then the back door opened and I saw Cornelia staring at me.  I remember that door being boarded up.

“Grandmother”, I said as I went close to her. She smelled of burnt wood.

“She comes with the wind in winter”.

“Don’t be out there on days like this”, she said and her skinny hand reached mine, squeezing it. I wasn’t sure what to tell her. I didn’t know when Cornelia was okay and when she was lost in her old mind. “What’s wrong?” was the best coming out of my mouth.

She shook her head, opened her mouth to say something, but she stopped. She just squeezed my hand and nailed her eyes on mine. “Go away!” she whispered and pushed my hand back. “Now!” and slammed the door behind her, leaving me with a bouncing heart out in the darkness. The clouds released their water and the wind blew in fierce, sounding like a scream at times or like a waterfall. “Never trust the wind out here”, Michael told me once. I thought I heard him calling my name, but again it could be the wind. “The wind can trick you more than you think and you can get in serious trouble in seconds”, he had said. Calling me or not, I ran all the way around the manor and reached the front door. There was no one on the porch. There was just the bulb above the door and the street’s lights downhill, the only lights.  I opened the heavy door and fell on Michael.

“Where the hell did you go this time? Come, come, it’s cold! The storm is coming!” He pulled me inside and locked the door and didn’t let my hand till we went upstairs in our room.

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