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No one
by Katerina Charisi
2016-05-18 09:49:19
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“Silent tree, listen to me...”

So many years passed since the first time I heard this song calling me. I never forgot a single word of it. It was hers. It took me a long time till I knew it was her grief. Emily. You only wanted to tell what happened. And you found me.


That night was just the beginning of what would be like a winter in that house. In the top of the hill, all alone in the middle, the manor was in the mercy of the weather, with the wind, rain or later snow, hitting it mercilessly from every side. It was weird and scary but I felt excited to experience things in such a different way. I felt like living in another world. The wind through the woods sounded so loud that Michael and I had to yell for hearing each other. The TV in our room wouldn’t show anything at all and in the end we just stopped trying to talk. I felt the cold on my neck and shoulders through the old window pave. The thin lace curtain waved. “We need to put at least a new window here”, I said. He nodded. There were so many things to fix around here.

emily01_400_01The power went off couple of times and the room went pitch black. I closed my eyes and listened to the whistling wind and the rain hitting hard on the window. The house was in bad shape for incoming winter, hopefully we would fix that soon. The wind caused something banging something else all night- Michael said it was the iron plate roof of the pigeon house, at the end of the site.

“My father built it once for having pigeons, but never brought any”, he said later. “Now Bradford keeps some parts of his cars in there. I gotta fix that sometime soon, too”. 

My mind went to Cornelia. What would I say to him about it? He would probably joke as usual about his grandma’s claptraps, so I didn’t say a word. I didn’t get off my mind her words, though. Who was coming with the wind? Why did she ask me to leave, already twice? Why wouldn’t she want me there?

“I really wish your family likes me”, I said thoughtfully in the end. “Your sister... Grandma; I wish they all like me in the end”. He sat on his elbow and caressed my face. “You worry too much. They do like you. Frances keeps talking about you. Marianne is difficult. She is another story. Her hair and makeup and buying things are her only worries. Under her bed she keeps all sorts of things in boxes and paper bags, that dreams to use and wear when they get in their new and big house, but if you ask me, they are all useless.” He laughed. “And my father- oh my father really loves you. You are so alike. Neither of you talk too much. Too independent. Too proud”. He got closer to me. “It’s too early”, I stopped him. “No one’s asleep. Your parents are just downstairs and this is a single plank floor.” He frowned.

“What? The door doesn’t even lock. I can’t... Sorry. I can’t have the feeling that someone is going to burst inside or listen or--

Michael seemed so sad. “I’m sorry. It was a long day. Too many people, too much talking. Sometimes I feel that they all are just testing me. So bad weather”, I added and he finally smirked.

“Not exactly soundproof, right?” We laughed and cuddled under our old blanket. Michael slept in minutes. It took me hours to fall asleep. Still, it was more like a state of wakefulness, with thoughts and dreams blended and swirling like leaves in the wind. I saw Cornelia’s carved face and her burned wood scent, her skinny, trembling hand; Marianne with her curly reddish hair and Frances in every corner of my mind, with her hands on her sides, her little weasel eyes and tight lips, her chirping voice, her short legs kept her going like a clockwork toy; Jacob and Bradford, so look alike, both massive, tall and wide, with their arms like oaks.

And then, it was the lake. The woman with the white dress. The glimpse I saw the other day and decided it was a trick of my eyes. I saw her floating on the dark water, the moon reflecting her shiny hair, Cornelia whispering that she comes with the wind in winter and then the woman raised her hands and her deep mellow voice filled my being, singing in sadness and despair like a dirge.

“...Silent tree, listen to me

As I lay next to nowhere and grow

Old fallen tree just listen to me

While I hum for my sorrow and low”

I woke up with my back and shoulders stiff, my shirt soaked in sweat, late the next morning. The bed was empty. The sky was clear blue. I felt the chill as I looked out the window and saw the thick and white clouds, like cotton balls pinned on a blue fabric. Winter is coming, I thought. Wind. Winter. No. Nonsense. I felt the silence in the house. I took off the wet shirt and got another from the drawer. I stood in the hall and listened; Nothing.  I put my ear on Marianne’s door and tried to listen. Nothing there either, but I didn’t dare to touch the door handle. I went down the stairs, trying to avoid the creaking parts, not knowing why. No one in the kitchen; everything clean and in place. Fruits on a large ball on the table. Red apples. Frances’ apron hanging on a chair. I turned and faced the hallway and the door in the back. No. I didn’t want another meeting with that weird old woman.

I decided to go out.


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