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Like a spoiled Child
by Katerina Charisi
2016-04-24 10:15:30
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The song... It was the song. Her calling. I didn’t know it then, how could I? But that was when all started to happen. It didn’t have a voice, it wasn’t a human voice singing it. It was everywhere. It was the voice of the cypresses as their old branches moved by the wind. It was the lake, when fish sliced the still water; the clouds above that poured rain. Nobody else ever heard anything. The wind fools you, they all insisted. But it was the truth... For them. They could only listen to the wind and the sounds of nature, raindrops falling, wood creaking, but not all sounds together as a single voice. None except grandma Cornelia. She knew. She had seen.

As days and weeks passed, we all managed somehow to find an everyday rhythm of living in the manor. To be honest, I enjoyed most the feeling of not worrying anymore. It was that always someone was around, someone who would share life’s risks and responsibilities, as paying the bills in time, or buying something that someone else forgot, someone I could ask for advice when unable to make a decision. But mostly it was Frances that was really like a mother hen. She wouldn’t leave anyone of her sight. Every morning she would have breakfast for all on the kitchen table and most of the times she would cook for all of us too. She would check on us every night, and was the last to turn off the lights and lock the door. I felt more that I was having a long vacation, something that I never had.

myly01_400In those autumn nights that the wind blew wildly through the trees, curled in our creaking bed with our feet tangled, watching the leaves twirling and dancing out the window and the scary shadows in the dark under the moon, Michael and I had long conversations that sometimes kept s up until dawn. We had taken decisions too early, thing that puzzled me at first, but soon it proved to be the main reason that we always had something to talk about. We haven’t really met each other before we moved in together. Every night we became closer and closer, sharing memories of our lives before we meet and shyness, maybe because of this early decision, added an extra pinch of romance into our relationship.

“I raised my own self”, I always used to tell him. It was something he could never understand, growing up in such a tight family. “I had no choice”, I replied when he asked me why and how. “My parents were too busy trying to find a way to live their life as a couple with a kid, than living a normal life like a young couple should. If it wasn’t for me, they would have never staid together. They just had to take the responsibility and their parents made it sure they would. But none of them was ready for it”.

Sometimes I think that it’s better to grow up as an orphan than growing up with the wrong parents, but I don’t believe that many people would agree. Still, I had a lot of blank pages in my life’s book that could never be filled anymore. No childhood memories of laying in my mom’s arms, no lullabies or songs or walks to the park. No birthday parties with friends and presents, no trees in Christmas or happy family times. The only thing I remember well from my childhood, was the constant effort to make things on my own and try to stay invisible for being out of range.

It surprised us both that we had nothing in common and still things worked out for us so well. 

One Saturday morning we woke up by Marianne’s whining and angry yells. “What happened?” I asked Michael as I jumped from bed. Michael just shook his head with his eyes still closed. “Don’t bother. I am sure that it’s some insect, a non- existent mouse, or bad hair day. It’s Marianne, that’s enough reason to sleep again. You will get used to it”.

I giggled but I left the room. I found her in the small kitchen, half dressed, half make- up on her face, eye shadow on one of her eyes, with messy hair, sitting on the chair and tapping her foot on the floor, biting her nails.  It was then that I noticed for the first time how long and curled was hair. I panicked only for a brief moment with the idea of having to live with such hair.

myly02_400“Hey, what’s wrong?”

She stared at me with her eyes half closed, hesitating to answer, as she was trying to test my face. “What?” I asked again. She shook her head and her reddish hair jumped. I heard footsteps on the stairs and stepped aside. Frances came up with the same “what now” look on her face and her arms on her sides. She didn’t have to ask. Marianne just started crying when she saw her. “Oh, mother, I lost my favourite lip gloss! The one Bradford brought me from New Orleans, my favourite!”

Mother? That was the first time I heard her calling Frances “mother”. But I couldn’t help myself and not think that Michael was probably right. I coughed to make giggling go away. Marianne was exaggerating in everything.  “Put yourself together young lady,” Frances said in a tight voice. “It’s early in the morning and you worry us all for a lipstick. You have millions of cosmetics everywhere in the house. It’s probably somewhere around, and if not, you have a million minus one to replace it. Now stop sobbing like a child and go finish your job. You keep fooling around and you’re always late in everything in the end. Mary and John won’t be here till lunch time”.

She pulled me gently to the hallway. “Don’t worry about that, she always does that sort of things to get everyone’s attention like a spoiled child. My daughter Mary and her husband are coming over today. They never got along well together”, she said and again I felt like testing my face, trying to find a sign of something that I couldn’t’ tell. I lifted my shoulders. “Okay... I will be happy to meet Mary at last. It’s been a month since I got here and I always listen about a Mary that I never met”, I said and Frances laughed, tapping my shoulder. “You are right, my child. They usually come more often. Mary is a teacher you know. I am sure you are going to be good friends. Oh, Jenny, I am so glad to have you here. I think you will do some good to this girl in the kitchen, too. You can’t believe how hard it was for all of us when Mary and John lived here. Marianne was acting like this all the time. She drove me crazy! You are such a nice girl, I know you won’t bother with her nonsense. They won’t be around for too long, anyway. They should be done with their home soon after winter. ”

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