Author: Goodbye Babylon PM
Sepia toned memoriesRated: Fiction M - English - Suspense/Crime - Words: 1,134 - Published: 01-30-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3096714
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Sepia-getonte Gedächtnisse
Note: Sepia toned memories.
I follow Eva up the stairs, listen to her tongue trip over the English language and reminisce in my own memories. Past all those rooms where I played when I was growing, where the house is slowly being dismembered. My fingers trail over the worn-soft wood of the stair railing; there are even memories here. I glance up, past Eva's bouncing blonde hair and chattering voice...to the room.
Everything in me stops... my heart, my breath, my mind. The wall to my right cuts, sold to some person I'll never meet...someone who's taken a piece of my memories.
"Eseld," Eva calls to me sharply from the top of the stairs, drawing me forward. I step up into the room where my life changed forever, and it feels so empty without Victor there.
Eva was too young to remember clearly, while Victor and I shared our memories. I have been where he was, standing at the edge of the chair with our memories forming a noose around my neck. He stepped off; I stepped back. Victor always had the courage I never could summon...even after that day where neither of us had the courage.
My feet touch the top of the stairs.
The floor is cut away, a sharp drop into nothingness over the rest of our house. The small sitting room is gone; only the half-wall remains. My gaze swivels around, catching on the empty, bareness of this room and lingers on the steamer trunk. The top is closed; Eva is sitting on it.
My breath shrivels in my chest, and my fingers shake with suppressed emotions. She smiles at me, her dark blue eyes crinkling in her young face. "Eseld. We are home!" I try to smile, and slump against the wall. The plaster is cool against my warm cheek, and I force a smile. It feels more a grimace, carved on my face.
My world drops down into a grainy sepia memory...
Victor and I were huddled in that trunk, the top was open. Our knees were touching. Eva was on her knees in front of us, her little hands clutching at the lip of the trunk. We were waiting for Father to come home.
Mother walked softly across the floor, the corded phone in her hand. She was talking to that American...her voice soft and low, husky as she spoke in a foreign language to that man.
Victor and I pulled Eva back against our legs, down more into the trunk as Mother padded past us in her flats. She crept into the sitting room and settled in the armchair, just beyond the half-wall. Her ankles crossed as she settled down to talk to that man.
Eva straightened up a little, popping up from the trunk to welcome Father, but we pulled her down.
He was tall and pale, his hair soft blonde and his eyes pale. His fingers held his glasses, and he tenderly placed the lenses on the table and touched the phone cord, as if it was a lifeline.
He stole quiet as a wolf across the kitchenette, close enough to the trunk that I could smell the spice of his soap, and into the sitting room. Just out of view, Mother gasped, stammering out Father's name and trying to end her phone call.
And then silence.
Mother kicked off one of her flats as her foot stretched out daintily, forming a ballerina's point until her toes curled and her leg tensed. Soft gurgles reached our ears, the whisper of moving clothe...Father's soft voice.
Victor's dark eyes met my own pale ones in the trunk...Eva squirmed against us and whined softly. And then Mother's leg went lax. Father crept back into the kitchen, blood splatters on his immaculate shirt cuffs...a wolf with hen feathers in its fur.
Father sat softly at the table, his hands calm and still. His pale blue eyes sought us out, finding us where we were hidden. "Hallo Kinder," he said softly. His voice was easy, smooth...like home. He slowly replaced his glasses on his stubbled face and smiled with strong, white teeth.
Eva popped up once more, "Hallo Vater!" Her voice shattered the silence as she scrambled from the trunk and rested her small face on Father's knee. She gazed up at him with that adoring gaze. Father ignored her and stared at Victor and me...his pale blue eyes locking with mine.
Slowly, the fear was chased away. He was still Father...the kind, caring man who told us stories, tucked us in...kissed our wounds and tears.
Victor climbed out of the trunk, and I followed suit. We made our way to our father, our hands out-stretched. When I glanced back, I could see Mother. Her dark blue eyes stared at me...her tongue was black and protruded from blue lips. Her perfectly in place, short blonde hair was ruffled.
Father touched my hand, "Eseld..." and my gaze snapped back to his. There was a tinge of fear in his eyes, as if I had stopped loving him. I smiled softly, tilting my face up to show him the extent of my smile, a flower opening to her sun.
"Ich liebe dich Vater." Father's face crumpled into a soft smile as he pulled me close, herding all of us closer to him. "Ich liebe dich Kinder. Soviel."
His hand pressed against my face, the vibrant red spot on the base of his left thumb pressed against the corner of my lips...a tribute to our country. To our cause. To who we were, are...always will be.
Eva touches my hand, "Eseld?" I glance at her as my memory falls away, biting my lip and trying to will the tears away. No one had come after Mother had died. Father had closed off the top floor. Victor had gone away to school. Eva had married. And I had stayed.
I look at my younger sister and see my mother. I wonder if she looks at me and sees Father. She chatters on in that foreign language, trying so hard to shed her German skin. My hand itches to smack her. After Father died, Eva renounced her German heritage and became consumed by America...because it was the new fad. The "in" thing.
I want to place my hand in her face and ask her if she has forgotten Father, Victor. Our life when we were younger. If she has forgotten all of our memories.
Instead, I smile softly at her. I notice the phone is still clinging to the wall, it's long cord looping down toward the ground in lazy spirals. I smile and touch her short, perfectly in place blonde hair, "Yes Eva?"
In this room, there are many sepia-toned memories and my hand itches to replay them all.