I do not know how it began. I hardly knew how it ended, but when it did... Oh did I feel the terrible pain of it. The fear. And the cold that cannot be felt, and cannot be seen but forces you down all the same. I like to think I don't remember it sometimes, but I do.
I remember dying. I remember being betrayed by the person I loved most in the world, cast into what I had to assume was hell. I belonged there, right? Heaven, if it existed, would never forgive me for my crimes.
Oh but I must not begin then. I will go back to a simpler time, a cleaner time.
The way my mother ignores my presence isnt seen as it is felt. I couldnt understand it then, what made me so loathsome to look at. My fiery red hair, usually so untame and difficult to even brush let alone style, sits at the top of my head in a neat bun. My dress, usually caked with dirt at the hem, with brown shoes to match; is a pale blue color, and my shoes' an innocent white, are shiny as can be.
But still, Mother, or, momma, as I called her then, greets my younger sister before she greets me. As always. I bite the inside of my lip and stifle the urge to fidget. Oh, did I want to! But momma didn't visit us often. Special occasions made it so I had to stand and wait my turn to greet.
" Hello my dear," momma says to my sister, head bent low, back straight, almost afraid of angering her mother. I feel as if I should be sheltering her from something dangerous, but the moment I think it I shake my head; momma isnt dangerous.
"Hello momma, " my sister teeters out a small but acceptably polite greeting, and I see momma's eyes twinkle a bit when she curtsies. I remember how much she'd been practicing the day before in front of the dresser mirror, trying to look like the fine lady she was going to become. My pride in her washed away the small bit of jealousy in me. She was only 6 after all. It looked endearing.
" Marion dear I have a present for you, " my mother cooed to he child. Instantly, Marion forgot how afraid she was and smiled up, eyes full of eagerness. she smiled, but knew that asking was not the proper way for a lady. I sighed, letting out a breath I didn't know I'd been holding. She'd remembered that in our lesson yesterday with the Governess, Amy.
I thought of Amy. her light brown curly hair, pulled into a somewhat loose bun, and the grey dress she liked to wear on chilly days. Her sparkling eyes and ever warm voice. I, not for the first time, whether or not Amy liked me. Or what she did on Sunday afternoons in the town nearby; her one and only day off.
It was not till momma was in front of me that I realized Marion and her exchange had passed, and she was happily clutching what looked like a bright white parasol.
" Hello, Rosella." I tried not to let it show in my voice; I was afraid.
"Hello, mom- mother." momma's eyes squinted for the longest. I kept my eyes trained on her maroon shoes, barely visible underneath her long gown. my curtsy is low as can be, but I nearly stumble on my way down and the way my mother's eyes flash I know she saw that slip up too. She sighs and says quietly, almost breathlessly,
" Look at me, Rosella." And so, I obey. My bright blue eyes lock onto her dark brown ones, and I see my mothers eyes change. I see joy, pride... and an emotion that I cannot place but never wish to feel, and then... anger. My mother can't keep the anger from overtaking her hands, as they surreptiously clutch a bit tighter at the thing in her hands. I let my eyes stray and I look at it. Without thinking I shout,
" That is Daddy's cigar box!" Marion looks as me and instantly, I realize my mistake. Daddy, was never supposed to be mentioned again. But I did. Before I can mumble an apology my mother;s had has alwready slapped me, making my lose my footing.
" You insolent child. How many times must I repeat this: we shall never mention that man again!" her words rise in volume little by little, until I'm gripping the sides of my head. Only fear keeps me from running away into the solace of my bedroom. I dont realize Ive been talking and repeating something until momma walks away, and I am alone in a foyer, with my sister cradling my head in her small lap.
" Come away, human child, with a fairy hand in hand"
my little sister knows the end to this poem, and so when I finally stop repeating it mindlessly and just look up at her, she pets my head and says in her high and delicate voice,
"For the worlds more full of weeping, than you can understand." I dont know how to explain it, but it was in this exact moment that I realized my sister was special. And not because she was younger and more delicately built. It had nothing to do with the fact that she was comforting me either. It was her eyes as they repeated those finishing lines.
Ans if she could undestand their complexity. As if she had every answer in all the world, tucked inside delicate grey eyes that were perhaps, olde than time itself.
I never said that to her though. I never got the chance to.