6.

6.

A Chapter by Alice

At last it was Saturday, and I was closing the shop. Barry was waiting for me outside, friendly, but nonetheless staring at his watch impatiently. When I had mentioned that I was going to visit Dianne on the Saturday he had insisted on driving me over to the hospital. I had tried to worm out of it but all my excuses were useless as he was determined to have his own way.


'After all, I'm not sure what their policy is on visits,' he had said, referring to the hospital. 'You could get there and they could insist that it was family only. Then you would have wasted your time and your money.'


I had thanked him, falsely. I felt ungrateful; after all, he was doing me a favour. I still could not shake of the dislike that I felt for him though, and that on its own made me wary. I did not relish the idea of being stuck in his car for however long it took to get to the hospital. I did not want to have to sit through another of his lectures on the future of the economic world, while he casually asked me questions about my life and plans, and used my one-word answers as an opportunity to talk about himself.
As I locked the shop a sense of impending dread spread over me, but I said nothing and walked across the street to where Barry was standing, tapping on the roof of his car while humming tunelessly to himself.


'Ready?' he asked. I nodded and opened the car door, getting into the seat next to the driver's. I would have like to have sat in the back, but I was sure that it would have been somehow impolite for me to do so. As I did up me seatbelt, Barry got in beside me and did up his own in a flash, whilst starting up the engine.


'Right then, here we go.'


He pulled out of the parking space and we began to drive through our town, onto one of the county's larger roads.


'Thank you for giving me a lift,' I said, forcing a smile. I looked down at my feet, still in the work shoes that my parents insisted I had to wear for good appearance. I looked then at the two cards on my lap, the bunch of flowers and some chocolates that I had managed to get hold of through my dad, who worked in town.


'Don't mention it,' said Barry, and he switched on the radio.

 

I had never liked hospitals. They always reminded me of my grandmother, who had died when I was ten; the last remaining family that I had been in contact with since the disappearance of my sister, other than my parents. I had loved her - she was my father's mother and smelled of liquorice and some sort of old perfume. Her house had been full of dolls that she had insisted were for me and Michelle, but I knew that secretly she enjoying looking for them in car boot sales and second hand shops. I did not have any of those dolls now; they had been sold, along with all of her other belongings and her house after she had died. I didn't remember very well how it had all happened as I had not taken much notice, still being more or less a child. I did sense the loss of something great with my grandmother's death, the loss of simple family. And my grandmother had been the only member of my family who had not seen me and instantly grieved for Michelle. I had still been her Lucie. I hated hospitals because when I went into them I always thought of that time when I had known that my grandmother was going to die.


'And just think,' my mother had said, while crying herself stupid with me hugged to her chest like and oversized rag doll. 'Just think - she'll not be there when we find Michelle. She'll never see Michelle again.'


My mother had never been much good at saying that everything was going to be alright, even when I had been a child.

 
My father, whom I had loved the most out of the two perhaps, became increasingly quiet after his mother died, until finally he hardly spoke at all. He agreed with everything my mother said, and let her drag him to and fro without question. They became fused together, until it became impossible to tell one from the other. They had no separate opinions, no separate ambitions, no motives that were not shared with the other. Although I did have family other than my grandmother my parents succeeded in cutting us off from them one by one, through a series of petty disputes and fallings out that I quite understood. It was made clear to me, however, that it would be considered the highest treachery if I were ever to seek any of them out. My parents were just waiting for me to leave home though, so that finally they could be alone together, without any intruders. Alone with their spite, and their grief for Michelle. I resented feeling like an intruder in my own home, but I kept my feelings to myself, as I knew that I would only be living with the two of them for another year. Then I would be free to do what I liked. The first thing that I would do, I decided, was to make contact with all the aunts and uncles and cousins I had left behind, old names from Christmas cards and tags on birthday presents. Smiling faces at parties and weddings, and in my parents' various photo albums that occasionally I was allowed to see. I learned never to bring the death of my grandmother up, as this would inadvertently lead to a lamentation on Michelle. I could never complain about her house being sold without me being able to sat goodbye to it, and the dolls that I had played with since I was a child, because then, apparently, I was being thoughtless towards my father, who had doubtlessly suffered more from her death than I had, I being only her granddaughter. But I thought silently that I had family out there who would understand, and I waited with their faces in my head.

'Lucie?'


We were sitting in a waiting room. In front of us was an empty desk, and nobody seemed to be making any sort of an effort to fill it. I had gone into a silent daze, but I must have looked upset as Barry's expression showed genuine concern, something that I had never thought him capable of.


'Are you alright? You went into a bit of a dream.'


'Sorry. Yes. I'm fine,' I replied, reminding myself that it was his mother who was ill, and that no matter how heartless I had conjured him up to be inside my head he must be more than a little bit worried about her. I suddenly remembered how my father had been when my grandmother was ill, and how, when we had been left alone together, I had looked at him and he had looked at me with a kind of longing for something that had somehow gone away. I think that was the point when I stopped being a child. Before I had relied on animal instincts; I had chattered to both of my parents thoughtlessly, as most children do. But when my grandmother had been ill and we were certain that she would not live I had looked up at my father and he had looked up at me and neither of us had known what to say. And this lack of courage, and lack of knowledge had grown, and it still made its presence known even now, when I was close to leaving home. When I sat with my parents at mealtimes, when I passed my dad on my way to my room. That sadness was still there, and we would mumble uneasy greetings or goodnights depending on the day. But the sadness was still there. I was growing up, going away, and neither of us knew what to say.



© 2010 Alice


Author's Note

Alice
I'm quite fond of this chapter, even though it is a tad depressing.

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Featured Review

when Lucie speaks of her grandmother, and the dolls, enjoying should be enjoyed.
and when she's talking about her parents distancing from other family members, Lucie says " I ____ quite understood it."

I think this may be a favorite chapter so far. She has sucha sad but believable childhood, and it shows us why she is so "numb". You really have written this very well.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

when Lucie speaks of her grandmother, and the dolls, enjoying should be enjoyed.
and when she's talking about her parents distancing from other family members, Lucie says " I ____ quite understood it."

I think this may be a favorite chapter so far. She has sucha sad but believable childhood, and it shows us why she is so "numb". You really have written this very well.

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very sad, sweet chapter. Poor Lucie, she's had her share of misfortune!

Posted 14 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 9, 2010
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Author

Alice
Alice

United Kingdom



About
I’m a prose writer, mainly one that works on novels and doesn’t finish them. I want to use this place like an online notebook. I’ll be posting as I write, which means a lot of this .. more..

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A Chapter by Alice


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A Chapter by Alice


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A Chapter by Alice