The Loss of HopeI didn't have hope for Father. He had been ill for some time. But Mother wasn't right in the mind, either. Aunt Geneva took care of me, of my parents. She fed me then and she still does now.
"Alice, dear, please come down." I hear Aunt Geneva call from the lounge. I walk down the creaky steps, counting each time my foot hits the ground. I hear voices of other people, so I take a moment to smooth down my hair and dress. The lace gets caught on the rose bracelet that my mother gave me before she lost it.
"Hello." I say as I walk into the lounge. Aunt Geneva sits with two elderly looking women, about her age.
"Alice, would you please tell these lovely ladies about your mother? They would like to know." She smiles as she says it. I know what I am to say. This has been rehearsed.
"My mother is in a temporary state of mental illness. She is still a great woman." I say firmly, letting these prunes know that she is my mother and they are not to invade her home this way.
"Well, thank you for telling us." The old woman with crooked teeth says.When she turns around, I stick my tongue out. But it's disrespectful and I stick it back in.
The old prunes leave after they have crumpets with Aunt Geneva.
"Is Mother ever going to get better? Or Father?" I plead, but it's a wasted effort. I know the answer is no.
"Go play with your sister, Kathrine." She smiles at me and I walk to the nursery.
"Hello, Kathrine." I say as I sit beside her.
"Sissy." She manages. She barely says many words, and "sissy" was her first. She has her wooden dolls on the floor. I pick one of them up. It is a lovely little girl with blonde curls, like me. I touch my hand to my curls, soft and bouncy. When I look at my sister, she is smiling. I lean down and give her a kiss on her forehead.
It's time for dinner. Me and Kathrine go down the dim hallway to the dining room. Aunt Geneva sits at her usual spot. Before dinner, I brushed out Kathrine's hair. Aunt Geneva would throw a fit if we showed to the table looking like a bum on the side of the street. I help Kathrine into her wooden highchair.
The food steams on the good plates. I look at Aunt Geneva, because she never uses these.
"Alice, I have a present for you." Aunt Geneva smiles a weary smile. She's tired. Our maid, Cynthia, has been cleaning ferociously all day.
"Whatever for? It isn't my birthday or even a special holiday." I fiddle with the lace on my dress. She hands me something wrapped in brown paper.
"Thank you." I say as I grab it. "May I open it, ma'am?"
"Yes, go ahead." She says and I tear off the paper. Inside is a brown, leather book. I flip through and each page is blank.
"It's a diary. I thought that since you had much going on, you might want to express your feelings through this." Aunt Geneva says. It warms my heart.