In the house there were the Gentleman, all the young men and then there was Lady Sue and off far in most corners yet right there in the center of the room was the girl.
On this particular day, the girl woke up and came down the stairs to the kitchen to have breakfast and, as typical, all the young men had scattered off to do what they do when they scatter off like that. Lady Sue sat in the quiet kitchen at the table and in front of her she had a cup of coffee and a bowl of Sugar Smacks and one small spoon. The girl sat down across from the Lady at the table and it was strange in the mornings because the Lady always sat where the Gentleman sat for supper and the girl sat in the seat the Lady usually occupied at supper. But in the mornings, the Lady was the head of the household and the girl eager to take her spot when available.
The Lady almost always had a look on her face. It is the kind of look that has no real name but everyone knows what it means. She eyed the girl over the table and observed her carefully, noting how she watched her right back with a look of amusement in her eyes. The Lady knew what this look was because every single morning, the girl would watch her stir her coffee with her tiny spoon and then dunk it directly into her bowl of cereal and this drove the girl nuts. She felt that the Lady should lick the spoon first and figured that the Lady’s cereal must always taste like coffee. Forever and for every day after until she died, every time the girl had a bowl of Sugar Smacks, it would taste and smell like coffee to her because images do something strange to all of your other senses. The Lady watched her.
After breakfast, the girl scooted off. Winter was here and for her the most exciting thing of all was knowing that right outside at the back of the house and down the steep hill was the lake and that the lake would be frozen. So, she bundled up and grabbed her skates and her earphones and off down the hill she went where she would creep onto the ice, listening very carefully, hearing all the hollow popping noises that come from natural ice. The girl almost always considered leaping onto the ice from the bank. For some reason, the edges always seemed scarier to her as though they might begin to chip away. She was uncertain of how deep the lake was or how thick the ice may be but she was alone and it was quiet and cold and she was happy there even though she could crash through without so much as a warning and drop, sinking alll the way to the bottom of the lake and no one around to save her. It comforted her to know that no one could. If she died then it would be her death, her way and no one else’s and she was glad of it.
But today, she thought of nothing but being nothing at all. She popped the earphones in and gave a tiny little hop on the ice to get a feel for what she was dealing with and off she went, tripping across the knobby surface and oblivious to it. On the ice way down there at the lake, she wasn’t an annoyance and she wasn’t a burden and she wasn’t anyone at all, really, and it was good for her.
Up in the house the Lady stood at the kitchen sink, alone and all quiet. Through the window she watched the girl spinning across the ice and she just stood there watching every move. She knew about the girl. She was smart and silly and wanted to make people laugh. She saw talent in her… the singing and the drawing and the painting and she knew the girl was capable and intelligent. The Lady wanted to think of her and smile or go down there and tell the girl that she was beautiful out there or that she was needed. But the Lady also knew that the only words she would really say to the girl would be to tell her not to track snow on the carpet or wear her skates in the house. She would greet her at the door and make sure she didn’t do these things. It was always the wrong thing, the wrong words and the Lady knew it but after so much time, she didn’t care anymore. The girl was or would be fine.
Today it was something in the same way that it was always something, both for Lady Sue and the girl. Lady Sue after so many days, just stopped seeing the beauty and the greatness and the girl stopped trying to have it. There were days when she should have said she was sorry or that she loved her, these words important coming from either one to the other would have been good, but they never did. Instead, the words became hurting and ugly until eventually, they just disappeared for good leaving Lady Sue happy at last according to the girl and who ever knows about the girl anyway because she is gone now to be someone else entirely.
And the Lady remains the same.
But I wonder now what Lady Sue would say to the girl today, a hundred lifetimes later because relationships that hurt always last a hundred lifetimes. I wonder what words she would choose today, if she would do it differently and if so, would the girl have ever stopped trying to hear them. I wonder if it will ever be enough to lose the ones you might love very much had you paid attention, or if it’s all okay with you in the end. I wonder if had just the words been different if the end would have been different, too.
In the one house, there is the Gentleman and the young men have all scattered away for good this time and in the other house there is Lady Sue.
And far, far off in the corner yet in the center of the room is the girl. Only she is a different girl, now, merely a ghost of the one before. And with the girl is another Gentleman and two young men and over by the window playing with her dolls, the lovely rose of a child, sweet and content and happy. The girl watches her and smiles and thinks to herself how beautiful and smart and amazing the child is and marvels at every movement she makes. She chokes on her emotions, stumbles over them, gets back up and goes to her, holds her, tells her.
The girl is out of the corner, knowing what words Lady Sue should have said and happy to know that she, the girl, will always say them. She has come a long way, she has…
but the Lady remains the same.