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Gone- part 2
Years Passed as briefly as a thought flickering through your mind and still I was unwhole, unable to heal the wound my parents had left there. I couldn’t do a thing about it, so I grew up doing my best in school, trying the hardest to distract my self. I only found sanctuary in my music. I had always loved music, my mother was an awesome singer and my father was a pianist, but I had never played an instrument prior to joining my aunt in her house. It was the tenth of August and the air was warm and murky with the last of the hot summer air. It was the first year I’d spend with my aunt and I had only been with her for a few months, spending much of my time in my room prestigiously cleaning my already pristine few collections of stuff or re-reading novels I had long memorized. I was the most withdrawn seven year old girl ever, or so it seemed to my aunt. Some times I would over hear her talking to her beloved cat, Margaret, about me; her conversations went along like this,
“Some times I wonder if she’s still inside her self, the child I used to know, the one with a smile and a happy heart.” She said to the cat, lovingly stroking the head of the animal in a beloved manner,
“She so with drawn, some times you can glimpse he real Tanya but mostly she is hidden in her grief.” The cat purred adoringly under the caressing hands of my aunt. The cat of course, did not under stand what my aunt was saying and just went on purring like the world was made of gingerbread and sugar plums. If only I could turn a blind eye to my life and, like the cat, think only of tuna fish and a soft and warm patch of sunlight to sleep blissfully in. if only.
I often felt bad for being so reserved all the time and the heart break it caused my aunt to watch. I regretted being like this and I tried to change but it was hard, near impossible to not dwell on that dark night, I assumed that someday I would get over it and move on. Well this particular day I was very bored, my room being cleaned over and over, all my pencils sharpened to a perfect point and all of my clothes folded and categorized by color and size. I wandered along the long halls of my aunt’s house in a small yellow dress, my black hair tucked neatly in to a braid on my back. The walls were covered in a dull and dreary wall paper so old I could not make out what the design was suppose to be of, it was the type of wall paper that made you want to splash red and orange and yellow paint along the walls to brighten up the room. On top of the wall paper rested decrepit painting of relatives long dead and gone, paintings so perfect that they could have been painted by a photo copier.
They were so precise that I once got up the courage to poke on with my finger to check that the paintings were truly paintings. They were. Some days, on days when my fears haunted me like a ghost, I would spin around and find two bright petrifying eyes staring in to my skull. I would scream and Misses McCray, the old batty, large waist-ed, gray haired cook that my aunt hired to cook for the house and keep and eye one me, would come running like a bat out of hell to make sure I hadn’t fallen down the stairs or worse. When she would come running in to the room and find me staring, scared stiff, at the painting and she would say,
“Ye aren’t frightened of the old paintings, are you child?” she was from Ireland and had a comfy accent that fit like an old and worn wool glove. She would rap her soft brown arms around me and pat my black hair and comfort me until the silent flow of tears that leaked from the corners of my eyes stopped they’re inexhaustible flow and she would take me down to the kitchen for a mug of tea, always a comfort. Anyways I was walking down the hall running my small hands over the wide and shining banister that rimmed the stair case. I suddenly noticed a door that I hadn’t noticed before, a small one with a plain cast iron handle that was nearly the same dark color as the door. There were curtains that looked like they should be pulled over the door but instead were cast aside. For once in a long time I felt the irresistible pull of a seven year old girls curiosity. Looking around me to make sure no one was watching I crossed the hall way and reached out to grasp the handle of the door. Almost as quickly I had grabbed it I let it go, it was burning hot. But after putting my hand back I realized that it was actually freezing cold and my hand had interpreted the chilliness as heat. In fact the door knob was only slightly colder that Luke warm and I began to think I was just imagining the heat. I pressed my eye to the key hole to see if I could see through it and all I saw was a stream of sunlight and dust motes floating through the air.
“Curiosity killed the cat” I quoted to my self as I turned the handle of the door, wondering if it would be locked. It was open. I took a step inside the door and smelt the tangy but familiar smell of moth balls and dust that has collected over many years. But what I saw made me forget completely the irritating small of mothballs and I gasped.
“But satisfaction brought him back” I said out loud to my self, awed. It was the door way to an attic. In front of me was a set of stairs, not to amazing, but hanging on the walls on either side of the stairs were long sweeping tapestries of red and gold and green. Just standing in the hall seemed to bring me back hundreds of years to a medieval palace. But they were unlike any tapestries I’d seen in any museum before, they were almost alien, like they had magic wound in to they’re thin threads. Quietly I closed the door behind me and walked up the stairs in to the main room of the attic. All the light came from a window shaped like a ladies fan, or a Boston fruit slice, the candy that Mrs. McCray loved so much. The light that came through was sepia colored and was cozy feeling, like warm bread. The ceiling was so high I could barely see the top of it: one, because it was so high up, two, because the creamy light didn’t reach the ceiling. On the floor the room was filled with boxes after boxes of stuff. Some of the boxes were old trunks made out of wood that was dark and cracking with age and had weird stains that splattered the front like splashes of rain water. Other boxes were made of cardboard or just piles of papers, photo albums, books and frames mounded on top of each other. It was like heaven in a room for me. Any thing from the past I relished, always have and probably always will. After my parents were taken I stayed in my cupboard for a long time, maybe days, but at the time there was no such thing as days or minutes or seconds there was just the pain and me. Once I finally came out I went straight to the phone and called my aunt like any good little girl would have done. Then I walked through every room of the house, searching for any sign that my parents had existed, but all the photos, all the discs with there writing and photos on them, all the frames of paintings of us as a family, every thing was gone. Just vanished as if into thin air. Of coarse that wasn’t true, I knew the truth, the men had taken every thing. The safe with all our money was still there and the jewels my mom had and the gold pocket watch that was my dad’s father’s was still here, so obviously they weren’t after money. The only picture I found was inside of a locket in my mother’s jewelry box, it was a small silver heart shaped locket and in side of it was a picture of my father, Lukiss and my mother, Nadia. I treasured it beyond any thing else I owned, I wore it always, a keepsake and a reminder of my promise I my self and my parents honor and love. So when ever I find any thing that was ever touched by my parents or anything that had the faintest thing to do with them. That’s why I was so thrilled to find this attic in my aunt’s house with all these old boxes. I didn’t know where to start, I was like an archeologist who had accidentally walked into king Tut’s tomb for the first time in a million years.
I decided that it was probably best to start in the light so I didn’t need to go down stairs to get a flash light, so I walked slowly over to the large wooden trunk by the large window. When I got over there a realized that there was something written on the top of the trunk, something in dark fancy ink that was hidden under an inch of dust. I brushed and blew at the top of the trunk until it was free of dust and I could make out the words. It said ‘Nadia Swift’ which was my moms name. I grinned to my self, steeling another look around the room to make sure there was no one there and heaved the top open. It rolled back on its hinges with a loud, audible creak that made me jump. I coughed slightly as I peered at the array of clothes, books, paintings, jewelry and boxes that the trunk contained. I sat down as contented as I ever could have been in a million years. The first thing I pulled out was a small box, about the size of my hands lid out side by side. It was made of a dark polished wood, like that of the banister on the stairs, and had my mothers initials engraved on the top. It wasn’t NS that was engraved there; it was NB, her maiden initials.
“So” I though to my self, “this box must have been hers before she met my father. Sounds good to me” I knew little about my mother before my father came around, just that she grew up with her grandmother and her older sister, my aunt, in a stone cottage in the country side. She was home schooled through eight grade and then headed off to boarding school in Aberdeen. Her sister didn’t attend; she went instead to a finishing school for girls. I was surprised when I heard that, I did not know they still had finishing schools for girls, or boys or dogs or any body. That was about the extent of my knowledge of my mothers life pre-Lukiss Swift.
When opened it turned out that the small little box was a music box. It sung a song I knew by heart, it was the song my mother always sung to get me to sleep. It was a beautiful lilting tune that made me happy and sad at the same time. The words to the song were in a different language, the silver tongued language that they spoke on the day I last saw them, and were complicated, but I still could sing along because I knew it so well. I sung along to the tune until the box began to wind down. It had a small compartment that I opened and looked inside of to find, to my utter pleasure, a necklace. It was made of black stone, the color of my hair, with a silver inlay of a symbol that I had never seen before. I slipped the chain and pendant over my head so that the stone lay softly against the locket that I had taken from the house that last day. I smiled quietly to my self.