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Spring's Daughter MAG
February. It was disagreements over trivial things. March. It was wars overeverything from food to clothes. April. It was silence. The whole house seemed totiptoe and whisper, even the maids dared not laugh. The house had become a secondworld to me by then, a place I frequented only briefly, and no more invitedothers to.
Easter was late in the month, and heads shook when they saw thesnow that had not melted. To me it fit how I was feeling almost perfectly, dimand gray. School continued, though, forgetting the bleak city outside itsdoors.
One week before Good Friday the snow suddenly melted. Crocusespeeped up their green shoots, and the bleak days of winter changed into the rainydays of spring. As I looked out of my window, my heart lifted and laughter almostfound its way to my lips. The grim house suppressed it, though, before it couldescape into the room around me.
I walked down the stairs, and quietlyopened the massive doors to the dining room. I slipped into my seat silently, andplaced my cloth napkin in my lap. I looked at my father who was sitting with hisback to the wooden double doors, reading The Wall Street Journal. Every fewseconds, he rattled the paper, like he wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasthere. My gaze shifted to my mother who was sitting at the other end of thetable. The windows were behind her, and the morning sun caught her gold spun hairas she slowly ate her breakfast.
Nancy came in and placed my plate infront of me. I caught her eye and she gave me a tiny nod indicating she too hadseen the world outdoors. She walked out of the room, not making any more noisethan the rattling of my father's paper. Thoughts of past months when Nancy'sentrance would have only caused more noise filled my mind; laughter had neverseemed distant then. I wanted to stand up and shout at my parents what abeautiful day it was outside. Nancy should be laughing as she came in; my mothershould be gay; and my father not completely absorbed in his paper, but in us. Thehouse acted as if the Grim Reaper was opening the garden gate.
My motherlooked up with her pale blue eyes and watched me for a moment, carefully tryingnot to seem like there was anything wrong.
"I'm not going to be homefor dinner," she said addressing me, but informing my father. "I'vetold Josie and Nancy they could have the night off, so you'll have to fend foryourself."
The paper stopped rattling.
I looked at hersuddenly. "Are you all right, Mother?" I knew she almost never went outanymore.
"I'm fine, darling. I'm just going to see Dr. Randall for acure to this flu I've had for the past few weeks."
I nodded, thenturned back to my breakfast as the paper began to rattle once more. Mother's fluhad just been another factor of the fight, imaginary in my father's eyes, thatkept her away from social duties. I knew better than to comment
Later, asI left the house, I looked back up the stairs. In the dim light, I saw my motherstanding at the top of the stairs looking down at me. I saw the worry and anxietyon her face and almost ran to her, but instead I closed the door and continued toschool, knowing that I could do nothing about it.
I tried to put on myother face, the one of class president, only sophomore varsity football playerand friend to everyone. Somehow I couldn't get the picture of my mother out of mymind, and my teachers and friends realized that I wasn't completely there. Mostknew that I preferred to work things out myself, and so kept away, but when Ireached science, Anne handed me a letter.
"I went home for lunch andran into Nancy. She asked me to give this to you, because she knew that you wouldwant to read it immediately," she whispered in explanation as she took herseat next to me.
I looked quickly at the writing and knew it was fromSammy. I looked up at Anne, "Thank you."
"Anything to makeyou smile," she said gaily, opening her science notebook.
I openedthe letter, and read it quickly before the teacher began. I had written Sammywhat had been happening at home, since she was one of the few I confided in. As Iread her letter, I couldn't help but smile; she had taken a comical tone to cheerme up, describing her life. I knew that she was not having the easiest time butshe kept it almost completely out of her letter, dropping to me in passing howshe had kept up her spirits. Two pages of letter from an old friend managed todestroy the sadness of the three past months.
"Everything OK?"Anne asked when I placed everything back into the envelope.
"It'salmost perfect," I said and smiled back ather.
Friday was always the day I got home late,but since it was only a few days before Holy Week, I came home later than usual.Choir stretched on, rehearsing not only Palm Sunday but Holy Thursday, GoodFriday, Saturday Vigil, and Easter Sunday. As I sat with the baritones, the musicof the coming week reminded me even more firmly of Sammy's words. Easter was atime when we were given hope; that is what I should remember the hope Christ gaveus. I smiled, remembering the fact that Sammy had always been one of the peoplewho could see the light held out to those who were willing to believe; wasn't herfavorite Psalm 119: 105: "Thy word is the lamp unto my feet, and the lightunto my path?"
I walked through the garden gate just as the bells ofSt. Mary's rang out that it was five o'clock. I opened the door and walked intothe hall. I took off my jacket, then turned towards the mirror in the hall. Belowthere was an array of spring flowers, and laughter drifted out of the kitchens. Istarted to walk up the stairs. Halfway up, I turned quickly and looked back downat the hall.
Suddenly the happiness of the house hit me. Nancy waslaughing, and once more there were flowers in the hall below the mirror. Thechange in the house puzzled me, and the answer eluded me. The whole house seemedto feel as happy as I felt, and as I ran up the rest of the stairs, I couldn'tstop to question it. When I reached the top, I suddenly found what had changedthe house from the bleak place it was to its old gay self.
Six monthslater when Marie Anne was placed in my arms, all I could do was stare at hersleeping figure. When she opened her shining blue eyes, and looked into mine, allI could do was whisper a message to her:
"Do you know what you'vedone already, my little witch? You've saved our family, and who knows what you'lldo next."