In the Court of the Count

April 18, 2012
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
As I kneel here in painful silence and look at the only remaining icons of my departed childhood, holding them close, as if they have the power to summon my mother to me; I cannot help but to cry. The tears come forth swiftly, an overflow of sadness, even as I try to suppress them. I feel so alone and empty, like my heart has stopped cold and left me to deal with my sorrows all alone. I cannot fight the feeling of desperation any longer and stifle a scream of frustration.

During the day, I am usually strong enough to put on a brave face and go about my duties, like I am expected to, but in the early morn’, when none, but I, have risen from their beds, the despair catches up to me and overwhelms me. I feel the weight of it now, as I sink to the floor, embracing its comforting coolness which strokes my hot forehead like a mother’s caress and stifles my sobs.

I pull a lonely, mateless glove onto my hand, not minding that it is soiled, as if that will help me understand why she left. Stroking the weathered cover of my mother’s cherished Bible; I pray to the Lord and then chide myself for indulging in such fantasies! I know there is no such Lord who provides for all, for if there were such a Lord; I would still have my mother.

A glimmer of hope shines in the dark recesses of my heart, slowly growing in size, telling me that one day my mother may realize her mistake and come back. That she will sweep me up in her arms and tell me that she missed me and that she never meant to leave, and most of all that she has never stopped loving me. This dream far exceeds any other dreams of mine: to marry for love, to escape from this infernal prison, to get an education, and to write a play….as impossible as it seems. The distant dream that my mother will walk right in that door, like she only just left to go to market, that she only missed a few hours of my life, not many years, is always at the edge of my mind, but usually I cast it aside within a few moments, calling it weak and childish. Today however, I cannot succeed in banishing it from my mind, no matter how hard I try.

I still cannot believe she left me, even after all these years. To give myself a little comfort, I cling to the only things she left me, her only child; a single stained glove, a worn bible, and many scattered memories, so bittersweet and painful.

Alas, she cared not to even leave me a note or tell me that she loved me before she left, yet tried to sneak out of our room and my life, in the dead of the night, whilst I slept. I recall waking to the sound of muffled footsteps and the steady creak of a slowly opening door. I sat up with a start, only a young child of six years, confused and barely awake.

At the door I saw the silhouette of my mother, barely outlined against the single candle she held. At the sound of my awakening, she turned and looked back, slowly and guiltily, yet at the time I did not know what guilt was. I whispered a single word; “Mother?” that breached the silence of the dark room. She crept back to my side of our shared mat and kissed my forehead, murmuring for me to sleep.

A deep sleep quickly overcame me, the traitor that allowed my mother to leave me, and leave me she did. I woke up to an empty room. She had taken all of her few belongings, but the Bible and a single glove. The bible lay on the other side of the mat, where she usually slept, and the glove to the side of it. She must have dropped it in her haste to leave.

The other maids here in Count Almaviva’s fortress took me on as their charge, out of duty to their friend, my mother, but they never let me think for a moment that they would love me as their own.

From the very start, they were jealous of my budding beauty and let me know it through their meanness. Even around them, no, especially around them; I feel so alone.

My heart fights a constant battle with my mind, trying to convince me that my mother loved me, even though she left, but my mind always reminds me that she could not have loved me, for how could a mother leave a child whom she loves?

And that night, that horrible night, she never told you that she loved you, before she ran away, chides my mind. Once again my mind wins the battle. My mind has to be right. If she had loved me, she would have said it. Three words could not take that much effort.

Three words, though……Would it have killed her to utter those three words, so I could have something to reassure myself of her love for me, and to have one last pleasant memory to hold on to? But now, I wonder if I just dreamed what happened that night and she really left without me awakening, if it was nothing more than a figment of the overripe imagination of a scared, weak child.

I am so ashamed, for even now, at the ripe age of sixteen, I am still plagued by nightmares of my mother leaving me. I awaken, yelling for her, crying, snot-nosed like a child. No wonder I have been ‘granted’ my own room, a small closet, for no soul wishes to listen to my childish screams, night after dreadful night.

I miss her so bad. I miss the occasional joy and strength she used to give to me, when I was a child, during the chance moments that she had time for me. I cling to the good memories I have of her; dancing and singing in the rain, her singing songs and telling stories to me when I was miserable with a fever, and cuddling close to her during loud, scary thunderstorms.

It all seems so distant now, almost as if my memories are fake. The bad memories greatly outweigh the good. I remember the many times when my mother was in a state of drunkenness and did not care to even to even look at me. She frightened me so much, when she was drunk. I always tried to fake sleep when she came stumbling in after a night of heavy drinking. I will also never be able to put from my mind that day when I walked in upon her and the Count…

The maids still gossip about my mother, when they think I’m not listening. I guess they have nothing better to do. What they don’t realize though, is that I am always listening. I hear them talk about how they are happier without Esperanza, my mother, and how I am better off without her horrible parenting. As if they will ever be good parents! There are even rumors that Count Almaviva is my father. I don’t know if I believe them. And to think I said they were my mother’s friends! They are no more than heartless gossips! I cannot bear to be in their company for long.

I know that from all I have said, it may seem that I wallow in self-pity, but you needed to hear my life story from my own lips, as you’ve probably already heard countless lies from the rest of the household. Before I shall speak of happier things: Cherubino, he whom I love, I shall let you know that I shall accept no pity from you or any other.

And now you shall hear of how I came to know Cherubino. It all started when I walked to the market to fetch some fresh fruit, by order of Count Almaviva. I was haggling for some mangoes, when I saw him for the first time. There was Cherubino, the very picture of handsomeness, surrounded by a group of admiring girls, each and every one under his spell.

A ladies’ man, he seemed to be enjoying the attention, but when he looked up and caught my eye, he immediately deserted them and walked slowly over to me, as if in a daze. I received many glares as he proclaimed me the girl from his dreams, the only one who could break his curse; the curse of falling in love with every girl he meets and the curse of having every girl fall in love with him.(Though personally, I think the last part had more to do with his good looks than any curse.)

We began to court, in secret, for Count Almaviva would be very angry if he discovered that I have a lover. These days it seems that he is more desperate to win me over than ever. I constantly hide from him, but woe to me the day he discovers that I am avoiding him on purpose. I have been able to avoid him thus far, but if I openly refuse to satisfy his lust, he will have me fired in a blink of an eye and I don’t think even Countess Almaviva’s kindness and resourcefulness could help me. (She has been known to help victims of her husband’s rage keep their jobs. She also helps those who fall victim to his false charm.)

Count Almaviva may very well be my father, but if he is, he clearly doesn’t know or care, as his attentions to me are not of a fatherly sort. There is no chance that he would ever accept me as his daughter publicly anyways, for he would bring great shame to himself and his household, for acknowledging that he sired a child while in the midst of an affair. I am trapped. I cannot leave, for if I do, then I will have no job, and will probably never see Cherubino again. This I could not bear. But if I stay, I will fall prey to Count Almaviva sooner or later…probably sooner, by the looks of it. It is hopeless, dear reader. Tell me what I should do, for once again I kneel on the ground, head in hands, crying, desperate, and afraid.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback