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Ten Years Later
Blanche awoke with a smile on her face. She sat up in her bed and whispered to herself, “Today is the day.”
It was 7:00 a.m. on a glorious day in November. It was also the day when Ms. Blanche DuBois would be released from Mr. Chenoweth’s Psychiatric Hospital. Blanche gathered her things and beautified herself. At 8:30, one of the hospital nurses came and unlocked Blanche’s room. Blanche picked up her trunk and walked past the nurse with a grand smile on her face.
Once she was outside of the dreadful psychiatric hospital, she hailed a taxi to take her to the train station. Once she arrived there, she went to the ticket booth and purchased a ticket to Elysian Fields. She would be surprising her sister, Stella, on a surprise visit.
“She’ll be glad to see me!” she excitedly whispered to herself as she received her ticket. At 11:30, a streetcar by the name of Freedom came; it was time for Blanche to go. She picked up her trunk and slowly trotted over to the streetcar. She lifted her trunk onto the streetcar, and it took her away, leaving the crowded and noisy train station behind.
She arrived at Elysian Fields at 1:00. She quickly ran over to Stella’s apartment door. She rang the bell and waited for someone to open up. She could faintly hear the sounds of conversation and laughter and squeals of small children inside. Suddenly, the door swung open, and Stella was there standing on the threshold.
“Blanche!” Stella exclaimed, rushing forward to give her sister a hug.
“Stella!” Blanche replied. “Stella for star!”
They laughed together while Stella brought in Blanche’s trunk. They finally reached the kitchen, and when they did, and awkward silence descended over the room.
“Why hello, Blanche,” Stanley murmured, a tone of indifference in his voice.
“Hello, Stanley,” Blanche replied calmly. “Hello, Steve, Eunice… Mitch.”
They all said hello to Blanche except for Mitch, who had turned the color of a cherry tomato when Blanche called his name.
“What’s the special occasion?” Blanche asked, turning slightly to face Stella.
“Oh, it’s our daughter Marian’s sixth birthday today,” Stella replied, smiling at a girl standing next to a cake, smiling with one of her front teeth missing.
“Oh!” Blanche said with surprise. “I didn’t know you had another child!”
“I wanted to tell you, but Stanley—” Stella was cut off by a loud grunting noise from Stanley.
“We didn’t see it important to tell you,” Stanley said to Blanche, staring at her with a cold, expressionless face.
“And why would it not be important?! After all, I am their aunt.”
“You’re our auntie?” Marian asked.
“Yes I am, darling,” Blanche replied to the small child.
“Mommy and Daddy never told me I had an auntie,” Marian said, looking curiously from Stella to Stanley.
Blanche stared at Stella furiously, but Stella said, “We’ll talk about this later.” Stella then turned toward the cake and smiled. “It’s time to cut the cake. Marian, stand with your brother next to the cake so we can take a picture.” Stella lit the candles, snapped a picture, and all at once, everybody began singing “Happy Birthday” to Marian. The small child beamed with pride.
Right before she blew out the candles, Blanche said, “Remember to make a wish!” which brought an awkward silence between Stella, Blanche, Eunice, and Mitch. Stanley and Steve were still singing the song, as they had drunk some beers already. Marian then blew out the candles and everybody clapped.
After everyone had a piece of cake, Marian and her brother went outside to play with Stanley, Mitch, and Steve. The three women stayed inside and helped clean up. Blanche stared at Stella furiously until Stella turned around to face her. With Stella’s attention, Blanche spoke in a shaky, high-pitched voice.
“Why did you not tell your kids they had an aunt?”
Stella looked down at her shoes and wrung a dish towel in her hands.
“Answer me!” Blanche exclaimed.
Stella slowly looked up at Blanche and mumbled, “I just didn’t want—”
“Didn’t want what? Didn’t want them to find out their aunt was crazy?!”
“No! Of course not, Blanche! I just didn’t want—”
“Just forget it. I’m here now. Leave it at that.”
An uncomfortable silence came into the room. Stella, Blanche, and Eunice continued to clean up the kitchen until 3:00 when Mitch walked back in. Slowly, Stella and Eunice put down the rags that they had in their hands and exited through the door to join their husbands. Blanche also put down her rag and looked up at Mitch. There was nothing but silence.
Mitch suddenly spoke. “How—How ya been, Blanche?”
“Very good,” Blanche replied, staring coldly at Mitch. Again, there was a long period of silence.
After about five minutes, Mitch turned around and headed back outside to join the others. Once Mitch was outside, Blanche sat down at the table and began to sniffle. Stella then joined her and stooped down on her knees. Blanche looked down and leaned in to hug Stella. There they sat for half an hour, Blanche sobbing while Stella murmured kind words and patted Blanche’s back. Blanche finally stopped crying and stood up from her chair. Stella also stood up and once more hugged Blanche.
“It’s okay, Blanche,” Stella muttered. “Everything is going to be all right.”
Blanche wiped her eyes and smiled at Stella, and they hugged once more. Once Blanche regained control, Stella said, “Is it okay if you take care of the kids tonight? Stanley, Steve, Eunice, and I are heading to the Four Deuces.”
“I would love to take care of them!” Blanche excitedly replied, completely forgetting about Mitch. “We’ll have so much fun!”
Stella laughed and said, “Thanks a million, Blanche.”
From outside, Blanche heard Stanley and Steve yelling goodbye to Mitch. After Mitch left, everyone came inside, each of them smiling. Blanche moved closer to Stella and asked her, “Would you mind lending me a little money to buy myself a coke? Oh, I’ve been dreaming of a coke for ten years! Ha-ha!”
Stella laughed with Blanche and replied, “Of course not, Blanche. It’s the least I can do in return for you taking care of the children tonight.”
Stella walked over to the kitchen counter and reached into a jar. She came up with fifty cents and handed the money to Blanche. “Here you go, Blanche.”
Blanche smiled at Stella and hugged her. “Oh, thank you so much, Stella!” She gleefully walked out of the Elysian Fields and headed to the drug store on the corner of the street called Lucifer’s Drug Palace. She skipped down the street, excitedly waiting to taste coke once again.
Blanche reached the drug store quickly and entered. It was empty except for two men who were standing behind the counter conversing. Blanche looked through the aisles and finally found the cokes.
“Oh, how delicious it will be!” she exclaimed. She picked up the coke and walked towards the counter. Suddenly, she stopped and gasped. Behind the counter, the two men stood closely together laughing. She assumed one of them was the owner, Lucifer. The other was Mitch.
Blanche had to grasp the aisle pole to restrain herself from falling on her face. Her vision became blurry, and the room around her began to spin. However, she soon regained normality, and she stared at Mitch behind the counter, holding her breath as to not make a sound and be revealed.
Suddenly, Mitch swooped in and kissed the store owner straight on the mouth. Lucifer returned with fierce passion but stopped suddenly to stare at Mitch. As if they had thought the same thing, they both headed to the bathroom. Once they had both ducked into the bathroom and locked the door behind them, Blanche dropped the coke on the floor, creating a huge mess of glass and soda pop, and ran as fast as she could out of the drug store. She ran all the way into Stella’s household without stopping. Stella saw Blanche gasping for air and held her in a chair to calm down. Stanley, Steve, and Eunice all stared at Blanche quickly and then went outside.
Once Blanche was breathing normally again, Stella asked, “What happened, Blanche?! You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
Blanche sucked in air and stared at Stella with the most frightened expression ever held on her face. “Worse,” she said. “Much worse. I saw—”
“What, honey? Tell me, Blanche, tell me!”
Blanche once again looked at Stella with the frightened expression. Suddenly, a realization came upon her, and she became calm. Stella stared back at Blanche with a confused expression. Blanche then stood up. She said, “I’m sure I was confused. It must have been my nerves again. What I need is a nice hot bath. You know how they always calm my nerves.”
“I’ll get it ready right away, Blanche,” Stella replied, hurrying into the bathroom to turn on the hot water. Once the water was on, Stella returned to Blanche.
Blanche smiled at Stella and said, “I’ll be in the bathroom for a while. Pick whatever you think would look good on me for after I finish my bath. Surprise me. You’ve always had a great sense of style.” With that, Blanche quickly entered the bathroom and locked the door behind her.
Blanche’s expression grew grim. She quickly undressed herself and entered into the tub. The water was not yet hot, but she didn’t care. All she wanted to do was get away.
“This can’t be happening to me,” she said, a hint of hysteria in her voice. “Not again. First Allan; now Mitch. I will not take any more of it.” Suddenly, the Varsouviana polka played in her head. She heard the gunshot, but the music did not stop. She took this as a sign and slowly ducked her body under the water. Just before her mouth was completely submerged, she whispered to herself.
“You know how much hot baths help calm my nerves.” And with those final words, she sunk permanently down into the water, a smile upon her face, and the Varsouviana polka no longer playing in her head.