June 5, 2011
By OliviaLoccisano BRONZE, Etobicoke, Other
OliviaLoccisano BRONZE, Etobicoke, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Maria Frasier closed her eyes, allowing her body to relax against the train’s erratic movements. She missed Toronto already. There was something daunting about visiting the town where she had grown up; like that of a forgotten toy. Her lace gloves and veil hat stood out from the idiomatic outfits of the other travellers. Becoming uncomfortable with the worthless conversations surrounding her, she retrieved a notepad from her purse and began to write, as if to remind others of her elite education. She stared at her notepad as a young girl with missing teeth sat close beside her. Maria turned the pages closer to herself, keeping the girl in her peripherals.

“Who’s... Timothy Michael Frasier?”

Maria breathed deeply, rolling her eyes and continuing to write, hoping the girl would think she did not hear her.

She felt a warm poke on her shoulder and slowly tilted her head in annoyance towards the young girl.

“My brother,” Maria answered.

The girl smiled, “See, I knew you heard me,” she playfully cocked her head to the side.

Maria grinned carefully and continued writing.
“Why did you write his name down?”

“I am visiting him,” said Maria coldly.

“That’s silly. I live with my brother. You’re supposed to live with your brother.”
Maria shot a fierce glare at the girl in disbelief until the sight of the young, frightened child reminded her that she knew nothing of her situation.

When Maria didn’t answer, the girl pulled out a book from her backpack and placed it onto Maria’s lap.

“It’s new. Have you heard of it?”

Maria clasped the book in her hands and whispered the title to herself.

“You can borrow it. It’s my favourite book.”

“The Wizard of Oz,” Maria muttered, “I have read this already.” Not mentioning that it was one of her favourite books, she handed it back to the child.

“For your brother, then,” the girl forced it back on Maria.

“Timothy doesn’t read,” Maria looked out the window as an overdue silence filled the air between them. Mrs. Frasier continued wishing she could click her heels three times and go back to her lavish life in the city, free from senseless little girls.

The majestic steam whistle emptied the train. Walking through the station into the street, Maria saw it: Abernethy, Saskatchewan. Instantly, it brought her back to the time when she was six years old planting petunias in her mother’s garden as the sound of her father’s piano and the smell of apple pie escaped the open kitchen window. She paused, looking at the willow trees which seemed to hold so many secrets, then looked away; afraid they might be holding her own. She gazed at the tall maple trees, juxtaposing within her mind, the tall towers of where she worked in Toronto. She became angry with herself when the thought arrived as to where her childhood house might be; where her parents might be buried; and if the petunias she had planted were still flourishing. She was ashamed to be back in such an undemanding town, so easily forgotten by the cars that passed through it.
After receiving proper directions, Maria knocked on her brother’s door and was greeted by a modest looking woman who smelled of soap flakes and Brussels sprouts.

“You must be Maria Frasier,” she smiled and guided her inside.

Maria nodded, purposely scratching her head so the woman would perceive her expensive gloves.

Maria stopped when she noticed Timothy. She had not seen him in fifteen years, and yet, she knew exactly who he was amongst the others. She walked up to him and sat down, placing her hand on his. She took her gloves off and watched him build a castle with building blocks. He did not look at her.

“Timmy...” Maria said, and the middle-aged man turned to her. His bifocals were crooked and his mouth wilted to one side, as it always had. She smiled at him as he examined her through his thick lenses.

“I never sawed you in so long,” he stuttered.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she embraced him tightly, his arms stretching out awkwardly from his sides, not knowing where to place them.

“Did they’s tell you to come?” he asked, “Or did you’s really wanna see me?”

Maria didn’t answer; embarrassed of the true answer, and of the tears which she was once able to control.

The siblings walked down the stone paths of Abernethy as Timothy mimicked bird calls, obliging Maria to break into one of the first smiles she had not forced upon herself.

The lakes they passed were tranquil; the sun, warm; and the air; smelling of petunias and apple pie.

As the siblings sat on a wooden bench to feed surrounding birds, Maria began reading passages of The Wizard of Oz to her brother, silently thanking the irritating girl on the train. Timmy laughed boisterously as Maria inflicted her voice differently for each character; something she had not done since she read to him years ago.

“I like this,” Timmy said and then paused for a moment, “When do you haves to go home?”

Maria looked at him, then onto the glistening lake before them, smelling the apple pie once more.

“I’m home, Timmy. And there’s no place like home.”

The author's comments:
A young woman visits her brother for the first time in fifteen years.

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