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lies on the coast
Clouds flooded the sky in intricate patterns of swirling circles as the plane I had been riding for three hours took me to a foreign land. Through the thick fog I could see tall trees lining the top and sides of rolling mountains. It was beautiful; I could not grasp how wonderfully capable nature was. Land cultivation marks were visible from the height of the plane. In its own way the farmed land was uniquely beautiful and familiar. I spent years in a small city that was surrounded by farms and fields. I lived in a secluded cul-de-sac where all I had was yard to play in and a room to sleep in. being that that was the only space I had to myself, I always thought the grass was somewhat greener on those farms. Forcing my eyes away from the window I looked down to my lap. Maps and visiting brochures sat in a messy pile, I picked up a brochure turned it too its back and read “Freedom in the highlands.” I thought this was absurd, I would never find freedom where I was going. For the next three months I would be living with my aunt Trina who had invited me to come to Scotland before she moved to the states in two years. To me this would be like hell, but my father insisted that I should go, and what my dad says goes. I had only figured that he wanted me to see the world and that was his true purpose, but a week ago I found boarding schools letters that had been sent to him about costs, boarding, and teachings. I knew then that he had wanted me to go for some time; I wondered what had delayed him for all these years. After all I was seventeen and I couldn’t imagine being sent to a school for one year and then leaving when I turned eighteen. Maybe he just couldn’t stand raising me after my mother had died. People tell me all the time I look like her. I have her wide baby blue eyes, her petite nose, her wavy black hair, and lastly we both share the same name, Danielle. Friends and family had always called me Danny sense I was young. I know it’s a boyish nickname but what can I do? You just get used to it. Maybe I just reminded him of her too much. Maybe I put him through pain every time he saw my face. Didn’t he love me enough to withstand that pain? I guess I had to give him credit her lasted eleven years after my mom’s death. It doesn’t say much about my father but it reassured me. He wasn’t a bad man by any means; he did try to be a good father. After my mom died it was like his purpose just vanished, and I got used to that life style with him.
“Oh well no use worrying about it…” I whispered to myself closing my eyes in order to get sleep, but the anticipation of seeing my aunt and her house had kept my mind wide awake. I had not seen my aunt in over six years. She never called or wrote letters not even after my mom died eleven years ago. I heard she was rich when my parents used to talk about her and her husband. I remember them saying that she married a laird of long ancestry. He apparently owned a large chunk of land and the two of them had an average sized castle. When I was younger I always pictured the perfect Cinderella castle and my aunt was Cinderella who married prince charming. Later after my mother died I had found out that Trina’s husband Garret had passed away, and Trina received his land, house, and his money. My aunt definitely lived the rich life. From what I could rationalize in my head I had figured that Trina and garret were not as in love as my parents seemed to be. I figured this because I found a picture a couple years back of my parents wedding. Garret and Trina had been there, they weren’t exactly a compatible couple according to looks. Garret was young handsome and vibrant he looked maybe thirty years old at the time, while my aunt was eight years older than him, she showed signs of aging, depression, and irritation. This did not make me more inclined to meet her, as a matter of fact I dreaded our soon acquaintance with each other. She was ten year older than my mother, and that made her seem like a grandmother of a sort. I could see how our days would play out; she would command me like an evil step mother to do her jobs like a servant, in pleasurable times we would sip on tea and play chess, and at the end of our evening we would go to bed early. And so on and so on with that same routine I would spend my precious summer vacation.
I then wondered if she was anything like my mom, if she had her laugh or maybe her voice. A strike of pain went through my heart when I thought of my mother. Being so young when my mother Christine died I did not take it at all well. I needed her the most at that time; I hadn’t even gone through puberty, I was only six years old. You wouldn’t know hell until you have to go to your daddy and tell him that you think your dying because you are bleeding a mess in your pants. That was a difficult year; I started my period early being only ten years old. I never got the sex talk like most teens did at my age. I already knew enough about sex. When going to high school, you learn allot. I had come close a time or two a year ago. I had dated this guy named mark for three months. I thought he was special, and that I was special because he liked me. I was wrong. He only wanted me to take of my pants for him, I was lucky that I got away before anything too serious happened. I decided to break it off with him when mark decided to yell and swear at me for not going all the way. He said that all I would be good for in life was to be an easy tramp. This did not sit well with me. I was no ones slut and would not be treated this way. Before I left him that night, I gave him a good kick. This would have been another thing I could have had my mother for. Trying not to cry I breathed heavily taking my time in inhale and exhale. I tear slipped down cheeks as my unguarded emotions took charge. My mother was my best friend even dead. I sometimes talk to myself when I am alone, but I’m talking to her and telling her my thoughts. It doesn’t feel like she is gone when I do this. I don’t think I will ever be able to come to the realization that she is dead; it hurts too much to even think along those lines. Suppressing the memory I shoved those thoughts to the back of my head where I would release them during the night. At about two A.M. at night I usually wake up in a bloodcurdling scream with tears circling my face. I know I have had a dream but I can never remember it all, only that it had something to do with mom and it scared the hairs from head. However, lately my crying has lessened each night but the screams grow louder and the night mares scarier.
Closing my eyes I tilted my head and laid it on the side of the chair. I tried to think of more pleasant things, things that would make this trip seem more fun. I had only looked at the bad side of the situation; there could be good things I guess. Maybe this trip would be better than I figured; my dad always says life is what you make it out to be. I hated that expression because it made me feel stupid. Like he was implying I should have more control over my life. Does anyone really have control over how their life turns out? Is it really my fault I look for the worst in everything sense that the cards I’m always dealt?
I was a true pessimistic person. I could never look to the brighter side of a situation. The only true and serene thing that seemed to make me feel better was nature. Not that I’m a tree hugger, I just love the smell, feel, and attitude nature seems to have. Nature seems to always prevail when it is stuck with disaster, dangers, and death. Those were the three D’s I could never escape from…
I could feel my eyes growing heavy as the sun finally lowered in the sky. With only three and half hours left of my flight I decided to sleep.
I could see my mother’s face, she called my name. She had tears streaming down her soft face.
“Don’t cry mamma. If you cry I will cry…I’m so tired of crying.”
I didn’t know I fell asleep till I woke up to someone tapping on my shoulder. A heavy middle aged woman walked over to me. “ma’am,” she said quietly, I could see her name was Blinda from her name tag, she had that soft English and Scottish accent that American people adored, I wondered in my daze why she called me ma’am I was not an adult, “please put your seat belt on we will be landing momentarily.” I looked out the window to see a violet sky, only a few stars remained in the sky. Strapping myself into the seat I realizing I was the only one in the isle who was not secured to their seats. I slept a long time. It was now 6:23 A.M. in Edinburgh Scotland. Back in Montana at my home town it was just passed midnight.
“ma’am,” I called to the lady named Blinda, “could you tell me how far the Macbain territory is from Edinburgh?”
“I’m sorry miss, but I don’t know. Maybe you could ask a local.” She replied curtly
“Oh its ok thanks anyways.” How was I going to find where I was supposed to go when I reached the landing? Why didn’t my aunt give me directions or tell me if I was to be meeting someone in the lobby.
The realization hit me fast in that moment that I was no longer home. I was no longer safe, I could get lost and no one would know what to do, or where to find me. Even worse, I was terrified of meeting my aunt. Could she really be all that bad, I mean she was my mom’s sister. That gave her points in my book, but I still couldn’t decide on how to think. Something about her just did not sit well with me.
The plane started to shake and rumble. We must be landing. If this were my first time on a plane I would be scared brainless, but I have been on planes several times in my life and I have become used its jolting ways. I heard a younger child crying in the distance. She was holding onto her father when I looked back, and her mother was leaning over trying to relax her. A man who sat behind me asked one of the attendants if this shaking in the plane was normal. I knew it was from experience. The attendant replied to him that with the wind they are facing a bit more turbulence than normal, but everything was fine. I could understand his worry, he was old. He also had a Santa clause belly and was probably about ready to go into cardio arrest. Her words seemed to assure him his safety. They did not assure me though; nothing could reassure me for what was coming. I wanted to pass out and wake up at my home in my warm bed. I wanted to go to school in the morning and be around people that I have known for years. I wanted security in my life.
The plane landed within five minutes. The other passengers and I remained sitting for a good twenty minutes while the plane was adjusted for our exit. We were told to proceed to the lobby where we could pick up our suitcases. They also told us that if any bags were missing that we were to go talk to one of the officials. I hoped my bags weren’t missing. I have heard that it takes months for you gain back your lost suitcases. I couldn’t afford to wait months in Scotland for my bags, especially when I left in ninety days. I wondered if they would just send it back to my home in Billings Montana.
As I walked further into the airport, I felt a sudden wave of dizziness. Kids screamed, people laughed, and some sat in chairs quietly. I don’t do well in crowds. Sense I have as long as I could remember I have had large cases of claustrophobia.
I needed to get out of place, but I found no escape. Through one doorway lead to a hall that lead to another lobby area much like one that I was in. My impulse was automatic. I ran. Not just a fast-walking run, but a full-fledged run. People looked at me with worry, or was it sympathy? I didn’t have enough time to analyze their faces to decide between the two. I ran to the nearest door, but unfortunately like I said before it made way to another crowded hall. As I reached the end of this hall I opened the closed doors, and entered a large waiting room. Rushing into the door and not realizing what was beyond it I crashed into a small child. Fortunately I was knocked out of my frenzy as I fell to the floor, but unfortunately the little girl started to cry. I could see the tears run down her face before I could comprehend what I had done. I felt so horrible. A lady, who I presumed was her mother, came immediately to girls cry.
“What is the matter with you!” the lady yelled at me as I got up from the floor. I didn’t know what to say. I was speechless.
“I’m so sorry…I don’t know what-,”
“Damn right you didn’t know what you were doing!” she finished off my sentence, “next time watch what you’re doing, you could really hurt somebody!” she snapped at me. How could I explain it was an accident? It wasn’t my fault. When I have those attacks it is like I have no control over what my body does. I just can’t help it.
“I am sorry…” the lady wasn’t listening to me anymore, her attentions where laid upon her child who was sobbing. My efforts where for nothing so I gave up my attempts to apologize. I looked up to see a crowd of people surrounding me looking about as puzzled as I felt. Everything started to close in again. My throat felt fuzzy and dry. I tried to swallow but it hurt. My breath was cut short as I tried to breathe harder. The mother looked at me then.
“You really should be sorry, you never know wh-,” her voice started to fade from ears, and then it was gone completely all I saw was her mouth moving. It was irritating, I wanted to sew it together and get her to shut up. My vision was blurred; I could see spots of different colors swirling into my eyes. I felt completely awake but at the same time asleep. I wondered if this was all a dream and I would awake in my bed in Montana. Nope. This was not going to happen, at least not today I thought as I saw my vision come back. I was lying on my back and had a terrible pain in my head.
Still in the same spot as I was when I hit the girl I looked around to see even more people surrounding me. God! Couldn’t they realize I needed space? Where Scottish people just stupid Neanderthals? I was more furious than I had felt in long time.
“Give her space! She can’t breathe!” the lady said in my defense. This was the same lady who yelled at me. As if reading my mind she pushed people away. “ARE YOU OKAY?”
she yelled while shaking me vigorously.
“Yes, don’t yell…” I whispered. I felt weak, horribly weak. My throat burned, I wanted water more than anything. The lady read my mind again and told somebody to fetch me water. A man a few feet away did as she commanded. “What happened?” I thought out loud as I tried to lean up from the ground. The pain hit me twice as hard then.
“You fainted and fell to the ground.” Well that explained the head pain, “you passed out for a couple minutes.” I then remembered why I was in this spot.
“Is your daughter okay?” I asked the lady
“Oh she is not my daughter, but she is fine, just a little bump to the head. Nothing to serious” The lady replied to me in a sincere way that was completely opposite to how she treated me minutes earlier. She was rather older than I realized. Her eyes where outlined in crow’s feet and she had smile wrinkles that lined up to each other when she talked.
She helped me stand to my feet and held onto me so I could balance.
“What is your name dear?” she asked trying to keep the conversation cool and low key.
“Danny Ladane, what’s yours?”
“You’re Danielle Ladane? The Danielle that I am here to escort from the airport?” she emphasized the ‘the’. She looked dumbfounded as she said this. I must have too, we were both equally shocked. I did not recognize the lady to be my aunt, and if it was were my aunt, the times had not treated her well. I stared at her trying to figure her out. She smiled a genuine smile that relaxed me. She wasn’t beautiful, she was actually really plain. Her eyes had lost the spark of color I was sure she used to have. They were grayish blue on the inside and the white of her eyes had turned to an off white yellow. She looked worn out. Her hair was thick and loosing color. She looked at me with puzzle. “Are you listening?” she blurted out as the silence between as was extended. She looked irritated once again. Her eyes turned sharp and her mouth went straight.
“I’m sorry, I got lost in thought,” I explained, “but, yes I think I am the one you are supposed to escort.” I felt weird saying escort; it sounded so formal.
“It’s rude to stare young lady.” This comment surprised me. I didn’t realize I was staring, and I most certainly didn’t mean to be rude. Was this lady that self-conscious that she would think I was being rude? She did not wait for me to reply to her comment before she continued talking. “We need to hurry your aunt has been waiting for you all night,” she started walking in a quick pace toward the same door I had entered in my claustrophobic frenzy. The little girl that I ran into hurried toward the lady and grabbed her hand in panic. I watched them move further away from me, I couldn’t make my legs move. Everything just happened so fast.
“Come on dear! We do need to hurry!” the lady said looking back at me. She was happy again. The stern look on her face had vanished. As she talked my trance left me and I started to walk in her direction. Was she bi-polar? Her moods had changed four times sense I bumped into the girl. This was not a good sign.