Monday, November 26, 2012

Moody. Sad. Monday.

Hello everyone. Honestly, I'm not having the best of days. It's not because it's Monday but rather because of a math test. Bad days happen and I just want to sit in the corner and cry and do nothing. BUT I'm not going to do that because as much as I hate bad days, you can only prolong your bad day by moping around more. The best thing we can do is get up and just march on. It is Monday and I was really obsessed with the character that Lillian embodies. So although it isn't a Monday Memoir, it has the same essence in that it tells a story. So enjoy. xx.
And my blog is all back to normal now ^^


June 2002.
Lillian smiled up at the cloudless sky and the rolling hills of her grandmother's house. She was laying near the stream after a busy day. She had picked flowers and ate raspberries until her stomach felt queasy. Her little mouth was a vibrant mess of red. She had found a little glade tucked away behind some bushes. She had been looking for a place to cool off from the burning glares of the sun. Lillian had walked along the stream dipping her feet in every now and then. There was a discarded canoe near the bushes and Lillian had been ecstatic to find it. She pushed it aside with a swoop of curiosity to find the hidden oasis. It was about four in the afternoon. Lillian was very good at telling time just from seeing how dark or light the sky was. Her school teacher always wrote that on the manila folder when it was time to send home grade reports. Four in the afternoon meant that her grandmother would be done baking cookies and time to return home. She laid down near the grass to listen to the water swooshing along. 
She spent most of her summers here and somehow everything felt better when she was here. Her grandmother was in the kitchen, baking. It was what her grandmother did almost every afternoon at this time. Lillian had jet-black hair and little freckles sprinkled her small face. Her nose was cute as a button and her eyes had a depth to them that most people never saw. She was a tiny five year old girl thrust into a world that wasn't ready to accept her. Lillian was tired of running around  and opened the porch door. Her feet were still wet and had tracked some sandy mud and grass into the house. Her grandmother didn't care that her hair was a mess or that her dress was marked with a new rip. Lillian was allowed to be a child here. The smells of cinnamon and nutmeg filled her with happiness and warmth. She shut the porch door in eager anticipation. 
"My Lily," her grandmother cooed while handing her a cookie. Her grandmother chuckled while wiping the raspberry juice off her mouth. Her grandmother coughed into a napkin before smiling up again. Lillian hungrily bit in and smiled up when she realized her grandmother had added those chocolate chips just for her. That was how love was shown here, through actions and chocolate chips. Her grandmother put the baking pan on the counter to cool and sat down at the table. The cookies that they didn't eat were always given to the neighbors. Lillian always stuck out her tongue when her grandmother insisted on giving cookies to Zachary in the blue house two blocks down. He was the boy that stuck worms in her sandwiches or caught the biggest tadpoles just to scare her. He even made her cry when he said he was going to squish the mud castle. Her grandmother only laughed when Lillian tattled and petted her hair. It only made Lillian cry more until her grandmother kissed her forehead and told her that he was just a boy and that she shouldn't be upset at him. 
There was something so special about their silence. It wasn't an awkward silence but rather a silence full of understanding. No words were needed. Lillian loved this house, with all its creaky floorboards and faulty window blinds. "Your mother called." Lillian froze and then nodded. She reached for another cookie. Lillian stared up at her grandmother and nodded again. She knew her grandmother had seen her nod the first time but she wanted to reassure the fact that she would be okay. 
"Why can't I live here all the time?" She usually only visited when there was a holiday or a long break. The sign of her mother calling meant that the holiday was almost over. Soon, she would have to leave this paradise. 
"Your parents would miss you too much," her grandmother said after a moment of deliberation. She ruffled the little child's hair lovingly. Lillian nodded. Her grandmother was always telling her that her parents loved her but Lillian didn't know if that was true. To her five year old ears, the house was always being torn apart by yelling and arguments. Her grandmother told her that people had different ways of expressing love but Lillian didn't know how to see the love tucked behind shouting and anger. She didn't see how love could be expressed by slipping worms in her sandwiches either. Love was a weird thing. 
"I'll be okay," Lillian said. She had heard one of the characters of her grandmother's soaps say that two days ago when they were watching TV together.  It had made her grandmother cry a little. Lillian had never seen her grandmother crying. She wondered what it meant but it just seemed so appropriate at this moment. 
"Yes, yes you will be. My beautiful Lily," her grandmother said while looking off somewhere. Her grandmother had a solemn look in her face that Lillian seldom saw. Maybe she had been wrong to say it. She hated upsetting her grandmother. Her grandmother seemed more distant lately and the silence greater than what it had been. Maybe her memory was just foggy. Lillian squeezed her grandmother's hand. They both nervously laughed wondering what would happen when her mother finally came to pick her up. Lillian didn't know what good luck brought her here but never thought of questioning a good thing. She just knew that she never wanted to leave the peace of her grandmother's house and rushing creeks. Lillian fell asleep staring at the sunshine peering in from the windows. Her grandmother carried her to the room they shared during her visits. Was Lillian going to be okay?
Her mother had called twice in the past week and Lillian knew that now it was time to leave. She was sitting her with grandmother on the grass late at night. It was a special treat usually when Lillian was about to go home. They listened to the crickets and cherished the silence. 
October 2002.
They were standing in the hospital room, together. Her mother had tied her hair into pigtails. Her father was holding her dripping ice cream by the cone. He tossed it into the trash can with a face of pure disgust without even asking her whether or not she was planning on finishing it. He wore sunglasses everywhere and when Lillian had asked why he just shrugged and told her that she'd understand later. Her mother's hair was hanging loose and golden in all its beauty. Lillian twirled a lock around her finger wishing that her hair was as pretty as her mother's. 
"Stop it," her mother said shooing Lillian's little hand away. It was swiftly tied away into a ponytail. Lillian watched the heart beat monitor beep slowly. She had watched enough soap operas to know that this wasn't normal. The beep was fainter and the machine was shining a red light. Doctors and nurses rushed around blocking Lillian from anything. 
"What's wrong?" Lillian asked trying to keep calm. Her voice was already that of a person who had lost all hope. Her father maintained his stony expressionless face while her mother was staring down at her cell phone. 
"Excuse me," her mother said, out of politeness. Her father shifted a little to the left and made enough room for her mother to leave the room. Lillian was close enough to listen to the phone call but tuned out once she heard big business words that her mother always used. 
"It seems that your mother has passed away," the doctor said with a grave expression.
"She's not my mother but my wife's mother," her father said. He pulled his own cell phone out of his pocket. Lillian tapped his arm and almost clung to it. She was getting too big for that. He gently brushed her off his coat and tried to fidget a smile. 
"What is it, daddy?" 
"Your grandmother passed away, Lillian," he said as if he was teaching basic math. "She lived a good life." Lillian couldn't help but let the tears free. They rushed down her cheeks and she tried to be quiet. Her face was as red as a tomato and her mother returned and rolled her eyes. 
"Why did you want to take her here?" Her mother was already raising her voice and it only made Lillian cry harder. She should've known when her grandmother was constantly coughing. Lillian had been too busy paying attention to everything else. 
January 2003.
Lillian stood at the edge of her room. Her seventh birthday would be in a month, exactly one month, February 16. She wished she was five again. She curled up in her bed and tried to block out her screaming parents. Lillian tried to see and hear the love in their actions but she decided that there was none to be found. Her grandmother had been wrong. Tears started to roll down her hot cheeks. She wished her grandmother was here in this room to hold her and comfort her. The only thing that hung around her room was the bad kind of silence that people were always trying to get rid of. The snow had fallen in New York and decorations from New Year celebrations were still hung up on shopping malls and stop signs. She hated the winter. 
“Lil, are you still awake?” Her mother barged in without even knocking. Lillian wiped her eyes with her pajama sleeves. She hated that name and the way her mother looked at her. Maybe she hated her mother. Lillian repressed that thought. What would she have if she admitted it? 
“Yes,” she simply said in a quiet meek voice. 
“Speak up, Lillian. Being quiet will not get you what you want in life. Your father and I have something to tell you.” Lillian straightened her back in eager anticipation. She ignored her mother’s scolding. Her grandmother had told her that they were secretly planning to have another baby. That was the best thing that Lillian could have ever wanted. She looked up with her big, brown eyes and saw her mother’s crestfallen expression. Was that usually the expression of someone about to tell their daughter about a baby? No. 
“What is it?” She asked when her mother stopped talking. It was rare that her mother ever shut her mouth to listen or observe. Lillian saw her mother glance at the stuffed animals that lined the edge of her wall. They were all Christmas presents, from her parents. Lillian didn’t know any of her aunts or uncles or even any cousins. She was alone in this world and her parents had done a great job of letting her know that. Her mother was scrutinizing each and every one of them. She had noticed that none of them had been touched or played with. 
“Your father and I are having a divorce.” Lillian closed her eyes and wished the world would just stop. She had heard this word only mentioned in soap operas. It wasn’t supposed to be a word mentioned in real life. Love was supposed to last forever, right? It didn’t even seem like the word burned her mother’s tongue. “Lil, I know this is hard for you. It’s hard for me too but, your father wants to pursue a career in Los Angeles in Hollywood.” 
“Why?” 
“ It’s his dream, Lillian.” Her mother had answered the wrong question and they both knew it. She coughed a bit and continued talking. “Well I want to stay here in New York with my work,” her mother began to explain. Her eyes lit up at any mention of work. Lillian wondered if her mother would’ve been able to leave this New York penthouse. It symbolized her mother’s success in material terms for everyone to see. Even those who didn’t know the Pritchard family identified them with this status of wealth. To go to Los Angeles meant starting over. Love was a second priority and it always had been. “You know how important that is to me.” Lillian shut her eyes and clenched her fist. Work. That was all her mother ever talked about. “Lil!” 
“I want to go to grandma’s.” That was unexpected. 
“I would like it if you respected what I was trying to say to you, Lillian Willard Pritchard. You know well enough that your grandmother is dead. I don’t want you to mention her again.” Who named their child Lillian Willard? Her mother did a weird thing where her maiden name was now Lillian’s middle name. She hated it of course but there wasn’t much she could do about it. Lillian leaned back on the head of her bed frame. “You will be staying here with me in New York. Understood?” Lillian nodded her head. Her mother patted her on the head before leaving. It wasn’t a compassionate pat but rather an obligated thing to do. An hour later, her father entered her room. He looked a little bit more shaken up than her mother had. Lillian had never seen her mother in a natural state beyond her rigid exterior and stony expressions. She was wrong about her father when he opened his mouth to speak. 
“Lilly,” he said with the same coldness her mother had presented. 
“Daddy,” she said in the same tone. He seemed a little hurt but nodded his head. It was how her family dealt with any issue. 
“I’ll see you in the summers and the holidays,” he said, another obligatory statement. 
“Okay, I’d like that,” she simply stated. It was her duty to follow up his kind gesture with one of hers. 

March 2004.
Lillian didn’t know where she belonged. It had been nearly a year since she was admitted to Redwood Boarding School. Her mother had thought it best to send her away completely to a boarding school. Her mother was extremely busy with all sorts of business trips and Lillian was never a priority. Her father was out of the question although that seemed like a decision made from her mother’s pride rather than for Lillian’s wellbeing. She was one of the youngest, at age eight. Lillian was tall and there was something about her slim and gangly figure that suggested that she was much older than eight. When she was five, her grandmother always told her how beautiful she would be one day. Lillian wanted to spite her for those words. There was nothing beautiful about her eyes that bored into people’s souls or her oddly proportionate body. No one had said she was even pretty after her grandmother passed away. Her black hair was always tied in one clean ponytail. Her uniform looked like it had been starched and there was not even one streak of mud on her patent leather shoes. Nobody fooled around with Lillian Pritchard. 
“Lilly, you have to come,” Sarah Rosen said at the side of the fence. Her honey brown hair hung down almost to her waist. In a rebellious sort of action, her hair tie was placed on her wrist instead of in her hair. Her shoes were muddied and it was obvious that Sarah took no care of her uniform. Sarah was ten years old and had stared school at Redwood since she was seven. She came from an extraordinarily wealthy family who had no idea what to do with a baby. Sarah had been as much of an accident as Lillian was. There was only one difference between them: Sarah had been loved. They were about the same height and Lillian had been the first to ever challenge Sarah over her lunch spot. Sarah had been awed by the boldness that came from such a young girl. They were friends ever since. 
“Sarah, I don’t know. We could get into a lot of trouble.” Redwood Boarding School was an all-girls school. On every March 15 some of the girls would climb over the fence to the boys school down the road. The boys always hosted an informal party with the hopes of taking some girl’s virginity away. Usually girls younger than fifteen didn’t go. 
“It’s my first year being invited to go,” Sarah said in her whiny voice. “I washed dishes instead of Maryann Howard for a whole two years to be invited. I want you to be there.” Maryann was one of those popular girls. She was fourteen and a half and was Sarah’s idol.  Lillian could see it now. The way Sarah’s voice trembled and the slight shifting of weight from one foot to the other. Sarah was scared to go and she wanted someone familiar there. Lillian sighed. 
“Sure, I’ll go but we aren’t getting into any trouble.” 
“Deal,” Sarah said excitedly. 
“It’s almost three thirty. We better head back.” Sarah was always stunned by Lillian’s perceptiveness as they walked along the dirt road. There was something unusual about the way Lillian carried herself compared to the other eight year old girls. She didn’t seem eight year old at all. She was confident in herself and that was hard to see in anyone. 
Lillian shared room with a girl named Bethany and another girl named Alice. Alice was sixteen and Bethany was a senior. Lillian wished that she would never have be a senior at this school. It seemed like the worst tragedy to be stuck in this jail until she was of legal age. Lillian didn’t talk much to Bethany or Alice. They didn’t have much to say to an eight year old and there was no way she could say what was on her mind. 
“Are you going to the party this year?” Bethany asked Alice. 
“Of course, Beth. Aren’t you? Jacob is waiting for me. We only meet once a year you know.” Lillian had a sour taste in her mouth. How could you only see your boyfriend once a year? 
“Maybe. I’m getting a bit old for those types of parties. You won’t even recognize me when I get out of here.” Lillian nodded her head absently. The sad truth was that she probably wouldn’t recognize that party girl that Bethany was determined to become. 
“Hey new girl, are you going?”
“She’s eight, Alice,” Bethany stressed. 
“Well, Alice, I am going,” Lillian said slightly above a whisper. 
“See, told you Beth. Kids these days start early.”
“I’m only going to help Sarah out.” 
“And Sarah is ten,” Bethany helpfully pointed out. 
“Don’t listen to her,” Alice said grumbling. “Night.” She turned the light off and Lillian rolled to plant her face on the wall. She would rather have been anywhere but here. 
Sarah was shaking when the day finally came. One of Sarah’s other friends was tagging along with them. She had painted deep red lipstick on all three of their lips. They looked pitiful rather than sultry despite what all three of them thought. They were barely clad and shivering in the cold of a March night. Sarah was the last one over the fence and Lillian wondered why she was doing this. 
“Don’t forget that I’m eight,” Lillian said when Sarah finally reached the other side of the grass. Lillian felt their glares but ignored it and headed onward. The boys’ school was a brisk five minute walk and they were practically running from the cold. Music was pounding behind the iron gate of their school. Lillian wondered how no one heard the loud beats of music coming from an ancient stereo. Sarah and her friend soon disappeared from her sight and she wandered around trying not to be cold. She hadn’t been aware that this was an outdoor party. 
“Who are you?” It was dark out and she could hardly see anyone. 
“Stephen, fourteen,” he said. Was that how people introduced themselves here? He was inching closer to her but she didn’t feel repelled by him.  People showed their love in different ways. Everyone showed their love by kissing. No one had to tell her that. 
“I’m Lilly, thirteen.” She didn’t know why she lied. Actually, she knew very well why she lied. She wanted him to like her and she knew there was no way he would ever kiss an eight year old. She could feel him smiling and she tried to smile too. He inched closer to her and all she wanted was to be warm, and loved. They kissed as he draped his jacket over her bare shoulders. She felt a spark on her lips and wished that this moment might never end. Her first kiss. She smiled up, a real smile. He seemed to sense her happiness too. What would her grandmother say to that? Lillian tried not to think about it. 
“Would you like to meet again?” He asked slowly and precariously. Why had Alice only seen her boyfriend twice when she could have easily snuck out? Lillian was thankful that it was dark outside. 
“I don’t know if I can,” she said honestly. It would probably be the most honest thing she had said all night. “I haven’t ever snuck out.” 
“Why do you act like you’re thirteen?” His tone had become suddenly judgmental and harsh. 
“What?” She was still an eight year old even if she was taller and more mature. 
“I know you’re not thirteen, probably not even twelve either. Are you nine? Or ten?” Her smile disappeared, replaced by a facade. She didn’t even know she had placed it there either. “You’re too jittery to be thirteen and I heard that slight inflection in your voice that indicates a lie.” She ducked away from him. 
“I just wanted you to like me. You asked me to meet you again.” She could feel her voice breaking down from within her. Why had she thought this would be special? Love was weird. Love didn’t exist. 
“A thirteen year old would’ve said yes in a heartbeat,” he answered back. She didn’t understand and she felt her eyes moisten. It would’ve been shameful to cry in front of him. 
“I’m sorry, Stephen. If you knew I was lying, then why did you kiss me?” There was genuine hurt in her voice. 
“You wanted me to, right?” She sighed and returned his jacket to him. Was it that apparent that she wanted to be loved? She wondered again why she agreed to come. Lillian couldn’t see Sarah and decided to head back. She climbed the fence alone and felt dirty for the first time. She didn’t feel “sexy” like Sarah’s friend had said she would if she wore the dress that didn’t really fit or the lipstick that just felt sticky on her lips. She washed up and changed into her pajamas. It was only nine at night and she went into the Commons to make a phone call. Her mother didn’t answer and she didn’t bother searching up her father’s phone number. 
Sarah came back excited and pleaded that Lillian stay in her room until the lights turned off at eleven. Sarah had kissed a guy and agreed to meet him again on the second Thursday of April. She was chattering about her thirteen year old friend who had lost her virginity tonight. Lillian couldn’t help but feel sorry for that girl who would regret this decision forever. Sarah badgered Lillian about her own success and Lillian grudgingly admitted that she had her first kiss. 

April 2004.
Lillian was wide awake in her bed wondering how Sarah was doing. She didn’t know why she was so worried. Sarah was older than her and had her first kiss. This was a good thing, not something to be worried about. Bethany and Alice weren’t in the room yet even though it was past midnight. Sarah hadn’t asked Lillian to accompany her but Lillian wondered why she would. Sarah hadn’t been a jittery ball of nerves this afternoon. She would be fine. She would have fun. She’d forget Lillian. It was selfish but she was the first real friend Lillian had ever had. 
She eventually fell asleep just to wake up to an empty room. Where were Bethany and Alice? Lillian changed into her uniform and went into the Commons. There were a bunch of girls milling about as usual. They had snuck in gossip magazines from somewhere. The glossy pages looked new unlike the folded, dog-eared magazines that she sometimes peered at. She wondered where they got their magazines. The nearest connivence store was about two miles away from the school. It was even riskier getting those coveted magazines than meeting illicit boys from the other school. Lillian had never felt so alone. She tied her hair up. She picked up the telephone and tried her mother’s number again. 
“Hello?” A man was speaking. It was the house phone. Who was this? 
“Hi, um is this the Pritchard residence?” Lillian didn’t know if her mother had changed her last name back to Willard; but that would also be a step down from the reputation her mother had so painstakingly built. 
“Yes, who is speaking?”
“Lillian Pritchard, the daughter,” Lillian said. Was he here to clean the house? Did he trim the lawns on Friday mornings? She knew the bell was going to ring soon. 
“Do you want to speak to your mother?”
“I would like to know who you are.” 
“Your mother always said you were a direct type of girl.” Was that a joke? There was an awkward silence before he continued talking. “I’m Harold Livingston. I take it we’ll meet soon. Your mother is a special woman. You’ll visit us in about a month’s time. That’s your summer break right?” Lillian heard the bell. 
“Okay, Mr. Livingston. We’ll talk then.” She abruptly hung up. There were too many things she might have said if she had stayed on the phone longer. Her mother was getting married again. Why didn’t that surprise her? Lillian ran back to her room for her backpack and folders. She rushed to class, two minutes late. Her French teacher didn’t seem to notice as she was busily scribbling something on the board.  She hadn’t seen Sarah all day. The lunch table was visibly missing one of the most vibrant members. Lillian walked to the bathroom after classes when she heard faint crying. 
“Sarah?” There was only one stall occupied. 
“Lillian?” The stall door pushed open and Sarah was a real mess. Her hair was everywhere and her eyes were red and puffy. 
“What happened?” 
“He never showed up,” she cried out bawling. 
“Sarah,” Lillian started to say. She didn’t how to comfort her. Even if she was mature beyond her years, she was still a fourth grader. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you had a bad day! And I love the template for your blog, the bunnies make me smile. I'm not a mathy person either. Math is my least favorite subject... Lillian is such a cute name! You write well, I enjoyed reading your story :) Will have to come back to read more after I finish some papers. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I really appreciate that :) Coming to this blog and other blogs make even the worst days bearable.

      Delete