I looked out my window, thinking how many years I have already lived alone. Why was I cursed with this immortality? But thinking so would only bring back dreaded memories. I have lived long enough to practice on my reserve and control of emotions. I pushed the thought effortlessly to the back of my mind. But each time I leave myself unguarded, each time it shoots right through me like a golden arrow. Why couldn’t I control this thought, this memory? Of all the things I can control, this has to be the one I can’t do so.
I have no choice but to think on the painful memories. If not, then it will hit me harder each time I push it.
I saw myself. No. I am in the dream; but not a dream at the same time; like a play of the past, with me as the main character. I can’t describe what it was or what it felt like to be in this play. Just a few seconds of role playing and I knew exactly how to play was going to go like, how it ends, what happens, everything. But somehow, it feels all new to me, like back then.
Every memory, every feeling bombed at me as I was playing. Did the world wanted me to pay the price because of racism? Or was this a sign?
I am in my old bedroom, having everything to do today all in plan. Firstly, I am going to the market to buy my mother flowers for her birthday and sweet bread; or cake as others call
them now. Then I will go to the fabric market and pick up a dress that I asked the dresser to design for me. I am going with Lily, Psyche’s daughter, who’s the wife of Eros, Aphrodite’s son. When she told me, I was surprised.
I never thought I’d deserve a friend like Lily; so kind and peaceful, and yet she’s my best friend. I consider myself a lucky girl. I am not ashamed of my family, and I appreciate everything.
Tomorrow, there is a festival. Lily is not sure if she will be going but I am positive that I am. There will be food and dance and a lot of fun for us all. I had encouraged Lily to go but she just smiled and shrugged.
I got out of bed and washed my face. I have no servants to bring me water every day. I simply live with my baby sister, mother, and father. I have an older brother too, but he’d already chosen his path and lived his own life. He left home and bought a house to live with his wife. He wrote a letter to us saying that they are expecting a baby in a few months. I will become an auntie soon and my parents are going to be grandparents. We were so excited when he said he will be visiting us for mom and dad’s blessings. He should be here by the time of the festival tomorrow. What good timing, I’ll say. Then we’ll all have fun all day; mainly because the festival lasts all day.
I quickly walked downstairs. My parents weren’t awake yet, if they were, I would smell the start of breakfast. And my baby sister, Mary, would be crawling to me by now.
I walked into the morning breeze. It was going to be a warm day. The market was already buzzing with activity and preparations for the festival. I saw children running around, playing together.
Well first things first; I walked to the floral shop. There, Mrs. Klause was tending to her flowers.
I knocked on her door and a large grin appeared on her face. She reluctantly walked to me and then said, “Come to pick up birthday flowers?”
I nodded and answered, “Of course. Would I forget?”
She kissed me on the forehead and replied, “No.” Mrs. Klause was like an aunt to me. I remembered when I was little; she would stop by our house and bring me flowers. She would call me her little rose. She turned around and grabbed a bouquet of lilacs, roses, and daffodils mix. It was filled with so much color, I couldn’t believe my eyes. “You like it?” she asked, “I made it last night for your mother.”
“It’s beautiful,” I said as soon as I could get my head straight. We both knew that my mother loves flowers and especially color. Unfortunately, our soil is not good for growing flowers, not to mention plants and vegetables. Then I left for the bakery.
The baker, Mr. Wollun, was in his kitchen when I arrived. I waited at the desk for him. I knew that when he’s working, there’s no point in interrupting him.
When he came, I straightened and greeted him warmly. “Good morning, Baker.”
“And to you too, Miss Ilexa,” Mr. Wollun said. His eyes widened and he snapped his fingers. He turned around and nearly skipped back to his kitchen.
I stared as if he was still there. My mind was going through possibilities as to why he was so excited. Most likely about something he made. I smiled and waited patiently.
He came back with a white box beautifully decorated with fresh ribbons. “Now don’t open it,” he ordered calmly, “it’s a surprise for you and your family.”
I smiled and lightly traced the box, “Will we love it?”
“Like none other,” he said and glared at me with glistening eyes. Obviously, he was proud of his work.
Reaching over the desk, I gave him a bear hug and planted and a kiss on his chubby, old cheeks. “Thanks so much. How could I ever pay you back?”
“Just lead great lives and live on forever,” he answered and hugged me back.
I grabbed my flowers and the surprise box and left. I had delayed. By now, my mother and father would already be awake. “Thank you again!” I said before leaving for the last time.
I walked back home quickly, trying not to destroy the flowers and the object in the white box. And trust me; it’s not a very easy task.
I reached home and opened the door easily with a kick. My father was awake, sitting at the dining table holding Mary in his lap. “Good morning,” I said as he smiled at the flowers and the gift.
“Great morning,” he replied. “Your mother is in bed. I’m sure she’d love a surprise and breakfast in bed. Let’s go, shall we?” And he lifted from where he sat and walked up the stairs. Though he is not showing it, he is completely happy.
We reached her room in no time at all. She was already crawling out of bed when we saw her. She stopped when she heard us walking in and turned with a joyous face. “My goodness,” I heard her murmur. Her eyes were glistening with tears held back. She tried unsuccessfully and covered her mouth with her hands.
“Uh. . . .Hapwey Bwerftay!” Mary shrieked with arms extended wide as if saying ‘I love you thiiis much’.
My mother cracked a smile and held Mary in her arms. Father looked proudly down on her, and stole a glance at me. I knew exactly why he was proud. Mary didn’t learn that herself. Father had taught her; and without us me and mother knowing or seeing.
To be honest, I was shocked to hear Mary’s first words. I thought it was just a coincidence. I thought wrong.
I handed Mother the box and the flowers. “Mrs. Klause and Mr. Wollun would like to wish you a happy birthday,” I announced. Then I reached into her night stand and pulled out a pair of elegantly painted chopsticks. She had seen them earlier in the week and begged my father to buy it for her, but he refused because I had suggested that I buy them instead for her birthday. Her hair was so long, she truly needed something to put it up with, now she does.
Her lips froze and her jaws nearly fell out of its place. “How did you get it into my drawer? I always had it locked.”
“Not when you bathe,” my father said. He’d gotten the key from her clothes the day before, opened it for me and managed to return it without her seeing him.
We all laughed and Mary made a large, toothless smile, no doubt that she was proud of herself.
Mother opened the box and there, the most astonishing sweet bread, all completed with white frosting and candy flowers. In the middle in perfect written calligraphy, says, “Happy Birthday and Best Wishes to All!” and the baker’s credits; which is a circle with a squiggle inside. The writing and the cake seemed to scream at us with glee.
That day, we did nothing; except for sitting eating, laughing, and storytelling all day. Unless that count as doing nothing, then we did nothing. But to me, we did something; at least, something special. Possibly the last special event we’ll have.
When the afternoon was drawing to a close, my dress was ready to get picked up.