For the majority of the journey back to my home in Tintagel, North Cornwall from the hospital in West London I had fallen asleep. I missed out on all the great and beautiful scenery of the countryside that I like to see on journeys to places.
"Here we are then, miss?" said the cab driver in a loud voice so he could wake me up.
I woke with a start and start and looked around and my blue eyes widened as sure enough I felt safe as I was home. My beautiful childhood house. Great bursts of joy and happiness rushed through me making my eyes well up. I scolded myself for crying all day so I choked back the tears and handed over some money to the cab driver who took it eagerly from my hands. I stepped out the taxi and shut the door and watched as it drove away.
I rang the door bell a couple of times before Mrs Lavender came to the door with a very pale and tired face. Her eyes grew wide with surprise at seeing me standing there.
"Zoe!" she couldn't leep the surprise out of her voice. "So good to see you. So glad you're here. I was going to dend for you as soon as I heard about your grandmother."
My heart started thumping against my chest. "What about my Grandmother Maxine, Mrs Lavender?" I asked her narrowing my eyes.
Mrs Lavender was a elderly woman in a pink blouse and long blue skirt. She had her grey hair pinned back and you could see how thin she was by seeing the bones sticking out her hands and see how her cheek bones was sticking out. But she had a lovely glow to her that made made her look healthy. She fiddled nervously with her hands. "Oh, my poor child. My heart really goes out to you and Gene, really it does," her eyes sad.
"Mrs Lavender, tell me!" I cried angrily. I didn't mean to yell at her but she was stalling like I was some little girl still who couldn't take anything bad. Didn't she realise I was a woman now.
"Your grandmother is seriously ill, she has cervical cancer and the doctors don't think your sweet grandmother is going to make it through." Mrs Lavender thhrew her arms around me as I began to cry feeling my body shudder beneath her.
Just then we parted when we heard Gene cry out in a horrifying scream from one of the rooms upstairs.
Both Mrs Lavender and I ran up the stairs and found to our complete horror Gene on the floor crying and screaming. I ran to his side and held him in my arms as I rocked him and I back and forth gently.
Mrs Lavender went over to Grandmother Maxine's bed where Grandmother laid motionless, pale, and ghostly white. She checked for a pulse on her neck there was none. She burst into tears.
My own sobbing came as tears ran down my cheeks like a waterfall as I still held onto my little brother tightly in my arms. I kissed the top of his head as we rocked gracefully together.
It seemed to me as everyone I ever loved and everyone who loved me back ended up dying. I'm a bad omen to my family - even Gene.
But I realised that I still had Gene who loved me dearly and I loved him than life itself. I knew I had to take him and I away from all this death and misery which seemed to loom around this family. I will do as Grandmother Maxine said take us up to our Aunt Isabel and Uncle Herald's house in St Ives, West Cornwall, and stay there forever. First Mama died ten years ago from childbirth, then Papa died of Psoriasis of the liver from drinking too much alcohol; And now our dear sweet, loving Grandmother Maxine has died of cervical cancer, which she kept secret from us all.
I knew for one thing for sure, I wasn't ever going to leave Gene ever again especially now when he was still so small and vulnerable. Moving to our cousins' house would be the best thing for all of us. You know what, I think Grandmother was right.
Sometime during the next week or so we had the joined funeral for Papa and Grandmother Maxine. I attended it wearing an all black suit with a black, stylish hat on top of my golden blonde head. But Gene stayed behind back at the house with Mrs Lavender because it be too emotional for him to see his father and grandmother being buried beneath the ground.
The funeral lasted two hours and friends and family were all around me with their heads down to their chests in mourning. Some sobbed loudly into their handkerchiefs. Frends and family followed me back to the house for drinks and nibbles that Mrs Lavender had organised and paid their respects to our lost ones. They patted my hands and hugged me with a look of pity, sadness, and sympathy in their eyes.
I sniffed miserably and pushed back the tears that were threatening to flow down my cheeks once again. I stood tall and brave and some people who came to pay their respects told me how brave I was and what a burden it will be for me to look after my little brother. I had to take a deep breath and hold back the anger surging through my veins and just nod and smile.
Once all the guests from the funeral had gone I set Gene on my lap and told him in a firm sisterly tone, "now, Gene, you must listen to me. You know that Papa and Grandmother Maxine has joined our Mama up in heaven, don't you?"
Gene looked up at me with sad eyes and nodded laying his small head down upon my right shoulder.
"In the next couple of weeks we'll be moving to West Cornwall to live with our AUnt Isabel and Uncle Herald. Won't that be winderful? To finally see our other relatives who we have not seen for years?" I tried to make my voice sound excited and cheerful for Gene's sake as well for my own.
He lifted his head up "have they got any children?" he asked.
I nodded my head "yes, they do. Three children called Oliver who is twenty four, Devon who is twenty two, and the youngest Cynthia who is thirteen," I answered his question with a smile.
Gene kissed my cheek then hugged me. "I love you, Zoe, you're the best sister in the world," he said.
I laughed and tightened my arms around him "and you're the best brother in the world and I love you too," I replied.
We hugged again and then he jumped down from my lap and ran up the stairs to start packing for our new life.
I felt my blue eyes fill up with tears of happiness and love and not of sorrow and misery like they had been earlier on back at the funeral. I stood up off the chair and walked up the stairs to start packing myself for my new life in West Cornwall.
The next two weeks went ever so quickly and Gene and I were all packed and ready to go to our new life in St Ives, West Cornwall to live with our aunt and uncle and cousins. we took one last look back at our childhood home as we stepped out the front door with our suitcases just as a taxi drove up to take us to the train station. We said a tearful good bye to Mrs Lavender who was going to stay on at the house which Grandmother Maxine would've wanted. We embraced her and then I helped Gene into the taxi and just as I was about to take a step in I glanced back at the house filled with so many happy, joyful, and sad memories of all of us together. I took a deep breath and waved good bye to Mrs Lavender and she waved back. The taxi driver put our suitcases into the boot. He was a short, stocky man.
The taxi driver began to drive away when he got back into the taxi, "to the train station, is that correct?" he asked.
"Yes please," I said as Gene and I looked back through the back window waving bye to Mrs Lavender who had trotted after us waving back.
I thought of Mama just then and wondered if her bautiful spirit along with Papa's Grandmother's was watching over us. My eyes filled with tears but I quickly wiped them awat before either Gene or the taxi driver saw them.
Ten minutes later we had arrives at the train station and the taxi driver took our suitcases out and took them into the station for us and I paid him. He wished us both luck and then went on his way.
Gene and I took hold of our luggage and walked up to the ticket desk and asked for two one way tickets to St Ives, West Cornwall. I handed him some money and he gave us our tickets . We went out and stood on the black concrete platform to wait for our train to arrive. It was coming at twenty to twelve. The time now was half past eleven in the morning on the first of August 1950.
The loud chita chata of the train coming along the electric railway tracks grabbed our attention as it whistled and black smoke came out of the chimney.
People started picking up their luggage from the platform and began stepping onto the train once it had stopped.
I held Gene back who was hurrying to get onto the train, "no, not yet, Gene. Let this old couple go on first," I said firmly.
Gene nodded and let an elderly man and woman get on the train before us who smiled with thanks as they stepped ion.
"Now we can get on," I said pushing him forward and lifted him up onto the train and then I stepped on myself.
We walked down the aisle of seats and found an empty couple of seats at the end by the window. I sighed with heavily as I started to relax as I sat down and closed my eyes.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, we are now about to depart to St Ives, can you not move from your seats until after we have departed from the platform, thank you and I hope you have a comfortable journey," said the train driver the microphone. "So sit back and relax and enjoy,"
The train started to move slowly away from the platform. We were soon out of St Tintagel on our to St Ives.
I sat up and stared out the window at the passing houses and buildings and the lovely blue green sea. I was really going to miss it because I had spent my whole life here.
Bethany, Laura, Liz, and Crystal came to my mind. I hadn't sat good bye to them. They must be wondering where I was and what had happened to me. As soon as I arrive at my aunt's house and get settled in I shall write to all of them. And explain why I had to leave the school urgently. Surely Miss Hardman and Mrs Peacock would of told them.
Once the train was out of the town we passed more of luscious green fields and beautiful wildflower meadows.
I glanced over at Gene who had fallen asleep in the chair beside me with his head on my left shoulder. I smiled to myself feeling myself feeling a bit sleepy as well. My eyelids grew heavier and soon I was asleep my chin resting on my chest.