Who would pick this fabric for a cushion? Penny stared at the plaid until the squares appeared to move of their own accord. She was startled when she heard her mother clamoring down the hallway, causing her to kick off her shoes in a panic. Proper young ladies would never damage such exquisite fabric with soiled shoes.
It was noisy the day her father left. A lot of yelling and screaming in their very proper household. The only thing Penny recalled was her father’s last words before he slammed the door. “I can no longer abide your histrionic outbursts!”
Penny knew without consulting the dictionary just what her father meant. She waited for him to return to fetch her because surely if her father could not abide it, he must certainly realize neither could she. But he never returned. She ended up spending summers with her grandfather and he tried to be the father figure she had lost. But at 10 years old, she understood more than people wanted to believe. No one could fill that void — even with the best of intentions.
Her grandfather adored Penny. He always praised her good temperament and told her she must be part angel with such alabaster skin and ebony hair. Those words made her feel exotic and caused her to stare into the mirror more. Penny learned a lot from her grandfather. She learned about plants and animals and flowers. She planted seeds and watched them grow. She handled worms and studied bird nests. Things her mother would never allow even though, they, too, had gardens waiting to be explored.
The window seat looking out over Mother’s garden was Penny’s favorite spot in the whole world. It made her feel normal to look out over the lilac bushes she convinced Zeke, the gardener, to plant. Mother never cared what was planted in the garden as long as it was well manicured and cared for – by the gardener not by her. Every moment there was something alive in the garden. This morning it was a fascinating katydid. He moved his beady little eyes and antennae as he peered at her through the glass. What an oddly assembled creature he was.
”Are those dreadful things back?” Everything related to nature was either dreadful, horrific, or repulsive to Mother. “Mrs. Clark, have the gardener get rid of those repulsive things!” Penny knew Zeke would not harm the creatures, but he would certainly convince Mother he complied with her wishes.
The footsteps stopped. Penny could feel her mother staring at her and simply waited for the other shoe to drop as it always did.
“Why must you always stare out that window? Honestly, Penny, turn around and put your shoes on. This is no way for a proper young lady to spend her day.” Penny complied as she always did, knowing as soon as Mother was out of sight, she would again curl up and study the creature staring at her through the window.
It was a beautiful day for a party. The sun broke through the trees and spread dappled light over the back yard. Penny was so devastated when her grandfather passed away ten years ago — she was not sure she would ever breathe again. He left her his house in the country and she lovingly cared for it putting all her energy into reviving the gardens and bringing it back to its former glory.
Mother remarried and moved to a Chicago. She was living the proper life she had always believed she was destined to live. Penny never saw her father again, but Mother told her he passed away somewhere out west ‘without a dime to his name’.
”Deep in thought, my dear?” Bobby walked up behind her and slipped his arms around her waist. She smiled and felt her heart beat a little faster. “How about one last cup of coffee before it gets too crazy around here?”
”Mommy! Daddy! Look! I found two Daddy long leg spiders! Can I keep them? I have a box and everything!”
Penny thought of her grandfather as she smiled at her daughter. Even with streaks of dirt on her face and grass stains on the knees of her jeans she could still see the angel that stood before her with the ebony hair and alabaster skin.
Bobby knelt down and swept Tina up in his arms. “Of course you can, honey. Happy Birthday!”
This is my effort for this week’s writing challenge. Click here for the suggestions and to partipate. #Fun20119