Thursday, Day 4
I’ve decided to leave for Toronto tonight. After hearing Wayne’s report I might have left immediately, I am that taken with St. Claire, but guilt holds me here. I visit my sister, Elise, each week without fail, but I doubt she would realize if I have missed a week, or indeed if I never visited her again.
My mother was “not well” is how it is politely put. My earliest memory is of scalding hot water and the stink of bleach. I remember vividly my mother pouring bleach on my tender young skin and scrubbing my hands raw with a wire brush. “Dirty, so dirty, how do you get so dirty?” she would intone over and over again as she flayed the skin from my hands. I would cry out in agony and Elise, my saviour, my older sister, would come to my rescue.
I can hear her shaky, terrified little voice as she interceded on my behalf. “Mother,” she would say in that weak voice, struggling to be strong for me, to take the pain from her younger brother. “Look at my hands. I’m filthy, so dirty.”
Mother would drop my hands and appraise Elise as my sister held out her hands to Mother for inspection. Elise was my Christ. But Mother didn’t stop with Elise’s hands. Mother would also attack Elise’s beautiful sweet face with the wire brush and scrub raw her porcelain skin.
This terrible ritual seemed to bring Mother to a cathartic release of sorts. Realizing at last what she had done to her children she would hold us close and weep, begging us for forgiveness, promising to never lay a hand on us again. And then she would take to her bed for weeks or months. Her “lazy days” is what she called them and how thankful I was when they would come.
Home was a sprawling twelve bedroom prison to me. Most of the rooms were never used and we were not allowed to go into much of the house. At night I was tied to my bed, and there were days when Mother would leave me restrained, days when I would scream and scream because I didn’t want to empty my bowels and be left in my own excrement. Mother kept the place like a museum. Her husband, my father, left her before I was born. Elise told me years later that Mother thought her love would one day come home and she must keep the house as he left it.
We had two servants that served the family faithfully for decades, a married couple, Charles and Abigail. They served my grandmother before my mother inherited the family estate and by all accounts my grandmother was, like my mother, “not well.” They were, therefore, accustomed to my painfully eccentric family. They were kind to Elise and me, but kept silent about what went on under the roof of their long time employers.
I’ve never blamed them. They lived in the little cottage house on the grounds, were paid little, and were already advanced in age when I was young. I don’t think either can read or write and serving our family was all they knew. They must be in their late seventies now and they still live in their little cottage house on the grounds of what is now my estate, I suppose. They care for my museum prison. I pay them well and Abigail keeps the place spotless for visitors that will never come. Charles, I am told, still maintains gardens that are the envy of the neighbourhood. They were kind to Elise and me so I am kind to them.
My fondest memories are of working in the garden with Charles when Mother had her “lazy days” and of sitting in the kitchen and listening to Abigail sing as she prepared elaborate meals that only my sister and I would eat.
When Mother began wandering the halls of the estate in her faded and tattered wedding gown, cradling a shotgun, Abigail was finally moved to call the police.
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Genre – Erotic Romance
Rating – R