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- August 14, 2011 at 1:17 am #363250
Janette stood at the grave of her father and watched as the coffin descended into the earth. One day this would happen to me, but what it would be like down there?, She thought. Darkness would prevail and earthworms would gather the still fresh body and nibble at them till all that remains is bones.
“You deserve that end,” she whispered as the coffin settled in the ground. She remembered the moment her father slapped her. It was on her last day of college when she returned home, deciding to tell her parents about the girl she loved.
“We’ll live together,” she said as she sipped at a cup of tea on the lunch table, “WE already rented a house in west Virginia.”
Her father moustache shook and he swatted the table with his hand then got to his feet. “You’re a shame to this family,” He slapped her. Janette tumbled back in her chair; her face hot with the power of his slap.
“I hate you,” The word rang in her ear like a bell echoing down a vaulted hall.
The look in her mother’s eyes reminded her of how she had always been careless towards her own good. She cared to show her good-natured side whenever someone was around, but when alone with her daughter she would get busy with phone calls, fashion magazines and housework.
The days passed so fast and Janette could not help but to feel alone. Catherine has been gone for a year now and she missed her a lot. By night, she brought her picture and placed it against her chest. She ran the tip of her finger against Catherine’s pointed, small nose then kissed her good bye.
In her dreams, she saw Catherine and her Dad standing at a golden door in a small garden. She walked at them. Her father frowned at Catherine then vanished behind the door. Catherine smiled at Janette and slowly a pair of wings appeared at her shoulders and she fluttered away; her feet hanging down behind her as if not a part of her body; as if she had no control over them.
Next morning, Catherine woke up to her mother’s phone call. Still in bed, she raised the handle. “Mum, I’m sleeping. What do you want?”
“You can be a bit polite; your father is dead but that’s not how you’re supposed to talk to your Mom.”
“Sorry, Mom.” She sighed away from the handle, “Please, speak up I need to have a shower and go to work.”
“ Your aunt is back from Paris. She wants to see you. I guess she has brought something for you. She will be back tomorrow. We’ll wait for you on dinner.”
“I don’t want anything,” Janette said, “I just want you to leave me alone.”
“I’ll leave you alone, you ungrateful slut, but first come and see what this lady wants.”
“Bye, Mom.” Janette placed the handle back. She walked to the window and stood there for a moment wondering what Aunt Edna wanted her for. She never loved her; even when her father was around, she always treated her as if she never existed. For a second it seemed for Janette, that everyone treated her as if she didn’t exist. Even Catherine, she had not called her for two weeks, now. Last night Janette tried to call her but she could not find her at her room.
After having a shower, Janette went to her work with a mug of espresso in her hand. She hated her job. For seven years, she has been working as a bookseller in a small shop facing the police station. She hated books. One day, she decided to leaf through a novel by Charles dickens and she eventually managed to sell it to one of the officers who came occasionally to the shop; his name was Oswald.
At the beginning, Janette thought it strange to have an American named Oswald, but after asking him, he told her that he was of German origins.
“You seem like you’re fond of books, Mrs. Janette.” He said, eyeing the badge needled to her Paige shirt. “I like books myself, but the life of an officer is so difficult.”
Janette did not want to get interested in his talk. Many customers liked talking with her. When she was younger, Mrs. Fonda, her English teacher told her that the freckles at her cheeks made her seem like a friendly girl. Janette smirked at the memory but then she remembered that she never lingered in a relation ship. All of her life she wanted a friend, a father, a mother a sister, but she never had one.
“Do you recommend other books, Mrs. Janette?” The officer said, running a finger through his brown hair that fell to his sweaty forehead. “ I trust the opinion of well read librarian like you.”
She wanted to shout at him, “I don’t like books you idiot,” But she did not do so and she vanished behind one of the bookshelves and returned with an enormous book.
“It’s Tolstoy,” she said, offering him the book. “You’d be interested in reading It.” she smiled, lowering her eyes to the ground and returned behind the counter.
“War and peace, oh.” He said, turning the book in his hands. “I guess you choose for your customers according to their occupation.”
“I don’t really choose, I guess I offered you what I like myself.”
“But you look so young
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