Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Angela stood trance like at the kitchen sink staring out of the window and lost in memories that only she knew she would bring to her grave to stand in shame or so she felt, before her Maker. The water was now ice cold in the sink and the china cup in her hand, a permanent fixture for the last hour or more, the same cup she has washed for twenty eight years would not let go let alone it's own memories. Turning her gaze from the window and looking down at the cup she thought that the pattern, some far of oriental seine would have washed away by now, but it was his cup, the cup he used for breakfast in all of these years .... and she was angry, angry and alone. She was here by chance and not by choice.
She came to the Big House as it was known by the locals as a young and innocent woman, fair in complexion and fair by nature in spite of her upbringing, from the west of the island.  Straight from school to the Big House { from one institution into another }, her first true life experience away from home and into another world that was like moving from night into day, a world totally different than the one she had left. Her childhood home, if you could call it that, was not a happy one for the father had no time for the daughters, just for the sons who could help him work the farm but he was not a father to the sons, keeping the farm going and out of the reach of the banks, providing food on the table, all of this was good enough for him, he felt he was doing his part and what he did outside of the house was his business and nobody else could say different.
Her mother, older than her age and pretty when she was younger, now timid and shy lived in fear of her husband who was always angry with the world and his lot in it thought his daughters as a burden, 'only good for feeding hens' he would always say given the opportunity and reminded them of their weakness as women and the temptation that went with them. Angela could see herself taking on the personality of her mother and this was always her fear that she would end up like the mother, seen and not heard, but her brothers, maybe unknown to themselves but it was unlikely, were moulding themselves in the likeness, attitude and mannerisms of the father. So the women in the house had no chance unless they could marry into a better situation or move to the big town in the hope of a better life .... times were hard and they made hard people and affection was not to be found, unless you had a miracle in life.
Two days before she was to leave school and finish with that part of her life the Bishop came to the school to interview the girls for the housekeeper job in the Big House in the far off town that seemed to be in another world all together, older women were hard to come by who would take on the job of being a live-in house -keeper to a priest and besides they had their own families to try to care for. As the excitement went around the school like mass hysteria that one of the girls was going to be the lucky one to go to the Big House Angela seemed not to be affected by it all, she didn't think that she would be the one that was going to go and gave it no attention, all her expectations of what life should be were put down by her father, a bitter man from his own childhood and a father that left his mark on him.  When her time came to be interviewed by the Bishop she was calm in herself and answered his questions as if she was talking to her one and only best friend which she had none, 'no time for friends' her father would keep reminding her. The Bishop was impressed with her calmness and sincerity that she was given the job there and then, he did not want to see any more girls who were over egotistic and trying to please, if she wanted to go to the Big House as a live-in housekeeper the job was hers.  Of course she wanted it, to be on her own and away from the grip of her father ..... but she also knew she would miss the mother who tried to protect her daughters from her husband and knew that her mother would die in her own loneliness.
Twenty eight years in the Big House she thought to herself as she sat down in his chair as she would often do when he was not there, and now she could still sense his energy as if she was sitting on his knee. A lot different from life on the farm that was now a faded memory but now and then when life likes to play it's guilt game the emotional scares could rise up through her body as if reaching up from hell and through the foundations of the Big House and grip her by the ankles and pull her down, in did so in her mind, as if she was still there but now she was keeper of the Big House and protector of the man in it.
He was a young priest of twenty seven, not very tall with reddish hair that when the sun was behind him it looked like golden fleece. He had a happy nature that stayed with him through out his life, came from a good family, not well off in material things but had more of their fair share of family love and was given the freedom to do with his life what he wanted and he could have been anything he wanted to be for he had a good mind and quite a good head for business but the priesthood is what he always wanted and his parents supported and stood by him even in the times when he was feeling lost in his decision but that never lasted for long and it would pass without notice. He moved into the Big House twenty eight years ago and given his first parish to take charge of and care for the people's spiritual needs,  in fact they moved into the Big House on the same day, like a newly married couple, if only they knew what the future held for them.
It was still early in the morning for Angela had the habit of getting up at five thirty, it came from living on the farm because there was chores to be done before she went to school, staying in bed was a luxury she did not allow herself even at this stage of her life. She got up now from the comfort of his chair and realising she still had the cup in her hand let it drop, breaking into a thousand pieces across the wooden floor like stars in the heavens. Not bothering, and not like her to pick up the pieces she moved about the Big House as if she was looking for something but did not know what it was she was expecting to find, she was angry and alone, and then it came to her, she realised for the first time in twenty eight years that she was a prisoner to the Big House but a prisoner of her own making for she felt safe there and very rarely would she leave it for any length of time, but she would never admit to herself that she did not like to be away from from him. He would have made a wonderful father to some lucky daughter , she often thought to herself but was more than happy he had chosen the priesthood, she had him to herself in the Big House.
She was now standing at the foot of the double bed with it's  'Sacred Heart' picture and little red cross light, on all day and night, and  never seemed to need replacing in all of these years, seemed to be floating on the wall behind the bed.  His weekday coat, he could be doing with a new one, on the back of the chair where he would sit and read his Bible before breakfast, 'courage for the day' he would tell her, she could almost hear the words now as if he was standing beside her. Turning her back to the bed she started to leave but stops before reaching the door and fell to the floor on her knees, she had no control over her actions or emotions and started to cry at first and then calling out his name twisting her hands around till they were blood red fell face to the floor and lay there with no attempt to pick her self up. How long she was lying on the floor she does not know nor did it matter to her for there was nobody in the Big House, nobody to comfort or share her pain for these walls were like the confession box, they see and hear but could not tell.
It was dark now when she started to pick herself up from the floor, looking around her as if nothing had happened and walking towards the window to pull the curtain's before making the bed ready for the night she remembered she had a funeral to go to in the morning.  She wasn't too pleased with his behaviour in leaving her alone .

We cannot predict the future but we can invent it .....
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