We live in a little cottage in the Pyrenees. During holidays at least. Mom and Dad teach us a lot about nature here. They don’t trust the education system completely, so they take us out to the fields. I like it here, but it is very silent. I always miss my friends. I like to play tag and hide and seek and other games we make up. I like to be with lots of friends. It’s more fun than just with my little sister. But she’s nice too. She likes to dance on the songs Mom and Dad put on. Sometimes with her teddy mouse.
But the food we eat here always tastes better than at home. Mom and Dad say they cook so well because everything is fresh from mother earth. They say they put more love in the food when we are here. I think it is like Lucy and her mouse. They are closer here. And I like to go to the forest to collect herbs and berries and mushrooms. Today, we made a huge pan of mushroom soup with thyme and mushrooms of all the colours of the rainbow almost. There were purple ones and brown ones and red ones and yellow ones. It looked very happy in the pan. And they added some milk from our cow Betsy.
Maybe Eric could join us up here one day. Or Tommy. Or both. That would be fun. They could also eat this lovely food. Sometimes we buy a piece of wild deer from the hunter. We could eat that if they come. With cranberry jam, or our own pumpkins from the garden. Aunt Elizabeth takes care of the garden when we’re not here.
This morning was nice. It was foggy at first. I don’t like it when it’s foggy, because it makes me feel even more alone in this little house. With Mom and Dad and Lucy locked in a big white cloud. But it became sunny very quickly, so we went outside to play a little with the ball. And then we saw a little fox. He was looking at us, and then Dad put some of the leftovers from yesterday on a plate downhill, and he ate that. Then he was happy.
And I read some comic books. I read stories of Micky Mouse and Goofy, and about Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey and Louie. I like those more, because Donald always goes on an adventure with Uncle Scrooge. Sometimes I wish I could also go on an adventure instead of being here all the time. But Mom and Dad want to stay here in the cottage. I don’t understand them. They are just sitting here and cleaning the cottage all day.
We started with dinner around sunset. One of us always has to thank mother earth before we start. It was Mom’s turn. She thanked her for the beautiful day, and for the good weather and for the lovely food and for the time she could spend with us. Mother Earth is our protectress, they say. She’s like a goddess who gives us everything we need whenever we need it. Like when you’re hungry, she gives you food. Or when you’re lonely, she gives you a friend. Or if you’re cold inside, she gives you a sunny day. But I think she cannot always take care of all the people, because the children in Africa are hungry and thirsty all the time, but we are usually fine. Mom and Dad don’t know why that is. They say it could be humans’ fault, but I don’t think so. Why would humans do that? Why doesn’t she make rain in Africa so that the plants can grow and the people can eat and drink?
Dad is lighting the fire in the fireplace. That’s nice because it’s warm and the movements of the flame are beautiful. When I was younger, I tried to catch a flame once, and then I burned myself. I can watch them here for hours. Thinking about my friends. Sometimes I imagine I see a whole landscape in the glowing ashes. Winking lights shine out of the houses in little firecities.
I feel a little nauseous. I might have a cold. I usually don’t get ill up here. Do you think that it’s the loneliness? Some people say that can make you sick. But I’m not that lonely. It started when we did the dishes. I hate doing the dishes. Maybe that’s why I got a belly ache.
“I feel bad.” Says Lucy. “Yes, me too, my belly hurts” I say. “You’re just saying that because I’m saying it”. Says Lucy. “Am not!” “Are too!” “Well, lovely little ones, at least you still have the energy to fight with each other.” Says mom. “We’re not fighting” I say. If we would be fighting, I’d hit Lucy. I can suddenly think of hundreds of places where I could hit her. Dad says something else. I don’t hear him well, because I’m concentrating on the flames and the sparks. One of the sparks shoots to Lucy. “AARH” She screams. “The fire monster is trying to eat me.” Dad is laughing but Mom comes running towards us, and she tries to soothe her, but then Lucy screams even louder. “I can’t breathe! Go away!” “Relax, honey”. But Lucy’s scream hunts her away. I have never heard her do this. As if some kind of monster came out. A scary sound goes deep inside me. Awlg. I want to get it out but I don’t know how. It’s somewhere I can’t reach.
I keep staring into the fire. The movement is alive. All flames are little dancing gnomes. Some are trying to get into my mouth. I hear Lucy scream again. A gnome gets into me, and goes to the same place as the scream. Deep inside me. Everything turns around. I vomit all over the ground. “Honey! The kids are not well! … I’m also feeling strange.” Mom’s voice comes from very far. I don’t know where she went. “What do you mean?” It’s loud, but far as well. Some kind of echo in my head.
I see Tommy. He can’t see me. I try to talk to him. No sound. When I walk in his direction, there is no way I can reach him. Something’s wrong. He shows me his teeth as if he’s mad at me. I am afraid. Strong beats in my ears. dunk-Dunk. dunk-Dunk. dunkDunk. Faster and faster. I feel as if my ear is about to explode.
Mom cries. Lucy is not moving. I can see a gnome of fire next to her. He is holding her heart. It is glowing blue. The gnome has sharp teeth. It’s coming towards me. Mom looks into my eyes. It feels as if she can look straight into me. I feel calm. Mom is here.
A black cloud is gathering around her face. It pulls the muscles of her mouth apart. A sound comes out from very deep. I don’t feel safe anymore. Something tries to turn me inside out. I want to stop it but I can’t. I see the gnome on my chest. He’s bending over, reaching to my heart. When he touches the skin over my ribs, I feel a burning pain. He takes my heart as well. It looks green. I feel darkness stream in from below my belly. It’s made of thick black liquid.
“Honey, the kids are not well! I’m also feeling strange!” Lucy’s delirious behaviour got to me. “What do you mean, you feel strange?” Robert asks me. “I don’t know” I say “as if I feel Lucy’s rave. As if I’m part of it. As if I feel what’s happening to her”. “She’s your daughter, love. Of course you feel what is happening!” “No, this is different… my perception… .” I’m suddenly afraid. “Jimmy’s vomit… are you sure those Blushers we collected were the right ones?” “We always collect them on that spot, darling. It would be strange if now, suddenly…” “We ate a lot of them!” I contest “Would mother earth do that to us while we are always so tuned with her?” His words seem hollow. Everything is making sense.
Lucy screams awfully again. I see her fall into a sleep. I can tell just by watching her that her heart and breath are weak. She is passing away. He won’t believe me, but a mother knows such things. I cry. This crying feels more cleansing than crying ever felt before. As if the tears come straight out of my soul. Straight out of Lucy’s soul. I bend over her, hug her, caress her, and while she lays there, motionless and at peace, we gently melt together. I feel the life being drawn out of my girl. As if her spirit dissolves right under my grasp. But I can’t stop it. Her heart stops, and I burst into burning tears. Then I look at Jimmy.
A flash. I feel how Robert conceives him inside me. Male and female unite to one fruit. Memory? Illusion? It happened on that couch. I see Jimmy grow. He stands up and walks. Babbles his first words. I hear how they slowly start making sense. Questions. Answers. Mundane answers, mostly Roberts answers, serving only to familiarize a growing boy with thoughts. His first day of school. His little friends. I don’t know if he’s ever been in love. But he too is about to die. I can see it in his eyes.
I get torn apart again and burst. How much loss can a person endure? How much time has passed? Where are we? Where is Robert? When will this end? The questions blur my sight. I feel an urge to tear the heart from Jimmy’s chest. Where do all these colours come from? Robert is bending over him. “I can feel it too…”. Hollow words again. We are losing the boy as well.
Clarity. “Remember when we first made love on that couch? I felt Jimmy’s conception. It unified us. We are falling apart now.” Robert waves his arms around his head. He’s screaming at something. I try to look him in the eyes, but he avoids me. Too busy fighting off the demons in his head. I see it. He takes the blame. He cannot see the nature of the situation. It ends where it started. “Robert…” I whisper. But he does not respond. I can see he’s being consumed by guilt. It has never been any different. While my eyes close, I feel terribly alone.
I’m falling. Falling deeper and deeper, until all I can think of is the abyss I will soon reach. My parents watch from above. “You’re losing me!” I scream. Fear takes over. Their faces turn angry and dark. “Could you not take care of our blood?” Frowning, they disappear. I open my eyes and see that Robert’s gone. The door is open. A chill comes in. I’m lying in between Lucy and her teddy mouse and Jimmy and his puke. The sparks of the fire crack inside my mind. I remember carrying this heavy couch inside the cottage with a man who could not love. I remember the work we did in the garden, the effort to build this beautiful wooden kitchen. Futilities that took a lifetime.
“Angelica!” It seems as if Robert went out far. I cannot answer his call, I do not want to. He poisoned us. How many hours have past? It has taken me over. Let me dissolve like my children did.
I shiver. Electricity is running under my skin. It’s chilly and hot at once. The worst thing I ever felt. It vibrates up and down my spine. I see Jimmy and Lucy hand in hand, smiling. Then a monstrous hand squeezes them to pulp. It comes closer than my breath. A jolt in my heart unchains another chill. I can’t see well. There are spots. They move over the ceiling.
Distant steps. Robert. My eyes are closed. The touch on my forehead is cold. It provokes more chills. I open my eyes and see the spots blurring his face. “Angelica, I’m sorry.” I feel nothing. I close my eyes again and hear a rush coming in like a storm of bees. It takes me away. It’s all there is. A buzzing sea. The colours fade and the sea buzzes softer. No thoughts. No past. No now. buz-Buz… buz-Buz …buz-Buz … Buz.