The five sisters sat in silence, looking at the soft web and flow of the sea. The old oak tree they used to climb and hide in remained faithful and kept company to the five grown women, a shared past, and a sisterhood about to unfold from the pain of loss.
“Why did you leave, Patty?” asked Angel.
Patty sunk her fingers in the warm sand. “Amazing, how yesterday it was pouring and today…”
“You’re avoiding the question and wasting time,” interrupted Angel in her usual direct way.
“I had to…”
“Why didn’t you take us with you? I came back for Angel.”
“Jill, you could afford to… I was practically living on the street and, when lucky, sleeping at friends’ places… You have no idea what I had to do…” replied Patty.
A stifling silence settled in for long minutes.
Each one of them was divided between reliving the sorrows of countless unspoken resentments and the need, the wish to find their way back to the primordial togetherness that existed between them, a bond as strong as life, broken by distance and pain.
“If you want to see it that way… Even Dad left, in a way, hiding out in his garage. Everyone left, but Mathilda…” added Patty.
Mathilda smiled. The warm afternoon seemed to plot in favor of the sisters. She knew that.
“Well, this won’t take us anywhere. It’s only us now, girls. We need to stick together,” said Cordelia, always conciliatory.
The sisters talked about the infamous belt and that evening when they had to hide little Angel in the attic, one by one secretly going up there with the needed paraphernalia to clean and dress the wound. They talked about being the last to leave school and slowly walking home together, because the bus took them back to hell too fast. They talked about the lost nights of sleep, listening to the violent arguments between their mother and father, thinking there would be consequences the next day. Amidst the pain, in reality, they talked about their togetherness. How they shared the sparse lunch bought, two sandwiches and a bottle of water for five, with the few coins their dad had given them. They smiled when they recalled reading stories before bedtime and living in them, imagining new endings, taking characters from one story to visit with the characters of another.
After long hours, the day came to an end, a soft soothing breeze whispering over the dunes. They started by sitting randomly, a great distance between them. They ended sitting side by side, looking at the sun setting behind the line of the horizon, preparing for a new day somewhere on the other side of the world as they prepared for a new life.
“We are back home now, together” said Mathilda. “That’s what matters.”
Over a period of a year and a half, all the sisters moved back into town. Patty sold her club for a ton of money to a shady character who was convinced he was buying not only the club, but all her contacts and influences and opened a restaurant. Jill and her husband sold the house by the sea to find a beautiful luxurious cabin close to the beach. Cordelia left her job and, along with Angel, moved back in with Mathilda; they renovated the house while healing Angel, and vowed to make the family grow with tons of children, to the amusement of Cordelia’s shamisen students. They also bought a boat and sailed out often, diving and singing old songs as loudly as they could, causing much distress to the poor seagulls that would scatter in all directions, away from them as they approached.
“Angel… It’ll be alright. Everything will be alright,” said Mathilda.
Angel smiled and snuggled in her sister’s arms. It took a while, but life was now good.
The image that inspired this story has been resized to fit the slideshow’s photo dimensions of this blog. I strongly recommend viewing its original size!