Yesterday I wrote a short story about the discovery of a secret from the past. This was the story:
This is part two.
My poor mother was clearly in no fit state to deal with the issues that had suddenly been dumped upon her. The storm knocking over Grandfather’s tree and exposing a body. The locket containing a key to a box kept locked for who knows how many years. Then finally the revelation of Great Aunt Sally’s diary. It had all been too much for Mother and she descended into tears.
I did the best thing I could do. I helped her into her bedroom, made her drink a glass of water containing her sleeping powders and put her to bed. I sat with her until her chest rose and fell in that steady rhythm of deep sleep. Her body looked so gaunt and frail. She had never been a big eater and living on her own, she clearly hadn’t been eating enough to keep her strength up. Any strength she’d had noticeably ebbed away with the shock of recent events. Her pale hair hung in wispy tendrils around her softly lined face. Her eyes were sunken. She looked more like an eighty-year-old rather than a woman in her sixties. In fact, she reminded me of Great Aunt Sally herself, who’d been eight-eight when she passed. The memory of her, reminded me of that leather-bound book I’d left in her old bedroom.
I walked slowly back down the landing to Great Aunt Sally’s bedroom and sat down upon the bed. A musty smell surrounded me as I sank into that old feather mattress. I picked up the diary. Dare I read this, knowing that it will bring me face to face with some dreadful reality? I knew I had to read on, no matter how dark the journey will be. This was a part of my family history. I prepared myself to amble through the past.
The book fell open at the front page, scrawled with those terrible words my Great Aunt had written ‘Why I killed my Sister today.’
It was clear that these words had been written in some time after the first entry below. Although it was the same hand, the fateful words had been written in a shakier less steady hand but was in clearer ink. The entries below appeared to have been written many years early. The ink was faded and it looked like it had been written in one of those scratchy old-fashioned pens.
The first date was December 25th, 1910.
I received this diary for Christmas and this is my first entry. Emma and I were so excited when we discovered Santa Claus had been. Both our stockings that we’d hung at the bottom of our bed were bulging, but Emma’s seemed to be more so than mine. I was pleased with my Christmas Orange and the walnuts. I had four but I think Emma had six walnuts but she hid two and said she’d only had four like me. We both had gifts wrapped in brightly colour paper and string. Emma’s was bigger than mine, as usual.
Well no surprise that my present was this diary, and I am quite pleased with it, but Emma’s present was much nicer. It was a wooden box carved with animals and the wood smelled so nice. I wish I had that box instead. Emma always gets the best. Just because she’s the elder by ten minutes and she has dimples and I don’t. I hate being a twin. Mother said it’s special being a twin because you always have a friend to play with, but I hate it, hate it, HATE IT.
January 30th, 1910
I am recovering in the infirmary because I fell out of our tree house. They were worried I may have been killed. I remember we were playing, Emma and I, but then as so often happened, she said something spiteful so I slapped her and we ended up fighting again. People may have thought it was an accident, but I know better. Emma pushed me. I heard the doctor talking to Mother, I have broken my legs but they will heal but the doctor said I had internal bleeding of the uterus and as such I may have issues in the future. I can’t say I understand much of the words he used but It sounds impressive. Mother came and sat with me and made a lot of fuss over me. It makes a change from Emma getting all the attention.
I flicked over some of the pages. The childish outbursts and pettiness irritated me. I hadn’t known Great Aunt Sally and my Grandmother had been twins, but I had never known my Grandmother at all. It was clear that not every day had an entry, or every week. Sometimes weeks would pass before something was recorded. As I skimmed over a couple of pages, this resulted in travelling through time by a few years, then another entry caught my eye.
August 21st, 1915.
Our first ball. When Mother had said it was time for us to attend our first summer party I was thrilled and so was Emma. We seem to have been getting on better lately and I must admit it is nice to have someone to talk to and share secrets with. Emma always seems to know just what I’m thinking. We have had new dresses made, in a light frothy lacy material. Mine has green trim around the neck, waist and hem whereas Emma’s dress has red ribbons. As we entered the room people stopped and stared at us. I must admit we looked lovely with our long hair neatly curled into ringlets. I couldn’t help but overhear Mrs Paxton say “Don’t they look adorable” as we walked past. Then spiteful Cathy Anderson said “Emma does, I don’t think green suits Sally at all.”
I would have said something back to her, Cathy with her terrible complexion! The Gall of it, but then I saw them. Theodore and Edgar Taylor. They are twins too! They are visiting from Carolina and we spent most of the evening talking together. What gentlemen and what lovely dancers.
August, 25th 1915
I have lost my heart completely. Theodore Taylor is the most handsome man I have ever met. Of course, his brother Edgar is nice too, but Theodore’s eyes are bluer and he is just a bit taller, I think.
September, 3rd 1915
The most horrible thing has happened. Theodore has asked Emma to marry him. Doesn’t he know I adore him? It was all Emma’s doing. She knew I loved him. Why did I tell her? Why? She set out to deliberately steal him from me. I will never forgive her, never, never, never.
June 2nd 1916
So today was Emma’s wedding to Theodore. I didn’t want to go, but Emma begged me to be her bridesmaid. She even shed tears. She could always turn on those tears when she wanted something. I relented in the end. I felt cold inside watching Emma walking down the aisle and Theodore standing there waiting for her. It should have been ME.
Something, at least, has come out of today. Edgar proposed to me. I was sitting outside the church and I couldn’t help shedding a little tear as Emma and my Theodore rode off in that carriage. Edgar thought I was sad to see Emma go, bless him. He actually got down on bended knee and proposed. I said I would have to think about it.
I don’t love him, but I think I will accept. He and Theodore are very close. Much closer that Emma and I will ever be.
I thought it odd that there was no mention of her own wedding day, I skimmed over the pages but I could see no mention of it whatsoever.
To be Continued……..
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 16/July/2018