Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Emma in the boat

If they need me, they'll just have to come get me, even if I did take the only boat.  Virginia is too big to cry for milk when she can get it from the icehouse as well as I can.  Silly spoiled child.  Let her listen to the twins yowl while Mother rests.

Are there really Indians on this island?  Father always says so, but Father says Virginia is sweet as syrup, so his judgement is suspect.  I might go ashore, or I might not.  If there are Indians, I'll pay my toll in lemon drops - I brought enough for a tribe.  Another reason for Virginia to howl when she learns I didn't share them with her, for once.  The boys would already have stolen them, if they knew.

I'm goin to stay here until the quiet fills up my head and pushes out everything.  Virginia's whining, and the boys' yelling and fighting and calling out More Sweets!  More Sweets!  I will stay here until I hear ...

... absolutely nothing at all, all day long.

Looks lie, she told me, and pointed to the painting over the buffet.  My sister, Emma.  You're so responsible, Emma!  Such a big help to your mother, Emma!  So generous to the young ones, Emma!  Well, Emma never sat for that painting but she sat in that boat so much that IT could have painted it.  As soon as Mama lay down every morning just after breakfast, Emma hiked up her skirt and ran to the dock, a paper sack full of lemon drops from Kirk's General Store balled up in her fist.  If we were "lucky," she'd show up again just before Papa got home, and get busy finishing up the supper I'd made.  Papa thought Emma was a great cook, and she never told him otherwise until he needed to stay with one of us and she told him "it better be with Virginia, Papa - she's the cook amongst us."  Never mind those boys, who made themselves absent once they grew up and left home.

Emma wanted a headful of silence all the time, said she had important things to think and I wouldn't understand, having smaller thoughts that could be thought just fine while chasing the twins and taking care of Mama and keeping house.  And so, she gets that from me now, a present:  all the silence I can give her.

Emma in the little dinghy
thinks her family is too clingy.
Wants to sit out here and float,
drifting in the still waters just off the island.

No comments: