ayl?tiG.—chapter one


He cautiously lifted his legs over the large rounded roots of a tree planted in front of my house, his crisp and clean black trousers riding up. He looked to be marching, a one-man band show without his instruments. Rather, one hand was casually stuffed in his pocket. His cheeks were upturned as he made his way to the porch.

I’d been waiting for a while, sat on the red-bricked steps of my porch. It might have been fall or winter. Acorns always fell from the tree regardless of the season but it was around noon. The orange flowers along the small fence on my front lawn were open and facing west.

He flexed his neck as he ran his hand behind it. The gray walkway pavement was cracked by overgrown weeds. Yet, he missed every tiny yellow dandelion.

A wispy forest of a mixture of October trees and evergreens danced, swaying their branches following the direction of the fresh cool wind —dampened by the dawn mist— that filled the air. Soft chirping and swift flapping of wings in all kinds of spring colors with a mixture of clacking and echoes of laughter spread through the halls of the grand Maison standing at the center of the bordering thin forest. The cerulean blue waters of the English Channel glistened as the first light reached its surface. Four times, the tallest tower rumbled as the ringing of bells began and magnified by eight. This was the music of the countryside.

I re-adjusted myself on the cold hard surface of the window sill as the ringing in my ears continued. The creases on my new dress ruffled together and my bare legs grazed against the four-feet-tall impersonal gray wall beneath the window. I let out a sigh before standing on my feet. My small toes curled and the wooden floor creaked slightly. I gripped the rusted handles of the arched white windows, my upper arms tightened as I pulled them close. Taking a few steps toward the roughly white-painted stiff four-post bed, I grabbed my teddy-bear-brown vintage winter cardigan and like a sloth, I put on my flats. Walking by the small nook leading to my dark wood door, I turned to my left where an ornate mirror hung. My brown curls were tied in a loose bun and my overgrown fringes were braided to the side to keep from slinging into my eyes. I fixed the position of my red glasses and forced a smile to myself.

Other residents shuffled around their rooms and door after door clicked open and slammed close. I let the nervousness escape through my lips once more before stepping out.

My shoulder slumped down from the weight of a foreign hand. The owner’s teeth were considerably white and straight. She kept the grin on her face for some time. “Georgiana, oui?” I was forced forward as another hand patted me. “Bienvenue, new girl.” With a quick wave of her hand, the girl directed towards the marble steps leading down to the hall. Our steps aligned quickly in silence as we descended and entered one of the large rooms.

The dining room had one table left open where a priest sat with folded hands and faded blue eyes. He unfurled his shaking hands from each other and gently offered the seats around him. As he tried to speak, his voice croaked and his Adam’s apple protruded, the layered thin skin bobbing along— “Bonjour, Georgiana.”

Looking around again, everything in its place, I suddenly felt out of my element. I swallowed and shut my eyes. Here it was. Today marked the first day of the two years living in what I’d like to call, ‘the meadow after the rain’.


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