Monday, March 22, 2010

Reid, Emily's Best Friend

The most important person in Emily's life is her best friend, Reid. He is three years older than Emily, and lives four doors down from her. Reid is a handsome, engaging boy with an imposing stature, quite tall for his eight years. He has dark brown hair which form curls around his thick neck, and his high cheekbones, angular features, and bright blue eyes would catch the attention of even a casual companion. Reid was recognized by the neighborhood children as the boy everyone wants as a friend. If anyone needed protection, Reid was the one called. He could intimidate children much older than himself and he feared no one. He ruled the neighborhood as much with his wit as his physical demeanor.

Emily never understood why Reid picked her as his best friend. She knew that she was privileged, and never took him for granted. She revered him, and their friendship was strong and tender. When Emily was away, Reid could often be found sitting on her porch as the family car pulled into the driveway. He would wait for her patiently, greeting her with a big grin on his tanned and handsome face. Emily was acutely aware that Reid picked her as his best friend over her own brother, and the other neighborhood children. She didn't know why he picked her, but she did not linger on the question for fear that he would go away.

Reid was mischievous and Emily admired the edginess of his personality. Reid loved Emily's creativity and together they fulfilled a need in each other. Reid enjoyed her fertile imagination as she plotted out the neighborhood pranks and exploits that he enjoyed. It was with Reid that Emily felt free to be herself. Emily tailor-made fantasies to fit Reid's love of heroism, and with Reid as her leading man, they would save the neighborhood from imaginary doom. Reid was the peer-equivalent to her grandma, saving her from life of horror and helplessness.

At times Emily would fantasize that Reid was compensating for her wicked childhood, and not allowing her to endure pain outside that house. In her mind she imagined that Reid was standing up for her, and his heroic nature was there to protect her. She would imagine Reid waiting for the day that he was taller and stronger than her father, towering above him in height and mental acuity. She would see Reid standing in the kitchen with his tall and muscular body rigid with determination to free his beloved Emily. His childlike heroism was replaced with an adult resolve to rid her of the terror of her father. Reid would become a Roman warrior, handsome and larger than life, capable of anything and afraid of nothing. He was there for justice, to free Emily from the prison of pain that her father had built for her. He would take him down, yes, but for the sake of justice and for the love he felt for Emily. This elaborate fantasy fueled her spirit and helped her to survive. She was convinced that Reid was sadly aware of the savage cruelty that Emily endured every day and would someday rescue her. She believed this in spite of the fact that Emily had never uttered a single word to Reid about her grueling and secret life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tara, Emily's Twin Sister

Emily had an identical twin sister, Tara. From what she could piece together, the birth was a perilous one. Emily was born first, and because of birth complications, Tara was trapped without oxygen for too long and suffered brain damage. Tara was institutionalized at an early age, and Emily was not permitted to visit her. Emily had no memories of Tara, and the absence of her left an ache for her twin that was persistent and profound. Every few months, she sensed her mother would become noticeably melancholy, and Emily knew that she was visiting Tara. At a young age, Emily wanted to talk about Tara but it was a forbidden subject. She knew that her mother would likely tell her father that Emily was asking about Tara, and she feared this would unleash his frequent rage. The lack of understanding about Tara and her condition left Emily with nothing but her imagination to draw images in her mind of Tara. She never did anything without considering Tara, and the existence of Tara was ever present in her mind..............

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Emily's Grandmother and her Refuge

Emily adored her grandma, and she spent every June with her.  At the end of each school year, she flew to her Grandmother's house like a bird flying from the cold chill of winter to a warm haven.  Grandma's house was her sanctuary, her safe place where she could just be a little girl.  Her grandma was sweet, and attentive and she loved Emily.  Emily absorbed all of the goodness of her grandma.  During that month, she did what Grandma did as she watched her every move during the day, no matter how small the deed or task.  Emily bathed in her grandma's love, storing it like fuel to get her through the atmosphere of cruelty that faced her when she left the insulated adoration of her grandma, and returned home.  

Grandma's house was a wonderful backdrop in which to express her vivid imagination.  The house was old and grand, and filled with interesting nooks and crannies where Emily could play.  It had all the rich character of an eighteenth century home.  The house had arched doorways, built in cabinets made of beveled glass, a carved columnar that hid the murphy bed where Emily slept.  Walking into the house, guests were greeted in a large foyer with an enormous walnut table where her grandma displayed her baked goods.  The smells were intoxicating as fresh baked bread, apricot pastries, and lemon meringue pies lined the table.  Emily loved to run from room to room, her imagination stimulated by the intrigue of the antique carved tables, victorian paintings, and the oriental rugs.  Grandma's exquisite touch was everywhere from the floral cloisonne, to the tapestries that she designed herself.  It was magic for Emily entwined with joy, as she ruled the manor during that wonderful month.  Long hardwood hallways led to massive bedrooms with four-posted beds, and pink-tiled bathrooms with monogrammed towels.  A heavy brocade curtain set in an alcove in the library when pushed aside, led to a spiral staircase with enormous bedrooms with built-in bookcases that held all of grandma's classics from Shakespeare to the Greek tragedies. 

Stepping out of the house was like walking into a sun drenched garden from heaven.  There was a wrap-around porch in the front filled with geraniums and intricately carved benches, and cast iron tables.  The centerpiece of grandma's yard was her vast and fragrant rose garden framed with carefully laid brick.  Grandma loved her roses, and she had every color and every fragrance, importing them from Europe if they were not native to America.  Walking down the long driveway was a pagoda, an elaborate enclosure of latticework and flower boxes, with a gold and white marble floor.  The room was inviting with its overstuffed floral chairs, and the long chaise swing that beckoned you to take a long nap.  Beyond the pagoda was an iron gate, which led to a cactus garden juxtaposed with fertile fruit trees of apples, lemons, oranges, and apricots.  This was grandma's favorite part of the yard, where she harvested the ripe and plentiful fruit to make her pies and pastries. 

During those Junes, Emily took it all in, and loved with all of her senses.  She stored the visions of beauty around her, the smells of grandma's cooking, and the sweet words spoken to her by grandma.  Emily felt strong and joyful during that month.  She needed the freedom and predictability of summer to prepare for the dread of autumn when she left her grandma, and returned to a dark abyss called home, a home that for young Emily would shame the walls of hell..........