Chapter Nine [II]

“Blaise, you’re so childish sometimes,” red-headed Dan said as Aoife turned her back on them.

“But it’s true!” declared Blaise loudly, and another long-winded, conclusionless argument proceeded to entertain them for the rest of the evening.

Rob turned to Delia meanwhile. “Why do you say Vinzent looks lonely?” he asked enquiringly.

“He just does,” Delia said. She hesitated, recalling his appearance in her mind’s eye in order to elaborate. “When he’s alone he looks as if he’s thinking of something unhappy, and he has a hungry look in his eyes when he isn’t laughing.”

“Hungry?” This adjective used in such a context was beyond Rob’s simple comprehension. Delia had a habit of delving deeply into matters, perhaps born of her cruel illnesses and long hours at home. Blaise had a gift of speaking, and especially arguing, but in Delia had grown a gift of putting instincts into words. She was deadly shy, sometimes stuttering when she met strangers, and nervous by nature, though she was outgrowing this, and developing a definite skill for describing. Unfortunately on paper her avid words became stilted and slow, and she found it hard to speak them to other people, so the greatest portion of her gift was lost. Now she made an effort, and crinkled her pretty face in the endeavour with the feeling that everything in the world was at stake if she didn’t.

“Yes. Lost, and abandoned. As if he has no one to confide in or talk to. And he looks at us so gratefully sometimes, as if we were his only friends in the world. And he looks at Aoife in a different way, which I can’t really describe. As if she understands him, and he understands her. I don’t know.” Delia lifted her head to her brother’s for encouragement.

“Go on,” Rob urged. He was intensely interested in the way his sister looked at life. It was so different to his own, and he was intrigued by that which he did not understand.

“The river’s run dry,” Delia confessed with a smile, and though he didn’t comprehend her metaphor, Rob smiled back.

The End

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