That evening, it was quiet around the dinner table as always. And, as always, there was tension around the table. I and my brother both knew our foster parents disliked us because of our imaginations. Maybe it wasn’t me, as much as my brother. I didn’t say much to them, and I’m sure they highly appreciated that.
I stared at the glop of food on my plate. Our foster mother, Anna, definitely didn’t seem to care about the condition of our food. Every time I looked at her plate, and her husband’s plate, their food was perfect. Sometimes I would want to just reach and stab their hands with my fork before they touch their food, nab it, and make a run for it. I wonder why they disliked us.
Anna was a very slim, red head. She always wore red lipstick, and way too much makeup. She had wrinkles that even a folded sheet could make out. No matter the amount of makeup, it wouldn’t change anything. Her husband, Donnie, Don for short, was a kind of chunky guy. He had some old photos of himself around the house. He was much more bulky before. What happened to him? He still had some black hair, which was graying, and a caterpillar mustache and eyebrows. They seemed to always creep about when his expression changed.
It’s strange, but sometimes I think he listens to Anna way too much. Well, yes, because they are married. But I mean, whenever Anna would speak about something to my brother and I, and it seems unjust, he would just stand in the background with his forearms crossed. His face looked way to kind. But because he followed along with her, I disliked him.
I looked up at both Anna and Don. They just ate their dinner snobbishly. I cringed.
“I want to become a seer” I said breaking the silences.
Everyone, including my brother, looked up at me. Anna jaw and fork dropped. I glared at them all. No one responded, so I continued.
“I may even travel. Maybe this is why I would like to do it.”
“Ella…” My brother mumbled under his breath. He nudged me.
“Oh” Anna nonchalantly spoke and picked her fork up with poised. I glared at her. She was mocking me.
“What’s a seer?” Don asked confused. He has a puzzled look on his face.
I sighed “It’s a person who can foresee things. Like the future, and spirits and stuff” I explained.
He just blinked at me. I knew he didn’t believe me.
“You want to travel? You want to explore this crazy world?” Anna said continuing to eat her food.
Either it was the bright lighting of the kitchen, or the facial expression she was making was rather ugly. I was leaning towards the latter.
“Yes” I answered.
“Why?” she asked. I was starting to grow curious as to why she wanted to know. All the times I’ve ever mentioned anything to her, she simply said “Oh”.
“I want to know if my granny is okay”
She chuckled “Your granny is well in good in the ground.”
“But…people go with the gods when they die” I stated with certainty, although, I was nowhere near certain.
She looked up at me, than at my brother. She slowly lowered her fork and put her fingers on her forehead. “And who told you this?”
My brother looked at the table.
“My brother did. Even granny told me herself.”
“And the truth is, people die, they just die, and they rot in the ground.” She looked at me “So too, will your granny”
“But you don’t know that!” my eyes started to well with tears. Why was she being so mean?
“Although I don’t really care, I can assure you, your granny is in the ground rotting.”
What a cruel thing to say! I stood up.
“Who are you to say this?!”
She looked at me. She smiled at me. Was this amusing to her? My brother took hold of my arm.
“Ella” he beckoned
I looked at him, crying now.
“How could you just let her say something like that about granny?”
He didn’t speak.
“Because he knows there’s no use in trying to stand against me” Anna spoke. I looked at her. “Your brother will constantly try to cover your mind with these fantasies that aren’t true all in a need to keep your sheltered from the true reality. It’s sickening. And honestly” she started to wave her fork around “I wanted children, but instead I received a fairy and an elf.”
My head darted from Don to my brother. Neither of them would say anything. I clenched my fist.
“The reason why you can’t have children is because you are the rotten one!” I shouted and darted out of the dining room.
I lay with my face in the pillow, crying my eyes out. Most of them may have been left-over tears from the funeral, but many may be from my anger towards the first chance Anna could’ve had to say something nice and comforting. There was a knock at my door.
“Go away!” I shouted “whoever it is, you aren’t family!”
“Ella it’s me” I heard my brother’s voice come from the other side of the door. Was he even my brother anymore?
My door opened slowly. I could hear the television coming from the living room, and Anna laughing at the television screen. My brother’s face was shadowed in by the darkness from the living room, but lit up when he turned my light on. Concerned was written over his face.
“Go away” I mumbled placing my face back into my pillow. I heard my door close slowly. Then I felt him slump down beside me. He placed his hand on my back.
“I’m sorry…I didn’t say anything.”
I raised my face up slowly “Whatever happened to promise you made me?”
“How could you forget?” I questioned “well, I guess it’s not so important to you” I assumed turning my face away from him. I was beginning to feel like I disliked my brother. I admit, I dislike some of his choices. But I do remember a time when he would defend me and he use to come to my rescue when I needed him. He still did those things….sometimes?
“Are you talking about when I said we’d leave this place?” he asked uncertain. I didn’t answer. I’m sure he understood that that is what I meant. “Ella, we can still get out of here. Once I save money, we’ll go”
“It’s too late”
“Because….” I sat up “It just is!” I pointed to the door “Anna spoke meanly about granny, and you just sat there. I don’t think I’d want to live with you now, knowing that…”
“But aren’t you the one pretending to be grown up?” he reminded me.
“Yes…but” I started
“I realized now, you’re getting older. You probably won’t listen to me anymore. I can only lead you as far as you’d allow me.” He ran his fingers through his hair.
“I know you probably even came to an agreement with yourself to go off, didn’t you?”
I wasn’t thinking that at all. But was he saying I could? I bit my lip uncertain of what to say. I sat back and stared at him.
“Please” he continued “just tell me what’s on your mind. I know I haven’t done such a good job with sharing much with you, but stories that even I am not sure of…”
I looked at the bed. “Well, start with tell me, did our parents really just get lost and couldn’t find their way back to us? Or did they die?”
He chuckled. I took it has the latter.
“So there’s no way they could come and save us from these people?” I continued.
“Well, I’m old enough to take care of you if we move away”
“But I don’t want to depend on you all the time!”
“Is that what this is about?”
I jumped and hugged in, and slowly looked at the windows has a huge clap of thunder rocked the house. He started to laugh under his breath. He lay back on the bed, and I lay beside him. We stared up at the ceiling.
“What if no one can help you become a seer?” he asked “what if it’s only a hoax?”
“I never doubted your stories once, did I? So, I think it’s okay to at least believe it may be true and go”
“Well, can’t you just believe that the gods took granny with them?”
“Yes, but you say you weren’t sure.”
“So was I about the star goddess, the river king, and everything else?”
“Well, regardless, I don’t want to stay here. Instead, I want to become a traveler.”
“You don’t know what you want to be.” He chuckled. I think he sensed the fact that I wouldn’t actually leave. I knew I wouldn’t, and yet, I wanted him to take me serious. I looked at him, he had his eyes closed. I exhaled deeply and closed my eyes. And I dreamt of where I would be 10 years from now. I was hoping that I wouldn’t still be here, and that Anna got hers someday. I smiled at that thought and drifted off to sleep.