Rudley

My memories of my parents are scattered and diffused, like scrambling clouds they drifted by me. I would catch sight of moments, well really breaths of moments and then they would be gone. I had often wondered if what I saw was real or just wishful thoughts that had been crushed together out of a desperation to have something of my parents to own. It was not that I was not loved, I had had my Nana to take care of and love me, but I had always felt a part of my picture was washed out, like a watercolour, the edges of my little life not quite defined. I would gaze at the other children at my school, so infused with such purpose, bouyed by the sharp clarity that having two living breathing parents brings to a little budding person.

Nana was my great grandmother, a big barreling woman overflowing with apron and infused with smells of oatmeal biscuits. Her hair was white and tightly curled. seemingly always in a net, with her round glasses saddling the end of her nose. I would sit on the big wooden counter in the kitchen, my short legs swaying over the edge, watching her rolling dough endlessly. She seemed forever peppered with flour and in motion, rolling, kneading, pressing ahead like a steam engine, arms pumping forward and trolling back. Watching her was a comforting hypnosis, a swinging hammock in the summer breeze, the coolness that falls just after dusk.

How Nana had come to take care of me was never discussed, whenever I asked what had become of my parents she always said " God gave you to the person who loved you most in the world and that should be enough young lady". I felt such guilt that it was not enough, that I was insulting the special gift that God himself had seen fit to offer my small soul. I longed for just a glimpse of something that would bind me to my parents. All I knew were their names, Victoria and Edward, Victoria and Edward Rudley. The only possession that they had given to me,  my name, Hazel Jane Rudley. I would sit alone on the back steps of our house and speak aloud their names like a mantra, willing them to appear from the shadows, but they never did. As we would walk down the streets of our town, bustling with market life and intense comings and goings, I would hear a name whispered in conversation or shouted across the street, "Victoria, hold my hand, the street is not safe to cross on your own" or "Edward, hold up, its me James from..". I would stop and swing in the direction of the voice, jerking Nana to a halt. The voices would move, dissipating on the air and I would be left standing,  motionless on the heaving street. Nana would always look at me, a sad knowing in her eyes and tug gently at my hand pulling me forward back into the world.

Nana and I lived in a modest little house on the edge of a small oval park. The house was oddly linear, with each room adjoining the tiny hallway that run down the one side of the house like a spinal cord. Through the front door was Nana's knitting room off the edge of her bedroom, then my room, the lounge and kitchen with eating area. Off the kitchen was the oddity of the loo and bathroom. The house had high celings and a tinroof so the water echoed like a millions stones when it rained. During the heavy rain that laced the summer heat, the noise would march through the house, deafening and comforting all at once. I would lose my self in the roar, letting it fill my ears and race my heart and for a while nothing else would exist but me and rain.

The End

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