Aidelle stared. She felt anger bubbling inside her, anger that she had promised herself she would never, ever release again. But when some false truth like this came from the lipsticked lips of a strange girl randomly appearing in her locked bedroom… Oh, it made Aidelle angry. And she had had a lot of anger against herself brewing over the five years. This girl, annoyingly, reminded Aidelle so much of herself.
“How dare you?!” She smacked the umbrella handle against the girl’s arm. It was not particularly hard, as the girl barely winced, but she still protested.
“How dare you come into my house and speak such dirty lies. How did you get in, girl?”
“How do you know my name? What do you want with a poor woman like me?”
Aidelle had managed to push the girl to the top of the stairs, but now, having seen that she was on dangerous ground, the girl was actually starting to push back. She was pretty strong.
“Please…stop… I don’t want to hurt you; I’m on your side and here to help you.”
“Oh, yeah? Prove it.” Aidelle put all her weight into pushing the stranger just a bit more. The older woman was starting to lose her energy fast.
“If…you’d just let me…go… I can show you.”
“Liar! You’re lying. What do…you…want?”
Finally, with a grunt, Aidelle collapsed onto the floor. She really was starting to feel her age. The umbrella slipped from her fingers and also fell to the floor with a bang.
Slowly, the young girl sat beside Aidelle. She fingered the handle and the shade, but didn’t take the umbrella. If Aidelle had been worrying whether the girl was hostile, her fears were gradually dissolving.
“Oh, this is the chocolate one. Phillip’s favourite. He always used to say that it was because it matched your hair.”
“Don’t talk about Phillip. Please,” Aidelle had calmed down, her voice and movement rusty silk again, and not full of anger, “I don’t want to talk about him. I regret yelling; I regret everything.”
She sighed, a new tear rolling down her smooth white cheek.
“I miss him, you know. I don’t understand, I thought we gave our hearts to each other. I thought he loved me…”
Awkwardly, the girl patted Aidelle’s wrist.
Silence loomed between them. Aidelle didn’t know what to say.
“The clock in there’s stopped, you know,” the girl said, looking past Aidelle and back into the master bedroom.
“At 10.56, I know. Its ridiculous; I once tried to move the silver hands, but it refused to budge,” Aidelle admitted, memories coming back to her in shreds, “The gears are stuck or something. I should have thrown it out long ago.”
“No, you haven’t tried because you didn’t want to try. And you’ll never be able to fix it, because time has already decided to hold that time there, as a reminder.”
Aidelle turned to face her. She was feeling so weak and her defences were shattered. Shattered like the clock, she supposed.
“Who are you, really?”
“I’m your granddaughter. Please don’t hit me again,” quickly, the girl flung up her hands in front of her face.
“I won’t, but this is too hard to believe. I mean, I’ve never had a child of my own. How can you be my granddaughter? I don’t even know your name.”
“Zara,” Zara held out her hand to Aidelle.
“You’re left-handed,” Aidelle noticed.
That made Zara laugh a bit.
“Yes, well done!”
Aidelle shook her head, also chuckling a bit. She was starting to like the stranger; there was some marvelous charisma that the girl was radiating. Aidelle had felt it before, but her mind refused to divulge any more memories or feelings.
“I’m sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve talked to anybody.”
“I know. It’s a shame.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are my grandmother, but right now I don’t exist and won’t exist if things don’t change soon.”
“Well…” Zara pulled back the right sleeve of her top to reveal a black-rimmed wristwatch with mustard-coloured straps. The face was very modern, with not two or three hands but six. There were the usual ones: shining silver hour, minute and second hands, but then there were also three shimmering hands of no colour and every colour. They looked to be made of nothing and yet everything. Aidelle spotted stunning scarlets, stimulating yellow, and a splash of cyan, which glinted now and then. Like fire.
The watch seemed to search into Aidelle’s soul, as though it could see through every exterior façade, showing her the things she wanted to see, and which she couldn’t dare conceal.
It was a magnificent piece of technology. Once again, Aidelle just stared.