18. A Lost Childhood [III]

“I’ve found a cure for two otherwise incurable diseases, established a hospital for young children suffering from other diseases that I can’t cure, and have a school in the city named after me from when I saved the girl who grew up to be its founder and headmistress. She, like me, took a chance and had wonderful things happen.

“Then you dare to suggest that my old age has me imagining things?”

“No, Peter! Oh, please keep you voice down, you’ll start attracting undue attention.”

“Oh yes, and you’re one for keeping calm, are you? After all, that’s what started this whole catastrophe of life!”

“Peter, what are you on about?” Whispered Aidelle, in the height of her caution, “Perhaps you’d better lie down.”

“I will not lie down!” Peter almost yelled, “I might have had a better life- and a love- if it weren’t for you.”

His loud voice was just calling for attention. The heads of some of the gathered audience, chatting amongst themselves, or ambling around the refreshment table, rotated swiftly in Aidelle and Peter’s direction: conveniently standing at the head of the little church.

Little Lynnie turned her big eyes onto the scene, and, as she sensed that something was unsettled, started to make her way across.

“What do you mean?” Aidelle cried.

“To think that the brother whom I most despised, and who very much deserved to fall in the two-year war, was still alive and plotting. And to think, the agony went on there for as long as five!”

“Peter, please…” Aidelle gasped hopelessly, “I don’t understand what it is you’re saying.”

Her eyes were fearful and wet, but still as sharp as ever.

 “Quick, Lynnette is coming. Be happy for her; act happy for Lynnette,” she hissed to Peter.

As the straw head bobbed up to them, Aidelle pondered to herself, as she had pondered many a time before: a family built on lies and deception was nothing more than a group of untrue people, was it? Of course, as wise as she might have thought herself, Aidelle could not answer her own question. Even then, it would be putting her own self into judgement... A view that Aidelle did not want to face in the midst of all the current troubles and dangers of vanishing in the blink of an eye.

“What’s wrong, Uncle Peter?” Lynnette asked, her soprano voice resonating far too loudly at the front of the church.

All three, even the child, were all worriedly aware that many eyes were suddenly centred on their ‘little disagreement’.

“Nothing, sweetie,” Aidelle simpered, “It was just a misunderstanding. Your uncle and I have managed to get it all sorted now though.”

And she shot Peter a look, as though to say ‘that’s all it ever was: a misunderstanding!’

Unfortunately, Lynnette was not convinced. Her eyes grew wide, and her petit mouth curved downwards.

The End

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