It’s fitting really that the only time I’m going to be open with you is when I’m about to end my life. Trust me dear it’s not by choice. I never was one for long letters. You know I like to yap away my troubles. It’s only that I could never master the courage to tell you this face to face. I’m too much of a coward for that.
I know I haven’t been much of a motherly figure to you. I sent you to expensive schools in the hope that you would forget I existed and somehow become consumed by the fast paced life you would never have been exposed to had I allowed your Father to bully me into home-schooling you. I’ll be the first to admit I jumped at the opportunity to send you to Australia when university time came. It had always been my wish to send you abroad and when you expressed interest, I couldn’t deny myself that simple if broadly demented, pleasure.
I could not live with the knowledge that you got to enjoy the pleasures of both parents while my child was in god-forsaken I don’t know where. You remember James of course.
It’s taken me almost a year Kyle, a year to make this decision. James is alive and well. Staying with a friend of mine and I have been quite happy having her in my life, albeit secretly. She has recently started asking questions about your father and yourself and I’m afraid I’m too cowardly to simply advise your father that his dead daughter is alive. Harold already thinks I’m insane. He would doubtless have me committed. Anyhow, I’m not writing this to explain myself, I’m certain you don’t care for my well-being. You think I’m a selfish bitch. I don’t blame you. I have led you to believe you are a burden to my and your Father’s relationship. It’s ironic that I’m the burden to his and your relationship. I can be quite convincing when it comes to him.
I’m writing this so that you can find your sister yourself and bring her home. I will probably be less troubled in hell if I know you are all together. She’s a beautiful child, quite sarcastic too. You girls get that from me. She straightens her hair too. Disgusting habit but I haven’t the heart to tell her, unlike you.
Harold hasn’t had the opportunity to get to know his children due to my neediness and my selfishness. I bid you to allow him the chance. Come back home and bring your sister home too. That would make him happy.
My death has everything to do with my selfishness and nothing to do with loving you. I would love nothing more than to reunite our family but it isn’t going to happen. I couldn’t handle Harold looking at me like I’ve just ripped his heart out. That’s how he looked at me after I lost little Jamie. I also couldn’t handle the way you look at me, like I’m a she-devil of some sort. I suppose I’ve earned that title.
Keep well then.
“She couldn’t even be bothered to sign off as Mom. She just said Maude.” I said to Jamie as she folded the letter I’d been carrying around for seven years.
“It’s like a completely different from the woman from the one I knew. If I didn’t know her handwriting I would have thought Father wrote that. He was always sharp with me.” Jamie said, her voice registering a longing that mirrored my own as she spoke of Mom. My mother and I had never been close. It was no fault of mine or hers. We just never clicked, too different, her the quiet one and me the vocal one. Jamie and Dad had been opposites as well, her the sort of quiet one and he the vocal. I wasn’t surprised they hadn’t gotten along and I wasn’t surprised they had problems. It just was how it had always been.
Jamie and I were sitting in her bedroom; Edgar was sleeping in Jamie’s bed. A habit both aunt and nephew seemed to be fond of. It was a week since the day we had buried Father. Oliver had gone back to Australia due to work commitments and I was still in South Africa. I was going to be staying on for a little while yet.
“She thought he would hate her. I believe that.” Jamie said quietly.
I shook my head before responding. It was a fragile situation at best.
“The way I knew Dad, he would have forgiven her. The way I knew her, she never would have let him rest before he told her he had.” I defended quietly.
“You’re always going to defend him. You never gave her a chance. You don’t know how jealous I was of you. You had both our parents for as long as you needed them. Then you just threw them away like that. First Mom, you can’t deny that you were unavailable to her, especially emotionally. Then Father, you were all he had left and you still left. Why Kyle?” My sister asked.
“It’s complicated.” I said.
“Then make me understand.”
“Jamie, I loved her. At some point, she was abusive though. Emotionally and mentally, she was always stomping on my most vulnerable moments. If she wasn’t threatening to disown me and have Dad do the same to me she was telling me how it should have been me kidnapped. She blamed me for everything. Dad didn’t want more children after we lost you. He said I was enough. So she sent me away, hoping he would come around and he never did.
I paid for that Jamie. She was emotionally unavailable for me. Always quick with the insults and the break you down statements, as quiet as she was, she had a sharp tongue. I went to bed in tears on most nights. Coming home became something I did for Dad. Going to Australia was a serious green light for me. I had to get out. When I read that letter I couldn’t stay. She kept you a secret and never said anything to me. It was the worst betrayal and I just felt like I’d had enough of this family. It was childish but that’s how I felt. I wish I’d done things differently but I didn’t. I’m going to have to live with it. They’re both dead now.”
“Not as perfect as Father pegged you to be eh?” Jamie said, her voice quivering. She bit her lip and looked away.
“Dad thought we were all perfect. He thought Mom was the most perfect thing to walk this earth. He had her faults. He knew them, the same way he knew mine, and yours. He accepted people the way they were. He didn’t judge her for what she did, he didn’t judge me for what I did and I can guarantee you, he didn’t judge you either. If there ever was a perfect person in life Jamie, it was Dad. I know you’re going to go off about Mom now but she never treated you the way she did me. I was a reminder of the child she lost, and those she wasn’t going to have. I understand why she did the things she did. I just cannot find it within myself to forgive her. Do you understand?”
“I’m getting round to it. That’s the way I feel about Dad. He saw you in me. He punished me for your sins Kyle. You were his everything. I never stood a chance. I suppose that’s how you felt about her?” Jamie asked, still trying to keep the waterworks at bay.
“We’re more alike than we both think huh?” I joked.
“Oh, hell yeah.” Jamie laughed.
Copyright N.S Ntaisa,2015.