Sunday, March 8, 2009

Part Two.

Thanks b, k & g!

Kate look a deep breath as she walked up the steps to the back entrance of the house. She reluctantly put her hand on the knob and pushed the door open to the kitchen where she lingered for just a brief minute before deciding to have a glass of wine. Kate found a long stem wine glass and opened the refrigerator where a box of Franzia lay on it's side on the second shelf. Kate placed the glass under the spout and watched expectantly as the red liquid splashed against the sides before filling to just below the rim. Kate put the glass to her lips and took a long sip as she bumped the refrigerator door closed with her hip.

Kate walked out of the kitchen, through the dining room towards her room. Before going down the hallway, she noticed the woman on the rocker had fallen asleep. She went to the woman, her feet meeting cold wooden floor boards as she walked. Kate grabbed a throw from the couch and gently tucked the blanket under the woman's chin and around her shoulder. She bent over and her lips met the soft, wrinkled forehead of the woman. Kate began to smile, but from the corner of her eye, she saw Penny in the other room engaged in a very private conversation. Kate glared her eyes at the the couple sharing a secret corner, but it went unnoticed, so she continued down the hall to her room.

The wooden floor boards ended where Kate's room began. Plush, dark olive carpet blanketed the floor and enveloped Kate's feet as she stepped into her sanctuary and closed the door. Kate leaned against the door and took another sip of her wine before walking to her art corner where a water color canvas she was working on rested on an easel. Kate examined the painting as she tilted her head to one side and leaned closer and inspected every detail before she took a few steps back and shook her head. She grabbed a brush and dipped it into a bowl she used to wash off her brushes and mixed the stale, murky water, then whipped the brush over the painting to form a big X that slowly dribbled, and drooled, then finally dried, ruining a piece she had worked on for a week.

Kate felt irrational and frustrated and she didn't want to admit that it was Penny who was getting to her. Out of all her brother's and sister's Penny was her least favorite. Not because of what she was doing now, but because Penny could never be counted on. She was always finding some excuse to not step up when she was needed. On top of that, she was always trying to benefit from others misfortunes and thought of only herself, even her own husband and daughter took a backseat to her own needs. Kate didn't exactly know what Penny was conspiring at the moment, but it made her feel very uneasy in the pit of her stomach. She sat on her bed and placed her almost empty wine glass on the nightstand next to a box of cigarettes. Kate picked up the box and shook it, then flipped the lid and lit a cigarette. She sucked hard on the end of her cigarette and blew out smoke in the shape of Os. Kate fell back onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling and without wanting to, started thinking about her father and wondering if she even had a happy memory about him.

A gust of wind blew through Kate's open window and the curtains billowed in the breeze. The curtains brushed against a tall glass cabinet that rattled with the force of the wind. The contents in the cabinets shook and one by one by they started falling until the last one fell on top of a music box that popped open with a clown who started singing. Startled, Kate jump up and whipped her head around. And then she smiled. A sly, haunting smile danced across Kate's face. She sprang into action and was on her feet in no time repositioning her clown collection. Kate giggled and smiled and blissfully played with her clowns, then sat on her bed and rocked back and forth, back and forth. She did have happy memories after all. To Kate these clowns were a reminder that there was always happiness and something to laugh about in the world and so she laughed a loud guffaw that crescendoed and fell then rose again as Kate laughed and laughed and remembered all the happy things.

What Kate didn't remember was the raggedy stuffed clown on the bottom shelf was the first clown in her collection; it was also the first gift her father had given her.


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