On Friday night of her first week at the boarding house Emily decided to ask Minerva if it was time that she could tell the young woman her story as promised on her first day.
The two of them were sitting on the open, second floor porch where Emily had her first meal with her great aunt and her old friend. This was actually the pair’s favorite place in the house. It was quiet and set apart from the places in the massive house that could get loud with activity at times. It offered a lovely view of the outlying lands around the place. And there was no better view of the stars overhead at night. Emily approved of the spot. In fact it has also become her favorite place, especially after the sun had set and the lightning bugs took to the surrounding fields.
“So what’s your story Minerva?” Emily asked. She’d waited for Miss Emma to excuse herself to take a bath before asking. Her poor aunt’s bones tended to get to her towards the end of the day. As her bones got to her a little of her patience for her niece’s curiosity grew thin.
Minerva was sitting in her rocking chair gently moving herself back and forth. She didn’t answer at first. She continued to look towards the heavens with a thoughtful expression on her old face.
In the candlelight Emily was able to see the old woman in a somewhat different light. The warm glow of the candle flame had a wonderful effect where it almost made all the old woman’s age lines smooth out. In that light Emily could almost see what a younger version of the woman looked like. Her features were very petite and had a very youthful quality to them; like the face of a teenage girl who had yet to grow into what her womanly face would finally look like. Emily could see Minerva having been a very pretty young woman.
Eventually Minerva pulled her dark shawl around her shoulders and sighed heavily. All of her gruffness was released with that sigh. Without it Minerva almost sounded like a teenage girl playing old woman dress up.
“My story… your aunt would probably kill me for sharing that with you so soon. But it’s a beautiful summer night and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. That’s a good time for a memory tale. There are storms forecast for next week… I don’t like storms so much. I can’t talk about myself when there is thunder around. And lightning… ”
She fell silent again. Her mind was drifting back in time and it was no easy thing for her to do. She had to be in the right head space though. When she spoke her voice was that of a teenage girl. It was something surreal to hear.
“I was about to turn eighteen. I lived in a very well to do estate with my parents during Victorian times. I never had to want for a thing. It was an absolute wonder I didn’t become a spoiled, self involved creature like many of my female counterparts of the time. I attribute this to the influence of my grandmother. She and my grandfather worked hard for the lavish lifestyle my mother was born into. And when my mother married rich and doubled her fortunes, my grandmother made a decision to make sure her grandchildren didn’t become soft like their parents. I was her only grandchild so that gave her a lot of free time to focus on me alone. Read More