The Bootlegger's Daughter

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I Try to Understand

Soon I found myself at the school. I stood at the gate of the fence that surrounded the schoolyard. No one was outside. All the students were up in their classrooms learning. Somewhere in there was Ada wondering where I was and if my eye was alright. And somewhere there was Lillian thinking she had won our little disagreement. If only she were a McKay, then I wouldn’t hesitate to beat her up. At least that was what I thought at the time. I no longer have a death wish for Lillian Foster even though she is still quite annoying.

It’s funny how I see my past self more as a child than a few months or so younger. I was willing to drink or fight my problems away. I would have done anything and everything to defend my family from people who think were all are just criminals. Now in retrospect it seems so odd. We were and still are criminals in a manner of speaking. We do illegal things like smuggle alcohol and run a speakeasy, but we don’t commit crimes. Or at least I don’t commit crimes anymore.

Before I could think of Lillian or Ada anymore, the wind whisked me away again. This time I found myself back at home. I just didn’t want to go inside and be asked where I was, mainly because I didn’t want to explain what happened at the lake. But then a huge gust of wind came that made my eyes water badly, so I had to go inside.

I tried to close the door quietly but it was worthless as the second I took a step past the door Aunt Bertha called to me.

“Oh Lucy there you are! Why don’t you come in here with me?” She said in an overly happy voice. Granted I wasn’t majorly grieving but I wasn’t faking an obnoxious happiness like she was. There was still a death in the family.

I walked slowly into a sitting room where Aunt Bertha was and stood in the doorway with my arms crossed.

“Come and sit with me.” Aunt Bertha said to me still with the fake happy voice. She was sitting on a plush sofa and patted her hand on the open spot next to her. I went and sat down grudgingly. Aunt Bertha was sitting in a more relaxed way, while I, on the other hand, sat very upright with my knees together. I guess I wanted to look professional to my aunt.

“How are you, are you doing alright?” Aunt Bertha asked me in a very serious, yet kind voice. I rolled my eyes at this.

“I am fine. Yes, everything’s jake with me.” I said. I tried to make it as obvious as I could that I was not at all interested in having any conversation with Aunt Bertha, this one especially. Aunt Bertha could tell that I was not into out chat and just looked at me. After a pause she put her hand on my knee and rubbed it back and forth a little.

“We’re just all concerned about you. Last night you didn’t eat and then left without a word this morning.”Aunt Bertha said. There was a long pause as it was clear that I wasn’t going to respond to her. “If you ever… need a woman to talk to you know I am always here.” Her comment made me mad and I left the room without responding. I went straight up to my room and slammed the door.

At the time I doubted she even cared about me. Thought that she just wanted to make herself look better. Trying to fill in for my mother. Although I have said some not very nice things about my mother, I do not hate her. I miss her a lot even though there is very little to remember. And Aunt Bertha trying to fill in that role upset me. Keeping my mouth shut and just leaving the room was probably the best thing I could have done. Just because I don’t have the highest opinion of someone because of their poor naming skills does not mean I want you to fill that role and try and make it better.

Thinking on it now, I know Aunt Bertha did just mean well, but it did just upset me. She only joined the family and hadn’t fully adjusted. Granted one could say she never has as she hates doing jobs and would rather stay at home. But it annoyed me that she was trying to act like she knew the family all along when there was still Aunt Emma and Mary.

Although present me is no longer mad at Aunt Bertha, past me was. And I was quite bored as there was still a lot of time before the meeting. I tried to read a book but soon got bored of that too, which is a shame. I tried to read Ulysses by James Joyce but could not get into it. I normally can read without any trouble. So I decided to waste my time by sleeping. Writing that I took a nap sounds quite stupid but it is what I did. I slept through the day yet again. The shock of that day and the da must have finally caught up with me as I didn’t just fall asleep genitally, I fell asleep in tears.

I cried because of my grandfather. I cried because Mary covered up her sorrow with alcohol. I cried because the death seemed to be hitting David terribly hard. I cried because I met a nice girl who happened to be apart of the enemy. I cried because I had done nothing worthwhile with my life. I cried because Aunt Bertha thought she could replace my mother. I cried that years of being tough was starting to wear off. And I cried that I would never allow myself to show my emotions like this again.

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