Chapter 1 Her Birthday
Lana busied herself preparing for New Year’s Eve, she cooked the favorites dishes of her brothers and sister. She also checked the barn and gave her final look at the kitchen before she changed into an evening casual dress for dinner. They all gathered in the main house as their tradition and may spend the night if they wish. Calyx and his family usually stayed only during dinner as they also celebrate with his wife’s family. Calyx and Chelsey were childhood sweetheart, Chelsey's pregnancy prompted them to settle down at an early age. Calyx managed his wife family's huge neighboring farm.
Her sister Cristine and her husband Mark together with her niece will stay in the evening. Her younger brother Chuck and his wife Lily will settle for a night and will catch their flight to Germany the next morning. Her youngest brother Charles is newly wed to Lucy and they are expecting a baby girl in first month of second quarter next year.
Her mind wondered everywhere like a scattered ashes in the wind. Every time she saw the happy family of her siblings, she felt unexplained heavy weight in her heart. Chuck turned to her, “how about you sis? Please come and visit us in Germany.” She smiled at him but didn’t answer. “Lana loves the slow and mundane life here, she enjoyed horses, calves, and the farm.” Their mother stared at her intently while she answered his brother. “Have life Laney, don’t dwell on the past… move on.” Cristine suddenly made remarks while looking at her husband Mark who ignored her. She frowned and glared at her older sister “I moved on.” Cristine rolled her eyes and smirked at her. Her annoyance with her sister is getting stronger, her heartbeats quickened but she forced herself to remain calm. The scenarios were always the same for her.
She remembered last Christmas Eve, her mother opened the gifts from her siblings and squealed in delight. She looked at her unopened gifts and sighed. Today is her birthday too, no one bothered to greet her as usual. They all focused on the celebration, it didn’t bother her before, but now it pained her now. After a delectable dinner she prepared for them, they all gathered in the living room for the wine she readied. They were all having their time, laughing and sipping wine. She cleared the table, and washed the dishes. When she was done, she grabbed a bottle of wine and went to the tree house near the small lake. No one will bother to look for her. The tree house is her sanctuary since she was a kid, her father built it for them. She renovated it and spent her sleepless nights at the tree house
Last night, she wrote a letter for her family in case she'll die unexpectedly. She read the letter again while she drank the wine straight from the bottle.
To my father Charles Sr.,
Thank you for bringing me to this world. I often asked myself if you really love me as you love Cristine. I struggled for so long for your love, but I realized you have so much love for my siblings that they occupied almost all the space in your heart and left a tiny room for me. I still grateful for that love.
To my mother Claire,
I love you, my love for you embraced my whole being. You always reminded me of my past, that those awful part of my life should not be hidden and constantly be with me like a leech sucking my blood. That every blood I lost and every pain I felt were like a ring a bell with earsplitting sound. I also wondered what if I chose me? what if I chose being selfish? Maybe I can feel bitterness and guilt now, not emptiness and madness. I longed for happiness and joy in my life. But you always made a point that I don't deserve such privilege.
We never been close, maybe because of the age gap. I blamed you for being so reckless. You have justified enough your great escape from the responsibilities as older brother without looking back. Those duties were passed to my shoulder because Cristine the beautiful was in College and was struggling to become a lawyer. I hated you for that, but I hated myself more because I didn’t choose just accepted my fate.
Cristine my only sister,
At young age, I idolized you, you were the epitome of beauty for me. I found insecurities through you, I never heard encouragement from an older sister just her overbearing self-confidence. When you found me with Mark, you slapped me instantly without even asking me if the fiance' of yours was harassing me. I was fourteen then, innocent and never experienced intimacy. Did it come to your mind that your grown man had so much experienced in sexual harassment? I knew, that you knew, he fathered two children from different women before your wedding but you still save your ego than your scarred sister. You even taunted me about moving on and having feelings for your husband until now. The only feeling I felt for him is HATRED, because our parents deceived by him with your help. I kept my mouth shut when we both found out that your beloved husband was having an affair with his secretary. Still, you keep taunting me about my miserable life. If my life was miserable then what’s yours? You’re sleeping with a monster. Drop the hypocrisy sister.
My darling Chuck and Charles,
I poured all my love to both of you, I worked hard to provide you with what you need. Chuck, when you eyed the heirloom from my darling Calvin, you said that you wanted to settle in Germany and need funds to settle there. With heavy heart and lots of tears, I sold the ring and gave it all to you, hoping that you will pay me. You got your success there, you even had luxurious wedding but you forgot the ring. I lose hope when Charlie also discovered the pleasures of the world without second thought.
Her tears were pouring as she cried hard, she emptied all her pain, bitterness and hollowness in her cries as this will be her last cry. She wrote her concluding statement.
Today is my fortieth birthday but as usual, I never received any gifts and even greetings from you. I stared at my callous hands and asked myself... Am I going to be like this forever? My answer was “yes” because all the hopes were taken from me by my family. I dreamed of becoming an engineer someday, I had good grades but Dad and Mom never asked me about my grades while you paraded your grades to them. I surpassed all of you when it comes to academic, but not a single one of you bothered to check my accomplishment, even asked my side when Mark harassed me. You all judge me, that the plain Lana was just average and stupid. I hated myself when I let all of you define me, when I let you all stomped me to the ground while reaching your dreams. Now, it’s too late for me. I can’t even travel, the travel fund I saved, I used it to bought the ring which was doubled from the original price.
I chose Calvin and myself this time, I will travel with him in another world. Mom and Dad forgive me for choosing myself this time. I already paid all the bank loans. The papers were in my drawer in my bedroom. I never regret the time and energy I drizzled to all of you but I regret that I never had time for myself and I deserted happiness.
She put the letter in a box, she rose from the wooden floor of the tree house and walked down the stairs towards the bridge. She removed her shoes and with her arms wide open she dived into the water.