“Hasn’t Tessie received my letters?”
“It would be impossible to dismiss the mountain made of letters in her room.”
“And why hasn’t she written one back?”
“She’s sick Freya.”
“Yes but she can move, right?”
“Neither her body or mouth. You have to understand what this illness is doing to her.”
“You never told me what is really does. Only about blood clothing.”
“... is it that bad? Won’t she ever come out again?”
Lida held herself back from revealing more. She grabbed Freya’s hand and looked at her in a gloomy way.
“I wish I can do more but we can’t help her by being upset and bothering her.”
“So she won’t recover from this?”
Lida left Freya standing by herself, feeling too tired to answer whatever she came up with. Taking the remedies she had prepared this morning for her sick daughter, she went up the stairs to handle Tessie, leaving Freya confused.
What Freya had noticed those days were how often her mother would go and assist Tessie to the point where she thought she could never heal.
Though she needed to find out, something inside her tummy told her to put it behind her head and let it sleep there. But she couldn’t.
The next morning, mother had disappeared far away, to a field full of herbs she sometimes took Freya with her to.
It’s not that she hadn’t thought of sneaking to her sister’s room; she only wanted her to recover in peace.
Freya felt a huge burden on her shoulders because of how sick her sister became. Maybe if she could have been there for her most of the time since dad ran away, maybe Tessie wouldn’t be in this state.
She checked the windows to see if mother was anywhere in sight and when there was no glimpse of her, she ran up the stairs in a hurry.
Facing her sister’s room, a second thought stopped her. Was she doing the right thing?
If she doesn’t answer on the third knock then I’ll leave her alone.
That’s what she told herself thinking it was pretty fair for the both sides.
Not a single sound came from the bedroom.
This was making her more worried than before. She started getting this feeling of unease and dread all of a sudden.
“Tessie...,” she called out in a low tone.
“... are you there?”
The silence was giving her shivers.
“May I come in?”
Again, no answer.
“Okay - I’m coming in!”
But when she pushed down the handle, the door didn’t open. It was locked.
Did mother lock it? Why would she?
She loudly banged on the door while trying the handle over and over.
Her lungs and throat were giving up from all the screaming.
The key must be in mother’s room, she thought, so she didn’t waste a minute from going in and searching through drawers, up and down at every corner.
As she was at it, mother could be seen returning from the field yards away. Freya froze in place. She didn’t expect her to be home so early. She made a run for it to the kitchen and started clumsily washing the few dishes on the counter.
“What a lovely day outside. Why don’t you go and play - leave them to me.”
“... no - no it’s alright. I’ll do it.”
It was time for her to do her deeds as usual so Freya thought of something.
“Mama? I put a letter under the door for Tessie to read. Can you read it to her?”
Noon came in a matter of seconds and now she was face to face with her mother. It took every nerve of her to do what she was about to do.
“Did you read Tessie my letter?”
“Yes of course I did.”
“Did she like it? You know how much she loves bunnies. ”
Her heart was beating very fast. She tried to control herself not to sweat in front of her mother.
“She did. She was smiling all the time.”
“I’m glad. Really, really glad.”
As much as she wanted to act normal, her hands gave it away by shaking uncontrollably. Now that she knew her mother was lying, more question were raised.
The letter she had sent her sister was blank.