Resentments and Reconciliation
“What’s she doing here?” Alice asks as Anna, and I enter the living room.
“Last time I checked I live here.” She rises from the sofa.
“Sit down,” Anna says in an authoritative tone, she complies. “Whatever is going on between you two won’t be fixed if you ignore each other.”
“She’s the one ignoring me.” Anna looks at me with a that’s not helping look.
“I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.” She says, leaving us alone; an awkward silence descends, neither of us are willing to be the first to speak. This is just making things worse, Anna’s intentions were good, but it’s clear Alice has no wish to be in a room with me.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Anna, she didn’t want me to. As for the figurine, I was never going to give it to Esther; even Anna saw the funny in it.”
“I said you shouldn’t, and you just went right on ahead and did it anyway, consequences be damned.”
“There were no consequences, Alice; I never intended to give it to Esther.”
“Then why buy it in the first place?” She asks, there is no good answer to that, she said it was a bad idea that annoyed me, so I bought it.
“Just one of those spur of the moment things we all do.”
“No, Olivia, we don’t all, some of us think before we do things.”
“Yeah and we all know you’re such a paragon of great decisions Alice.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means what it means Alice, you know as well as I do, so what’s this really about?” She looks down at her hands; they’re shaking, she sits silently biting her lip. “Alice.” Still silence, hands shaking, a drop of blood trickles down her chin. “Alice.” She breathes in deeply holds it for a split second then breathes out, her hands stop shaking, her lips part she rises slowly to her feet and says,
“You, Olivia, that’s what this is about?” Her tone is clipped and agitated.
“Please enlighten me as I seem to be in the dark about whatever it is that I have done to you.” She snorts at my reply; she’s biting her lip again. “Well, I’m waiting.”
“You don’t get it at all, do you.”
“No, I don’t I’m stupid like that like I said, please enlighten me.”
“Do you know what it’s like being me?” The simple answer to that would be no, of course, I don’t know what it is like to be her, just like I don’t know what it is like to be Anna or Joey or Pearse for that matter. I can try to put myself in someone else’s place, but I can never honestly know what it is like to be them.
“I might as well not exist.” A tear rolls down her cheek. “I’m an afterthought ‘ah there’s Olivia oh and Alice too.’ Even Esther always blames you before she blames me like I don’t have a mind of my own, that I couldn’t possibly be the one who was the mastermind. Oh no, it’s always you who gets the credit for it.”
“You want people to look at you like some pariah, like some whore who does nothing but corrupt those around her.”
“Yes, god help me, yes, at least then they would notice me, acknowledge my existence, not just as some appendage to you.”
“No-one thinks of you like that.”
“Oh, yes, they do.”
“Do you think that’s how I see you?” She’s silent, “Thanks Alice, thank you for thinking as little of me as everyone else does. You say I don’t know how it is to be you, no, I don’t just as you don’t know what it has been like being me. You should know better; you’re the older one. Older how much extra wisdom and knowledge do they think I gained by being 3 minutes older than you.”
“Oh boohoo Olivia making it all about you, as always.”
“No Alice I’m not, this isn’t about just me or just you it’s about us. I didn’t ask to be the older one or to be fall guy just like you didn’t ask to be the younger or the one no-one blames. It’s simply how it turned out.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“That’s where you are wrong it is far from easy, I didn’t like you when we were little, every time you fell or hurt yourself it would be why didn’t you look after her better, why weren’t you looking out for her. I never wanted to be your keeper Alice, but I got the job anyway.”
“I never knew you felt that way.”
“Nor did I about you. It seems we de Winters are rather good at hiding how we truly feel. I’m sorry Ali, sorry for hating you and for not seeing how hurt you have been, but you were a whiny brat, so I was justified.”
“And you were smothering, overbearing and overprotective but I’m sorry too. I thought we knew each other so well.”
“It’s never too late.”
“Indeed, it’s not.”
Extending my hand out, I say, “Hi, I’m Olivia, it’s nice to meet you finally.”
“Likewise, I’m Alicia.” She replies, pulling me into an embrace.