My mother’s beloved gardenias were not the only thing that was wilting during that gloomy Friday afternoon, but as well as I. It was the first month from when my father had passed, and the first letter I had received from my Aunt Celeste, stating that she was going to be my guardian from then on. Ever since she settled upon living in America, it has been three years since I had seen her when her husband passed away. She was in regret when she found out about my father’s demise, and this was her letter:
THE EASTRIDGE NY, USA,
29th of January 1912.
How are you, my flower? I certainly hope you are doing well. I wish to have written much earlier, but I got caught up with the corporation, and you know how it has been since my darling Robert passed on. I am truly heartbroken to hear about what happened to poor Daniel.
Despite knowing there was a storm; he pushed through the business meeting, and because of that, he caught pneumonia. I told him to see a doctor, but he insisted on going back home, for it was the first time he travelled without you. His stubbornness cost him his life, and on that ship, he took his last breath.
Before Daniel left America, he executed his Last and Will Testament. I know you are still healing, but I have great news; he named me your legal guardian. I am thankful that he trusted me to raise you. I will not let my best friends, your parents, down.
I miss you, my flower. I wish I could join you there in DelaCour Estate to see you and share my condolences personally, but I could not leave yet. So, I have sent enclosed tickets for you, your chosen housemaids and valets to travel by cruise liner to New York in April. The chief naval architect is one of my closest friends; hence, I got your tickets in advance. Also, I have a surprise for your 17th birthday on the 14th of April.
We will see each other soon. I will tell you everything you want to know about your parents and anything else you wish to know. I long to see you soon and remember that I am always thinking of you and your welfare.
I have grander news, but I would want to inform you of the details in person.
Not that I was not thrilled and curious about the news she was talking about, but I had to leave my home for so long, she probably would want me to live with her. I believe Auntie’s approach to helping me cope was like what she did when Uncle passed away, for me to leave the country. It helped her a great deal since the letters and photographs she sent to father and I were pleasant. I remember before she left, she told me while squeezing my cheeks, that she would miss her best friend in me.
People who knew my parents always tell me I look like a spitting image of mother. I looked at my reflection in the mirror, comparing myself to my mother’s portrait, hanging on the top of the fireplace. I assumed her black wavy hair was long since it was in an up-do-style in the painting. I got the shape of her face, eyebrows, eyes and lips. She stood out, not just because she was beautiful, but because mother was different from the rest of them; she was a Mestiza, which makes me look different too even if I got father’s nose and his greyish-blue eyes.
I turned away from the mirror and looked at my parents’ portrait with Henri standing in the middle between them, looking dapper in his early teenage years. They looked blissful. Auntie had mentioned to me when she caught me staring at it, that the portrait was created after they found out that they were going to have me. I sometimes saw father looking at that portrait without saying anything, but his eyes indicated a thousand words. I felt how much father terribly missed her, and now I pray they are together in Heaven. I loved to believe so.
Sighing, it saddened me when I looked around the familiar room, where I grew up learning the ways of being a proper lady. But what disheartened me most, was the time I used to play the piano for father. He loved it whenever I play Beethoven’s Piano Sonata: No. 8, Op. 13. Pathetique II. My throat ached as I held back my tears.
Leaving the life, I have gotten used to, had made me realize that I could not face the music. But, perhaps, it was time. It was time to start a new chapter and sail through the ocean to do so. I had no choice. Besides, I miss my Aunt Celeste so much; I could not wait to see her.
I just had to let the pain and withering pass.
I reminded the gardeners to take very well care of my mother’s garden because I had a hunch that I would not be seeing my home for a long time.
A/N: Hello and welcome to The Letters of Sierra Charmonte! If you enjoyed this chapter click onto the next one and find out what happens on her journey! Also, share your thoughts about this story and let me know by leaving comments! Thank you! xoxo