I sat alone, watching the rain splatter against the window, pressing my fingertips to the pane to feel its cool, humid surface. For a second I got lost in that moment, wishing that time would stop clicking forward towards the dreaded evening. It was time. The one thing I had dreaded had arrived, and all I could do was continuously replay last night’s transgressions in my head. It was a bitterly cold night, and each breath had felt strained to me as I desperately tried to withhold the panic. The months before also were eventful in rain, snow and sickness, draining the life of any individual who dared to face the gripping rain and ice. For I, Lilac Parason was lucky enough to afford proper care and medicine, all due to my slightly wealthy father Evan Parason. As I was the only child left in his care, he gave me everything I needed to financially secure myself, yet the monetary value of the things I long to have can never hold a price.
I immediately stood from my crouched position on the floor turning to see a young man, his dark green eyes peering into my room as he leaned against the door. His dark brown hair slightly flopping over his forehead which caused him to look instantly younger, yet nothing could be done about his overly tall frame, which looked even more impeding in his grey and black suit. My eyes burned and for a few seconds I had no idea who he was, and then I came to the realization that I had been crying for hours.
“Edison...” my voice croaked, its slight heaviness losing all of its feminine tone.
“Interesting changes” he said thoughtfully as he looked at my surroundings, and for a second my mind was cleared. My room was a complete disaster, my royal blue comforter spread across the bed, hanging helplessly near the floor. Along with various books, papers and magazines chunked into the corner of the room.
“You’re a complete mess Lilac….I knew I should have come sooner” he looked away idly picking up a book from the floor.
“Oh I’m sure you’d love to watch every moment my impending downfall” I groaned, suddenly feeling quite sick as I leaned against the bedpost, clutching my stomach.
“You know that isn’t true! Have you forgotten our friendship so quickly!” he yelled, his voice echoing loudly against the walls. “You’re making yourself sick over this! I can’t help what has happened, but you know what must be done now...”
I looked him gently in his eyes, nodding in agreement. My father whom was the only family I had ever known, passed away three nights ago, and the pain of that loss had numbed considerably. My father Evan Parason wasn’t exactly known for his friendly or humble nature. He was a tyrant in every way, a man focused on work and wealth. My father worked for the city’s mayor, giving him a powerful position in society. He raised me to be an upstanding young woman, despite the numerous backlashes he received for doing so. I had known the Larks for nearly a decade, though Edison was the only member of the family who accepted me. We formed a friendship out the boiling hate around us, and I treasured our relationship. During the course of our friendship, he began working for my father, which caused a change within him, though he would never admit to it. He became interested in politics, money and power, yet nothing could touch his kindness, which thankfully remained intact despite my father’s influence.
I turned to look into the mirror, my light brown skin wrinkled in a frown, my eyes swollen and red from the days of tears I’d cried. My braided black hair tied back in a fuzzy knot. I swallowed gently, causing my throat to burn from my apparent thirst, I hadn’t touched water since early morning.
“Please…don’t be angry with me…” he begged moving slightly closer towards me, his polished shoes clucking down on the floorboards.
“He left everything….everything to you…” I gasped, my voice breaking into pieces at each word. “It isn’t right! I deserve this house! I deserve….” I stopped trying to find the words.
Edison opened his mouth to speak, but my tendency of sympathy had seemingly passed and I suddenly found myself moving forward my hands lunging to his face as I slapped him with all of my might.
I gasped, the apparent anger fading as quickly as it began. Edison stayed silent, his face looking downward toward the floor, a red bruise quickly appearing where my hands had been. He then grabbed my shoulders as if in enraged and for a second I thought he would throw me to the floor. But to my utter surprise he wrapped me in his arms pressing his body against mine as he hugged me. Edison seemingly always surprised me. He was argumentative and headstrong, a man of action and cause, yet a man of delicacy, a man to be proud of. In that moment, I hated everything about him; he had stolen anything and everything that was connected to my father. I pushed him away, wiping the tears from my eyes.
“You should leave...”
“I came because I was worried about you and…to hear an answer…” he said in thought. My father had been buried for at least 10 hours now. Edison had made an emotional captive speech at the funeral all of which was drowned out by the lightning storm forming outside.
“He was a man of character and power, a father figure for the fatherless, a man of truth and for that I aspire to be just like Evan Parason, a man who looked beyond what’s right and wrong and stood for justice…”
I had nearly memorized that portion of his speech as it repeated in my mind. And I was immediately taken back to that moment, my face hidden behind the black veil, avoiding the glances and glares from the people around me.
“Lilac…” Edison’s voice filled my room once more.
“I had no idea…no idea…that your father would do this...” he shook his head apologetically, his hand jarring down on the dresser.
“I’m sure you were just waiting quietly to take it away from me…”
“No…Lilac please…” he stopped in midsentence peering out the window. Headlights were starting to form and for a second I stopped breathing in anticipation.
“They’re here” he sighed, his voice echoing as a dreadful silence filled the room.
“The menders…” I gasped slightly. “No...I’m not ready!” I said aloud.
“Lilac you knew they were coming…” Edison sighed, burying his face into his hands for a moment. “You need to clean up…I can postpone them until you’ve at least showered.”
“The menders wait for no one you know that Edison” I sighed clenching my fists.
The Menders were called upon at every life changing moment. Whether it was a birth, wedding, or death, they would be there, giving a judgmental ruling on where your life would go from that point. They cared little for life, yet pushed everyone into believing that their hearts valued each and every one of us. I was never fooled, nor was I ever allowed to directly talk to them. The Mender’s labeled you in society in terms of race and wealth and their insight into whether you were a good person in their eyes. Each town received eight mender’s specifically chosen by the mayor himself at birth. I could never every be considered, for I was known as an A.M. An African American citizen could never be considered for a mender, much less even accepted in society. I held a different importance due to my father’s position. He had raised me despite the resentment he received, never once being able to achieve the greatness he longed for, and it was my own personal hell that I had caused him that grief. He would never be anything more than an assistant for fathering an A.M. My mother was a beautiful A.M., or so my father told me, I was never allowed to see any actual pictures of her. In those days it was acceptable for an A.M. and a Caucasian to be married and reproduce, but the arrival of the menders changed every rule. To marry an A.M. meant constant persecution and possible death if you were to go into the wrong areas. Though one fact remains to be evident: my race was slowly dwindling into nothingness, a slow and painful realization that sooner or later I would be the last of my race, the very thought was enough to scare me into hiding. Some A.M.’s choose that path, secluding themselves to avoid any persecution. We are allowed the same freedoms as everyone else, yet you could feel the burning bitterness from everyone. I was proud to be an A.M. despite the mender’s constant need to criticize my every move. Today they would finalize everything in my father’s will, and will decide my fate in this town. Edison would take over the property and would be able to make adjustments as soon as they agreed that he were suitable. Despite my father’s wants, the menders have the final say in what goes where. Edison would have to prove his worthiness despite the fact that he was held in high regard in this town. His soft Caucasian skin was enough for him to pass with flying colors in my opinion.
The soft knock downstairs startled us both and I quickly ran for the mirror, attempting to fix my disheveled appearance. I reached for comb, furiously combing through the numerous knots. My black dress was stained and crumpled, completely unacceptable for the menders.
“Here put this on” he insisted, removing his black jacket and passing it to me. I immediately pulled it on, glancing in the mirror; the jacket had instantly covered the wrinkles, resembling a small dress on me due to his height.
“Come on…we have to greet them” Edison then grabbed my arm, pulling me out into the bare hallway, then down the long staircase which led to the front door. Edison then gently ran his fingers through his hair, taking a deep breath as he opened the door. “Please…come in” he said softly.
I kept my head down, only hearing the soft click of shoes as it hit the hardwood floor, my heart beating loudly against my chest as the silence filled the room.
“Would you like some coffee?” Edison offered. Then I did something I had never dared to do, I glanced at the menders. Their attire was all black and elegant; they were immensely attractive, and appeared sophisticated and naturally immensely wealthy. The menders were worth millions for their role in society. The woman’s blonde hair was softly curled, framing her oval face perfectly. Her dress held a shimmer despite the color, it was clearly handmade and tailored just for her. The man was considerable older, though held no wrinkles, he was handsome in his own right and for a second I wondered if he was as cold as the scowl forming on his face. Both of the menders held huge black briefcases, and I imagined how many lives were stored away in them.
“That’ll do” the woman answered. I quickly looked down, my cheeks flushed. “Please follow me” Edison smiled warmly, leading through the hallway into my father’s office area.
“This living area is quite unsuitable…” the woman muttered, pulling out a notepad and furiously jotting down a note of disapproval. “Mr. Parason was…quite unstable in the last few days of his life…” Edison spoke sitting down in my father swivel chair. The menders then sat down in the chairs near the desk, opening the briefcases in their laps. I stopped at the door, watching the floor intently as I waited for the meeting to begin
“We shall decide to what to do with A.M. at the end of this visit Mr. Lark….the first order of business concerns Mr. Parason’s will, you are to inherit the house and his current balance of 10,000 dollars in his private bank account as well” the man started. “We trust that you are in good health and a good mental state, as you have had no prior issues with the town or state in question”
I turned to look at Edison, whom was gently playing with thumbs as the menders continued.
“It is required by us that you take half of the money and put it toward society in a positive way and that you ensure this home is well taken care of” he continued.
“A few changes have been made to the Clause of the Menders…” the woman then spoke, pulling out a long sheet of paper and passing it to Edison.
“The elopement/engagement/or friendship between a Caucasian and an A.M. is hereby forbidden beginning tomorrow morning, as we must preserve our future.” Edison read softly to himself.
“What am I to do with my current A.M.?” he asked his voice attempting to stay clear. I listened intently, unable to focus on what I was hearing, I could no longer spend time with Edison without breaking the law, the very thought frightened me beyond words.
“We find that you are suitable to run this household.” The woman said simply. “We shall contact you in the morning about the fate of your A.M., your funds are available to you now, Mr. Lark, we will also require you marry within 30 days and conceive a child with a year from this date as you are nearing 26.” “Any rules that are broken will face one of the punishments found at the bottom of the page, we shall choose the punishment” she continued. “Signature please”
Edison turned pale, but with a quick swift motion he picked up the pen signing the form.
“Enjoy your afternoon Mr. Parason" Within a few second their presence had left the room.
Edison seemed almost consumed with fear, his face paralyzed in thought as he heard the door shut. The menders had left as quickly as they came leaving a trail of misery behind them. I could take it anymore, I wanted to scream and cry or perhaps even worse I wanted to be banished.
“Lilac….come in here for a second…”
“I stepped into the office area, taking a small breath. “What do you think they will do to me?” I gasped.
“Not a damn thing, I wouldn’t let them…” his voice was slightly cracking as he stood up.
“There’s nothing you can do once they decide” I shook my head.
“Yes, there is something we can do” he nodding before frantically starting to go through my father’s desk, crunching papers and throwing pens sparingly onto the floor.
I stood in silence watching him, my fear causing knots to form in my stomach.
“One of my requirements is marriage Lilac” he continued continuously rummaging through the desk.
“What are you suggesting?” I asked hesitantly.
“Well...” he blushed before finally retrieving the document. “They said tomorrow any possible friendship or marriage between a Caucasian and an A.M. would be forbidden tomorrow morning....well...what about tonight?”
I looked up at Edison and within a few second I could feel my cheeks flushing and my pulse rising, and within moments everything went dark.
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