The Selenographer's Daughter
The Selenographer's Daughter
Lewis Bleu, crypt keeper and one of Chopin's oldest citizens, lived in a tiny house next in the middle of the World Expo. She never planned it that way. It just happened. Much like the rest of Lewis' life. Her friend, Lavender Fields was going to be one of the attractions so she didn't mind much. It ensured that Lavender would stop in and see her - when the sun finally set and might help het forget.
During construction, Lewis never left the house once. Content to merely peek out the from behind the aged, lace curtains, she kept tabs on the foreseeable and learned It doesn't wander out into the fairgrounds for fear of losing itself. she grew up in a family of crypt keepers that worked mostly at night.
Her father , a selenographer, was the perfect companion to her mother, the crypt keeper. Her mother died, crushed by a special order coffin when Lewis Bleu was only 8 years old. She carved the number into palm during the funeral service. The dripping blood fell into the ground soaking the sod with Lewis' grief.
Lewis shunned her school chums, preferring the company of her mother's trained bats and owls. She accompanied her father on his nightly galactic sojourns. Some thought the father and daughter pair a bit odd, going out only at night to study the moon, but to Lewis Bleu, there would be no other way.
She hated the other children with all her might. They thought they were better than her, prettier than her and some even thought they were smarter. That made her the angriest. Her mother plaited her long, blonde hair for before she went to bed so that it would crinkle down her back as she led the others through the playgrounds. She made her father braid it one more time the day they put her mother in the ground. Lewis severed the braid and placed it in the coffin. She would never wear her hair long again. They called her name, always wanting to hold her hands as they walked to school.
When her mother died, she tasted only bitterness and sour. Sweetness and savoury never seen again. Falling further behind in schoolwork and piano lessons had little consequence without her mother to take care of her. Boys would feel her up behind the tombstones and leave her behind when they had satisfied themselves. She wished horrible things for the girls they married.
She recognized some of them as they entered the fairgrounds with the toddlers and rolling prams. People fussed and fawned over their arrogant children. They didn't notice as Lewis hid between the shadows and watched as they took more of her and threw it into the rubbish. Her target is a girl named Lily who tends to stray a little from the crowd. The child looks as her mother did when she was the same age. When she was eight years old. The year that Lewis' mother died. Her palm throbbed at the memory. She threw her rage at the darkness and ran sobbing to her house. In the middle of the exhibition grounds.
She sunburns easily and eats her food in alphabetical order.
The long summer days are the hardest. The short winter ones, the easiest. She reads about a city where it is always dark and the sun never shines. This is where she wants to live.
She loves vanilla ice cream served with bits of black licorice. How does she eat this? Why the black licorice bits first and then the Vanilla Ice Cream. If by chance she eats chocolate ice cream with humbug bits then she eats the Chocolate ice cream first and then the humbugs.
Spaghetti and meat balls - you eat the meat balls first of course and then the spaghetti. You see how it works.
Her groceries arrive and left on the back stoop. She knows no sorrow and experiences no joy. The Daily's pique her interest slightly but none affects her.
Smashing curls. She often wonders what happens to little girls' curls once they grow up. Battles to tame them underneath bonnets and scarves. Brushing out insolence. Subduing non compliance with a hot iron.
She watches the little girl with hair straight as goldenrods play amongst the tombstones, wondering why she's here. Pink sock with white polka dots slouch around her ankles. Soiled from the lack of shoes. Under her arm, she carries a small china doll, carefully setting her down whenever she stops.
The vial of bat fur hanging around her neck from a burlap string chafed her neck, leaving a permanent reminder of why she was here. Scant for company, the leather winged mice amuse her, devouring the cloak of loneliness that covers the graveyard. The amber colour specific to vampire bats is a most valued commodity on the underground market. No bat ever dies from the collection of the fur but rather is delicately shaved with the straight razor inherited from her father.
She sat by the fire and darned her clothes.
A match made in 'heaven'. Lewis Bleu raises and keeps bats while Lily likes to chase and follow them.
To be continued