the first time I felt truly alone?
Hm. That’s a tough one.
You know my father? Yep, he was in a few of these stories earlier. Not in person at least. M-hm… Well once, when I was seven, I remember I kept sneaking into the kitchen and eating sweets; spoiling my appetite. I was already a rotten kid, and the servants who raised me were at the end of their proverbial rope. Dad decided the answer was discipline, and ‘real’ parenting. He felt guilty for not being there. Instead of coming home, he simply had cameras installed in nearly every room of the house. There were two in my room, and I was overjoyed; my childish candle of hope, that he’d notice me more, grew brighter. I imagined him looking at his computer screen, sitting imperiously at a big, mahogany desk -that smelled of importance- watching his dear little daughter as he worked. I dreamed he would call me more. Even the most cynical side of me hoped that I would at least hear his voice more often.
It didn’t happen. A week passed, and his calls were as rare as ever. In fact, they seemed to become more sparse and brief. Wednesday, I slept in as per usual, did my lessons with unusual alacrity, and then I locked myself up in my room for playtime. I said I was tired, that I needed a nap. In my mind’s eye I could see father peering down at his screen and thinking ‘what a good little child I have.’ I minded my manners and even wore a dress. I obeyed the servants and didn’t play in the mud, even though it rained that day. I didn’t even punch Avon for cheating at chess. A mere seven year old little girl, I was very disappointed for the lack of even one moment on the phone with him. Father was busy and could not bid me a good sleep, again. I woke up on Tuesday with a plan.
The little child’s light blonde eyelashes fluttered open. She peeked her pretty amber eyes along the room and sat up slowly. Seven years old and she still hadn’t learned how to dress herself. “no, Not that one monica, yes. The red shirt.” She waved her small arms expressively at the maid. Luckily Monica possessed the patience of a saint, even at this hour.
“oh but miss, the dress is so pret-“ Cleopatra crossed her arms, demanding silence with a toss of her golden hair “I wore a dress yesterday, I want pants!” the maid complied without further argument, too worn down by the girl’s years of stubbornness to fight this battle. Once the woman was gone, the girl skipped up to her small, cherry-wood bureau. Tilting her pale chin to the left, and then to the right, as if examining her childish features. In actuality, the small girl was looking at the camera. “morning daddy” she giggled for a moment, before stopping abruptly. The face in the mirror darkened, and she uttered a word, one she heard the gardener mumble colourfully when he cut his hand open on a rose bush. As to be expected, there was silence from the small steel square on her bedroom wall. Not a beep, not a ring. Her fist clenched. ‘today. I’m gunna do it!’ she thought with vehemence.
I don't know why I was able to. I don’t really know why I though the idea up. I think I just wanted to prove to myself that he was watching. I think I wanted to prove he did care, to shush the surprisingly adult doubt growing in my chest.
Resolutely, the little girl strode haughtily down the hallway. In her right pocket she had a small lighter. “betcha’ can’t get me his lighter!” She had whispered at Avon two days before as she dared her dear cousin to pickpocket one of the burly security guards –knowing full well that Avon could do it blindfolded- and then had taken the lighter with a remorseful smile of “okay, you were right.” At the time I felt no guilt. silently, the child slipped up to the potted plant guarding the kitchen’s entrance, she picked up handfuls of green, long, leaves. Tropical, imported from some far of place she had read about in an encyclopedia. While collecting a few green leaves, she heard footsteps. Her sly breath caught, and she slunk behind the plant silently. A simple valet strolled by, opening the back kitchen doors. After he was gone, she carefully lit the recently picked green leaves on fire, hopping onto a small cart, and waving them under the smoke detector. For a moment, nothing happened. The world paused, and the child wondered how she could have possibly miscalculated. I think I’ve never jumped so high in my life eitherthe sirens blared after the eternal second, and the sprinklers sputtered to life. Cleopatra giggled in giddy surprise and jumped behind the leafy plant again. Her smooth amber eyes watching panicked cooks run out. One cook had a small fire extinguisher, but the sirens continued to blare, and he kept going, looking for fire. She darted into the room, and grabbed a long sharp knife. Silently, she froze before the black lens of a camera. Her wide amber eyes stared helplessly at it, like a deer caught in headlights. But nobody came to save the child, and she turned away. Half an hour later, the commotion had died down. It was a false alarm; “a simple malfunction in the sensor”. She had put the leaves deep in the compost pile, the knife and lighter were safely hid under her fluffy, ridiculously big pillow.
I sat there a long time, about an hour, just staring at the cameras. Little did I know he had been at a meeting the entire day. I bitterly found out years later it had been a ‘meeting’ with his young, attractive secretary. I just wanted to be noticed. A deep hunger inside of me begged for it. Slowly I picked up the knife, above dangled it above my lap carelessly in front of the camera. Nothing. Not a sound. So I held the knife up to my soft little lips, and again, silence. I chewed on it, shuddering at my teeth clicking against the cold steel. The phone did not ring, no servant rushed into the room to save me. I thought to myself; ‘he knows I’m bluffing. Once he realizes I’m in danger, he’ll rush to save me. and that’s that; he’ll care.’ My fragile, foolproof little plan. I pulled the knife out of my mouth, and lowered it to my wrist.( I knew back then it was bad to cut one’s wrist; I had seen a movie where the main protagonist cut her wrists and “went to sleep.” The servants didn’t know I was watching that, perched silently on a table behind their backs. My childish mind didn’t think of death, and the thought of bleeding was more of a curious thought than a morbid one.) The room felt lonelier and lonelier by the second. I closed my eyes, feeling a prick of fear. It made me mad, and I flicked my eyes open to quickly slide the blade against my china doll skin.
The phone didn’t ring. And that was the first time I felt utterly alone. Not a soul in the world was real it seemed, not even Avon. I remember shaking, and hugging my arm to my chest; it hurt. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want it, I only wanted to feel better, to feel precious.
Why do you keep asking me these things?
oh…no. no you can’t take that.Stop stop.