A soft stream of light entered my room, I blinked, and looked up at my white yellowing ceiling. It seemed awfully quiet, and lonesome. A home of ghosts. Stop right there! I thought with deep annoyance in myself, and sat up in bed. Today was going to be different, Henry was coming tomorrow, my dear brother was finally going to be home. I needed to prepare to ensure that Henry would be welcomed, even though home was not so welcoming anymore.
Quietly, I stepped out of bed and sat at my mirror, and gently patted some freshly made rosewater on my face. I was pretty, I always knew that, with my long and silky brunette colored hair, fair skin, pink touched cheeks, green eyes, and youthful figure. Maybe that was my weakness, knowing I was.
Ignoring my morning thoughts I proceeded to get ready, trying to look presentable, even though I was not going out. As I began pinning up my hair, I heard a soft knock at my door. Wistfully I hoped it was my mother, who was now lost to grief. But that would be impossible.
“Come in.” I said quietly, finishing my hair. I was right, it was not my mother, it was Bertha Lennox, my eighteen year old family servant, who was more like a sister, then a servant.
“Good morning, Miss Shirley.” Bertha said gently, with a big dimpled smile.
“Good morning Bertha, isn’t it rather early?” I asked curiously, Bertha usually woke up an hour later than I did, these days.
“Yes it is, but I decided to keep you company this morning, if that’s alright?” even with her gentle and demeur manner, she was persuasive, and had a mind of her own. She often scolded me without hesitation during my more stubborn and more difficult years, which caused me to despise her for being so good. But after all that has happened over the last almost two years, we grew closer, and became friends, who knew that war would change a person like myself.
“Of course, it’s fine. It was getting rather quiet and lonely anyways.” I said, as she said beside me on a small stool.
“He’s coming home. I cannot believe it.” said Bertha, changing the subject completely.
“I know, it has been so horribly long. I wonder what he will think of our family and I. I wonder if he has changed, but we all have though.” I said wistfully.
“It has been Miss Shirley, much too long. He probably changed, but he is still your dear brother. But not everyone changed, including you.” teased Bertha, sternly.
I laughed a little, Bertha’s honesty though it stung often, made life seem more real. “I did change a little though.” I retorted back, pretending to be stubborn. I knew I was still very much the same, but poking fun with Bertha, was too tempting.
“Believe that if you want.” she pointed out, honestly.
“Bertha.. I need to make tomorrow perfect, even if it takes me attempting to speak sense into my mother and father, or dragging them to greet their son. So to make things less difficult, I have everything down on paper.” I said, handing Bertha a piece of paper.
“Thank you.You and you and your “plans”.” laughed Bertha, shaking her head.
“Your welcome.” I replied ignoring Bertha’s comment, as I proceeded to explain everything, Bertha patiently listened, asking about something once and then.
“That’s a lot.” said Bertha with a deep breath, after the ordeal of going over the list was over.
“Yes, but we won’t be doing all of them, they are mainly suggestions.” I reassured.
“But how on earth are you going to force your parents to greet him at the train station?” she asked, worriedly,
“I am not sure, but at least I tried.” I replied. My parents hopefully had enough sense to greet Henry, if they didn’t, well, they were truly lost
Bertha instead of speaking squeezed my hand gently, trying to reassure me. But deep down we both knew my parents were like ghosts, and lost. They lost their eldest son, my brother, but they did not heal nor move on, like I did. I had lost my brother and my parents, it was simple, and the cruel reality.
“We better get started!” I announced standing up, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“Of course! I will start putting on a fresh change of sheets on Mr. Henry’s bed. said Bertha, who had also stood up.
“And I will begin guiding Lizzie, to make things just perfect.” I said with a cheeky smile. “Oh Bertha while you are getting the sheets could you please request on my behalf to Mary, for some of her homemade bread and preserves?” I added. I was beginning to feel famished.
“Of course, Miss Shirley, no one can say no to Mary’s preserves.” she replied.
“Thank you Bertha. Well I better get down to work.” I said as I left my room and Bertha, to begin the new day.
Note: This is my first chapter of the new story I am writing, what do you guys think? By the way, Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome Dad’s out there!