Umber (52.1 — Miss Brigid talks to Sioban)

September 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Poor Miss Vera!  Poor Miss Vera!  What’s she going to do now!  Oh, saints preserve us!”

Miss Brigid’s thin, quavering voice sounded from the depths of the box of photos.  I fished it out of the heap.  Apparently she was talking to her sister in the mirror again.

“When we got home from church after Father Vanderweyden scolded little Oleander so loudly in the confessional, the poor little girl looked sick.  We thought she was just upset, but the next evening she was running a high temperature.  Miss Vera sent me to fetch the doctor.

“He told us that Oleander had rheumatic fever, and was too sick to go to school.   Miss Vera and I were so worried. I don’t understand why Miss Vera had to have so many troubles all at once.  How she kept going about her daily chores I don’t know, but the strain was beginning to show, on her face, in the way she walked, in the sound of her voice.

“Eventually Oleander seemed to get a bit better, but she was still too weak to go to school.  She didn’t feel like playing with paper dolls anymore; in fact, she just lay in her bedroom most of the time, just sleeping or staring at the ceiling.

“Miss Vera and I thought it would be good for her to have a change of scenery, so we made a bed for her in the living room, right by the window, so she could wave at her friends as they walked to school.  We thought it would cheer her up, but we made a terrible mistake.”


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