Her reflection in the mirror exhibited nothing of her unusual condition. Bloomed to a prim and proper seventeen year old, she exuded warmth and confidence, the bubbly disposition young females of the generation shared.
“Look at me, Michael! Aren’t you proud of your girl?”
She walked further away but retraced her steps forward copying a model on the ramp. Her knee-length yellow dress with floral patterns fitted her well, the contours of her figure revealed, radiating outward the happiness she enjoyed while in her own fantasy world.
“Wait a little longer,” she whispered, her face a few inches from the mirror, “and we’ll be together as I promised.”
Then, she hummed their song, the best there was, the embodiment of their true love.
Maddy watched her daughter from the small slit of the ajar door; her maternal feelings disturbed, helpless to correct the wrongs of the past.
“I am so sorry dear,” she cried quietly, covering her face with shame, her anguish unmatched.
She could not bear seeing her this way. Her daughter seemed to personify the astrological sign Gemini, twinned differently, one time real while another time distantly alien.
Maddy hurried down the stairs and composed herself. Gone were the days when she was strict as a drill master, a remnant of an era she successfully buried with her husband’s body, his gallant death in a skirmish down South the turning point of her renewal.
His legacy of total dominance over their daughter’s love life was discarded once Maddy discovered she wasn’t the daughter she knew before.
“Rowena, dear!” she hollered, pretending she was not aware of her morning role-playing. “You’ll be late for school.”
“Coming!” came the happy reply from upstairs.
The teenager managed a bright smile when she met her mother at the foot of the stairs; her other self was already in place to live the other world she was accustomed to temporarily replace the one she cherished.
“Ma, can you please tell the guys to keep their distance. My classmates are afraid that they would be hauled away if they come close to me.”
Maddy’s heart could not be repaired by time alone. Her daughter’s remark reminded her daily of Rowena’s pain.
“Don’t worry, dear,” she replied bravely, grinning false, “I’ll have them sanctioned if they disturb you or any of your friends.”
“Don’t be so hard on them, Ma,” Rowena pleaded. “I believe they are just following what they are ordered to do.”
That was a double stab at her. Her husband was fortunate not to hear their daughter’s belief that everything bad with her was their fault. It was so unfair, hearing of it every time.
“Ma, Ma,” Rowena jolted her back to the present. She kissed her on the cheek. “I’m going. Love you!”
Maddy saw her off strolling lively down the street as if nothing was wrong. There were no guards following her: they had been removed since that accident with Michael.
She went straight to bathroom and poured her tortured feelings out. It was her private cell, a place she could scream so loud that her own punishment waited: isolation.
– o –
“Did you call your brother?” Zenny asked her fourteen-year old son, John.
“I did,” he replied, forking the fried fish on his plate. “Several times.”
“Why isn’t he here?” she asked, agitated as always. “Aren’t he going to school?”
“He said he can’t walk,” John rolled his eyes, silently saying, “Here we go again.”
Zenny stood up, walked briskly toward the closed door of his eldest son and yelled, “Come out, Michael! Stop this reenactment thing you fool yourself with.”
There was no answer. The door was locked.
“Wait till I tell your father,” she warned.
A few minutes later, the door opened. Michael stood there: he wore Rowena’s night shirt.
(to be continued)