Day 215 – Absolution – Part 1

This is inspired by a dream I had last night. It’s not brilliantly written – I’ve been really ill the last few days and this is the first one that I’ve had the time to put any energy into. The others have mainly been done to get them over and done with so I can shiver and complain and fall asleep.

Word count: 1083

It was the day that my sister disappeared.

We – my vast family and I – were in a restaurant. My brilliant mum was celebrating her fiftieth birthday. Everyone was there – her brothers, her sister, and all my cousins on my mum’s side, my father, my sister and some close friends who were practically family anyway. It was a great night from what I remember.

____

My name is Vicky. I am now thirty one, but from the time that this story starts, I am sixteen. I live in a nice terraced house in a quiet market town. I went to school and got relatively good grades. I had nice friends and I went to a few after school clubs. I liked music – you know that age when you think you must listen to everything underground and unknown? I was your average normal teenager, with the exception that I was adopted into a family of Pakistani origin.
I guess you think it is wrong I should say that wasn’t normal. But being a very Caucasian girl with blond hair, it does look very unusual in photographs and when walking down the street. I won’t say we are a normal family, because we aren’t. Far from it – but then again, what is normal? My parents did not look after me when I was younger and I was forced into care. It was not as bad as its made out to be, but I was only four at the time. Anything was better than sleeping on the bathroom floor because my parents forgot to come home. My new parents chose me a year later and I moved in with them. They couldn’t have children you see and they didn’t care about what the child looked like – as so many other families do. With some it’s all about the size, the gender and of course every girl wants a baby.
So I went to live with them. I was brought up on curries, biryanis and parathas. Fortunately – though I only realised this later – my family were not too religious and I was not overly exposed to that aspect of the Pakistani culture. I’m not saying either is right or wrong, I’m just glad that I had the chance to choose. It was a good upbringing I think, better than what I was used to – though mum was bloody strict. Dad was worse, actually. But they were always there for me. They still are.
My little sister came along when I was twelve years old. My mum miraculously conceived – we were all excited. No one could quite believe it. For nine whole months she was pampered – we refused to let her do anything. I was so excited for a little baby coming along. When little Arina was born, we were all so happy. She became my smallest best friend.
That was my life until we went to dinner on that fateful night.

We opted for Thai that evening. There was a brilliant Thai restaurant in the middle of town that we had been to before, but that was absolutely gorgeous. My dad was standing up and raising a glass of red wine (he openly drunk).
“Thank you all for coming. Fifty years old – for which twenty have claimed the happiest years of my life.”
“Claimed? You make me sound as if I robbed you!”
“Fine lines of marriage!” someone shouted from the other end of the table.
“Well, thief or otherwise, I would like to raise a glass to my wonderful, wonderful wife!”
Everyone around the table raised their glasses.
“Happy Birthday!”
Song erupted and my mum burst into tears, “Thank you, thank you.”
When it was time to go I took Arina’s hand and helped her on with her coat. We were going to walk all the way from the restaurant to our house – not long, but it was cold outside. I skipped with her down the street, ahead of everyone else. Arina was giggling and I raised her up high every few steps. It had been raining while we were eating, so I let her splash in the puddles. I won’t ever forget her smile that evening. I looked back and saw my family coming up over the rise. We waited for them as I didn’t have any keys to get in and home was very close.
Arina giggled and splashed around in some more puddles whilst we waited and eventually they all caught up with us.

“Sorry for running ahead mum,” I apologised.
“No, no – Arina loves the puddles!”
Our two groups absorbed and we headed home. I remember a faint feeling at that moment that I was missing something, but I figured it was because Arina was holding someone else’s hand and not mine. We got home and filed into the living room, cracked open bottles of pop and nestled down by the fire. Dad was slightly tipsy and vigorously chatting away to everyone while mum was tired from the food but having a good girly chat with her sisters out of earshot from her husband. Everyone else was talking amongst themselves. My two young cousins, Adis and Sara were chasing each other around the house. It was then that I noticed who wasn’t there.

“Where’s Arina?” I asked.
Mum was too busy talking. Dad simply wasn’t listening.
“Mum, where’s Arina?” I repeated, but she still did not hear me.
I stood up.
“Where’s Arina?” I panicked.
Mum and Dad looked to me and then to each other.
“I’ll check upstairs,” Dad said, as calmly as he could.
Mum resumed talking to her sister, believing that dad would find Arina upstairs playing with her toys. A minute later Dad returned.
“She’s not upstairs. Not in the kitchen or bathrooms either.”
Mum went white, “Arina! Arina!” she shouted to no avail.
“I’ll check outside,” I said, rushing to the front door.
It was pouring with rain again and looking down either end of the street, I could not see anyone around. Meanwhile Dad had gone out into the backgarden to look, but had turned up nothing. Mum was panicking in the living room, her sister comforting her.
“What do we do?” I asked dad.
“Retrace our steps. She will be out there.”
So we did. We went down every side street that we passed on the way. We took wrong turnings just in case. We went all the way back to the Thai restaurant. Nothing. From that point onwards, everything changed: but strangely for the better…

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~ by S.G. Mark on May 9, 2012.

4 Responses to “Day 215 – Absolution – Part 1”

  1. check you entry, tchocklate… I don’t see it.

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