Meeting Lizbeth - Chapter Two Part II
There was screaming and fighting every day. Some days louder than others. Poor little Louise didn't know what to do about it. Her parents never seemed happy. She tried to talk to them and tried to make them laugh, but it was like the life had gone out of them.
"You're never home. Between the government and your store, you're never here." She told her father.
Her father always replied, “you like the nice things and the servants, how do you expect me to pay for them? One job isn't enough.”
Louise could recite the argument almost as well as she could recite her multiplication tables.
Three days after her tenth birthday her mother said, “How would you like to go away to school? You'd have girls your age around all the time and no arguing to listen to.”
Her little mind couldn't quite comprehend what her mother was saying, but she liked the “no arguing to listen to” part. She didn't realize going away to school meant she wouldn't be living at home. Her mother told her what a nice school it was and how many friends she would make.
She also said, “the very best part is when you finish school you will be accepted like all the little rich girls. No one will look down on you for being a politician's daughter.”
A week later she sat in the car between her mother and father as it headed toward her new boarding school. She had changed her mind and wanted to stay home, but her mother said no, this was for the best. She knew her house wasn't a happy house, but her mother and father were there. Though they fought with each other they were good to her and she didn't want to leave them. She tried not to cry when they walked up the big steps, but she couldn't stop the tears from running down her cheeks.
The Housemistress met them at the door. She wasn't much taller than Louise, but she certainly was wider. She had a big yellow bun on top of her head and starched clothes that made a noise when she walked.
"Hello Miss Louise,” she said. “Welcome to Miss Tuddy's School For Girls. You have been assigned to my corridor and I will be your Mum away from home.” She wondered what a Mum was but when she thought about it guessed it might be a Mom. “
"I will introduce you to the nine girls you'll be living with and I will always be available to answer any questions.”
The grown-ups continued to talk as she looked around and the big empty room. Oh, it wasn't completely empty since it had furniture in it but the room was so big the furniture got lost. The wood in here was very dark and so were the curtains. She didn't think she'd like to spend time here.
She needn't have worried. After her goodbye's to her parents, she was led upstairs, never to see that big room again. As for the housemistress being available she was almost as invisible as that big empty room. The nine girls she met seemed like regular girls and she thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad. That night when they were all in bed after lights out, something hit her in the head. She looked to pick it up and it was a crumpled up newspaper. When she smoothed it out, it was an article about her Mom and Dad. She didn't know what to think so thought it best not to say anything. So began the torture of a little girl by nine other nasty little girls. They gave her very little peace. The only time they didn't torment her was during classes when the teachers kept a close watch.
Oh, how she longed to hear her mother and father yelling at each other. How she wished she could be alone in her own bedroom, but, that was not to be. Night after night one form of torment after another kept her awake. A stripped bed, a missing blanket, things thrown in the night, all part of her torment. Then there was the tormenting in the shower rooms. Missing soap, soaking wet towels, and worst of all girls laughing at her naked little body. She cried herself to sleep night after night. Finally one night she decided she had had enough. Three months of this had made her a hard little girl. No more crying for Louise. She had hardened on the inside. When the other girls realized she wasn't crying anymore they began to leave her alone. After a few weeks, one of the quieter of the girls actually began to talk to her and walk with her to class. Her name was Alice and though her parents had a lot of money the other girls didn't approve of her either. Louise and Alice became friends and life wasn't as bad at school anymore. Having someone to share things with made things easier to bear and gave her control of her life.
Poor Mrs. Porter
When Louise was fourteen, her parents came to visit and advised her they were bringing her home to attend high school. She had mixed feelings about leaving. Alice was more than a friend by this time and she didn't want to leave her. Other students now respected her and she knew how to control a situation. She had learned the hard way how to push back or push first if she needed to. Just as in the past, her opinions didn't matter and she was brought home. How odd it was to be back in her own room. She knew things hadn't changed at home, but she had. She was harder and wasn't as easily hurt. Her parents still argued, but she just closed her bedroom door until the night she heard the bang and her mother scream.
She ran out of her room and down the hall to see her mother falling down the stairs. She watched helplessly as her mother's head bumped from one step to the next, it seemed to be happening in slow motion. Her father stood at the top of the stairs with a look she couldn't fathom. She wasn't sure if it was relief or sadness. When the bumping stopped they both rushed down the stairs. By the time they reached the bottom of the stairs the servants had arrived as well. Her mother was dead. Her father said they were arguing and she backed up and lost her footing. Louise wondered. Did she fall or did he push her? No one would ever know. Because her father was governor and well respected no one suspected foul play. No one that is, outside of the house. Louise and the servants knew of the terrible fights and all had their own opinions about what happened to poor Mrs. Porter.
The funeral was horrible. People she didn't know and people she vaguely remembered filled the house. There was food and tears everywhere. Louise was still in shock but watched her father deftly handle all callers. She noticed a nice looking blonde haired boy come with his parents. He smiled at her but never said a word even when their eyes met. A week after her mother's burial Louise started high school.
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