Saturday, September 04, 2004

Part 3: The Picture Book

As Anna sat in the high back chair, she thought about what she had done, as her mother had instructed. She really hadn’t thought it was such a big deal to be playing with the glass angels in the china hutch. She supposed that mother had gotten so angry because they had been grandmother’s. She couldn’t help it, though. Every day she looked at those angels on the top shelf, and admired their beauty. She played with them nearly every day after school, before mother got home from work. Today mother had come home early; just early enough to catch her with all of them on the floor around her. Of course, knowing what horrible punishment it was, mother sent her to sit in the uncomfortable chair in the corner of the front room.

No longer able to analyze the situation, her gaze began to wander about the room, looking over things that she always looked over when she was sent to the corner. There was the piano, which mother made her stand at and sing while she played various songs. During birthdays and Christmas, they would all gather around and sing songs. Of course, mother had a terrible voice, so it was never much of a treat, but she always insisted, saying it was tradition.

ON the floor next to her chair sat two jugs. They weren’t anything special; just two plain, glass jugs, which were about the size of milk bottles, perhaps a bit larger. She never knew where they came from and thought they were actually rather ugly, but mother always insisted on keeping them there. Perhaps this was also part of her strategic punishment; making her sit by ugly bottles.

Across the room was the glass door, which led to the dining room. Anna loved to sit in that room as much as possible and look outside. They lived on the fourth floor, so it was a wonderful view of the people below and the park across the street. Sometimes after sitting at the windows all afternoon, she would turn around to see mother standing in the door way with tears in her eyes. She would never give details as to why she was crying, though, always saying something about memories of grandmother.

Next to the glass door was one of grandmother’s old bookshelves. Anna missed her so, and had immediately started reading the books on the shelf, as soon as she had been shown grandmother’s favorites. She was quite the reader at such a young age, so she heard mother and many of her friends commenting. She didn’t know much about that, but she did love to read. She was currently in the midst of a wonderful novel called The Merchant of Venice. Mother didn’t approve much of this book, but let her read it anyway. She had begged and wailed when mother said she didn’t want Anna r3eading the book. Anna was torn, as mother had just finished telling her that this had been grandmother’s very favorite. Finally mother consented, saying that she could read it, but not all at once; she had to read just a bit every day. Anna could sit all-day and read for hours, many times finishing entire novels in one day. She was about halfway through this one and understood why mother hadn’t wanted her reading all of it at once. It was a very intense novel, full of violence and revenge.

The more she thought about this book, the more she wanted to be reading it right now. She knew that she shouldn’t as mother had instructed her not to move from the chair until she was called to dinner. Also, she had already read part of it that day, and she knew the rules. Unfortunately, Anna was quit the troublemaker, even she knew that. So, with mother in the kitchen preparing dinner, Anna sneaked across the room to the shelf and quietly stole the book, running back to her seat to read. She became so caught up in the story that she hadn’t noticed on of her stockings falling below her knee, or mother calling her for dinner.

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