Sylvia hated with the deep dark hatred of a thousand scorned lovers. She hated as if it was her only means of survival; which it very well may have been. She viewed the world through diseased eyes, interpreting everything she ingested into another object of her hatred; seeing only the worst there was to see, not comprehending any good. Among the things she hated were birds (all kinds, they made her nervous), grass (always having to be TAKEN CARE OF), sunlight and darkness. Especially sunlight. Everything was easier to see and therefore elicited more hatred in the daylight.
She knew she didn't always feel this way, but she couldn't remember when that was. There was some small part of her that wanted to remember when life had been good, but she never worked very hard to find that part of her.
As she walked down the long dim hallway she had plenty of time to reflect on the past. Her mother, father, and brother that she hated even more. He was 2 years younger, and was the object of so much of her anger.
Her family life had been relatively uneventful, loving but inattentive parents (especially since HE came along). She wondered if things would always feel this way. She knew the long dark hallway was a metaphor for the life she lived, and she wasn't sure she wanted to continue. Yet she walked on.
Her grandmother was still a puzzle to her. She admired the old woman's fierceness, but didn't understand her control over the family. How Grandfather ever lived with that! Well, he doesn't have to anymore. Grandfather was her first experience with abandonment, and that was oh so long ago. Grandmother had come to live with them then, and had been in control ever since. She wondered what would happen if the old lady accidentally fell down the stairs when she made her weekly trip to the canning cellar......
How long the hallway was! She felt as if she would never get to the end. She passed the main office, there was hustle and bustle going on, no one even noticed her. She knew over the next few years that these people would have control over her, and she hated them for it. (She also hated the color of the walls in that big room; a pukey green with tan trim.)
Mother was so naive. Couldn't she see what was going on? Sylvia knew, and that made her even more angry. How she longed to get out of that house, but for now was trapped. Trapped with her brother the precious young man, and the gullible mother and the controlling old lady and father. Mustn't forget father.
Forgetting father would be very easy. Ever since she can remember he has been not more than a shadow. He has his work, and ever since grandmother moved in (oh so long ago) he had to work harder and harder to give them - as grandmother says - 'everything a good woman like mother deserves'. Heaven forbid Sylvia's mother should go to work. That was unthinkable - now - even though a few years ago she had considered it. Grandmother was horrified.
"A lady of distinction does not leave the home in search of employment like a common spinster. You have a home and family to attend to, and who will do the entertainment planning? You must get involved in The Club, and get to know some people who can take you places.......", blah blah blah.
Grandmother grew up in the era when women stayed home and did nothing but raise their families, tend to the house and 'entertaining', and committed suicide at forty-five when their husbands ran off with twenty year old mistresses that were more interesting. Actually, this had all happened to Grandmother (except for the suicide - pity) and Grandfather now "lives a life of luxury and debauchery on the Western coast of California".
Sylvia still didn't understand how her mother could support her being sent off to this place. It was all grandmother's idea she was sure. Mother would never have allowed it. Father didn't say a word either. She did not want to go, but everyone said it would be best. They all just wanted her out of the house, and out of the way. She decided to make it a part of each day to plot her individual revenge on them all.
She came to the end of the hall where she had been directed, and saw the colored doors. Red, she had been told, was where she was supposed to report. What a lame idea, color coding the doors. Was she an idiot? Is this what she had to look forward to for the next unknown many years?
Many thoughts ran through her mind - running far away was the top of the list. She knew where she wanted to go, but wasn't sure if she should leave just yet. There was so much damage she could do before she left for good.
No, she would put up with this for a while, as she formulated what she knew had to be done. As she opened the red door - gag - she saw others had arrived before her. Chaos reigned throughout the room. She was already picking out new objects of her hatred when the instructor entered the room.
"Hello class, please take a seat. My name is Miss Grierson. Welcome to your first day of Kindergarten......."
Vanessa Hand is a recent transplant to Southwestern Wisconsin, moving from Arizona with her husband and daughters. Her recent completed works include "Sylvia" (featured in the site tales of the Internet) and the nonfiction "Medieval Wedding Guide" available through Chivalry Sports in Arizona. She currently has two novels and a children's book in the works.