Girls Trip

I was eight, when I first heard of my elder sister travelling alone for the first time.
When she returned, she brought gifts for me(the ravishing and exciting stories of her time spent on the expedition). Every time she leaves for her journey, she would ask other children in the house what they wanted when she got back.
Demands were something that follows a silk dress, a doll whose hair is purple,a long stick just to fly the stupid ball farther in the sky or a book which has got a red cover and a beautiful woman’s face on its front looking like she just had a bath in the golden tub, but got scolded for it and so on the list goes.

My sister then came to me and asked in the cringiest way possible, like I’m still a toddler waiting for the sweet caressing of her soft touch and a brush on my hair. No, most definitely not. I am a grown woman now whose bosom are starting to show up behind her shirt and harmless growth of hair all over the body. I didn’t quite hit the menstruation yet, but the teacher can’t stop mentioning it to all the other girls in the secret session on every other Saturday.Truth be spoken, this is all like a torture for me. Like I am nothing but a lamb who is getting ready to be chopped off for some fancy dinner one day.

Anyway, it’s my turn now. She asked me again as I was so lost in my own thoughts. This time she used sign language to get my attention as if I was nearly dumb enough not to understand her hurry. Dressed in the fanciest clothes I have ever seen, her red hair tied up with several pins to hold the thoughts but just loose enough to compliment her attire and remind others as what an image of an angel she is.
She got close to my pale smiling face, kissed me on the forehead and rushed towards the stairs down the hall to make her exit look more astonishing as she was.
“But…but I didn’t say what I wanted for my present. Did I?”
“ Don’t worry, I know what will make you happy. Wait for your birthday present.”

She was gone. Seven months passed by. These days were not horrible but could have been better. Fine! I got hit by the big mother nature and now have to use clothes under bags of clothes down my panties.It is no big secret, but I don’t know why the warden makes a big issue of it. We are not allowed to go outside on those days and especially nowhere around Charlie.

Warden thinks it is unforgivable if a boy discovers you on the day that you are bleeding. I mean come on? Really? Where do you think Charlie came from?
I become so sick of fighting with her to let me go out that day, because unlike a chicken( who is not even laying eggs) I can still do many things and not lay on the bed the whole day.
She is confined in her thoughts, maybe because she never had an elder sister like me who brings the world’s wisdom and paints it with the brightest of the colors available. Sing me the country names like a lullaby until I fell asleep only to wonder what those places would look like.

For years and years,I urged her to take me with her on one of her adventures. A girl’s trip as she would say it. I wonder when I will be of age when I can see those purple lilacs of Hampshire, for she mentioned it is as a country so beautiful with a variety of climate changes with flower beds and lawn left. And the river banks of Belfast, which not that recently got included in the maps of Nations.Although, the other girls get excited about the world famous linen of Belfast whereas I am all about the largest and strongest ship ever made and the botanical garden and parks.
Miss Swans brought the map of England the other day when she mentioned it’s time for us to know the world we’ll get ourselves in. I wonder what she meant by that? Did she give us a hint which she thinks is a naive puzzle that we are old enough to go on our Girls trip? Oh, I am so excited for the curtains to finally open and the old serenity gates to open wide for me to flip-flap my wings and just fly high with the wind.

Miss Swans is a very smart and calm lady for her age. Although when she reads the paper with such a twirl in her tongue, it makes me wonder if she has a problem. She is the second person I would go to for proofreading my small poems I write inspired by the tales of the extravagant adventure my sister goes on. Despite being in her fifties, I have never seen her ramble about the flamboyant posture of a lady should stand, or for this instance sit or eat or pray; apparently there is a right way to do everything.
She once made me read an entire chapter of History out loud during one of our sessions of “ How to make your corset look thinner so that your boobs look like a blooming flower in Spring.”
Her idea was to punish and humiliate me in front of the other girls and the warden who always kept a close eye on both the teacher and the student, in the process of becoming a ‘lady’. Well, my idea was to get these punishments more often.
Because as I jot it down at the end of my day, starting with ‘ Dear diary, in continuation to what I learnt yesterday about Great Britain after World War II, the country suffered great damage as a result of aerial bombardment but slowly and steadily London managed to reconstruct the industrial, residential and commercial districts as well as the heart of the city ”

It was that day when a postcard arrived from my sister. Even if she was halfway across the world helping a needy man or playing doctor to a little child who lost his mother at childbirth and father sent to fill the empty post in the troop. Doing all she does, all the ever amazing things she was meant to do. She never forgets to send me her wishes on my birthday. This was the day when my world became bigger and more beautiful beyond the reach of the confined walls of my shared bedroom.
But, something was different today. Charlie was not annoyed by the fact that I will ramble about my sister’s expedition for the rest of my life,the warden didn’t shout at me when I ran through the hall wearing nothing but a pantalet paired with a see-through blouse and the girls didn’t mock me for it.
It was different this time,for it was not a birthday present but more like a goodbye letter. By the looks of my shivering legs and flow of perspiration on the pale cheeks it looked like I’ve outnumbered my days. It felt like a big basket of rocks fell upon my head without any prior notice to mark this day in the history of the discoveries. I was not sure why the dew from my pearly eyes (as ‘she’ used to say) was flooding over. As I was staring at that piece of paper which suddenly had the power to banish me from my heaven to doom in hell for eternity, on the other hand I didn’t want it to ruin with any kind of earthly matter be it dust or wind or fire or even my innocent tears, for these were the last words I will ever get from her.

A year passed by and I was two inches taller compared to last spring. My world was not the same without her. Even if she was away from me most of the time, she was close to my heart. Warden says I am a big girl now, but why does it feel like I’ll always be that tiny blithe girl I used to be. It may be because of the hope I carry to see her dove face again.
The day was finally here when they called for me in the dining hall. They were the same men who visited ten years ago (although a little wrinkled in the eye and chin area) accompanied by two other unknown faces.
Wait.This is it? This is the day when I get to start my never ending girl’s trip? Like my sister and her friends did ten years ago.
Beaming with euphoria, I started to pack my whatever little things I owned and lots of books that I have managed to embezzle from Miss Swans chamber.
“ She is just like her sister, isn’t she?” Impressively said one of the gentlemen looking at the arrangements of the books in the trunk rather than dozens of corsets.
Why? Of course I am.

This was the only day in the last year where I was myself. Eyes were glistening, but not in a seriously problematic way but filled with the possibilities of what I was about to see with this pair. The imaginations were floating around with the blue sky and beaming with ideas.
I was about to see the whole world. I was finally on my trip.

The door opened and I was welcomed by a butler,who was constantly looking at his pocket watch pointing out that I was half-an hour late. I tried to explain to him that I got lost. Lost in the beauty of the train, lost in the fashion of the young ladies and the tall buildings that were still in construction. Oh! that I got lost in the big library where they keep the handsome scholar’s newly published books. I tried to explain this to him, but I think there is a reason he is a well bred,wealthy serving butler.
While I was mesmerized by the ancient wall paintings and the slant rays of the sun piercing through the translucent ceiling glasses,he said something about the person I was in service to.
As I walked into my stationed room of this magnificent villa, as beautiful and perfect it was, there stood a man in the corner of the room. He helped me with my luggage to settle down first. Oh what a gentleman at first came to mind. He was a middle aged man and most likely to have served in the war by the looks of his disoriented hind leg. He then explained to me that I will accompany him to some places where he needs me and is required, given his wife and children are away. Ah! A nurse for the limb, my thoughts supported.

I leaned down to get the shoes in order before the gentlemen left the room, when he grasped me from the back and held me so tight that I could feel his mailed fist through my five layered corset. Struggling to get out of his grip, I said firmly,” Sir, I think you are mistaken. I am here on behalf of my sister at your service”.
His reply shattered my fantasies, “Yes, I know. This is what your sister does”.

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