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I didn't expect that everyone would arrive so early and have it all… - malachite cursive [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
malachite cursive

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[Apr. 13th, 2005|11:50 pm]
malachite cursive
I didn't expect that everyone would arrive so early and have it all worked out amongst themselves. I think I’ve been stitched up. I was just happy that if we had to be moved and disrupted so late in the year that it was to this beautiful place. It seems petty that we all want the end room, nearest the bathroom and furthest from the kitchen and with the best view of the grounds. But obviously we do. I thought that I might suggest a simple game to decide who moves their stuff into the coveted end room. a dirty white oblong that would be nothing were it not for the skylight that angles in natural light , and the larger bay that affords a view of the lake. We call it a lake but I think it's really a pond. This place has been closed down for ages, and we will get it for these last few months while the building work winds down where we used to live. Apparently students from other universities have sued for damages regarding exam stress and noise pollution in similar circumstances, so they decided on a little damage limitation and shoved us into this rather grand old house that was probably left in a will. Fourteen apartments; thirteen dark rooms and one chapel of light. But as I said, that one was taken by the time I arrived. I had thought a game of skimming stones on the water would have been a lovely diversion for us, and an excellent way to decide on our living arrangements. So much fairer than simple drawing of straws. particularly when those straws were drawn in my absence.

But maybe I’m not being so fair in my analysis. My idea of skimming stones is not such an innocent one after all. it's something I am quite practised in. when my sister Paige was at home with chickenpox at the same time I had mumps ( what a terrible time for my mother, pureeing foods and smoothing lotions onto skin)we had contests in our small garden pond all of the time. She had the trick of it - choosing flat smooth pebbles to my more lumen counterparts. She was a year older and wilier, spending her time doing daring things with boys like climbing trees. My experience did not extend much further than the pages of Mallory towers. At that point I still believed that honest toil and persistence was the route to reward. So, hobbled by my innocence yet advantaged by perseverance I stockpiled any type of small weighty object and spent hours perfecting speeds and distances. Eventually my hard-won technique matched Paige’s cunning and we were even. One day realizing our time at home was dwindling thanks to the efficacy of modern medicine, we decided to round off our time at home with a grand contest of pebble skimming. Paige and I were neck and neck until toward the end when I became distracted by a scrabbling at the pond edge. My shots became increasingly skewed and uncertain as the fun of winning paled beside my curiosity and the promise of further adventure. Impatient to investigate alone, I slid towards defeat and with a hint of cunning of my own let her go giddily into the house, her joyous triumph ringing through to our mother in the kitchen. At once I advanced softly to the pond and discovered my prize.

It was the most perfect tiny emerald green frog I’d ever seen. It was quivering a little with fear, and being a child I had no idea that frogs were seen by some as unpleasantly slimy creatures. I coaxed it gently into my cupped palms, and oblivious to the damage I would cause, paraded it into the house as a shimmering prize for my sister. My mother and sister both screamed and recoiled from my gift, and Paige was also quivering with rage. For she too was only a child who was hurt and felt that I was belittling her victory, jealously stealing her limelight. Before I could do anything the poor frog leapt from the safety of my hands and dashed away. Paige jumped in terror perhaps or perhaps something else, some lower emotion, and stamped on it in the confusion. Sadly the frog did not survive. My mother was glad to get us back to school and out from under her feet, as we quarrelled and cried over the frog's demise for the rest of our enforced furlough. So I did not win the contest, and I lost the frog. I thought maybe it would be my turn to win something and I really would have liked the room. It’s only for a few months anyway, and hopefully when I move in with Adam and Ruth next year we can all have rooms we like. Until then I still have the pond.
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