Weirdest thing happened today. Well, I mean, not weirdest at first ’cause every now and then Mama likes to get talky and touchy feely and she brings us all together for an awkward family dinner or a talk or something. So when she called everyone down the kitchen I just kinda rolled my eyes and turned the TV off. It was failing me anyways, there is NO good Sunday afternoon programming. Seriously! So we all sat down around the table and as usual Vi and Connor started blah blah blahing while Mama and I sat there feeling a little left out. Y’know, of the conversation.
So Mama’s been fidgeting and Connor’s been going on about his latest book and how he thinks it could be a screenplay and then Mama stands up so fast she bangs her chair against the walls. I guess, uh, you’ve seen pictures or something? so you know that the wall’s pretty far. She was a bit annoyed. But she stands up and is like “I’ve decided on the heiress to the legacy.”
That shut everyone up pretty quick so we just sat in silence while she put us through Ryan Seafoam like suspense. “And the winner is…………………. I can tell you it’s………… Bree Dyze!!”
“It wasn’t easy for me to decide on this, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and Rose – this house, this legacy, this camera clicking – it’s all yours. I love you ZZ.”
Uh… Hello? Is this thing on? Testing… Tes- How does this work? I guess… Whatever, I can hear the camera Mama was talking about so I guess it’s real. Don’t have to pinch myself or anything ’cause I get it, I’m part of a Legacy. Guess I always have been, huh? But I always figured Vi would be heiress, she’s older and she’s always had things, like, together. I’m just shocked, this was totally out of left field and I’m not sure I’m up for this. I know Mama thinks I can do this and Vi was gracious and I think Connor even smiled at me for a second but no one asked me. What if I don’t want to be a stupid heiress, what if… I don’t have a choice.
I guess Vi could always tell when I’m moody (who am I kidding? I’m always moody… Mood rings always go royal blue on me though) ’cause she’s dragged me out of the house to go the the Bistro that Uncle Jared worked at before he err… Passed. He wasn’t working when he… Y’know though. Vi and I haven’t hung out a lot really, not since we were kids, but dinner was nice and she was really sweet. She’s so reassuring lately, like the book of inspirational quotes she keeps under her mattress, but she said what she really meant before we went in.
“I think Mama made the right choice too Zeez. You’re smart and you’re beautiful and you’re interesting! You have the whole world in front of you now… Reach out and take it!”
What if I don’t want the world?
“What if I don’t carry on the legacy by y’know… Carrying on?”
“What do you mean, Rosie?”
“What if I don’t do the marriage and kids thing, Vi? You and Micah seem to be heading there but I mean, I thought Blair maybe, and I thought Marcus probably and Roy briefly but I don’t think that I’m cut out for all that I guess!!”
“Micah and I aren’t… We… You’ll find the man for you Rose, I promise you he’s out there.”
Despite Vi’s promise I still keep dreaming the same dream – I’m in a pretty white dress and I’m heading towards a room full of people, I think I’m late ’cause everything always feels rushed, but all of a sudden I get dizzy and fall to the ground and I just can’t stand or move, I keep falling and being dizzy until the wind picks me up and all of a sudden I’m standing on top of the lighthouse looking out on the house and Connor’s having a party in the backyard. It’s weird but I can’t help but feel like it all means something.
At least having big news sprung on me has given me an excuse to laze around the house… Breakfast is whenever I want it and there’s always time for TV and my painting. I think Mama’s worried about me, she keeps poking her head into my room and looking around and someone keeps leaving the paper on the table with the jobs section open but I’m not ready to hand over my life to a job. I don’t know what I want to do and besides – I only graduated a couple of months ago, I should get some time off.
I’ve really started to hate some people, it’s like the second they thought I was going to be famous or something (like having a legacy is such a big deal in that way, whatever) they started popping out of the woodwork and wanting things from me or trying to get in my good graces. Even my old school called and asked me to teach a painting class for some of the grade 4’s. I said yes ’cause they were gonna pay me quite a bit for just one afternoon’s work. I think they initially wanted me to do more but I didn’t have the patience to deal with the kids, I didn’t yell at them but I came super close. One of the brats splashed dirty water on the sleeve of my sweater!!
I usually find the park calming… It has pretty things and pretty colours and it’s usually really inspiring but sometimes it’s nearly too much for me to bear. There’s a couple of old guys in the town who have little kids and they bring them to the park in the afternoon and they’re just so good with them. I can sit and watch Mama’s friend Chris talk with his kid for longer than I think Connor and I have spoken in my entire life and it’s like, wow… To have had something like that. Maybe there is something to be said for maturing… Like nectar as opposed to like grapes or something.
Being at the park does give me a chance to do things other than dad-watch though. I’ve started teaching myself how to play chess which I kinda like, but I’m not so good at it yet. I’m also not so good at cooking, but getting better on the grill at least. You guys know Mama by now, right? She wouldn’t let me within five feet of the stove until I was seventeen. In case you’re trying to do the math, that wasn’t all that long ago. She still kinda hovers around looking fearful when I warm up canned soup. It’s a little crazy.
I’m slowly filling my room with my paintings – the ones I like at least – and as usual it’s the perfect way for me to let out my frustrations with life. It’s nice to actually feel calm sometimes and I never feel so serene as when I have my palette in hand. I keep trying to use colours other than blues and greens and purples but they always look bright and garish and wrong in my pictures, like they don’t belong, so maybe I just won’t force it and they’ll come eventually. In the meantime, I think I’ll continue painting until I’ve fully come to terms with this legacy thing. I know it’s been a while but I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around it, ok?
At least I have Daytime Soap Shows to take my mind off of everything. Can you believe the nerve of that Sally Jesse?! She knows, she KNOWS that little Rachael is Jerry’s father but she’s still making Maury take a paternity test and he’s all like “Nu uh, ho!” and she’s all like “I know you his daddy!” and the doctor’s all like “next week on Daytime Soap Shows…” and I’m still like WHOA!! Hold on a second! I really hate this show y’know, I’ve been watching it for like, five years now and I don’t think the plot has progressed and I think that they’ve replaced Ricki with like, seven different actresses. I’m sort of at my wits end.
Violet’s still being super considerate of me, she always waits until my shows are over before she starts practicing. I really do think she’ll be a famous rock star. She puts her own spin on every song she plays and it’s got such a great groove that I can’t help but get up and dance whenever she shows off a new composition or that new riff that guy from that band taught her. It’s great to see her with so much direction in life. It really makes me wish I knew what it was that I wanted to do with my life.
I’ve tried a little bit of every hobby around, even bought a telescope and put it outside on that awesome balcony we never use (there’s a chess set too, I figure if the money’s mine now…) but nothing really holds my interests the way painting does. I don’t think I want to paint professionally though. That’ll turn it into work and what am I going to have to take me away from everything? So I got the telescope, thought maybe I’d be an astronaut or something, but as it turns out the sun is even brighter in close up. Mama warned me and everything!
Mama and Connor are still really sweet with each other, which part of me finds really cute and another part is… Angry. If he was cold and distant with everyone it would be one thing but he’s good to Mama and treats Violet like his best friend but he never talks to me, never! I hate that I know that he’s this good man but he just won’t show it to me. Not ever! He ignores me and sees through me and only acknowledges me when Mama or Vi make him! He’s mean and cruel and hurtful and insulting!!
All men are!! Blair was rude and inconsiderate, just kept me in the wings while he wooed a girl practically up until he proposed. He told me we were over over Llamessenger! He sent me an LM to break up with me! And Violet still has the nerve to bring him around the house all the time because oooOOoooh! “he’s my best friend! We work together! Blah blah blah!” And Marcus?! Argh don’t get me started on Marcus. And Peggy. And Mindy! They’re engaged. Marcus and Mindy. Uh huh! I bet it’s a shot gun marriage, that would be just like him. Howzit feel, Pegs? Tramp.
Mama’s going a little crazy now that she’s retired. Not like, stir crazy or Dorie Hart crazy but crazy. I guess crazier than she’s always been but now she never stops cleaning, never stops shining and scrubbing and washing and sweeping and vacuuming and tidying and straightening! It’s sort of incessant but at least the place always is clean – painfully, sparkling, bleached white clean. It took us three days (on and off) of the three of us (me, Vi and Connor) to talk Mama out of plastic covering the couch so that it wouldn’t get dirty so fast. She’s eyeing the kitchen counter tops now, and the linens, she found my oil paint order form and is weighing the pros and cons between eggshell and alabaster.
I guess I’m feeling lonely and out of sorts. I’m a bit bored but more than a bit unmotivated to do anything. I’d really like something cool to happen, something to break me out of this funk I’ve been in for the past year or so. I feel isolated from my family, my high-school friends ended up being back-stabbing snakes in the grass and there’s not a worthwhile man in this whole damn town. All I do is paint and play chess these days, dreaming of an escape where there wasn’t an oncoming stress of bills and renovations to pay for. I won’t tell mom but I’m planning to redecorate and I’m already thinking about what I want my part of the house to really be.
At least Connor’s still writing. He has to be good for something and since they’ve picked up his book Sims from Space and want to make it into a movie, he’s really busy writing the screenplay. His arthritis is pretty bad now (you’d never know he was so much younger than Mama by the way they walk) so he doesn’t use the computer upstairs any more. Must admit, I’m glad he’s not click clack typing outside my bedroom all day anymore. I’ve read all his books y’know. Like, all of them. Some are pretty good. Some are trash. The Sci-Fi stuff is really good, he shoulda stuck with it, but there’s more money in Mystery so he’s dabbled in that but it’s… Meh!
Another awkward family meal. “Why don’t we all have brunch tomorrow? You don’t work until later Vi and you’ll be around, right Rosie?” So brunch it is, Mama made pancakes. Her “famous apple pancakes” except that she used cherimola blan grapes. I don’t know where she even got those since she hasn’t gone to the grocery store in weeks and she would never, ever pick her own grapes. Weird. Another awkward family meal. We thank mom for cooking, we enthuse about music and art, we thank mom for cleaning, we discuss great books. We shovel our food down and try not to choke (try) until our plates are clean and Vi can learn new compositions, I can paint still-lifes, Connor can continue writing Whaddaya Mean, I Done It?
It happened! It happened today it finally happened! I got the call I knew that was supposed to happen, the call that HAD to happen and it did. It was even more than I expected too.!! I’ve been showing some of my art online, offering to sell it, to do commissions, I figure why not? I’m good, right? I must be! This guy from Al Simhara got in touch with me today (more like an assistant I think…) and he wants me to do a piece for him! And then, best of all, he wants to me hand-deliver it to him. I’M GOING TO EGYPT! I can’t believe my luck, I can’t believe this is happening to me! I’m so excited I could scream.
I’ve been working on this piece for weeks now, trying to get ever detail perfect. The client loved my Sailboats Asea piece and wanted me to do one for them just like it but personalize the boats so they’re more like ones that I think are his! I’ve also splurged a little too, bought myself and Vi some big-girl beds (finally) and I moved the TV to my room, bought an awesome chair and bought a new TV for the living room. Mama’s not thrilled, it’s all dark woods, but the picture’s better so she’s not complaining too much. I can’t wait to be done this picture so I can get on the first plane of my life!
Mama’s not as excited for me as I hoped she’d be. She says she is but I mean, I know how she is around sand and I’m going to the desert. She keeps buying me Showers-in-a-Cans and bugspray. I haven’t even bought a ticket and she’s nagging me about how I should bring my own tent and that I should wear shoes in the shower. Everything I know about the camps in Al Simhara, I know ’cause Mama’s freaking out about them. It’s keeping her up at night I think, she’s looked so tired since I told her I was going and that can’t be safe for her at her age. I hate to say it, but Mama’s old!!
I can’t keep worrying though, my painting is almost done and I’m not nearly ready for Egypt. I bought a bunch of books and I’m going through them carefully – I’m determined to not look like a silly tourist while I’m there. I’ll know the customs and the cultures (I think I may bring back a snake charmers basket for Vi!) and the food won’t be shocking to me. I’m going to be prepared! I think I’ll have to buy a new outfit though… This sweater is going to be waaaaaaaay too warm for the Egyptian sun.
Did you know there was an Art Gallery here my entire life? And we have a library too! I mean, obviously we have them and I knew we did but Mama never took us, never let us go. Too many germs she said but this place is amazing. Talent seems to ooze out of the walls and I feel so at home here. One day I hope to have some of my pieces up on the walls, maybe a little room all to myself but that’s just big dreams when I have things to do. I have a language to learn! I can already say “Is this your blue pencil?” and “Where is a drinking fountain?” Also “Your mother looks like a camel” which I think might actually be meant to be a compliment. Weird huh?
I finally managed to drag Mama out of the house to the Bistro. It was more of a struggle than I’d thought but I’m glad I did. I always love the food here, Uncle Jared totally left a legacy of his own there. We ate in silence but then I had to ask:
“Mama, why did you marry Connor? I mean, he didn’t have any money and he was difficult. He’s still difficult!”
“Rose, Rosie, my little girl, I really wish you’d call him dad.”
I didn’t answer, she didn’t answer me after all
“I love him Rose, I have since the day he first met and he was grimacing in the park. Riches aren’t everything, they won’t buy you happiness.”
“What if they will though? Imagine you had a big house and a maid…”
“Oh Rosie, Rosie, Rosie, Rosie…”
Finally! I think I’m just about ready to make this trip. The painting is done, I know at least a little bit of Al Simlish and I can’t wait to get out of this house for a while. I’m going to be the first Clarke to see some part of the world other than Sunset Valley. My heart’s beating out of my chest while the phone rings, I’m scared no one’s going to pick up, that the travel agent is closed or gone and I may never get to go to Egypt.
“Sunset Valley Excursions, Maddison speaking, where would you like to go today?”
There’s only a couple of days before my trip and I hate to admit it but I’m sleeping with my tickets under my pillow. I can’t wait to be on my way but in the meantime all I can do it sit and watch TV and relax until the real relaxing begins. When Connor walks into the room I’m shocked, I can’t speak. What’s he doing here?
“Rose? Can we talk?” I get to my feet but before I can respond he continues “I-I just wanted to let you know that I’m… I’m proud of you, you’re very talented and you have a great eye. I’m sorry I didn’t say it before… I’m proud of you, Rosie.”
Before I know it Connor’s hugging me. I’m still in shock, it’s too much to take in. First he’s in my room, then he’s talking to me and now he’s… Hugging me?! I wish it weren’t so uncomfortable, I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a toddler but it’s kind of awkward since he’s kind of a stranger to me. He’s still my father, I suppose, so I hug him back tentatively and I guess that’s good enough for him ’cause he’s making a happy sighing sound. Weird. Awkward.
“Travel safe, Rosie.”
And now I’m off, driving myself to the airport, to the first adventure of my life, to my first sale as an artist and I could scream I’m so excited. Vi’s made me promise to learn some Egyptian songs for her and Connor wants a book (go figure) but me? I just can’t wait to get out of here, to watch the sea and clouds stream by my window at the same time as I fly halfway around the world to a (more or less) unknown land.
Who is Rose’s mysterious client who demands hand delivered paintings?
Is this a new step in Connor’s relationship with his youngest daughter?
Will Rose be a good heiress?
How much better will all this look when Chellekaz has her own computer?
Isn’t teenage Rosie adorable?
Answers coming shortly after Chellekaz has her new computer up and running because what’s the point in Generation 2 Chapter 2 – Walk Like an Egyptian if it’s not pretty?
R.I.P. Jared Frio
I get my new computer on Saturday, assuming I can get it up and running that day I’ll start playing Egypt and get that next chapter to you as soon as possible!