“Jasmine, it was so nice spending this week with you and the family,” Me’ma gushed, her body halfway through the front door.
Pa’pa was still inside, saying some last farewells to James. Both men came out of the study and to the door. Pa’pa threw his arm around me.
“You better come visit us,” Pa’pa said. “We have a spare room waiting whenever you want.”
“Thank you. I will be sure to come by,” I told them.
“I’ll hold you to that,” said Me’ma. “Henry, let us leave now. Before it gets too late.”
Pa’pa nodded and made for their car. They bid farewells and waved goodbye all the while. Me’ma even started blowing kisses when Pa’pa drove them away. Zach, Caleb, Michael, Walter, Lilly, James, and I all stood on the steps to see them off.
My mind drifted off to a conversation I had with Pa’pa before he went to talk to James before they left.
“Jasmine, dear, I noticed something about you that I find rather troubling,” he said.
I was confused. “What is it?” I wondered.
Henry sighed. “You seem very distant. Like things that happen to you are merely going on around you. Numb. You do not allow the pain to get to you.”
“And that’s bad?”
“Well, yeah. Look, I went through a lot of… trouble in the POW camps back in the war. I know what events like what you went through can do to a person. I lost friends over there. I know how closed off from the world a person can get from that. If I didn’t have Lois, I don’t know that I would be the happy old man I am today. Jasmine, I want you to be happy. You need to tell someone about your troubles, you need to let it out and cry.”
I was numb to the things that happened to me. I knew that was true. I didn’t cry if I could help it and I didn’t allow myself to think about my parents. I haven’t told anyone about my father’s death. I didn’t speak about how I felt about my mother’s abandonment.
I didn’t need anyone, though. I could get by on my own, right?
The grandfather clock in the Main Hall sounded, ringing in my ears from the porch. Four times it sang. It was four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon.
I walked swiftly inside before anyone else. I couldn’t not go any longer. I rushed up the stairs to the Second Hall. I expected to hear the music from the other end but nothing flowed to my ear—not even as I got closer. Maybe he gave up on trying to get me to play the violin again.
I sat against the door to the Music room, putting my head in my hands. Of all the Sundays Vincent played at four, he picked the one Sunday that I decide to show up to not. Just my luck. Really, though, what did I expect? That he would sit around every Sunday until the end of time waiting for me to join him? Ha! I am such a silly, naïve girl.
I got up to walk to my room. That’s when the piece started on the piano. It was familiar to me, one I loved to play: Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I leaned against the wall to listen, imagining how I would play this on the violin.
The door next to me began to open, the door to Lucas’ room. Quickly, so Lucas wouldn’t see, I shot into the music room.