“Lord, what a difference a day makes. Twenty-four little hours brings the sun and the flowers where there used to be rain.” – Tammi Terrell
Much to her aunt’s chagrin, Sadie spent the majority of the morning locked in her room. She would not accept apologies, would not open for her weekly doctor’s visit, would not accept her breakfast or lunch. Her hair went unkempt, short and curly. She didn’t even bother to throw on a wig or do her makeup, the one thing she did no matter what her mood was.
Quietly, she sat on her windowsill daydreaming. Restless and unable to sleep the night before, she’d begun planning a life for herself beyond the four walls that held her prisoner. Her daydreams consisted of all she hoped to accomplish, all she’d do when she gained her freedom. She’d be taking it soon, that she was confident of.
Playing softly from the corner, the soulful vocals Gladys Knight painted a picture of pain and regret penned by Smokey Robinson, backed by lush strings, keys, and drums. Sadie sang lowly to herself, waiting to see her favorites below her window. “And now I lay me down to cry-yy-yy… on my bed of thorns.”
“Sadie, please open the door. I’m worried, Darling.” Her aunt’s ‘concern’ meant nothing to Sadie. She immediately tuned out the pleading, her voice soon sounding like the buzzing of a bee that antagonized for long moments before settling and stinging. Sadie wanted to swat at her aunt, hit her hard enough to send her away in fear of returning.
Pulling her knees to her chest, Sadie ran her small hands the length of her legs, sighing heavily as she continued to stare out her window. The streets were empty today, free of the bustle and ruckus that made her days so lively. “My eyes are filled with tears; my heart is all attorn.” The bell sleeves of her baby doll styled dress dangled over her knees, swaying back and forth with the breeze that flowed through from the small opening of her window. The soft yellow color matching the paint of her fingernails and toe nails, something she hoped would brighten her mood. It’d worked, but only for a few minutes before she found herself sad again. Lonely, still.
“Sadie, you’re acting a bit ridiculous, don’t you think? Your aunt is only here to care for you, to protect you. Locking yourself away from the help you need just to prove a point will only prove to be detrimental to your already failing health.” She rolled her eyes, jumping to her feet. When she made it to her bedroom door, she swung it open with the fury of ten angry men, staring into the eyes of her family’s estate executor, the only individual that had ever been able to scare her into doing as she was told. He was possibly the only person in the world Sadie hated. “Told you I’d get her to open the door.” A smug grin spread across his face, giving him the appearance of a bloated toad.
“You pompous ass.” Her aunt gasped, screaming out Sadie’s name. “I wish my father had fired you when it first crossed his mind. I wish he’d done it before he passed.”
“That’s not nice, Sadie.”
“You couldn’t care less if I was perfectly healthy or about to keel over within the next second. All you care about is money, and when I’m gone you’ll be able to do as you please with it.”
“Sadie, hush up with all that foolishness. You’re probably weak, delirious. Get into bed and let’s get you started on your medicine for the day. The sooner we get all of this over with, get you taken care of and tucked into bed, the quicker I can be out of your hair. It’s all so simple, Dear.” He moved to pinch her cheek, genuinely surprised when she knocked his hand away. Her full lips pursed as she cut her eyes in his direction. Sadie was seething with a look of defiance, a side of her that he’d only heard of. A side he honestly thought her aunt exaggerated about.
“I’m not doing any of it.” She looked past them both, focusing on the doctor she’d been seeing for over three years. “Starting today, you Sir are no longer needed.”
She held her hand up in her aunt’s face, turning to the executor. “Your service is terminated as well. I’ll be contacting someone about relieving you of your position and turning my money over to a fund that only I can control. And, Aunt Isabelle, I would advise you to stay away from me and away from my room. I’ll do as I please, when I please, and I won’t accept you prying or meddling. I’m going to die, and I want to be at peace when my time comes. Until I can really LIVE, I won’t be. And if I can’t live, I promise I will make your life a living hell until the moment I take my last breath. Good day.”
She stepped back, slamming and locking her door in their faces. Giggling to herself as she leaned against her door, Sadie smiled. She felt something she’d never felt before.
Grabbing her notebook and a pen, she retreated to her window. A wide smile plastered on her face as she turned to a fresh sheet of paper.
If this is what independence feels like, I could get used to it. Drown in it, fly from the high it gives just before I overdose. A drug more powerful than anything given to prolong my dreary existence.
If this is what it feels like, keep giving me the strength to reach for it.
Looking out her window by chance, her heart skipped a beat. It was him, and he stood perfectly still beneath her window. Setting her notebook aside, she perched forward on her knees, pushing the window open just a bit more. She wanted a better view. Needed a better view.
He turned ever so slightly, lifting his hand to his face as he blocked the sun from his eyes. Instinctively, she wondered about him. About his day to day life. About where he went each day when he traveled back and forth each day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“Geeze Sadie, you’re such a creep.” Still, she couldn’t help herself. Her heart skipped beats, her mind wandered to moments in time she knew would never exist each time she laid eyes on him.
She leaned out her window, smiling as she admired his physique. Tall and brown, fine and worldly, the man from ‘Ipanema’ as she’d dubbed him in her mind. He stood with confidence, oozing the type of natural sex appeal that she had only read about in books she’d been forbidden to read. His clothes fit his body perfectly, giving hints at his fit build. Today, the muscles being hugged by the short sleeves of his t-shirt were her favorite part of him. Sadie was most certain that he was older, much older than her own twenty-one years. And she was most certain that he looked far greater than the men her age that she’d seen passing back and forth beneath her window.
As she grew comfortable in her spot, watching as he looked around in confusion, as if he were lost, it happened.
Jumping away from the window quickly, closing it, Sadie peeked forward slowly… wondering if he was still peering up in her direction.
Had he seen her? Would he believe his eyes after just a glimpse? Peeking, she noticed that he was still there, scratching his head. Little by little, she moved closer to the window again, watching in amazement as he took a few steps forward, and made strides towards the path that led to her front door.
Then came the ringing of the doorbell, followed by three swift knocks. Moving from the windowsill, she quickly found a pair shoes and slid her feet into them before rushing to her door.
Stopping, she placed her hand on the doorknob and turned it slowly. When she saw that no one was standing there, guarding her room or waiting to trap her, she took small strides out into the hallway.
Silent, listening intently, she could hear her aunt speaking to someone.
“I don’t know what’s going on with Sadie. She’s usually so quiet, so compliant. Just yesterday, she was her usual self. And just twenty-four hours later, she’s sounding off at the mouth. Dr. Gremillion, I am so sorry.”
“She’s just frustrated and it’s understandable. We can’t expect her to be okay at all times, not when she knows what she knows. Personally, I think she does well for someone locked away. Maybe loosen the reigns a bit, Isabelle. I think she’ll be a little less defiant if you just treat her like a normal, healthy person.”
“But she’s not that. And I don’t want to risk losing her any sooner. I stand firm in my decision on how to raise and care for her. It’s worked fine, and she’s lived long past your original diagnosis.”
“And it’s become much more aggressive as these years have passed. Maybe she knows what we’ve been trying to hide from her. I think it’ll serve her well to live a little, experience a little more. But, it’s not my call. And soon enough Isabelle, I don’t think it will be yours either.”
The doorbell rang again, followed by another round of knocks. Standing at the top of the staircase, Sadie peered from behind the pillar that supported right railing, waiting to see what would happen.
The character of Wesley was formally introduced in this previous snippet.