The Art Site

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Part 2 of Yellow Paper

She walked around the corner of the brick house to the back door, went inside and closed the heavy door. When she turned around, her mother was there, facing her.
"Was there any mail for me?" Kathy asked as she took the pile of mail.
"Yes, there's a couple there for you."
"What's this?"
She was holding a piece of yellow paper. Ava realized sickeningly that it was her letter she'd left in the pile.
"It's just something that came for me."
Ava tried to grab the paper, but her mum held it away from her. She was reading the front of the paper and she looked surprised. Then she turned it over and read the other side. Her expression changed. She adjusted her glasses carefully and looked over them at Ava, who squirmed uncomfortably.
"What's this you've been doing, Ava? She demanded.
"It's just... it's an invitation to a competition I'm playing at. At the School of Music. I've been studying for weeks to get my piece right, and there's prizes you can get if you win."
Kathy's face was tight, but Ava didn't notice, she was looking down at the carpet. She did sense the tension in the air.
"What are the prizes?"
"The first prize is for three years of tuition under Mr. Johnson, the head teacher there. I don't know what the other ones are. Granma told me I didn't need to know, because I'd win the first prize."
"What has Tessa got to do with this?"
Her mother's voice was quivering with fury. Ava looked up to meet her mother's gaze and was shocked that her mother looked so angry. There were deep lines on her forehead and little lines around her upper lip where she was pursing up her mouth.Why was she so angry about Granma?
"Granma... she's been helping me to get this far. She's been awesome, with the directors and making me do my practice and everything. She got me here. Now I have a chance to get those three years."
"Ava, I've told you so many times that I don't want you to play at concerts or go and do competitions.
You'll never be able to earn money by playing, it's just a waste of time. How could you go directly against me like that?"
Ava's tongue was all knotted up, she couldn't speak. She shook her head, no. Her mother held the yellow paper in front of her daughter's face.
"This... this piece of paper, what's it worth? A competition you won't even win!"
Ava looked up at her mother, and felt the anger build up inside her.
"How would you know I couldn't win it? They said, Granma and the people at the School of Music, that I had talent. I could do a career in it, be a concert pianist like Granma. I'm going to play in that competition! I don't want to study law, I never did. It's boring, and I don't want to have a career in something just..."
Her mother interrupted her.
"How dare you speak to me like that! You're ungrateful, Ava. Here I am, just trying to help you. Do you want to end up like I did? Stuck in this ugly house with that weak – minded sister of mine, having to pay rent all the time, never having enough money? Is that what you want?"

Before Ava had a chance to answer that question, the door opened and the 'weak – minded sister' of Kathy's came in. She sighed heavily as she bent down to take off her shoes. Her figure was like a potato sack, and she filled up half the space of the narrow corridor. She looked up at her sister and niece.
"What are you two doing, standing there?" Kathy ignored the question and turned to her sister.
"Doris, Ava refuses to obey me. I don't know what to do with her. She's gone and disobeyed me, under my strict orders, and now I've been trying to talk to her, and she's rude to me."
"What's she been up to this time?"
"She's gone and applied for a piano competition, and you know how many times I've told her, stick with the lessons, that's all. I've told her, she needs to take up a career in something that will bring money, cash.
But what do I get? She's thrown it all up in my face, and she refuses to obey me. I don't know what to do with her!"
Ava's aunt looked at her with a pained expression.
"How could you, Ava?"
"Oh for goodness sake! I haven't even done anything, all I wanted was to play in the competition, and you won't even let me do that. Why can't you all just leave me alone!
Ava ran to her room and slammed the door. The sound reverberated through the corridor where her mother and aunt were standing, dumbfounded.
"Well, Ava doesn't usually act like this. What's got into her?" Doris asked her sister.
Kathleen's face was hard. For answer, she took the yellow paper and ripped it in half, then in fourths.
Dorris went to the lounge, heaved herself onto the single couch, and turned on the TV to escape it all.

Sitting on her bed, Ava clenched her hands hard.
It was always what her mum wanted that mattered, and Auntie Dorie would usually back her up. If only she hadn't seen that letter! But it had happened, there was no point in thinking what if. Ava sighed deeply, and looked out the window. Outside the sun was setting, making the garden look prettier than it really was, the yellow light streaming in through the big oak tree in the corner of the yard, creating sharp areas of light, and pools of shadow.


The feelings of anger were fading as Ava looked. How was she going to get to the competition? She wondered. She'd planned on her mum taking her. What a stupid idea, she thought viciously, she should have known her mother better than that. Anyway, there was no way she could just not go, after all the work she'd done. She couldn't let granma down, and anyway, she was booked in to play. Probably there was a bus she could catch to the school. When she thought about herself playing for all those people she felt dread gripping her stomach and twisting it, hard. But she was going to play well for them. She'd show her mum. Ava felt like her mother had just told her she didn't love her. Because her mother didn't care what Ava thought or wanted, and that was a way of telling her that she didn't care about her one way or the other. She felt broken up inside, like everything she'd wanted was smashed to little pieces, and she couldn't put them together again.


3 Comments:

Blogger Theresa said...

Wow Lydia! what a great story!

2:43 pm  
Blogger Lydie said...

Thanks heaps Theresa! Awesome pics on your bebo account.

5:28 pm  
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Some more positives...

Outside the sun was setting, making the garden look prettier than it really was. nice.

She felt broken up inside, like everything she'd wanted was smashed to little pieces, and she couldn't put them together again. Wow, Lyd, I hope this isn't autobiographical in any sense... well written.

Her mother interrupted her. nice how this just cuts in there.

2:28 am  

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