The mysterious 9 months that was introduced in Part 4... For the final (and worst) funeral, I would not even get a year to catch up and breathe again. These are May 73 to February 74.
Even though the last one to pass on was despicable -- the tension at home had increased to trifold levels.
From May into June, kept busy with studies, cramming for finals. As I was the most proficient within the Speed Reading Class, I ended up spending 2 full weeks being the replacement teacher -- everyone had suffered the mid-spring flu.
Out come to school's vice-principal just after the bell had rung and we were all seated awaiting our teacher or the replacement. Minding my own business, as always, I was surprised when he tapped me on the shoulder and said: "Girl, come up at the desk, I need to speak to you..."
Gosh, geez, jelly knees and trembling from head to toe, "what was going on?" I thought... He planked both hands into fists and placed them on his hips... "Uh oh! I'm in for it... Goddess me, I failed now? How? Why?" Every thoughts of the worst possible situations went through my head -- I missed two weeks in May, did I miss that much to affect..."
"Good Lord Girl! Don't look so perturbed, it's not the end of the world... trust me... No, better yet, your teacher Miss Blanche has requested that if push-came-to-shove, that you were to be the one teaching the class... Yes! Don't look so worried, you're top of the class..."
I was speechless and confused and happy -- all at the same time -- apparently my face went through all emotions at once -- which got the girls laughing out loud and suddenly I felt better.
Long-story short, the next 2 weeks were great -- thank be the Goddess, I was in the one class where no bullies were, so having the job of temporary teacher (without pay, but extra credits) went by so fast, I was floating on a cloud.
When I returned home, it was heartbreaking conversations -- the Last Will and Testament had been read -- which date and time was delayed after I spoke to my parents of my temporary duties.
The large bulk of the Estate had gone missing and no one knew where it was -- the promised fully-paid mortgage -- the second one by the way, was a full blown devastation to my parents.
Adding to their woes, was the fact that the planned 1969 get-away-from-it-all two weeks vacation had not taken place -- the house promised to Mother in Gramps' Testament had gone off in smoke and third time unlucky -- now the money mentioned for a full-mortgage was strangely missing...
Two people who would never tell what happened, taking the secret to their own graves, were spending as there was no tomorrow... As the wee girl in the saga so far, I was old enough to have seen things going on and privy to snippets of conversations before being shout at circa April 1973 to: "Get out of the house and don't come back until I call you from the balcony!" Charming woman she was...
However, you know the sayings: "A child telling the truth is never believed by the adults" Which for me, translated as: "No bad-mouthing your elders..."
"Aye chihuahua... was a load of tosh." Never-you-mind, nothing was worth uttering what had happened, you've to remember I was the unwanted child and it would have been speaking up about her own Mother. Yes! Let's not go there...
July arrived in a blaze of sunshine and hot days and after the celebrations of the First, I found myself alone the next morning with a note between the kettle and the coffee percolator.
"Dear, we've left for a couple of weeks -- things are bad, we need a break, fridge and freezer full -- tv dinners for at least two weeks -- don't burn the place down and call these numbers below if there's an emergency -- your sister is with us, so is your brother-in-law, no loud parties (as if I ever had them). Finally, Papa insisted on leaving you a 20 in case you fancy some Chinese or Italian takeaway... Bye!"
Thirteen years old, first year of Secondary under my belt -- not a friend to my name -- one ray of sunshine in these dark cloudy times of abandonment -- a full summer membership in the (across the street) Estate's swimming pool.
The months from then on were a huge blur... Lost of baby fat a few years ago, was now replaced by muscle gain with a daily swimming regime and wall tennis and going everywhere on my trusty bike.
At the time, this last item in my amusement's arsenal was a mustang, high handles and seat shiny crimson red bike -- no speed gears on this puppy... My own leg power. I exhausted myself daily in order to sleep at night.
September arrived, second year of Secondary and the school year that is missing to 5/8 out of my memory -- friends at school said that my body was there -- but I was an empty shell.
Christmas Holidays arrived and the one memory recalled was, the dreaded blessing that Mother insisted Father performed every New Year's Eve. What I remember? Telling Papa with tears streaming down my cheeks -- please Papa we have to stop doing these, I'm scared out of my wits that it'll be the last Holiday we'll be together!!!
How true it turned out to be -- sort of Prophetic -- I shiver just thinking about it now... January came, Papa's birthday was celebrated on the 12th itself, quietly and soberly.
Without the usual aplomb applied to his birthday. This time, unbeknownst to me, he had visited the Doctor and news were apparently not good. Medication to disperse cholesterol were given. Something that Father disliked, having grown up with an extremely bad diet and (again something unknown) two heart attacks under his belt and a third one looming on the horizon...
From September, someone else was missing in the picture -- sister and brother-in-law had moved to another city quite a distance away and we had been invited to the new house they had moved in for the weekend following Valentine's Day.
Thursday night, the 14th itself, we went shopping for provisions for our return and extras such as chocolates, wines and all.
We never made it... at 9:15 pm, Father had suffered the dreaded heart-attack -- a Coronary Thrombosis which split his heart in two...
Not 14 years of age yet, and I had seen death 4 times, the ultimate -- my Father -- where I found out how badly the future would be -- the family plot was excluded to me and whatever descendants I might acquire -- no inheritance -- what's that? I've no idea -- none ever came my way...
From the age of 18, adulthood where she hailed from, she would keep her promises to her beloved Father -- keep her French; continue to perfect her English; carry on with Latin; keep to herself her Indian languages; add two more languages and complete them from the notes Papa had left her. With a stack of books to help the learning. She was very much alone, everyone had abandoned her, she was on auto-pilot...
In conclusion our wee girl had turned her life around and done by leaps and bound, a huge amount of growing up in a very short time -- just seven short years. From that year, 1974, it would take an entire decade until one man would come into her life and save her from despair.