This was not the chapter I wanted to write. It’s not a very good welcome back chapter either. We all knew this was coming so let’s think of it as starting Eternally Yours anew as difficult as that may be for everyone.
This was not the send off I intended for our beloved and fearless leader. I wanted her to go down with something grand, but my computer had other plans. As such, the images in this chapter were taken between October 2017 and March 2018 as I battled crash after crash after crash. Continuity is lacking to say the least. I hope you are willing to excuse the issues and the heartbreak as we look to the future of Eternally Yours.
Your grateful author,
I was about three hours away from home when I encountered some snow flurries – and by some I mean freakin’ blizzard. When I finally arrived home, four hours behind schedule thanks to Old Man Winter, all my grinchiness melted away. The snow had already visited my neighborhood and left behind a gorgeous landscape. Dad had outdone himself with the holiday decorations this year, too. The whole roof was lined with bright, multi-colored icicles. Even the posts leading up the stairs to the porch were decked out this year. Hard to bah-humbug when even the house demands that you smile.
Since it was nearly midnight when I got home, I didn’t expect anyone to be awake, and I didn’t bother announcing my arrival but opted instead to creep in like a grounded teen. Despite the hour, I was greeted with a swirl of excitement. Everyone had waited up for me.
“Finally,” Hadley groaned as she hugged me. I noticed her gothy-stage appeared to be over, replaced instead with a strange combination of pink-haired rocker chick and slutty nurse. “Now I can go to bed.”
“Nice to see you, too, Hadley. Or whoever you are right now.”
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Oh my GOD it’s YOU!” Before I even had a chance to turn around, I was tackle-hugged to the floor.
“What the fuck?!” I tried to extricate myself from the squealing mess that was squishing me but I was having little luck. “Get it off me!”
“Sorry,” the shrieking banshee stood back and pulled me off the floor. “I kinda missed you, Vi.” She launched herself at me again.
I tried to place the woman who was still hugging me. I sure didn’t recognize the blonde, tan, perky thing that started squealing again. Then it hit me – the recollection, not the woman.
“OH EM GEE! BEE! What the hell happened to you!?”
“I got a tan and a box a hair dye! Hard to tell I was ever that weirdly pale fairy, huh!?”
“Can your old man get a hug?” I realized then Mom and Dad were nowhere to be found. “We were worried sick about you! I need some reassurance!”
To say I was blown away by the decorations in the living room would be an understatement. We’ve never been the decorating type of people. I’ve heard that great-grandma Mollie would go all out but that gene seems to have died somewhere between Mollie and Mom.
“Your grandma decided we should have a proper holiday this year,” Mom said to my obvious astonishment. “That’s even a real tree that your Dad and Xantus cut down!”
“I might be an old guy but I can still wield an axe with the best of them!”
“Xantus did all the work,” Bee whispered in my ear. “But let’s not tell him we know.” I squeezed her hand in a silent sisterly promise.
“Alright! Everyone up to bed! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and we have to go caroling, look at the neighborhood decorations, and wrap gifts! Go, go, go!” Before I knew it Mom had shooed us all up to bed and tucked us in like the little bits we used to be.
“Alright, Violet. Now, when transmuting apples into gold, what do you do first?” Instead of doing all the fun holiday stuff with my family, Nana was droning on and on and on about some witchery or whatnot. We’d been at it for the better part of 12 hours and it was quickly turning into the wee hours of the morning.
“Nana, why does any of this matter? It’s Christmas Eve! Don’t you ever slow down?” I was at that very moment falling asleep in my chair.
“We haven’t much time, Beanie. We must forge on. You have much to learn.”
“You sound like Yoda without the backwards-speak. Nana, please, can’t we rest and keep going after Christmas?”
She sighed. “If you remember nothing else, Violet, remember this: Do not let any man, woman, or child stand in the way of your dreams. The women in this family have been held back for far too long. You must succeed where we could not.”
“Nana, you and Mom are surgeons,” I mumbled through sleepiness. “Pretty sure you didn’t fail at anything.”
“You’ll be just fine, Vi.”
And then I fell asleep.
Do you ever have the feeling that someone is watching you in your sleep? I was having one of those feelings.
I stretched. “Ow. Christ. This chair sucks as a bed.” I looked over to see my parents staring morosely but they refused to meet my eye.
“Alright. What’s going on?”
Mom opened her mouth but nothing came out.
“Honey,” Dad finally looked at me with tears in his eyes, “your grandmother passed away last night.”
“No. She was teaching me about witchcraft. She’s fine. She was teaching me!”
“It was after she went to bed, Vi. She just fell asleep and never woke up.”
“LIAR!” Suddenly, everything was too loud. I ran towards Nana’s room. I had to prove to myself that they were wrong.
“Violet — NO!”
I flung the door open.
There are moments in your life that change you forever. Seeing my Nana like that? Well, I don’t remember much after I flung the door open, really.
Somehow, I would up back in the study.
“I’d like to take the family Christmas card photo now.” Mom was gathering her camera gear from the closet when I looked over at her.
“Are you fucking kidding me, Mom?! Nana is dead!” I was furious that she would want to do something so frivolous while Nana lay in the next room.
“Yes, and we have to wait for all the shit that comes with that. We might as well take the God-damned Christmas photo while we wait.”
“Well, I sure as hell won’t be in your photo!”
“Violet? Can you come to the laundry room, please?” Now what the fuck did Dad want? Had everyone lost their minds?
“Violet, you will take that photo for your mother.”
“Are you nuts now, too!?”
“You mother is going through a very traumatic moment and you will do what you can to make this easier on her. If that means taking a photo you don’t agree with, then you’ll just have to suck it up for a bit and do it.”
I was furious. I felt a rage forming inside me that I had never known before.
“I don’t have to do anything. It’s not like you’re my real father anyway!”
Lucian looked like I’d slapped him but he quickly regained his composure. “You get your ass out there now and you take the fucking picture with your mother. What you do after that is your choice.”
I posed for exactly two photos.
Then I packed my bags and I left Van Crest forever.