The world is sunny and bright today, beautiful. Albie is playing in the yard, making a daisy chain, and James telephoned to say he would be coming home from the mill early. He tells me the day is too lovely to spend at work. I have told Bridget to make sure the house is clean for his arrival, and that Albie puts on a fresh dress. Mother always told me that men detest coming home to untidy houses and children. Funny how her voice still echos in my head, despite the fact that she has been gone for a year, now.
Albie is growing bigger by the day, and she has my eyes: big, brown, slightly mournful. In fact, she is a miniature me in nearly every way, which is uncanny. The only thing she inherited from her father was his laugh. When the girl finds something amusing, she tosses her head back and lets it out, loud and ringing. It can really catch you off-guard if you are not prepared for it.
The tenth anniversary of the disaster is approaching, and the world is remembering all over again. They talk about it, how horrible it was, how many lives were lost, how many women were made widows overnight. To be perfectly candid, I've grown sick of it. Remembering is America's favorite past time. You can wear a black flower pin on your front and speak in sad, hushed tones, but it isn't going to change anything. It isn't going to bring anyone back from the grave or make anyone left with the ghosts any happier.
If I am happy, I am not aware of it. I feel like the days go by too fast to stop and contemplate whether I am happy. I have Albie to raise, and she can be quite the handful. She is six years old, going on thirty, and she doesn't want to listen to a word I say. I wonder if I made Mother feel this way.
James is a good man...the problem is, he isn't much more than a good man. I can talk to him about the weather, the house, and Albie, but any other topic is strangely off-limits. James believes I am fulfilled by home and hearth. He keeps telling me it's time for Albie to have a sibling so she can learn how to take care of children and be a good mother when the time comes. I told him at this rate Albie is much more likely to become a flapper, and he turned scarlet and buried his face in the evening paper.
James is not Albert. I have stopped pretending he is, or ever will be. Albert had a spark inside of him that would surely have fanned into an untamed fire if he had had more time on earth. Albert believed in art, politics, change . He often told me he would see the world, and that he would take me with him. He said we could ride camels, see the ancient wonders, and dine with royalty. I don't know whether we really would have done any of that, but at least it was fun to dream. I see that spark in my daughter, and I want to encourage it. Luckily for her, the times seem to be changing. Girls are wearing shorter dresses, bobbing their hair, smoking cigarettes, and dancing like wild women. James finds it appalling, but I am happy for Albertine. Anything is better than the strict code of conduct I had to abide by. Maybe one day, she will fulfill her true father's wishes and do the things he always dreamed of doing. If that ever happens, I can die a happy woman.
"An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way." -Charles Bukowski
"And by the way, dearie, your punctuation sucks canal water!" -The ghost of Vivian Vance
This message was edited by the author on June 27, 2012 at 9:20:45 AM