The life of Kimberly Shalonne
Cynthia grabbed my doll. She smiled a toothy smile and put it in her mouth.
"Cyn! That's my doll! Let her go!" My sister frowned and shook her head. She was only a year-and-a-half old and was just starting to speak.
"No" She said stubbornly.
"Cynthia! She's mine" I yelled. Why was she being so selfish?
Suddenly, I was furious. How dare she? The doll was mine, and she had no right to be touching her. I began to shake and slammed my clenched fist against the side of Cynthia's face. Her mouth opened and she dropped the doll and began to cry. I felt more peaceful than I ever had. Smiling, I picked my Barbie up and began to play.
"What is going on here?" My mother yelled, bursting into the room like a firecracker. "Kimberly, what is wrong with your sister?"
I shrugged and kept playing. Cynthia stopped crying and frowned at me. She was little, but she was also smart.
"She hit me" She said slowly, pointing a chubby finger at me. My mom picked her up and I noticed my sister was bleeding.
"Kim, is this true?" My mother asked. I knew she would rather believe Cynthia was lying, but I had no explanation for her wound.
"Yes" I said simply. At the age of four, I was still too young to know that my behavior and answer both marked the beginning of the end.
One day, Grandma came for a visit. Momma told her everything. Then, we heard a story about Grandma's sister Alice. My mother was named for her.
I sat behind the door and listened carefully. I had a hunch what I was hearing was important.
"She was beautiful" My grandmother said. "Her pale face was framed by wavy black locks. I loved her with all my heart. Alice was my older sister, you know. She was like a second mother to me. One day, we were both playing outside in the garden. I remember Alice was making a bouquet for our mother. Suddenly, she stopped moving. I turned to see what was wrong and saw her looking into the distance with a blank look on her face"
Grandmother's memory as told but from her POV
"Alice? Alice, answer me!" I yelled, grabbing her by the shoulders. Slowly, she looked down at me and began to sob silently.
"Tommy's gonna die today" She said, talking about our neighbor.
"How?" I asked curiously.
"He's gonna get run over" Alice answered. She sat down, put the flowers on the steps next to her and cried.
I thought it was one of our games, and I begged Alice to tell me the rules. When she insisted there were none, I got mad. I refused to speak to her until bedtime, when my mother came in and told us Tommy was, in fact, dead.
She was scared. Alice had told all of us at the dinner table and begged us to help her save our friend. When we laughed, she tried to go next door and warn Tommy's mother, but none of us would let her.
"I felt horribly guilty. I thought Tommy's death was my fault" Grandma said.
"What did you do?" My mom asked.
"After they had tried everything, my mother sent her to an asylum. It was against my father's wishes, but she did it anyway. I suppose she was worried about our reputation. Alice died there ten years after she was admitted, but everyone thought she died when she was seven" Grandma said.
"Are you suggesting we…" My mother trailed off. I tensed.
"Yes. It hurt all of us, but in the end it was all for the best. I don't see what else you can do, dear. Of course, you'll miss her horribly. You all will. But you have to be strong. I loved my sister too, you know? So much. She was only a year older than I was, but she was much more mature in other ways. She was everything to me" Grandma said. "We Brandons have always been strong, and you are one of us, though the last name was never yours to claim. It is in your blood. Your grandma was strong enough, and if she could do it, then so can you"
"My grandmother never had a heart" My mom said bitterly.
"True," Grandma admitted. "But she had brains. And if her choice was a product of her wisdom, I'd say you can be pretty sure it's the right thing to do"
In a rare show of courage, my mother stood up and left.
"I love you, baby" My mom whispered. Tears were running down her face. Behind her, Grandma's face was cold as she looked at me indifferently. Grandpa had Cynthia in his arms and was sobbing brokenly. My father was at work, he didn't even have time to say goodbye.
After a year of tantrums, violence, hospitals, psychiatrists and priests, my parents had given up on me. According to the doctors, my temper would never be cured.
"I love you too, Momma" I said, holding on to my doll tight. I, too, was crying.
"Don't worry, ma'am, we'll take good care of her. I promise" The woman said. She was fat, with red hair and freckles. My mother nodded and kissed my cheek. Then, she stepped back and watched us as we got on the bus and left.
"Here we are" Greta said. "The Forks institution for the mentally ill"
I looked at the huge building in front of me. The white paint on the walls was beginning to fade to a dull gray. The windows had mental bars across.
"It looks like a jail" I said, frowning. "And I'm not mentally ill, whatever that means. I wanna go home!"
"Oh, shut up already, brat! Here's the deal: you're not gonna go home, your parents won't come visit and you will stay here for the rest of your life, OK? And since I will be caring for you, I wouldn't recommend making me mad. I could poison you" Greta said. I was scared. Would she really do that? I bit my lip and followed her inside the asylum and into my room.
The old bed looked really uncomfortable, and as I placed my hand on the gray covers little clouds of dust came up. There was a bedside table with the edges covered with plastic so I couldn't hurt myself and there was a chair by the window. Those were the only things in the room.
"Hope you enjoy your stay, darling!" Greta yelled as she locked the door behind her. I heard her laugh and sighed.
This was sure gonna be a long, long life.
I stared out the window and sighed. Today was my sixth birthday.
The day was gorgeous, and I wished I could just go out and play. It was hot- well, for Forks, at least- and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
"Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday, dear Kimmy. Happy birthday to me" I sang softly.
I knew I wouldn't get a cake, or anything, but I expected a visit from my mom, at least. Greta came in, put my food on the table and left without a word.
Time went by slowly, so slowly… I watched some kids playing baseball in the nearby park.
I was so bored. I decided to take a nap and fell asleep dreaming of new friends and ball games. Happy birthday to me…
Months after, at noon, a man came in. He smiled at me and I smiled back.
"Hi, there, honey. What's your name?" He asked, giving me a cookie.
"I'm Kim Grosvenor" I lied, borrowing my neighbor's name. Mommy said you shouldn't tell strangers a lot of things about yourself, so I changed my last name.
"Well, Kimmy, I have some ideas for what we can do today" He said. "My name is Justin, by the way"
"What are we gonna do, Mr. Justin?" I asked impatiently.
"Well… Why don't I just show you?" He grabbed me by the arm and threw me on the bed. Shirt up, pants down…
I cried out for help, but he threatened me. After a while, my screams stopped.
The hurt and the pain went on for three whole weeks. Justin took pictures- lots of them. I blushed constantly; I was so ashamed of what he would do with them. He had stolen my innocence.
One day, he didn't come. I cried and cried with relief. That night I knelt beside my bed and prayed for what had to be the first time in a couple of years.
I was happier than ever. I hummed while watching the birds and the children playing. Nothing had changed, but now I could appreciate how much I really had- at least I could hope no one would ever hurt me like that ever again.
A few months after I turned six, I stared at the wall, willing an ice-cream cone to appear. Sadly, it wasn't working.
Suddenly, the door opened and a beautiful angel walked in. She had awesome black hair and was just a tad taller than me. Her eyes were a pretty shade of gold. She smiled.
"Hi. I'm Kim, what's your name?" I asked, cocking my head to the side.
"Hello, Kimmy. I'm Alice, and I'll be visiting you for a while. What do you want to do?" Alice! Wasn't that my great-aunt's name? And she had black hair, too! Maybe this girl really was an angel.
"You mean I get to choose? Great!" I said. The stranger had never given me a choice. "I'd like to play with dolls. My mommy and I used to. But she doesn't visit anymore, and I'm not allowed to have toys in my room"
Actually, my mom never visited, but no need to make Alice sad.
"You know what? I'd love to play with you. Just wait for me a minute and I'll come back with lots of stuff, OK?" I nodded. Alice left and I sighed. She would probably never come back, just like all the other people in my life I had never seen again…
I waited for a while and the door opened again. She was here! My eyes flew to the bags she was carrying.
"You brought them! And they're new!" I exclaimed, emptying the bag of its precious cargo. I spread the dolls all over the floor and sighed happily.
We began to talk, and after a while, I told her. She was the first person to know. I looked down at my hands and heard her get up.
"Where are you going, Ally? Don't leave me" I begged, my eyes full of tears.
She said she'd come back soon. She didn't. That night, I cried and cried like I never had before.
"Alice?" I asked hopefully as the door opened. She smiled and came in with a man holding her hand.
"Hey there, Kim. This is my husband, Jasper" She said, looking at the tall blonde next to her. He smiled and I instantly liked him. I felt… comfortable.
"Hey, Jasper" I giggled. I was so happy…
"Kim, I've got a question for you, hon. What's your name?" Ally asked
"Why do you wanna know?" I was scared for a moment. Bad things had happened the last time someone asked me that…
"Just curious" Alice replied, shrugging. I deliberated for a moment.
"My name's Superwoman" I said, trying to be funny. Alice sighed.
"Kim" She said severely.
"Ok, ok. Jeez… I'm SpongeBob!" I giggled.
"Kimmy, this is serious, OK? For the last time, what is your name?" Ooh, Alice was mad.
"I'm Kimberly. Kim Grosvenor, Ally" I lied again. She wouldn't know my real name, 'cause my mother had inscribed me as that. She couldn't hurt me.
Alice put her face in her hands. Jasper patted her on the back sadly. Why was my name so important?
"Well, Kim, we gotta go now" My eyes started to fill with tears. "But we'll be back to visit you every weekend, alright? I promise"
She wouldn't. That much I knew. She gave me one last smile and I watched her go.
I never saw Alice again. I waited for years, but she never came.
When I turned fifteen, a 17-year-old volunteer fell in love with me. His name? Justin.
Eventually, my tantrums stopped and I was released. I didn't want to see my family again, so I avoided all types of contact with them. Justin and I became an item and married as soon as we both finished college.
I had three beautiful daughters. One of them had her father's coal-black locks. I named her Alice in honor of my great-aunt and of my angelic visitor. I never forgot either of them.
The girls cared for us as we began to get old, and they filled our house with happiness and grandchildren.
In the end, everything turned out better than I expected. On the day that I turned 80, a bouquet of white roses arrived at my door. My daughter Mary handed them to me and read the note.
They were from Alice.