April 13th, 1987
The first time we met, I knew it would have been the last.
I hear so much about me – they say I am cold and calculating, evil and heartless, born at from a Satan's rib to say the least, ready to do everything in order to get what I want. Well, it's all absolutely true.
But don't believe to people who could tell you I did what I did because of fear. I have been selfish, I won't deny it – I certainly couldn't risk to lose all that I had obtained in these years – but fear? No, never. On the contrary, it's almost unnecessary to remark how this has been the most courageous act of my life.
I always get what I want. I wanted my daughter to have a good life, and all I never had. So I planned every single detail.
Starting with the name I chose for you.
She hadn't considered how strong, and annoying, the sunlight could be there. Of her last visit to Switzerland she had saved memories of fresh air and dim light, but that morning she was almost blinded by the sunlight.
She tried to turn away to avoid the light, but she didn't really succeed. Therefore she stretched out her hand, looking for her sunglasses. People believed they were just a means to stand out amongst the folks, keeping away her glance. They were indeed, but sometimes they even had a more practical purpose.
When she found them she sighed in relief, finally relishing the feeling of a shield from that damned sun.
Exhausted, she let herself fall back down on the pillow. She'd never thought it could be that tiring… well, she actually knew something, but ten hours of labour pains for something she wouldn't even keep? They really were too much.
Something. She'd never allowed herself to give it a name, or even just a pronoun other than 'it'.
Ten hours, oh God. She couldn't even remember why she had decided to carry on the pregnancy.
Closing her eyes, she tried to fall asleep. But someone else thought differently.
She sighed again, wondering whether to answer to Wanda, or just pretend to be asleep.
"Fey… are you awake?" Wanda insisted.
She wouldn't go away, would she?
"For your delight, yeah, I'm awake" Fey eventually answered, with her eyes still closed.
"How do you feel?" her assistant asked, entering the room.
Fey laughed. "Well, let's say maybe I would have felt better if that stupid doctor had given me the painkillers…"
"It wasn't his fault, we came too late, and you were already…"
"Blah blah blah" Fey interrupted her "Just remind me to have him fired"
"Sure, as you wish."
Fey looked at the other woman. She barely tolerated the ever-present depressed look on her face. Wanda was a good assistant indeed, but she couldn't help herself for some things.
"For God's sake, Wanda, please smile! You should think of your new nose." The assistant touched the old one she still had. "...or think about all that you'll be able to do with it, and a good hairdresser" While she said that, Fey looked at Wanda's afro hair.
Then she remained silent. Wanda was still looking at her though.
"What? You can go, now," Fey added after a while. "God, what's wrong?"
"It's a girl. She's healthy," Wanda answered quietly.
The very next moment, the assistant wished she could look directly into her boss' eyes, behind the sunglasses.
"Oh... well, well. You did the right thing by telling me … you know, its being healthy is a positive thing. Tanen wouldn't have been happy if it wasn't. A girl you said?"
Even without looking behind the sunglasses, Wanda knew she had hit a nerve. Since she'd been working for that woman, she had never perceived her as – well, vulnerable. But that day, in that very moment, for the first time she saw her icy armour cracking…. And she was totally enjoying the situation.
But when would she give up?
"She isn't far away from here," Wanda reprised. "It's the ward in front of this, the nursery is at the end…"
"What the hell are you saying?" Fey interrupted her.
"I just thought…"
"I don't care. Actually, bring me a cigarette."
"Are you sure it's a good idea? I mean, you just-"
"Ever since the beginning of this madness, I haven't touched a single cigarette. I think I don't owe anything else to that child."
Great, she'd said it eventually. Because of Wanda now the thing had been personified, only to complicate the whole situation more.
"Please, go. I'm tired, and I want to be alone," Fey ordered.
Wanda obeyed. But on her way out, she cast a last glance at her boss: she saw the woman laying motionless, clenching her fists.
She was giving in.
Wanda still hadn't come back. What was so difficult in finding a packet of cigarettes? A single, damned packet of cigarettes, good heavens!
Furious with her late assistant, Fey was now wandering amongst the wards, barely knowing where she was going, focused on one thing only: nicotine.
But after a while, desperate and tired, she was forced to stop, and had to find a place to rest (those ten hours, after all, were taking their toll on her body, too little and fragile for such an effort). She leant against a wall, and started looking around, looking for a spot to take a seat. She saw doors, paintings, other wards, but no one to ask for help to. So she closed her eyes, trying to catch at least one human voice, but she realized soon that nothing could be heard except for an unreal silence. Weren't Swiss people among the most industrious in the world?
She took a deep breathe, and opened her eyes again, resuming her journey. After a few meters, though, she found herself in the last place on earth where she wanted to be.
Instinctively, she turned her back on the large window of the nursery. How had she ended up there? Well, it didn't matter anymore. She just had to run away, as soon as she could, before she could do something really stupid.
But her legs didn't help at all.
She probably had never craved a cigarette more than in that moment.
She had to go, but she was still there. Maybe she could just take a quick look… no, she definitely could not.
She would totally kill for a cigarette.
Eventually, Fey turned around again.
"Who the hell are you?"
She had expected to see a line of cradles full of snotty babies, but she had found herself in the shadow of someone taller, and darker than her.
Fey looked down at the woman's attire: the clothes – a white paltry dress, a cap and a sad yellow cardigan – told Fey the woman in front of her had to be a nurse. Sure, she didn't exactly look like your typical Swiss…
"Who are you?" Fey asked in return. "And don't tell me you work here."
"Ok, I won't. Now, do you mind telling me what you're looking for or you'd rather keep on questioning about our identities?"
"There's no hurry, dear. Oh, do you know where I can find cigarettes?"
The nurse looked at her incredulously for a while, sure that the other woman must have been joking because of the painkiller or something similar. Then, realizing the patient was serious, she burst out laughing.
"Are you kidding me?" she asked still laughing. "You can't be serious!" she exclaimed, and then she grabbed Fey's right arm to read the bracelet she wore.
Afterwards, dropping the woman's arm, the nurse stopped laughing and, almost as if stroke by a flash of inspiration, she reprised talking.
"Whatever… are you really sure you want cigarettes?"
"Sure, what else?"
The Swiss sighed deeply, shaking her head.
"A woman who has just given birth is in front of a nursery… we don't need a genius to understand her reasons."
Fey grumbled, "Oh, I got your point. Don't even try, I don't care, I've already made up my mind."
Maybe, if she'd said those words out loud, she would have convinced herself for real, too.
The nurse's face, though, ("Katherine", Fey finally managed to read on her uniform) suddenly turned serious.
"You don't even want to give her a name?"
A name! God, a name! That's all she needed! A name, what nonsense. And what next, play happy family?
"I don't think so..." Fey finally answered, but her affirmation, which was supposed to be determined, came out incredibly weak.
"As you wish. Anyway, I'm going to grab a coffee..."
"Yeah, just remember my cigarettes!" Fey told the nurse, with a new, resolute voice.
The ward returned empty and silent.
She was still in front of the nursery. Slowly, she shifted her gaze on the window. Behind, the babies stayed quiet – it came as a surprise, because she had always thought babies cried all the time.
Fey wondered if she was asleep.
Maybe, if the baby had been asleep, she could have sneaked a peak at her… yes, a quick glance. Or was it too dangerous? Whatever, considering all the effort she had put in it…
Of course, things could not go as planned. God wouldn't be happy otherwise.
Fey saw her immediately. She wasn't asleep.
The woman felt the creature's eyes on her. Big, green, lively, and sweet.
She took off her sunglasses, letting them fall on the floor. She wanted to look properly at the creature. Oh God, looking at those eyes was like staring into a mirror.
What was she doing? In the last nine month she had always thought of her as that thing, and she'd even refused to listen to her crying at the birth. But now she was breaking all the rules, as she kept on looking into those eyes identical to hers.
"Well… here we are… Hello."
The little girl waved her hand. Was she greeting her? It was unlikely to believe, but for a second Fey liked the idea of the baby greeting her.
She came closer, tempted to try and touch her. She wanted to hold that little paw… People shook each other's hands when they first met, didn't they?
Then, all at once, Fey had the baby in her arms.
She was afraid at first. Rather, she was terrified. By the consequences of her act, and by those eyes too big and too bright… or maybe it was just the idea of holding the baby in a wrong way. Who had even ever held a baby, before?
After a while she thought that she maybe was doing it right, because the girl was smiling up at her, and looked at her so quietly.
"Congratulations for your hypnotic glaze dear…" she still wasn't able to grab her hand "Honestly, with eyes as yours, you will conquer the world, you know that? Oh, of course you know that…"
Fey finally grabbed her hand, and stopped talking, because she didn't know what else to say. What did she want? Considering that only a few minutes before her mother didn't even want to look at her, and now was allowing her the privilege to be held and all.
Fey reprised talking. "Yeah, sure, you will conquer the world. Just pay attention to men… like, the Meades," and Fey laughed, remembering how little reason the new generations had given her to trust them, especially those two twerps – mostly the little one – whom B. allowed too often to stay in the office.
Suddenly, she remembered the nurse's words. A name…?
She pressed her to her own breasts, because even if for just one second her daughter had to know that she belonged to her. Doing that, Fey immediately knew her name.
April 13th, 1987
I still think that you will conquer the world with those eyes. Growing up, they have become even livelier.
The ball slipped out of her hands just outside her bedroom, and it had rolled fast down the aisle. She ran after it, hoping to catch the ball before it flew again into her father's study. The last time that had happened, he'd gotten really mad, and had hidden the ball for the rest of the day.
Just when she thought she would be able to get it, the ball finished its run exactly in the study. She followed it anyway, hoping that her dad was out to catch some fresh air, in a day clearly too hot for spring.
Holding the ball she thought she was safe, because no one had yelled at her. But when she raised her eyes, all of her hope disappeared.
A really elegant lady was there, and she was looking down on her from behind a large pair of black sunglasses, which hid a large portion of her face. The little girl drew back, because that black look scared her. But she was also curious to see behind, to know what color the lady's eyes were.
The nice lady smiled "What's wrong? Are you afraid of me?"
The girl nodded innocently.
"Oh, why's that?"
"Aren't you mad for the ball?"
"Really? My daddy always gets mad when it runs here."
"Well, I won't."
"You are a good lady then. What's your name?" the girl finally asked, standing up even though those black lenses still scared her.
The lady sat down and sighed.
"My name is Fey. Yours?"
"Amanda. I've just turned five, you know? My mummy says that I am becoming a real young lady."
The lady who was called Fey made a face, and then answered that her mum was right, that she was really becoming a nice lady, and that she had a beautiful name.
"Do you know what Amanda means?" the lady asked.
Amanda shook her head: no, she didn't know it, what about her?
"It's Latin, a language spoken by men a long time ago, very far from here. It means 'the one who has to be loved'"
"Do you like it?"
"Yup. It's cool."
"And tell me, do you think it's true?"
"Mmm… yeah. I mean, my daddy loves me."
"And your mummy?"
"My mummy does, too."
The lady got really serious.
"Yes, your mummy loves you very much."