Okay so this is just a little something I thought up when I was watching the Secret Garden movie the other night. All from the scene when Colin is taking photos of Mary and Dickon on the swing. I do apologise if certain things differ from the book, but this is based on the movie mainly. Give it a go! :)
"Just face it, Colin, you hate him, you always have and you always will."
Colin won't look at me. He always averts his gaze whenever I bring up his lifelong jealousy of Dickon. I do my best not to speak of it. But sometimes his snide and sarcastic comments about my husband force me to confront him. He angers me to no end.
"I do not hate him, Mary." Colin snaps angrily, still staring at the ground, as if he was willing a giant hole to open up and swallow him.
"Well, you certainly do not love him, not the way you used to. Why are you so jealous? What is it?"
Colin's head whips up and his eyes meet mine. "Leave me alone, Mary!" He slowly wheels himself away from me, closer to the fireplace. The tartan blanket wrapped over his legs gets caught in the wheel in the process, though, and falls off his frail legs to the ground.
"Oh, Colin," I murmur, moving to him to retrieve his blanket. I start to tuck it back over his legs for him, when he pushes me away.
"Just leave me." He growls, huffing crossly.
I drop the blanket back to the floor, anger of my own rising inside me now. "Fine, do it yourself." I storm from the room, slam the door behind me and march up to my bedroom.
Colin is only 27 now, but his health has been deteriorating for years. He was walking for many of them, but his 'disease', the one which I was so sure had never existed, has returned and crippled him once again. Very quickly, nearly as soon as he was once more chair-bound, he reverted back to his sour, angry ways. He is now much the same 10-year-old boy I met all those years ago – spoilt, bedridden and always bad-tempered. You couldn't say a single word to him without it being turned into an argument. When he became so bad, I decided to move him from Misselthwaite Manor, where he was nearly always alone, no doubt left to brood on his ill fortune in the dark, to the small house that Dickon and I own in York.
I sit down on the edge of the bed and hang my head in my hands, exhausted from trying to fight with the cousin I still dearly love, despite all his bitter shortcomings. He made it so hard sometimes, to even have a conversation. As if on cue, my beloved husband enters the room quietly. I don't look up, but feel him sit next to me on the bed, and reach his arm around me. The warmth is comforting.
I hear his voice in my ear. "Colin?" He asks simply.
All I have to do is nod, and everything is made clear to him. It is a very comforting thought that someone can understand you so well, so deeply, maybe even better than you understand yourself. Dickon's arms tighten around me, and I feel myself melting into his grasp. All my worries dissolve when I am here. Dickon can make everything disappear. His kind and gentle spirit seeps through any mental barrier you may have erected in defence, and melts hearts. All hearts, that is, except Colin's.
Finally, Dickon and I part and he leaves my side to organise his things for work. "What happened this time?"
"Oh, just the same as usual," I explain, rising to help him gather his equipment together, which always seems to get spread about all over the place, most likely due to the two small pairs of hands that invade our room on a regular basis. "I was downstairs, helping Penny with the breakfast when Colin came in and made a comment about you."
Dickon doesn't react, proving that he is used to this kind of story. They come in on a daily basis. Colin is forever demeaning his former best friend. "He really ought to get out of the house more, Mary."
I place a handful of papers into Dickon's satchel. He travels out to the moors to help the farms and properties out there with their gardens and sick animals. It doesn't pay very well but we get by and Dickon enjoys it. Technically, he is a vet, though without all the years at University and the letters next to his name. I believe his way with animals is far superior to any other man who wasted his years in a classroom. "I do know that. Penny got such a fright, she can be so frail around him."
Penny is our housemaid, has been for many years now. We can only afford one, which a lot of the neighbourhood seem to sneer at us for. But I certainly don't mind using my hands to keep our small house clean and tidy. Dickon and I manage quite well on our incomes. "She needn't be. There are far worse things in life than a cripple in a wheelchair." He says coldly.
I am rather taken aback by the comment. "Dickon—" We are interrupted when two young identical children open the door and come rushing in, squealing and giggling. Our twins, playing their favourite game – disturb mother and father. Craven and Martha are identical in all but gender and they have to do everything together. Including waking their parents up at all hours of the morning by breaking in and jumping on their bed. I watch from Dickon's side as they climb with their little legs up onto our bed and start bouncing up and down. I want to be annoyed and tell them off. But the gorgeous little evil grins on their faces won't let me.
"Come now, children, that's enough. You don't want to fall off and break a bone, do you?" Dickon drops his bag and ushers the twins down into a calm sitting position. They do as they are told obediently. Dickon places a kiss on each of their foreheads. "And besides, you were too late this morning to wake us up, you missed, you little rascals." He musses their hair before retrieving his satchel and heading downstairs for breakfast.
"Mother, can we go with father today?" Martha asks, looking incredibly angelic. Craven nods enthusiastically next to her. They only just turned five and already know how to tug on my heartstrings to no end.
"And who would stay at home to look after Penny and Colin while I am out? You know they need you here to keep them in line." This is a little joke we have running. The twins think they are in charge whenever both of their parents are out of the house. Really, it's the other way around. Penny and Colin look after them both in our absence. I work long hours at the schoolhouse around the corner, teaching new entrants. Very soon, I will be teaching my own children.
"Colin is boring, mama, and Penny tells us off all day long. She makes us sit in the corner when we're bad." Craven explains earnestly, putting on his puppy dog eyes.
I laugh in spite of myself and lift Craven into my arms. "Oh, really? Well, then, you should put her in the corner when she is naughty. Come on, downstairs for breakfast now." I kiss his cheek and put him down again. Instantly he races to the door and down the stairs as fast as his little legs will carry him, with the thought of putting Penny in the corner to speed him up. Martha smoothens out her nightdress and walks elegantly out the door behind her brother. It brings a smile to my face, to watch them interact with each other. They can be so different. Yes, they have to do everything together but Craven has to be first at everything, the best and the know-it-all. He has to beat his sister. Martha is the angel; whenever her brother does something crude or obscene she reacts with disgust and tells me or her father immediately.
I follow them both downstairs to the kitchen, where Penny is dishing up porridge with brown sugar for the two munchkins waiting eagerly at the table. Dickon is quietly chewing on his buttered toast, reading the newspaper. I grab myself a piece of toast, spread some jam across it and stand at the kitchen bench to stare out the window. "Where's Colin?" I ask no one in particular.
Penny responds quietly, "He took his breakfast in the drawing room this morning, ma'am."
I sigh, gazing out at the square that we live on. He is forever isolating himself. For months now, I have been telling him over and over again to eat breakfast with us, his family but he allows himself to sink down deeper and deeper into his depressing thoughts until he becomes drowned with misery. Perhaps it's just the sight of seeing the twins, sitting at the table, swinging their legs freely. Or Dickon, tall and manly and muscular, with his legs crossed in his masculine way, emanating vigour. Watching Penny and I bustle about, upright, running around to prepare the children, probably gives him a sour taste in his mouth, I imagine, when he thinks about the unfairness of the world. I do ponder it myself sometimes. Why should the five of us walk around easily on strong, capable legs, while Colin is forced into his prison of a wheelchair? Who willed it, this inequality, this injustice? The only response I could ever come up with, after many a night spent awake, wondering, was that God was responsible. And God works in mysterious ways. I had come to accept it. Colin would not.
Turning around to watch my little family at breakfast, leaning against the counter, I sigh again, wearily. Only early morning and I am already feeling the world's weight on my shoulders, wearing me down. "You should go tell him to bring his food in here." Dickon says, without looking up from his newspaper.
The twins glance over at their father as drips of porridge slurp down their chins messily. "Mama, Colin is eating in the drawing room! We are not allowed! Can I put him in the corner too?" Craven pipes up, turning his brown eyes to meet mine, a mischievous glint playing at the corners.
Before I have a chance to respond, Martha decides to put in her penny's worth. She looks at her brother with stately contempt and says disdainfully, "Mother, I think I should be the one to put him in the corner. We aren't allowed to get crumbs or food in the drawing room. I ought to spank him and make him clean them up!" We three adults in the room do our best to keep the sniggers at bay, but fail spectacularly as we all dissolve into quiet giggles.
Craven, naturally, thinks it is a game and starts giggling and cackling the minute he hears us laugh. Martha then does her best to behave better than her brother but eventually succumbs to the giggles until the kitchen is filled with five laughing, snickering maniacs. My mirth fades away when Colin appears in the doorway, his empty plate on his lap, eyeing us all with a cold jealousy. At first, I feel terrible. He probably thinks we are laughing at him. I try to search for some kind of excuse as all the laughter in the room peters out. Then I stop myself. It is his fault he missed out on the laughter. He chose to separate himself from us. If he had opted for eating breakfast with his family, he would have known why we were giggling away like fools and he would have joined in.
In a split second, bitter green anger flashes across his face. "Laughing about me, are you? Making fun, cracking jokes at my expense? How very considerate of you!" He exclaims, before picking up his plate and throwing it on the floor. It smashes into pieces with a loud crash that startles the twins. They jump, suddenly frightened, and tears spring to Craven's eyes. I open my mouth in shock to see my cousin act in such a way. He passes me a final, narrow-eyed evil glare before wheeling himself back to the other end of the house where we converted the dining room into a bedroom for him. For a few seconds, the five of us sit there, staring at the broken plate pieces in shock. Then a wail escapes Craven's lips and the tears spill down his cheeks. As if on cue, Martha starts her own powerful howls. All from a simple smashed plate.
So, yeah, more to come. Review your thoughts. Thanks.