"CAT" by Alessandra Azzaroni
© 2002 by Alessandra Azzaroni firstname.lastname@example.org http://au.geocities.com/vcastairwaytoheaven/index.htm
STORY LAST UPDATED ON 17/12/2002
Written in Australia. Please send me an email if you would like to know when this story is updated.
CHAPTER ONE: MY FAMILY
I may seem vicious now, but I wasn't always like this. Most people aren't born evil, but it's something that grows over time. Quite like a tree, for trees take years to grow to their full height, and once they're there, they stay forever, unless you chop them down, of course. But the darker side of people can't easily be chopped away.
I was an only child. Only children can be very strange people. Usually only children have divorced, separated or unmarried parents, and quite possibly have stepparents and stepsiblings.
But I was unlike that. There was only myself, and my married parents living together. Children with separated parents can often grow up to be troublesome. But in the end, I guess it goes to show that you can have married parents and still end up sinister.
There are some people who believe that I only ended up twisted because of what happened to me later on. Oh no. Maybe it was genetic what I had; only my mother had never seemed to show it, and who knew about my father?
I, myself, believed that I became twisted for many reasons. Certainly, what I found out was definitely a factor. But I believe the true reason is that all that shimmers in this world is sure to fade away again. And so it did. Maybe you could say I grew up wise.
Wise was my father. He was an investment banker, and also sold investment properties on the side. We weren't rich, but we certainly weren't poor. But we lived away from the city, in the eastern region of Victoria, in a suburb named Park Hills. Our driveway itself was on a hill, very steep and often difficult to hike up. Our property was vast. Behind our backyard was a nature reserve, all grass, trees and quite possibly little insects and bugs. I never hiked up there, though. There was no solid footing. It was difficult to climb, and almost scary coming down. You couldn't walk down to get back to our yard, you had to gather some pace and just rush down.
It was a beautiful place, near the pine plantations but we had plenty of gum trees, and an ideal place for my parents. We moved here not long after I turned one year old. I don't remember my life before that. But I do know where I was before.
I was born in Canada, my father's homeland. I wasn't sure what province, no matter how many times I'd asked. Some things were just out of bounds from the answering zone. I didn't know why it was to be kept a secret, it shouldn't have mattered much. Well, it obviously mattered to me, because I wanted to know.
I didn't look much like my father. He was Vincent Glass, a tall, dark, reasonably handsome and strong Canadian. I wish I could've told from his accent whereabouts he was from exactly, but Canadians were few and far between in my life - I only knew my father. The only province in Canada I knew he was not from was Québec. He didn't sound like a French-Canadian, or how I imagined a French-Canadian to sound like. But for all I knew he could have been born in Québec, and then had shifted elsewhere.
My mother was from elsewhere. The Netherlands, I knew, but it was probably just called Holland in her days living there. Her Dutch accent was clearly audible, and she made no attempt to hide it. But she didn't like talking about her homeland. I didn't know why. I didn't understand why. The Netherlands seemed to be a very open-minded place, so she mustn't have been ostracised. And it seemed like such a pretty place, with those canals everywhere.
I'd never been there, though. Ever since we had come over here from Canada, we had not left the continent of Oceania. We had lived in the same house. We went for a short four-day holiday once a year, usually in early January. These were just places in Victoria, though, coastal places like Warrnambool, Foster, Phillip Island and Rosebud. Once we had been to the island state of Tasmania for a week, driving around in a rental car. Once we went to Echuca and Moama. These were borderline towns - Echuca was in Victoria, and across the bridge was Moama in New South Wales. In Year Six, I had gone with my school year level to Canberra, the capital of the nation, in the Australian Capital Territory, and in Year Eleven my year level had gone to Central Australia. And just once my parents and I had ventured overseas to New Zealand for a week or two, visiting both the North and South Islands. But that was as far as my travelling had gone. I wanted to travel the world someday, to visit Canada and the Netherlands. But first I needed the money - which I didn't have enough of for my dream expedition.
As I grew up, my dream occupation changed. It started off with a librarian, to a fiction writer, to an ambassador overseas in an Australian embassy and back to a writer again. But I had to throw that dream aside, and get realistic. I could not possibly get a steady income from fiction writing, particularly if I couldn't get anything published. But my love for reading had never faded, and it was through reading that I discovered the occupation of a forensic psychologist, someone who studies criminals, gets into the minds of serial killers and tries to provide reasons and understanding for why some people commit crimes.
I had it all planned out in my head to go to university, get an Arts degree in psychology and then specialise in forensic psychology. But something went astray - my Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) results. My overall score was too low to get into psychology anywhere.
After that, I was at a loss. I didn't want to redo Year Twelve, and I knew my dreams of forensic psychology would have to be put aside. This was real life. Unlike the American teenage books I had read until I was about fourteen, not everyone could get into university. Alas, the United States of America were not Australia, but those books didn't seem to be a correct portrayal of real life. In "junior year" and "senior year", the students seemed to be far too involved with their private lives, rather than their studies. If they were in Australia, they wouldn't have been able to graduate from high school.
Yet, I had to do something with my time, to earn money to support myself, even though I had yet to leave home. And so I managed to get a job at a theatre restaurant. There were different types of nights there - theatrics, comedy, karaoke and proper musical performances. We reserved tables for talent scouts and managers looking for new clients often.
I mainly was a waitress, although I sometimes bussed tables, cleaned in the kitchen and occasionally worked the bar. In my early days I had been conned by my workmates into having a go at karaoke with them, but after a few turns of that, my boss, Barry Cheltenham, forbid me to do anymore - I was to do proper musical performances instead. The restaurant's own band, the Headlights, had had their lead singer leave to move to Brisbane, and I was invited to fill the gap. Carol, however, had a wide vocal range, but I was only a contralto. Still, I had yet to be sacked as lead singer, and I couldn't play any musical instrument.
My parents came once a month to Shards, the restaurant, to see me perform, and have dinner. My workmates always did a double take when they saw Mama and I together. Even I had to admit that we did look a lot alike, although she was about twenty-two years older than myself.
She was a typical Dutch beauty with thick blond hair that hung in waves to just below her shoulders, though she pinned it up when she went out. My own gold locks stopped about halfway down my neck. Her eyes were a topaz blue with thick, dark lashes and dark eyebrows, but all of it was natural, and I had inherited the lot.
But Mama was always so much lovelier than I'd ever be. She had a quiet gentleness about her that I lacked. She had elegance and grace, and I had neither. She thought and cared about others, where I thought of myself above all (except for my parents). That could've been due to the fact that I was an only child, and maybe she wasn't. I didn't know for sure.
Although Mama was wont to avoid her past, she'd still kept one thing - her name. She was born Seda Anouk Voorveld, and she hadn't even changed to Glass when she married my father. It was as if she had to remind herself of something, as if to punish her self. I wouldn't have put it past her, for in my sugar-glazed vision, she had always done the right thing.
I also had something from her past, from her apparently short time in Canada. I was named after her friend there, Catriona, a Scotswoman. Whether she was alive or not, I didn't know, and as far as I knew, the two didn't correspond anymore.
Mysteries often surrounded me, yet I pushed them aside. I wanted to be a carefree, laid-back Australian like everyone else here, and I wanted to brush everything aside by simply saying "no worries". Ignorant, yes; intelligent, certainly not.