Author’s Note — This will be the last Amanda post for awhile. Enjoy!
The days before Jim and Amanda were quiet, almost too quiet. Richard and Dahlia, two young lovebirds, cruising around in a convertible, listening to the sound of wind crash into their eardrums. At sunset, they’d find a spot off the California freeway, set up camp and start a fire. After a canned dinner, Richard would pluck his guitar while Dahlia dreamed of a warm place with wall-to-wall carpeting. Kids would roam the house, books in either hand, a smile planted upon their faces. After a hard day’s work, Richard would come home, leap upon the trampoline with the kids, then once the rest of the house had settled in, the couple would slow dance to either classical music or jazz. The next morning, the entire family all dressed in pajamas seated around the breakfast table with an array of smoked salmon, cereals, pastries and tea. Unfortunately for Dahlia, this family never existed…trouble from the get-go.
Jim possessed the most irritating brilliance to Dahlia. He seemed to know the answers to rather complicated matters long before her. It would just blurt right out him. Dahlia, of course, as his mother, refused to accept that perhaps he was onto something. Kids, she’d rationalize, what could he, they, any of them know? Yet a fortnight later and many dollars tossed into the pockets of too many strangers, there arrived the answer. The same one Jim had blurted out. He’s a smart one, Dahlia surmised. Then a week a later, a new problem would arrive and the whole cycle would start over again.
When the problem of Amanda arrived (otherwise known as her birth, according to Jim), neither parent knew what to do. Even Jim was perplexed. After many attempts at getting to know and care for his baby sister, five-year-old little Jim suggested drowning “that bitch”. This would lead to “Jimmy, where’d you hear that word from” but Dahlia knew; from the mouth of a man on the other end of the sliding glass door smoking a cigarette out on the decaying deck. A hundred and fifty therapists in, not a single one knew how to tend to her raucous daughter.
After one wild lovemaking session, Richard proposed, “It’s time we accept Amanda for who she is.”
“Richard,” moaned Dahlia, “who the fuck is she? I mean, I don’t know what to say to her half the time. She freaks me out. Doesn’t she freak you out?”
Richard groaned, “Sometimes.”
“Sometimes! Sometimes? She’s impossible. Maybe Jim was right. Maybe we should drown her.”
“Are you fucking loony? Dahlia, seriously…you really think we should drown our own daughter?”
Roaring in laughter, “It would make life easier on us.” Tears coated Dahlia’s face, “I don’t know how to deal with this, Richard. It feels like I’m in a madhouse every day. This isn’t the life I dreamed of. You know that!”
Lost for words, Richard ran his finger up and down Dahlia’s spine.