Thursday, 1 December 2016

A New Home

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2014
  
An aqua coloured leaf, obviously spray painted, was the only thing disturbing the pristine pool. Saina Malleswary was unsure if she meant throwing it in there as an act of defiance or an act of conciliation. Surely her father couldn’t really kick her out of home if she had to clean the pool as usual? And those streams of paint are going to need extra attention, requiring Saina’s usual diligence. Mind you, she had been adamant that she would leave home soon after turning eighteen, moving into a share house with two of her older friends. Her father wanted her to wait but then realised the sooner he let her go the better; she was always going to leave. And even he was surprised when five days after her eighteenth birthday, at the beginning of another very mild Aus autumn, at breakfast, he told her that she would have to leave in two days. Mr Malleswary wanted to get the pain over with as quickly as possible. Mrs Malleswary offered no objection. Time to fly, Saina.
     Saina dwelt on the words banishing her, staring at the streaming leaf, and then felt something snap deep within her being, like some mental support that had suddenly given way. She soon began breathing in short, sharp breaths, holding her head, her eyes squeezed shut, looking for herself in her mind’s eye. Luckily she knew to take big, deep breaths, thus controlling the sudden panic. She then reasoned with herself, arguing her return to normality. In fact moving out was bound to be great, having two good friends to shelter with. She was soon able to look down at her packed, large sports bag.
     ‘Yeah, everything’ll be fine,’ she said to herself. ‘Rita and Jess will be all the help I need. If any.’ She picked up her bag and headed inside to ask her father for a lift to her new home.

*

The trip was in silence and it was short, two suburbs over to Redferne. Five minutes from her new home though Mr Malleswary, Aadil, decided now was the time to reveal a secret of his that his daughter might find useful.
     ‘Sai, now that you’re a grown woman I’ll tell you of a habit of mine that I use to deal with a stressful world. As you know I have a family history of anxiety on my mother’s side and when it all gets too much for me I put on Handel’s Water Music.’
     ‘I’ve heard of that.’
     ‘It’s divine, Sai. I invariably listen to it with earphones to bring it closer. It’s in three suites and always allows me to let the stress and angst flow off into the ether. I feel great for weeks afterwards.’
     ‘I don’t really like classical music, Dad.’
     ‘Well, just listen to this one. It could well be your only solace in the obscure future.’
     ‘So it always calms you down? Relieves the tension?’
     ‘Always.’
     ‘I’ll see if I can get a copy soon.’ Saina’s inherited anxiety episodes were rare but intense and any boon couldn’t be refused in dealing with the sudden panic attacks. They then pulled up at Saina’s new address. Aadil thought it best to remain in the car while his daughter stepped into a new life but was also sure to remind her,
     ‘Make sure you go to work tomorrow! No partying!’
     ‘Yes, Dad.’ She closed the car door and then called out to Rita and Jess from the porch of her first share house.

*

Rita and Jess were just about to head out for an early lunch and invited Saina along. She chose though to remain by herself in the new house, walk around a bit and peek into all the corners, arrange her new bedroom, basically acclimatise herself to the new situation. The ladies perfectly understood.
     She liked her bedroom, neither too large nor too small. Pity the mattress was on the floor though. And the white wallpaper wasn’t as white as she remembered it. Well, there’s no point in depressing oneself. She duly sat down on the bed and considered her father’s recent words. Music would certainly channel her mildly disordered thoughts, some new music to reflect her new situation. Trouble was she had no money to buy the Handel and her bank account was overdrawn. And she most certainly was not going to ask her parents for a loan within an hour of the grand flight. How to get a copy, she brooded.
     ‘The library!’ she exclaimed. She could just borrow a copy. Easy done. True, it was Saturday, but only elevenish so Redferne library should still be open. Motivated now, she unpacked her bag, piling her clothes neatly on the floor, and her other small amount of books and knickknacks. That done she changed into a new outfit, red ankle boots, black jeans, and a purple blouse, and headed off to find Handel.

*

A mild anxious feeling settled on Saina when she saw that Water Music was out on loan. She was going to give up on the search, maybe listen to a classical radio station at home instead. But, no, if her father saw fit to point out that it helped with the genetic anxiety then she would need it as quickly as possible, especially with the stress of undertaking a new life. So she left the library to have a look in nearby Newtown  library. She briefly considered searching the local University library but she imagined it would make her feel like being at school again, instead of a budding woman making her mark upon the world. Not having any money though meant no ticket, thus no travel to Newtown.
     Well, she’ll risk it. It would be a short trip anyway with less chance of being caught.
     The trip was indeed uneventful but when Saina arrived at Newtown library it was shut, despite it being only 1200 pm. A brief inspection of the closed doors showed Saina a notice saying the library was closed due to renovations.
     ‘Well then, it’s the State Library,’ she said to the notice. And if the State Library didn’t have it she would borrow some money from a work colleague tomorrow to get a copy.
     Her perseverance was rewarded and she wasn’t fined for travelling into the city without a ticket. She pressed play on the loaded CD player with a feeling of a fundamental accomplishment.
     Her father was right, as usual. Travelling with the music was like travelling through endless processions of crystal castles in her mind. She was a spirit, travelling her sure and happy path, unable to be denied anything that she set her mind to. As she travelled with the music the pinkish castles were growing broader and taller, until they exploded in tinkling gems, making her skin tingle, and then reforming to reassure Saina that she was indeed safe. Here was always a home from which she could never be forced out of. It was a fountain that had always been flowing and always would be.
     When the music ended Saina felt as if she had discovered Paradise, a Paradise always available and accessible. On the way home she rang a work friend to borrow the money for the CD. Rita or Jess would have easily loaned her the money but Saina thought that that might not be a good way to start off her living with them.

     She listens to the Water Music every morning now, and when she feels the sudden silent creep of panic she imagines it, feeling its noble castles shelter her from the tension. The Handel was also the source of a newfound and still growing respect for her father.

~~~

If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and paperbacks (go
to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing and you can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com

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