With summer over, Frida resumed her life with Mona. The memory of sailing the ocean with her father and brothers was long left behind as the season took on different colors. Orange and red were the colors Frida remembers of that season. By then, Mona had returned to the little fishing town in France. The only place Frida ever disliked returning to during their travels. She couldn’t understand why Mona didn’t stay in the apartment Mr. Otto had rented them in Bavaria. Mona assured her they would return, as soon as she met up with an old friend.
Old friend, meant Adele, the only woman, Frida had a hard time coming to terms with. When Adele was around, Mona became a different person. She was still her jolly self, just more immersed in Adele as if she was the only person that mattered, and Frida was put away. Adele, disliked children, mostly Frida, and with Mona wrapped around her finger, she advising Mona on the upbringing of Frida. Mona had many female friends, some Frida didn’t mind, others Frida adored, few she tolerated and then there was Adele.
Adele, was a married woman with a husband that owned a fish stand in the market and made his living selling fish. The money was good, but Adele was high maintenance. Like Mona, she loved fashion, dressed in elegant dresses and wore expensive shoes to match her dress. Her short, blond hair was neatly brushed and curled, her make up always impeccable and her hands well manicured as Mona’s.
They were two peas in a pod, and though, Adele was very beautiful, her uninviting nature towards Frida showed in her conduct. When they were in town, Adele was quick to show up, and Mona’s attention drifted away from Frida. The only time Frida saw her mother was when Adele was over for tea, then by evening they were gone. They didn’t show up until the next morning when Frida would find the trail of women’s clothing, shoes, purse, coats and unmentionables littered in the living room leading to Mona’s room. Frida, sighed as she picked up the mess one by one, laid them on the sofa and waited for Mona to emerge.
If Mona did emerge, she was not presentable, and asked Frida to go get milk. That normally mean she wanted Frida out of the apartment for a short time. Frida did as she was told. She mostly hung out at the beach, and watched the fisherman. When she returned home, Mona was in a discomposed state asking her where she had been, forgetting she had sent Frida away. Adele would be gone by then, probably home to her husband. Mona would hug Frida and promised to be a better mother, but that was fleeting once Adele returned.
There were days when Adele came over every day, and other times Mona and her spent every night out. Nobody could keep those two apart, not even Adele’s husband, Mr. Cadieux, who came knocking at Mona’s door more than once, and never pleased to see her.
Adele, said many unkind things about her husband, Frida wondered if they were true, because she would buy fish from Mr. Cadieux, and he was kind to her, not the unruly man Adele described. But Mona clung to Adele’s words and would mislead Mr. Cadieux when he came looking for his wife. No, she hadn’t seen Adele, couldn’t say where she was. No, she hasn’t been here. She is not here. I can be certain of that.
The relationship Mona had with Adele was unhealthy and unnatural, and it have been going for over five years. Five years too long, thought Frida. When Adele was around, Mona smoked too much, drank too much, and even frolicked too much. Adele was the center of Mona’s world and Frida could only watch as her mother slipped away. Adele was a temptress as she was called by Mona’s other friends.
Mr. Cadieux even tried to split the two apart, but Mona and Adele only held on tighter. There had been many times, he would come looking for his wife, and not believing Mona, he would push himself inside only to find his wife there. He voiced his disapproval of both women, grabbed his unwilling wife, and yanked her from the scene he had found them in. Mona would step in to defend her friend only to be struck by Mr. Cadieux. Hearing the commotion, Frida would run to her mother and get in between her and Mr. Cadieux, begging her mother’s mercy.
Mr. Cadieux’s hand would freeze in mid air and stutter with his words, unable to continue his unhinged state. Mr. Cadieux was a heavy man, with a heavy mustache, who heaved from all the workout the women had given him. He would regain his composure and tell his wife that he wanted her home or else; other times he was forceful and would drag her away. It always ended in the same way, she would eventually follow her husband or he would drag her out.
Afterwards, the effects were also the same, Mona become truly unhappy and for days she lingered in bed, affected by the fact she could not see her beloved friend. Frida would take care of Mona and nursed her back to health. When Mona was feeling better they would leave France and wouldn’t return until next Fall. Frida had this uneasy feeling inside of her that made her think that one day Mona would leave and never return.