One Day

One night, Lucille wanted to go out and insisted to the point she made a fuss about it, telling Mr. Otto she will leave without him. It took a bit of convincing among other things, but Mr. Otto agreed. He visited his daughter, kissed her goodnight and made sure Cecilia called him immediately at the restaurant if anything were to change. When Mr. Otto was out of ear shot, Lucille instructed Cecilia to call the doctor instead.

When they were gone, Marigold begged Cecilia to let her call Mona. Marigold knew the number by heart, and instantly cried when she heard Mona’s voice.

“There, there you are simply not use to the different sounds,” Mona said, “sounds can come off differently in different situations. We can become accustomed to them or not. They are just sounds in the background like a constant buzz. We can write them off and forget they are there or command them unwanted attention and bring them to the forefront… Remember when we lived by the ocean in Greece. The ocean was so loud we had to shout above the noise just to hear each other. Our ears ached constantly and when we were away, we welcomed the calmness. But then other noises got us to forget about the roaring ocean. I can tell you living that close to the ocean, I surely don’t miss it. It was just a moment that came and went, but it surely didn’t affect us. We forgot about it. This is just a moment you can let it pass by, and take advantage of the moments you have with your father. Let the ocean be, it can divide and conquer and you must be prepared to choose how you handle it… As for you tummy troubles, drink some water and let it settle with some ice cream, as I always say.”

Marigold, spoke a little longer and soon her tummy aches began to ease and asked Cecilia if she could have some ice cream. Soon enough, the sweet, frozen treat made her forget what she was supposed to remember, and remember what she was supposed to forget and all was well. Marigold had a lovely time with Cecilia. The talk was idle, but it wasn’t about what was said but how the mood was quickly transformed into a wonderful moment, each enjoying each others company.

Mr. Otto had been worried about his daughter he barely was able to enjoy his night out with Lucille. They had returned earlier than expected and he found the girl in the kitchen laughing and smiling. He was at peace and didn’t even seem uncomfortable when Lucille went to her room in a huff. Normally he would have chased after her, but it wasn’t all about her. That night, Mr. Otto put his daughter to bed and they spoke of many things. Though, she rarely asked for much, he promised her a doll. Her response surprised him very much.

“Why, daddy,” Marigold said. “I didn’t do anything to deserve a doll.”

“Well, you have been a patient child,” Mr. Otto said, “you do as you are told, you never whimper, never cry, never even complain. You have been a good little girl.”

“But I’m always supposed to be good,” Marigold said, “it’s what it’s expected of me. Children should be seen not heard. Anyways, daddy, I don’t play with dolls anymore.”

“Don’t you play with any toys,” he said, “what about your toys at home. I sent plenty of them on Christmas and your birthday.”

“I know, daddy,” Marigold said, “and they are lovely, but I’m not a child anymore. I’ve outgrown them. I don’t do childish things anymore.”

“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Mr. Otto was new to this.

“Because, daddy,” Marigold said as a matter-of-fact, “it’s impolite to refuse gifts from others. But, I cherish them, I keep them in my room, I don’t play with them. I am far too busy.”

“Busy doing what?” Mr. Otto was curious.

“Learning how to sow,” Marigold said, “it’s more important to learn something that will be most beneficial for me when I grow up.”

“I must have done something right to be so lucky,” Mr. Otto smiled at his daughter.

“Then I must be lucky too,” Marigold hugged her father.

The next day, Marigold made little fuss about her stomach ache, eventually as she got busy helping Cecilia she simply forgot what caused them in the first place.

“Sometimes, all you need is to keep your mind busy on other things,” Marigold said when Cecilia mentioned the absence of her tummy aches. They were both on their knees cleaning Lucille’s bathroom when Cecilia noticed Marigold feeling better.

“Is that so,” Cecilia said. “Is that what your mother says?”

“That’s what Mrs. McNamara says,” Marigold told her.

Mrs. McNamara was a military wife married to Mr. McNamara a Lieutenant Colonel serving the Army Air Forces as this transpired. The couple were dear friends of Mona and often took the child in when Mona had a sudden itch for wayfaring, leaving Marigold under their care. It was known that Mona had a habit of disappearing. The McNamaras’ were childless and didn’t mind Marigold. Lucky for Mona she had many understanding friends. Mona always promised to return, and true to her word she would reappear a few days later. The longest she left Marigold with a stranger was two weeks with Mona’s grandmother. The grandmother didn’t agree with Mona’s lifestyle and believed the child was better off in a stable home and called child services and she was taken away.

I believe that’s when Mona contacted Mr. Otto and he began to be part of the big picture. Marigold was returned safe and sound into Mona’s arms, making it the last time Mona ever saw her grandmother. She never forgave the old woman, and though, grandchild and granddaughter never saw eye to eye, the old woman left a small inheritance to Mona, which is how she and the child were able to travel so much.

As I was saying before, Mr. and Mrs. McNamara were a middle age couple who lived the military life. They occupied a small house decorated with all of Mr. McNamara’s medals and awards, photographs of important people they met, trophies and other beautiful stuff Marigold marveled at. So, while Mr. McNamara was away at work, Mrs. McNamara would spend her days cleaning the house from top to bottom, left to right.

“Spit spot, everything must be in order, everything must be spotless and clean before Mr. McNamara comes home,” Mrs. McNamara would say. “That’s how he likes it and that’s how we keep house.”

From morning after breakfast was over and Mr. McNamara would leave for work, Mrs. McNamara would be on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. Marigold had to dust and polish the furniture, followed by wiping the mirrors, washing the windows, vacuuming, some more dusting and straightening the rooms as they went along. Lunch was then prepared and soon back to cleaning and scrubbing.

“Everyday?” Cecilia couldn’t believe her ears.

Marigold had to explain that somethings had to be done everyday while certain tasks were done once a week. For instance, bathrooms were cleaned everyday, beds were made before coming to breakfast, laundry was sorted and washed. Blinds and curtains, ceiling fixtures, base boards, rugs were done once a week. While Marigold continued the job at hand, Mrs. McNamara would prepare dinner before Mr. McNamara would come home.

“Didn’t she let you play?” Cecilia had to ask.

“She made it a game,” Marigold said, “we would sing songs as we did every task. There was always something to do. She made it fun. My favorite task was polishing the silver. Mrs. McNamara would make it a race to see who can polish the most and the best. She always won.”

Indeed, Mrs. McNamara taught Marigold to enjoy everything she did and to stop letting it be a chore. It became pleasant like dancing to a song. Marigold even told the story of how McNamara was clutching her chest in awe when she mentioned that Mona was a bit messy. You could tell which rooms Mona had been in as she would leave a trail of her dresses, shoes, unmentionables, and other clothing scattered about. Mona never put anything in its place, shoes came off as she walked in the door, coat thrown on the sofa, purse on the kitchen table, even money was displaced and found in different parts of the apartment. Strangely enough, Mona was neat about her hygiene and that of the apartment, she just had an affinity for being disorganized, nothing was ever in its place.

“And you said, Mrs. McNamara enjoyed it?” Cecilia would ask.

“Oh yes,” Marigold would say, “She was neat and tidy. Mr. McNamara was the same way. I often found him cleaning his shoes, guns, and his medals he polished. They both like order and were not happy when I told them Mona was anything but organized.”

Yes, Marigold had brought the subject up when she was having dinner with the McNamaras’. They were not happy at all and even had a talk with Mona when she returned. Mona appeased them and promised to make mends with her lack of order. Of course, Mona would listen but rarely follow through.

“It is only their opinion,” Mona would say, “whether I agree or not, in the end it is my choice, no need to make a fuss about it. They just want to be heard and so I listen.”

“Don’t you think they might be right?” Marigold would say.

“Perhaps,” Mona said, “but if I would have disagreed it would have been very much unprofitable for me.”

Hands and knees in Lucille’s bathroom is where Lucille found Cecilia and Marigold, interrupting them both. Lucille needed Cecilia to get the dinner table ready for company, barely noticed Marigold and mistook the child to be that of Cecilia, and instructed Cecilia to keep the child out of her sight.

One Day

There are good moments in our lives when unpleasant incidents seem to fizzle the fun out of them. Moments are to be enjoyed for they quickly dissipate in to another day. You can never atone for it, or get back the moment once it has passed. A moment becomes a yesterday, which are meant to teach what one chooses to do right and to do what is right, not because we believe it’s right. Doing what is right is not easy, especially when one encounters something unpleasant. Every moment is a choice, a choice to be happy, a choice to be excited, a choice to have fun, or we can sit in the corner and hold everyone responsible for our unhappiness. But emotions can run deep, and any form of sensibility can be reduced to insanity.

Marigold had choices and she had chosen to love the summers she spent with her father, even when some moments had become unpleasant. It would begin with Mr. Otto picking up Marigold at her apartment, other times, Mona would drop her off at the boat, though they was often late getting there, didn’t mean to start off with the wrong foot. That didn’t stop Lucille and she would be fuming, while Mr. Otto kept quiet. Marigold would say goodbye to Mona, and cheerfully greeted her father, and waved and waved until Mona was out of sight.

Being at sea was something new to Marigold, the smell of the ocean, the blue, the bright sun excited her. Marigold quickly learned her father’s routine, especially when Lucille was around. In the morning, they all had breakfast together. Marigold who didn’t have much of an appetite would have a small bowl of fruit. She wasn’t familiar with fruit, but the different colors enchanted her, the smell of the nectar was delectable and when she tasted them she found them to be sweet. Mr. Otto’s face lit up when he watched her eat the fruit.

After breakfast, Marigold had to entertain herself as Mr. Otto and Lucille spent the morning sunbathing. Marigold would go whale watching, or view the ocean with a spyglass, other times she would search for Cecilia and helped in any of the chores Cecilia was occupied in. There was so much to do on the boat it kept Marigold busy that her father had to go searching for her.

A light lunch was then served at noon. Marigold managed to eat her lunch as they were plain and simple. Nobody didn’t have much to say as Lucille took up most of the conversation about restaurants, shopping and her friends. After lunch, Lucille would take a nap, sometimes Mr. Otto followed her to her room–but of course that is none of our business– other times he staid on the deck and spent time with Marigold. He would call Marigold over, have her sit on his lap, and gaze in to the horizon. He was awfully pensive. Marigold could not recall if anything was said exactly, but she enjoyed the moment.

Lucille’s habits were unpredictable. Sometimes she would emerge from her cabin minutes before dinner, angry about one thing or another, or simply because Mr. Otto did not join her for her nap. It was rare that she would join them on the deck, and never in a good mood. She had a habit of making little sounds when she was displeased, especially towards Mr. Otto’s lack of affection, which he would quickly correct. Mr. Otto tolerated Lucille. Marigold felt sorry for her father. She didn’t know what to make of Lucille’s behavior, and chose not to pay attention. As the summer dragged on, Marigold learned that Lucille was not kind to anyone, even to Mr. Otto. But, it was not her place to say anything and tolerated Lucille for the sake of Mr. Otto.

When dinner was served since it was only them, it became a three course meal, consisting of an appetizer, entree and dessert. When they had guest on board the meals could be as extravagant as an eleven course, which Marigold would only last by the third before falling asleep. Mr. Otto, knowing his daughter, had have her skip the appetizer and start on the entree, finishing everything with a dessert, which she much enjoyd whole heatedly.

The Royal Mary spent her days out at sea and when it reached port, Lucille was quick to disembark. Marigold barely saw them leave as Mr. Otto was whisked away by Lucille. When he stayed behind and that’s when Marigold noticed they would argue, mostly about her. In fact, Marigold was quite aware Lucille quarreled with Mr. Otto quite often. They were not loud about it, but it was evident neither couple was happy. It was obvious, Lucille was transforming in to the green-eyed monster. How can anybody be jealous of a little girl? But it happens, I’ve been witness to it. Adults turning green for a child, is preposterous. Nevertheless, that was the case.

Marigold kept much her self, and watched and waited as Mr. Otto struggled in his relationship with Lucille. She didn’t know what she was waiting for, but she kept her distance as she had never seen two people fight the way they did. It made her have stomach aches and as the fights continued and intensified, her aches increased to the point her digestive system was disrupted and her eating became a constant worry to her father. She didn’t want her father to be unsettled and made an effort to eat until the aches became so strong she could barely get out of bed. Mr. Otto sent for a doctor but the doctor could not find anything wrong. Lucille believed Marigold was pretending just to get attention, and that didn’t make anything better for any of them.