Years later, still in that moment, I am another face. Another mask. I am not me—the forgotten daughter, the quiet friend, the unrequited love.
Until the pretending becomes meaningless.
And my life hardens again.
I’m tired of acting for my friends when my parents ignore me. I’m tired of acting for myself when I want the world to stop being so hard. I’m tired of holding back from the only man I’ve ever loved.
Even though being drawn to him petrifies me above all else.
When I act to him, he sees right through me.
Each and every time.
Now, after all these years, she’s returning to work for me. A ruse to make her mine.
I will show her that she deserves to be cherished, and loved. I’ll bring back that goddess who took my breath away when I was twenty.
You only live once. Side by side, I only want this final lifetime spent with her.
“Your eggs!” Nonna suddenly yells at Trice, startling us as we sit at the table as she points to her. I pass Hazel the Corn Flakes as I reach out for the toast that Mamma has prepared. I stare at Nonna, confused, wondering if one of us was meant to go to the chicken coup to grab some eggs this morning.
“Nonna, we’ve been here before. We have plenty of time,” Trice pleads, her voice gently trying to placate her. “You really should stop watching Dr Phil.”
“It’ll be too late!” She sighs, holding her hand to her chest. “They will be gone soon.” She looks over to Hazel, then her eyes barrel into mine. “You need to hurry up too.”
“Nonna, have you got Grappa in your coffee this morning?” I laugh, trying to knock the worried look from her face.
Mamma brings over the percolator and holds it up for us. I nod and lift my cup while shifting my eyes to Nonna then back to her. She chuckles as she finishes pouring.
“Trice, you do have plenty of time. You know Nonna is just impatient.”
I poke my tongue into my cheek for a moment and then I sip my coffee while wondering if Nonna is starting to lose it.
Trice sees my confusion and waves her hand at me. “It’s nothing to worry about. Nonna saw an episode on Dr Phil about fertility and apparently by my age, my eggs will start to shrivel up. She just wants to be a bisnonna.”
I laugh as Alex’s face pales, causing Trice to laugh—loud. “It’s okay, babe. We’re fine, remember?” she teases, rubbing his arm. He relaxes and shakes his head. I chuckle as his eyes flick over to me and he mouths arsehole.
Mamma moves behind me to Hazel and offers her some coffee. Dr Phil has a lot to answer for when it came to my Nonna.
M R Field is an author from Rural Victoria and has completed a Bachelor’s degree with Honours from Latrobe University, Melbourne. After growing up with the river at her front door, she returned back to her hometown after many years of living in the city. She now lives a tranquil lifestyle with her husband and two young children.
M R Field has always held a love for writing, filling journals as a child which progressed to more eloquent pieces as an adult. After ten years of creative instruction, she decided to turn these ideas into manuscripts. She adores creating new story lines and is a big fan of a happily ever after, but believes strongly in making her characters work for it.