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I have decided to go back and edit the older chapters and fix any typos. While there aren’t really any substantive changes to the story, I am cleaning up a few things and ensuring that the story’s timeline flows correctly. I may clarify a few things here and there, as well.
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I make another pot of coffee, pour two cups, and sit down on the couch with mine. Richard is in his recliner and already reading.
I tuck my legs sideways under me and open the diary…YELENA BARONOVA’s diary. A shiver of anticipation runs through me—then a shiver of…embarrassment.
I sigh and briefly leaf through the actual book. I see a neat, very feminine script flowing across the pages in what is clearly Russian. I also see many pages that are tear-stained and where the ink has run.
I put the book down and take up the folder with the translation…and start reading.
Before I know it, an hour has passed as I read the document, then reread several sections. It is very illuminating. One thing is for sure—I am now sorrier than ever that I did not get to meet this formidable woman. She had the true inner strength of a prima ballerina.
I look up and Rich is watching me read with obvious curiosity. He is clearly done with his folder. I smile and say, “Quite the read… I think I have a better understanding of some things now… How do you want to do this? Discuss now…or switch diaries and then discuss?
He shakes his head and says, “I have no idea—it’s not like I do this all the time… But, why don’t we just discuss what we know from the viewpoint of what we have gleaned, so far?”
I nod and say, “OK. Works for me… I’ll start, then. My impression of Yelena as a women is that she was a VERY formidable person—she had an inner strength and drive that is vital to being a successful ballerina at the level she was at. She also had many insecurities—especially with trusting men and the authorities. Both of those issues went hand-in-hand—it wasn’t that she distrusted ‘men’, as much as she distrusted authority figures. Most of those WERE men in her life—especially in Russia. So it sort of bled over to men, in general. Does that make sense?”
I take a sip of coffee and look back down at the folder in my lap, then back up at Rich. “It’s much more complicated looking at Yelena, the mother…,” I continue. “She was fiercely protective of Day, which is not surprising—both as a mother, in general, but also as the woman she was. She wanted to ensure that Day would not become one of those controlling, ‘unfeeling’ men that she so abhorred. So, she started teaching him ballet—only female parts. Her idea was to make sure he got and stayed in touch with his feminine side. Then it sort of snowballed out of her control as Day insisted she continue teaching these roles—in the face of Georg’s opposition.”
“Yelena is not clear if this was just because Day was rebelling, for whatever reason, maybe also against the strict authoritative ways of the father—or if it was something else…,” I postulate. “At any rate, I think it is clear that she came to regret some of her actions. It is very clear that she did not set out to truly ‘feminize’ Day—it was more an attempt to ensure that he did not become overly ‘masculine’… She did, I think, in the end realize that it was taking an unexpected twist and toll on her child”
I shrug and say, “Like you—I don’t do this for a living. It will be interesting to see what Greta gleans from the document, though. That is just my layperson’s interpretation…”
Rich nods. He had sat there quietly listening like he does. It is unnerving at times how he can convey that feeling of utter concentration on what you are saying—like there is nothing else more important in the world than what you are saying at the moment.
He replies, “Well, that all fits with what Day has told us—maybe rounds it out some. It also fits with what Georg had in his diary. He understood her distrust of authority figures—he even shared that distrust to a certain extent. He, obviously, disagreed with her distrust of men. He was brought up in ‘good German’ fashion and considered himself the patriarch of the family—and, as such, the absolute authority on decisions. He did, however, love Yelena to no end. I don’t think he ever understood her need to teach Day ballet—certainly not the female roles. And he was very distraught when Day insisted on continuing even after Yelena had decided she should stop.”
He lets out a sigh and continues, “He watched Day take on more and more feminine gestures and…presence. He tried to counter that with his time with him—teaching him to play music. I had no idea, but he taught Day to play EVERY instrument in the orchestra. Even though the violin is his favorite, he can at least serviceably make music on all of the strings, horns, and reeds… He can also play the piano. Amazing!”
He shakes his head and continues, “Anyway, Georg had finally come to the point that he admitted to himself defeat and that they needed help. He was setting up sessions with a professional to explore what damage they had BOTH done to Day. The first session was to be the week after they were killed—I don’t know whether he ever told them, or not… The diary ends before that.”
I shake my head. “Well, I don’t think it will do any good for us to switch diaries, do you?”
He shakes his head and says, “No—I think it much better to make sure that Greta gets them and we hear what she takes away from them… I also now KNOW that the sessions with her are more vital than ever.”
I nod and approve, “Yes, I agree. I also think that if they allow Day to stay with us, that we are going to have to extend those sessions, at least at some level, to all three of us. Today was only the beginning…”
Rich nods grimly and we get up to put the things away before Day comes back down. He goes back to his case and I go to the kitchen to start supper.
This story was written and freely posted to Big Closet. If you are NOT reading this story on Big Closet, you are reading a pirated and stolen copy of this story. Please immediately inform the host of the site you found this story on that they have a pirated copy of this story on their website in violation of international copyright laws. Discontinue reading the story and any other stories in this series or authored by Shauna on this site. You can find an official copy of this story by following this link to Amadeus Irina.
I start reading Georg’s Diary. I am no psychiatrist, but, being a trial lawyer, I have learned how to glean a lot of information from such documents. First, it is apparent from the handwritten script, strong and masculine, but in an old-world style, that Georg was a force to be reckoned with. At least HE thought so. I can’t get much more out of it, since it is in German—other than the entries for each day are short. Also, there is an entry for every day…without fail—except at the end. That indicates dedication and commitment.
I open up the folder with the translation and recline my chair just as Grace brings in fresh coffee. I take the proffered cup from her with a grateful smile and delve back into the reading as she makes herself comfortable on the couch.
We are both quiet for quite some time. However, I finish well before she does. First, my folder is much smaller—second, she rereads several sections; going back and forth in the document.
I watch her and reflect on what I had learned from the document. The actual text only substantiated what I had deduced from the script. Georg was very sure of himself. Until the end, that is—at that point, even he knew they needed help. Basically, the same help WE need now, as well.
I wait until Grace is done and let her go first with what she had learned. It is not far off from what I have—and is very close to what Day has been telling us. It is clear to me that there is not much need to switch diaries, but before I can say anything, Grace jumps in, “Well, I don’t think it will do any good for us to switch diaries, do you?”
I shake my head and say, “No—I think it much better to make sure that Greta gets them and we hear what she takes away from them… I also now KNOW that the sessions with her are more vital than ever.”
She nods in return and agrees. I look at the clock and am afraid that Day will be coming down soon, so we put the things away and I go back to my case.
I put the diary away in the front drawer of the small feminine desk in ‘my’ room. I go to my bathroom and wash my face to make sure there is no sign left that I had been crying and look at myself in the mirror. I can see why people think of me as a girl—I DO look more like a girl than a boy if I think about it.
But what does that mean? I LOOK more like a girl; I ACT more like a girl—or so people are telling me; I FEEL like—well, like ME… But, is ME a ‘girl’—I have no idea what I am SUPPOSED to feel like; what a girl or a boy SHOULD feel like. Why can’t I just be ME?
I sigh and go back downstairs.
I find Aunt Grace in the kitchen getting ready to cook. I watch her from the doorway for a minute, then ask, “Aunt Grace? Can I help? I helped Mindy every so often…but, well, I am not a real cook, or anything…”
She turns to me and smiles. She says, “I would love your help, Day. Can you remind me who Mindy is…?”
I slowly come into the kitchen. I say, “Mindy was one of my homeless friends that helped look after me. I think she used to be a real cook before…well, before she started running the camp under the bridge. She makes sure that the people there eat as much as possible. She could literally make soup out of near nothing…”
I don’t mention anything about the rats…
She nods and says, “I think I would like to meet this Mindy—it sounds like she was more a ‘chef’ than a ‘cook’. Do you think I could do that? Here, put on this apron… I am afraid it is a bit girly—it was Em’s… But, it will fit you… Do you think you can wash the vegetables for the salad?”
I take the frilly pink apron and blush. I start to say it is only clothing…but, now I know that is really NOT the truth. Should I say something? Not put it on? In the end, I decide to not make a big deal out of nothing and put it on.
She helps me tie it in the back and I say, “Thank you. Are you sure Emily wouldn’t mind? And…I don’t know about Mindy…she is very…private, but I could ask, I guess. I would have to go back to the bridge and meet her. I couldn’t take anyone, like the police, or anything, though… They would just hide.”
She shakes her head in…disgust? No…that is not the right emotion on her face… Concern? Disbelief? I don’t know… “I am sure that Emily would not mind, at all, “she replies in a matter-of-fact tone. “As for meeting up with your Mindy at this…bridge. I guess we will cross THAT bridge when we get to it… Now, for those vegetables…”
She drops the discussion and shows me how to wash and clean the vegetables. Then she gives me a vegetable peeler and has me peel the cucumber. Finally, she shows me how to cut everything up and put the salad together. In the meantime, she is making a variety of other things.
She inspects my work and says, “Very Nice, Day. Once you get back to being able to eat regular meals, you’ll even get to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Unfortunately, tonight, you get your special soup again. Hopefully, when you get your checkup on Friday, we can adjust things again. Would you like to set the table? Do you know how?”
I sigh—I am NOT going to complain! I get to eat—and this talk about Mindy has me worried about my friends again. At least it has stopped snowing—but it is still REALLY cold out there.
I nod and say, “Yes, Madame—I know how to set the table.” I giggle and don’t notice how girly it sounds—but, Mama and I used to do it all the time when we were doing things together. This feels a LOT like doing things with Mama… I add on, “At least I THINK I remember how!”
I take the dishes and silverware and lay them out in a very precise manner. Mama would not have it any other way—Father even less so.
Soon, we are all sitting at the table and I feel a warmth I have not felt in quite some time as we hold hands and Uncle Rich says grace. In spite of the tumultuous events of the day, I feel…at home…again—for the first time in a long time…
I sit back as the taxi speeds down the driveway. I sigh. I really would have liked to have seen Day, but, right now, it is better that he settles in. Barn seems to think that this is a good couple for him—and, if they are willing, could be a permanent solution. I will get to see him later this week—when Barn comes out.
I just have a little more checking up to do on them…but, as an extension of that checking up, I need to do a much more in-depth scrutiny of the school—it has a more-or-less direct bearing on Day’s future. If his foster (maybe adoptive) parents have to deal with these things, it will take away from the attention they can give to Day.
I pull out my tablet and start reading some of the notes that I have compiled and make plans to start my investigation for real, tomorrow.
As we pull up to the hotel, I ask the taxi driver, “Do you have any good recommendations for a place to eat close to the hotel…?”
I look up and thank the Lord that the snow has stopped. My breath causes steamy clouds of vapor to appear as I exhale. There is no doubt that the cold is here to make our lives miserable, though. Freaky weather—it is SUCH a good thing that climate change is just a ‘Chinese hoax’…you sure could have fooled me! Hopefully, we will get some more milder weather before winter sets in for real.
I look around camp and go back to preparing my pot of rat stew. I am not sure there will be enough—we will have to ration it. Then, I smile as Jimmy…a newbie in camp…but a really HANDY…one strolls into my ‘kitchen’ with a rabbit and a squirrel.
He asks, “Hey Mindy, think you could put these to good use?”
I grin and say, “You know how to skin and gut them?”
He grins back and says, “Give me ten minutes!”
I say, “Give me fifteen to go find some edible plants to add to this. We’re going to eat well tonight—and there will be enough for all, now. Thanks to you!”
I scurry off to find to some wild roots that I happen to know where to find—a handy thing to know, given the snow cover and frozen ground… I also will tap into my store of carrots and potatoes. I will have to go ‘shopping’ again tomorrow, though…
I close the file on my laptop and sit back. I just need a few more pieces of information from Chuck and I can make the offer to the Levines through the local social services this coming week. It seems that we really got lucky with them—fate has a strange way of working things… All signs point to them being near-perfect candidates for Day.
I smile—these goons that are trying to ruin the school that Grace Levine runs may not think fate is so kind when I get through with them, though…
I pour myself a cognac and sit back to light a cigar. I smile and say to myself as I hold a match to the cigar, “This is going to be fun—a slow burn, like a good cigar… They will never know what hit them, until it is too late.”
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