I was just six when my parents died. If only I didn’t ask to go to Disneyland, maybe they would have been alive, but I know it wasn’t my fault. I had a strong feeling that they were murdered, but no one believed me.
My mom’s older sister, Aunt Felicia agreed to take care of me because dad’s younger brother rejected me. All he wanted was dad’s properties, but dad made an unchangeable will that my legal guardian would take care of it until I was older.
“That’s impossible! A stranger can’t come in here and try to take over my family’s business, there must be a way,” he said angrily.
“The only way is for Raquelia to sign you in as her legal guardian, but you already rejected her,” the lawyer said calmly.
“Then sign me back in.”
“Never! I will not let a greedy man like you take my sister’s only child and turn her into Cinderella. Your plans won’t work!” Aunt Felicia shouted adamantly.
“Then let’s have her chose, the stupid kid loves me,” he said confidently. Funny fact, I was in the pool outside crying, but I could hear everything. It was so scary then, ever since they died, I kept seeing that woman in my dream. She’d pet me every time and sing me songs.
“Fine, I’ll call the girl,” the lawyer said calmly. I stood up and walked to them, he was at the door. “Raquel, are you alright? You’re crying.”
“I want my mommy, I’m scared,” I sobbed.
“Everything will be okay dear, I promise,” he carried me into the sitting room.
“Raquelia honey, come here,” Uncle Gaylor chirped. I waddled to him and he carried me on his lap. “Do you want to go home with me?”
“No, I want my daddy.”
“Your daddy is dead and will never return so stop crying over him.”
“Gaylor!” Aunt Felicia exclaimed, I wiggled out of his hold and stood up, he tried to touch me again.”
“Don’t touch me! I don’t like you, I never did as you didn’t ike me. So stop pretending like you do.” They were shocked by the outburst of a little girl, I ran to Aunt Felicia and wept in her arms.
“It’s settled then, Raquelia stays with Felicia,” the lawyer announced joyfully.
That night auntie put me to sleep with Jena but I couldn’t sleep, we were still in my house because the burial was just few days ago.
“Jena, I can’t sleep,” I sobbed, shaking her. She groaned and sat up before rubbing her eyes. “I’m scared, will daddy and mommy ever return?”
“No, but that doesn’t mean they are permanently gone, they are right here in your heart. We might lose something or someone special to us but that doesn’t mean they are gone, as long as the memories of them are still locked in our mind and heart, they will be with us forever, just like your mommy and daddy.”
“So they are in here?” I asked holding my heart, she nodded.
“Think about it, will your parents want you to be so sad and cry all the time?”
“No, mommy said it hurts her when I cry and daddy always gets a headache,” I said coolly wiping my tears. “I won’t cry again, I promise but I’m scared.”
“I’m always here for you, everything will be alright and you can always take my parents as yours. Sure it won’t be the same but still… One more thing…” She stretched her hand into my drawer and brought out an amulet. “Remember this?”
“Yes, mommy found this buried in the garden three months ago and gave it to you as a birthday gift.”
“Take it, it will remind you of mom and this is their wedding rings. I took it from the doctors and made it into a necklace, keep it too.” I took the ring necklace and refused the amulet. The amulet looked like its powers have been sucked out of it with only a little left. With it I felt safe again.
Jena might be a little girl but she was very smart, I love her so much. The next day I went to my parents’ grave to give them my final goodbye.
“Mommy, daddy, I’m here now, I won’t cry again and I’ll always be strong like you said I should be. I know you didn’t die naturally, so I swear that when I get older, I’ll find who killed you. Give me the strength to fight them and protect us from the evil ones. Know that I will always love you, I’ll come visit you some other time.” I dropped my flowers and left trying hard not to cry.
Aunt Felicia’s house was big and lovely. She had five children, Jena was actually born as a part of a triplet—Jayden the eldest, she and then Jinora. The remaining were two years younger than me—twins, Nelly and Shelly. They were all so nice to me.
“You are going to love your new school, lots of boys and boys,” she squealed, Jena was boy crazy from the start.
“I don’t have the strength for that now Jena.”
“Seriously Jena, she just got here,” Jay said with a frown.
“Leave her alone Jay, Jena will never listen,” Jinora said tenderly.
“Exactly! Now stand up let me give you a tour around the house.”
“I’m not a stranger h—”
“Shh, shut up and follow me.”
I had no choice but to follow her. Later that night, she brought me a big book.
“Open it.” She smiled.
I opened it and I saw ‘Raquelia’s Memories’ written on the first page. I stared at all the pictures I’ve taken from when I was a baby to that point.
“I found your family photo album and made this book to keep it, I added some of the ones I have and they didn’t. Now you can keep all your memories here.” She gave me a little camera. “To take the photos with.” I hugged her and sniffed. “No, uh, no tears.”
“Yes, thank you so much Jena, you’re the best.”
“Yeah, I know,” she said heartily. “Mom said I can sleep in your room until you get better, we can talk about boys all night. There’s this cute one next door, let’s spy on him.”
“Okay ,okay, I’ll shut up now. Geez! So mommily!”
“That’s not a—”
“It is to me sunshine, it is,” she whispered with her fingers on my lips, we burst into laughter. I wasn’t even sure the main reason why we were laughing.
Uncle Marion drove us to school, he was singing loudly to songs I couldn’t pinpoint.
“I don’t know what’s wrong, going to school or dad’s singing,” Jinora said irritably, and we laughed.
“Dad stop singing, you sing like a broken down truck!” Jena shouted.
“You kids are mean,” he whined and turned of the music. “First graders,” he muttered. Then he dropped us at the gate.
“Bye uncle. Sing fly,” I said jokingly, he laughed. I took some photos of the school and us before we walked in. Later in class the teacher asked me to introduce myself, but Jena took charge.
“Hello everyone, she’s my cousin Raquelia Catania McGrath, don’t mess with her or I’ll gorge out your eyes and shove it down your throat,” she threatened. “Thank you,” she said sweetly and skipped to her seat.
“Okaaaay, Raquelia will you like to introduce yourself?”
“Jena already got that covered.” I smiled.
“Yeah, don’t mess with her or I’ll shave your heads!” Jinora shouted.
“That’s not very nice, kids.”
“You wanna know what’s not nice? You getting fired for beating up a kid,” Jena said sweetly. I knew what she meant, the teacher quietly faced the board. My cousins were scary even for seven years old.
Later in the cafeteria, Jena and Jinora were tutoring me on how to move around the school and be fearless. I am fearless and bold, just in a nicer way. I was drawing circles with my finger with hand on my cheeks as a result of boredom. I stared hard at the bowl of spaghetti on the plate.
“Raqueila,” a voice whispered again, the voice of that lady, I glared at the plate in anger and it shattered. We screamed and jumped away from the table. Did I do that?
“What was that?” Jayden yelled.
“Remain calm, the plate just broke,” a teacher shouted. I calmed down and returned to class. In class I was absent-minded when the teacher called me.
“Raquel, why don’t you come solve this equation for us?” he said hatefully. I stood up shakily and went to the board, I took the marker and stared at it fearfully. The equation started solving itself in my eyes. I followed it and solved it. “Wow! Excellent, my dear,” he said cheerfully.
“Thank you sir,” I murmured and went back to my seat.
That was the beginning of my strange changes.