Alicia Villar cut off the call with a stab of her thumb and leaned back in the kitchen chair, taking a deep breath. As if by magic, her body and mind were relaxed, as Jennifer her yoga tutor had taught her.

Unfortunately, deep breathing would not help her deal with her daughters question. ”Well darling— ” she began.

”You didn ask him, did you? ” Arabella Mae replied with a mixed smile.

Alicia hesitated for a few seconds, then shook slightly. ”I can afford Arabella Mae alone. I had to go to the hospital to visit my sister. This is a very serious operation and she will need support. Please don make it harder than before. ”

Arabella Mae knew, once her mother called her darling, she didn even bother to ask her father if he could stay with her. She only calls her darling when she feels guilty about something.

”Follow to the right, ” Arabella Mae exclaimed in a sullen tone, trying to follow the narrow path on the map scattered on her knees. Why her mother couldn just get a GPS like everyone else, she didn know. Digging up the written instructions sent to them by his aunt, she pointed at the windscreen. ”Watch out for an unpaved road, whatever it is. It must be somewhere on the right. ”

They soon learned what an unpaved road was when Alicia turned the car onto a rough track with a strip of grass in the middle.

”Oh, thats nice. ” said Arabella Mae. ”That is all we need. A bloody tramp camping at the end of our road while we
e here. ”

”Arabella Mae, take care of your tongue. What do you mean? What trump? ”

”Didn you see him? He was sitting at the end of the track, drinking something from a bottle. She looks like an Emperador to me. ”Her mother glanced at her and Arabella Mae shrugged.

”I go to parties occasionally Mama. I know what a bottle of Empe looks like. ”

”Oh here we are, ” said her mother, pulling the car next to a dilapidated old wooden garage.


Arabella Mae was surprised when they walked around the end of the garage and saw the house where they were staying. It was like a fairytale – a long and stone building, one and a half stories high. Chimney stacks are built at each end and a line of four small dormer windows covers the slightly wavy, slate roof. There are two doors, so clearly two small houses at a time. One of the original doors was made into large windows, where Arabella Mae could see a large, flat screen TV. Two trellises were nailed to the white, rough caste walls, which were both covered with yellow and red roses.

The place looks beautiful, stunning,,,,

Arabella Mae followed her mother on the road to the front of the house. When they reached it, the door opened and a white woman rushed out, gasping with laughter. She hugged Arabella Maes mother and they hugged each other. Suddenly Arabella Mae finds herself wrapped in a pair of fat arms and an ample chest, while she in turn is welcomed.

”Oh, ” said her aunt, holding her back so she could take a good look at her. ”I haven seen you since you grew up. ” She held her hand at waist level, her eyes narrowing as she laughed.

”It must have been, what, twelve years ago? ” she asked, turning to her sister Alicia to confirm.

”Im glad to see you again, Marilyn. Arabella Mae, say hello to Tita. ”

”Aunt Marilyn, ” Arabella Mae said.

”Come in, come in. I had a delicious cup of tea to brew and coffee. Why don we all sit down and drink and chat? Lets talk about the old days, hey? ”

Arabella Mae muttered quietly and her mother warned her.

”Why don you go and get the stuff in the car, while Marilyn and I will chit-chat, ” she said.

”Good idea, Alicia. The stairs are just to the left, by study, dear, ” he called to Arabella Mae, hurrying back inside the house.

”Okay if I look outside first? ” Arabella Mae asked.

”Be careful of the pig, dear. He gets a bit frisky sometimes, ”her aunts voice called from somewhere in the house.

Arabella Mae raised an eyebrow at her mother. ”Pig? ” question from her mouth.

Her mother shrugged, gave her another warning look, this time accompanied by a frown, before disappearing to join her sister Marilyn.

Arabella Mae turned to the front of the garden. It is a multicolored one, half is laid on flowers, the other is on vegetables. He walked over to take a closer look but he recognized nothing.

The vegetables came in plastic packages as far as his concern, so the variety of green shoots and funny looking plants made no sense to her.

Walking to the front of the house, she encountered two large paddocks at the end. Two sheep and a goat raised their heads to stare at her as she appeared in a corner. She smiled and walked over to the fence. The goat ran, curled its upper lip and turned its head backwards in the most anxious way.

Away from the goat, Arabella followed the fence until she reached the back of the house. Hearing the sound of running water, she walked among a line of trees to see a small stream flowing behind the property. The precipice was steep and she was almost slippery as she negotiated.

Somewhat disappointed herself when she finally reached the bottom to discover that it was more of a shallow ditch than a stream, she turned to her right. Following the stream, she came across three outbuildings, realized that one of them was in the back of the garage they had parked next to, and she made a complete circuit of the property.

Walking into the largest shed, Arabella Mae saw a wooden stall, whose floor was covered with deep straw. Inside there is something wooden bench at one end. The rest of the shed has long, thick rods glued to brackets at various heights above the wall. Small, square, open sided boxes, are placed at the bottom and they are also fitted with straw.

She approached to take a closer look, like a chicken poking its head into a small hole cut in the wall. It looked at her and gave what she could only think of a spreading sarcasm before disappearing again.

Arabella Mae laughed, shaking as she headed to the next outbuilding. Its door split, half tied at the top. Squeezing her head in the lower half, she looked inside. The floor was covered with straw, but except for a large pile of straw piled up in one corner, there was nothing to see. Then she noticed the pile of straw shaking, as if something was moving inside.

”How are you? ” he calls, somewhat dizzy.

With a deep growl and a series of sighs she answered his greeting. A pig unexpectedly lifted its head from the hay and looked at her. It wiggled the tip of its big wet snout, as if returning a hello. Arabella Mae was fascinated and clicked her tongue on it.

”Hello piggy, ” she called. ”And whats your name? ”

The pig suddenly jumped himself out of the hay, ran across the cage, sneezed at the top of his lungs. Alarmed, Arabella Mae backed away, tripped over something, and sat down on the grass with a loud crash.

The pig wanted to get out the door, so Arabella Mae was afraid it might get out. She scrambled to her feet, she did her best to brush the mud on her brand new jeans as she headed for the house.

”Stupid bloody pig, ” she whispered, ”Stupid bloody pig on a stupid bloody farm! ”


Arabella Maes mother told her to go down to the village and get some groceries. Impatient, she readily agreed. Even a half -hour walk to the village and back is better than removing smelly wet straw from the pigsty. Ugh, that job is so bad!

Just outside the village Arabella Mae passed a dilapidated bus shelter. The plastic walls had marks and scratches that she could not see who was sitting inside, only their dark shadows.

Hastily walking, Arabella Mae leaned on her shoulders when she heard a whistle.

”Too much for political correctness and gender equality, ” she muttered, picking up her speed a little. The whistle of laughter followed.

”Morons, ” she calls back over her shoulder.

Arabella Mae spent half an hour in the small supermarket, picking up the things her mother had listed for her. She hid a few bars of dark chocolate that she would keep when she got back. Chocolate is her vice. When the shopping was over, Arabella Mae loaded her backpack and picked up the plastic carrier bag that she needs to buy to pack the rest of the shopping. It will be a long journey back to her Aunts house.

Arriving at the bus shelter, Arabella Mae stopped to rest, lowering the carrier bag with a sigh. It became so heavy that he began to wonder if he could afford to take it back to the farm. He was thinking of hiding it somewhere, for her mother to come and pick it up in the car later, when suddenly a head appeared on the battered screen.


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