“Why are we here?” Kara asked her sister between grit teeth.
Ashley’s smile was tight as she glance her way. “Because he is our father, and it’s his 50th birthday. We belong here.”
Kara glanced around at the groups of people gathered in small groups around the lush garden that was her father and step-mother’s backyard. “Who are you kidding?” she asked with a shake of her head. “We don’t belong here. We never have. These are their people, not ours.”
It was true! The people meandering and socializing had about as much Awareness to them as that of a zombie. In fact, she felt an almost overwhelming need to protect her brain.
Taking a deep breath, Ashley glanced around and let out a heavy but stifled sigh. She hated to admit it, but her little sister was right! These were not members of their “tribe”. Most of them were so concerned about the material gifts that life had to offer, the keeping of appearances, that she had little doubt they wouldn’t know an asana from pranayama.
She watched as a gentleman near to her in age walked up to the both of them.
“Marvelous party, isn’t it?”
Kara let out a hoot of laughter. “Are you for real?” She affected a pompous state of being. “Wonderful party, wouldn’t you say?” She shook her head. “I didn’t think people like you actually existed.”
Grabbing her sister’s arm, Ashley apologized profusely even as she dragged her away from him. “Would you please not?” she hissed under her breath. “We’re never going to fit in, if you don’t try to?”
“Fit in?!” Kara ripped her arm from Ashley’s grasp. “Why would we want to fit in with them?”
“I don’t know,” her sister replied, even as she placed her fists on her hips. “Maybe because we’ve already lost our mother. Do we really want to lose our father too?”
Kara shook her head. “You don’t even realize it yet, do you? We already have! We lost them both when she died. She was the glue that kept our family appearing as though it was still together. When she left, our happy family unit went right with her.”
Ashley’s eyes widened slightly approximately half way through her tirade, giving Kara pause.
“He’s standing behind him, isn’t he?”
“Yes, indeed…” Kara heard her step-mother’s voice. “As is his wife.” Turning around, Kara could see her displeasure plainly spread across her face. “Are you quite through with your little outburst?”
Kara narrowed her eyes. “Yes, indeed,” she mocked. “Quite through. With you, as well as this party.” Pausing, she looked at her father. “I hope you have a happy birthday. I’m outta here.” And with that, Kara stormed off toward the car.
Ashley shook her head. Their father had never been one whose emotions were clear upon his face. In fact, one never really knew how he was feeling, unless he was yelling. Still, Ashley didn’t imagine such words would be easy for anyone to take.
“I’m sorry, Daddy…” she said with a shake of her head. “You know Kara, she’s never been known to be a genteel. I’m sorry, Maris. I’ll talk to her. I hope you have a good rest of your birthday, Daddy… I gotta go.”
Even as she made her way after her sister, Ashley, who was not one quick to anger, was ready to rip Kara ‘a new one’.
“You want to tell me what the hell that was all about?” she demanded as she forced the passenger-side car door open. “You were just itching for a fight. You went in there just looking for one, didn’t you?”
Tears streamed down Kara’s face. “I don’t know. I’m sorry. I just…” She shook her head. “It just doesn’t seem right without Mom here. It’s like he’s been trying to inch us out of the picture since she passed, and this…” She waved a hand toward the garden. “This isn’t like Mom at all. She was down to earth. Simple. This is uppity. Pretentious. We didn’t belong there. I could feel it. She didn’t want us there, but we sort of came with the package, didn’t we? A rather inconvenient truth, wouldn’t you say?”
The two drove home in silence. Ashley wanted to say that her sister was wrong, but she would be lying to her as well as herself. Kara had a point. She’d felt it as well. Not all has seemed “right” since their mother had passed.
If she was honest with herself, she’d felt it since that first day. She’d seen it coming. The death of their family had occurred that day as well.
The moment the car was parked, Kara dashed out of the car and up to the apartment they shared with one another. Before Ashley even made it inside, Kara had locked herself in her bedroom.
With a heavy sigh, she wandered into the kitchen and got herself a large glass of water. She needed cleansing. Clear out the negativity that threatened to lodge in her energy.
Cassiel stood there watching as the scene played out in front of her, feeling powerless to do anything about it. As much as she did not want to admit it, Kara was slowly but surely slipping away from her ability to influence her.
Withdrawing from the space – it felt too heavy to stay – she went outside to the garden in back of the building in which the girls lived. There, she saw an egret in search of sustenance as well as a couple of swallows ducking and diving for bugs over the pond.
It had been some time since she’d last sent a communique home. There were probably those who were wondering what had become of her, but she just couldn’t bring herself to share what was going on now. How could tell Tartys that Kara was slipping away from her. They both knew the last time something like this had occurred.
No good, she knew could come of this.
Her energy brightened slightly as she saw Zack making his way toward the building. Surely that would raise Kara’s spirits. If anyone could get through to her, it was surely he.
Cassie made her way after him. Up the stairs, and through the door. (He was like family! Doors rarely held meaning for them.)
A half-hearted smile rose to Ashley’s lips. “Hey, Zack. I don’t know whether now is the best time or not,” she said with a small shake of her head.
He took a seat on one of the bar stools. “I had a feeling something was wrong. I take it the picnic didn’t go as well as you had hoped?”
“Not at all,” she replied, even as she took a seat beside him. “One could go so far as to call it a ‘shit show’. Anyone and everyone that she could offend, Kara did. Including Maris and our dad.”