Les temps, l'espace ne font qu'un. Time and space are one.
Demain… hier, ne sont rien. Tomorrow… yesterday, is nothing.
Je suis ici et maintenant. I am here and now.
“Well, you can’t keep her,” a woman’s voice said with disdain.
“She’s mine,” the man answered—a little tentatively, almost as though he was sad.
“Her mother is dead. I’m not raising a whore’s daughter as mine,” the woman continued, her voice reaching a fever pitch, “she’s too old to be mine; doesn’t even look like me! Everyone will know!”
The man seemed helpless. “What am I supposed to do?”
“She’d fetch a good price,” the woman suggested, a little calmer now. “Look, she’s pretty—she might grow up to be beautiful. We could sell that promise to a customer.”
“Sell my own flesh and blood?” the man was angry now.
“You bought her mother, I don’t see how you’re not being a hypocrite here,” she said snidely. “At least this way, we’ll have more money to spend on our own kids.”
“Miesha, I can’t,” he said desperately. “Her mother was so kind. She…she told me things. About her own mother and how she was sold to cruel people. I couldn’t do that.”
“How was her mother even a pure-breed? Perhaps she lied to you.”
“I won’t talk about this while Aisha is in the room,” he said pointedly.
Miesha scoffed loudly. “Xavier, she’s five, she won’t remember. Besides, she probably has already learned deceit from her dirty whore of a mother.”
“I wish you wouldn’t speak like that,” he said through gritted teeth. “You never met her. You want to know? Fine.”
There was the sound of a bell tinkling.
“Nanny, please take Aisha back to her room.”
Aisha fussed a little when the kindly woman picked her up, taking her favourite doll into her other arm. She liked to hear daddy talk about her mother.
She didn’t understand why her mother was suddenly gone. This new one wasn’t nice.
Maybe she was just sad and would be nicer later.
Daddy was taking her out. Just the two of them—he said. They were going on a trip and he’d even taken her favourite things along. It started out great. She was in her father’s arms, looking out above all of the people passing by. The ladies in their fine dresses, and the men in their waistcoats and cravats. It was blissful.
But then, they entered a dark, strange place. It was down several flights of stairs, and it felt dank…disgusting, really, compared to home. Daddy ignored the jeering passersby, his valet following closely with his hand on the pretty pearl revolver he usually kept in a drawer. It felt like an eternity, filthy faces looming past, staring at the small convoy openly. They finally stopped at a decrepit, musty-looking house. Daddy knocked twice.
The man who opened it looked very much like Daddy. They had the same dark hair, the same deep, hazel eyes. He however, looked worn and tired. “I never thought I’d see you here.”
“I came to ask you for something,” Daddy said stiffly. “I have no business doing so, but…”
The man looked at Aisha for a long while. “Why did you bring her here? I’m not selling a child, if that’s what you’re here for you—“
“No! No, I…” Daddy got sad again. “I need to protect her from that. My wife doesn’t want her around. It’s my fault, I didn’t tell Miesha about her when we were courting, I just couldn’t…”
The man sighed, opening the door wider. “Come in then. You bastard.”
Aisha didn’t understand why Daddy had gone. The man had introduced himself as Ambros; he said that she would be staying with him for a while. He’d made her a little cup of tea, and was busy pacing back and forth while she drank it. The door opened again, and an elderly woman slowly made her way inside.
“Who’s that?” she peered through dirty, cracked glasses.
“This is Aisha, mother. Xavier brought her here.”
The woman, stooped with age, teetered slightly as she shuffled towards the table.
“Certainly walking in the footsteps of his father, eh?” she laughed bitterly. “Aisha, my name is Lotte. Welcome to the family.”
Aisha felt the woman’s papery skin as she patted the side of her face, and looked up in awe at how every fragile she seemed. She wondered how long Daddy would be, and what they would have for dinner tonight.