So, I know I said that now Pan was gone things would go back to being normal and boring. And they have…kind of. I still spend most of the day doing mind-numbing chores but something out of the ordinary has happened. Madeline has asked me to help her. Can you believe it?!!! Finally! I feel like she will start teaching me what it means to be Malakai.
Pan left the very day after I went into Madeline’s studio; thinking back to it she seemed to have left in a bit of a hurry. She was a little edgy and nervous. She grabbed an apple for breakfast and was out the door. Madeline went back to her study alone, all day, and then we ate dinner in silence.
I could tell she was really thinking about something, I mean REALLY thinking about something so I didn’t bother her. When I went to clean up and reached for her plate, she grabbed my wrist (I think I probably still have a bruise there) but she didn’t look at me. It’s the first time I’ve ever been afraid of her, actually afraid. I don’t know how to explain it but it felt like she was going to throw me out. I started to think about what I’d do all alone, without anywhere to go. And for the first time in my life I didn’t want to be anywhere but here, at home. But it was just for a moment, she took a deep breath and it was over. She looked at me and then said that I was going to start helping her. Everything was fine. Can you believe that? And she didn’t mean some time in the future, she meant right then, that evening.
She said we would start small. Madeline was always a fan of plants. She was constantly picking and drying them. She’d make them into teas or burn them around the house making the place smell nice. She said I should know the purpose of them. We went out and picked blackberry bramble (and no, I don’t mean the berries. I mean the prickly, painful branches, that’s what we brought back). For wanting this to be an educational experience she really didn’t explain anything or tell me what we were doing. But I didn’t ask. I was too excited that she was letting me help. When we got back to the house she told me to get the jar of horehound seeds from the shelf. We then scattered the seeds in a circle around the house, making sure to include the large, old Elm that grew and shaded our front yard. It was getting late and I was exhausted but Madeline sat down at the base of the Elm. She told me to sit in front of her and make a wreath out of the blackberry bramble. So that’s what I did. Hours must of passed while she sat with her back against the tree trunk with her eyes closed most of the time and me in front of her trying to make that silly wreath. My fingers are so sore! They have tiny little cuts all over them from the prickly branches. But I did it. I made the best-looking blackberry wreath I have ever seen! Ok fine, it’s the only blackberry wreath I have ever seen but it was beautiful. I wanted her to be proud of me and see how helpful I could be. But when I finished she just opened her eyes, nodded and said, “lets go hang that on the door.” Then we went to bed, and that was it.
It’s still there, hanging on the front door, looking dried and withered with its tiny little thorns probably still coated in little droplets of my blood, the mean thing.