#68 I, Isabel Scheherazade tell of Olivia’s late-night visit and how an unruly night commences and how our house becomes like Whale Island was for Shakelton and Worsley.
Olivia’s on the inflatable bed under the sloping wall near my dormer window. Moonlight covers her like a blanket. She’s breathing in and out, in and out. Steady. So she must’ve stopped crying.
An hour ago my family and I were in bed when I hear taptaptap. I get Mimi and Pop, and we peer over the front stair railing to the front door.
It’s Olivia! Her face is pressed against the skinny window on the side of the door.
Pop rushes to let her in.
She’s dressed like a burglar–all in black: stocking cap pulled over her hair, braids piled into the cap so you can’t see the red, gym bag in one hand and her backpack loaded with books in the other.
She looks up at Pop and cries out, I’m lost and alone! And then she crumples to the rug and starts sobbing.
This is one sad thing, I can tell you. Mimi and I race downstairs, and we kneel around her, patpatting and shooshing. After a while, she quiets down.
Mimi herds us away from the front door and into the sunroom. (Moon room would be a better name for tonight. It’s that bright.)
Pop mixes Ovaltine with milk. Here, drink this. (Ovaltine is our family’s crisis drink.)
We all watch while she gulps it. She puts the mug down and looks at us.
Pop clears his throat. So. Olivia. What’s happening?
(I’ll finish this tomorrow, but Dad used to quote Shakespeare a lot and ’twas a rough night is a good last line for now.)