Snippet Sunday: The Ghost of Adina
Sorry for the late post, but at least I made it!
Today’s excerpt comes from my current WIP: WT: Incandescence. It is from a scene in Part One and gives a bit of background on Grandmama Adina Torovaldi neé Goritelli, the family, and alludes to a great secret OLDLADYNAME hides in the deepest part of her heart.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Her hands shook with the palsy of age as they lay flat upon the beautiful, handmade quilt that covered her from breast to toe. Brown age spots were speckled across the paper-thin skin, thick, blue veins were nearly visible as they wound across the backs of her palms toward her fingers. Those had once been long and graceful; she had played the piano and the flute in her younger years. She had danced too – classical ballet – and sang, though not well.
A faint smile played across wrinkled lips; the ancient woman tending gently to one who, while also old, was a babe in arms by comparison. With a steady, delicate touch, the elder began to ply a paddle brush upon the long, steel-colored locks of the younger woman. She lay her free palm upon her granddaughter-in-law’s brow, stroking the fevered flesh and murmuring soothing words as softly as possible.
Adina Torovaldi neé Goritelli was in decline. She had not danced in a decade. Not since a tragic accident had claimed her daughter, Alyssa, her son-in-law, Benjamin, and their unborn child. Not since her husband, Iacomo Torovaldi, had succumbed to a broken heart upon hearing that his dear little Lyssie, their only daughter and the child he shamelessly favored, was dead. If her memory served, and it usually did, Adina’s mind had begun slipping away the day of Iacomo’s funeral though it had not gone into a full downward spiral until a year ago, spring. Alzheimer’s, they called it today. In her day, people went senile, lost their marbles, had bats in their belfries or were a brick short of a full load. It seemed crueler somehow, giving it a real, scientific name. But then, what about the disease was not cruel? A sickness that robbed a body of its memories, personality, loves and dreams and hates and fears – of everything that made them unique. In the end, as it was with sweet Adina, they were little more than a shell. A husk requiring round-the-clock supervision and care.
“Sit up, dearest,” she coaxed Adina into a seated position so that she could brush the entire length of her hair. It was like silk, for they still treated it with great care as she would have wanted. She remembered a very special day, many decades ago, when she had combed and twisted and teased it into a magnificent curls. Such a beautiful bride, the old woman reflected, gingerly separating Adina’s hair into sections and creating two long plaits such as a schoolgirl would have worn back in her own youth. She supposed that children did not often wear twin braids anymore, though Hannah had, and the thought made her inexplicably sad.
“The bad days are coming.”
OLDLADYNAME gave a start, hands freezing mid-motion, and looked around. Directly across the room was a low bureau with a wide mirror that swallowed most of the wall. In it she saw her own reflection – an olive-skinned prune of a woman with more than one-hundred two years of life behind her – and that of her late grandson’s wife. Adina sat before her, those lovely violet eyes vacant and rheumy, with her hands limp upon her lap and her thin legs straight out, a pair of chopsticks beneath heavy blankets. As far as she could tell, neither of them had moved and she knew that she had not spoken.
After a heartbeat or two, the jolt of fear faded. Wrapping her arms around Adina, she began to rock back and forth and croon tunelessly. Though she told herself that she was trying to calm Adina, in her heart she admitted that it was her own pulse that was racing.
“The bad days are coming.”
The voice belonged to Adina, yet it was alien in a way that could not be explained away simply because it had been so long since she had spoken. OLDLADYNAME scarcely believed it had come from the frail form of Adina, so rich and strong was the tone. It was as if those five words were untouched by the age that had wracked Adina’s body and mind, leaving her a ninety-pound shadow of her former self.
“Now, what do you mean by that, my love?” OLDLADYNAME asked, watching Adina’s face in the mirror.
Those two words sent daggers of ice into OLDLADYNAME’s ancient heart and she turned her gaze away from the image, busying her fingers by returning to the simple, repetitive motion of braiding Adina’s hair.
– – – – – – – – – – –
And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? What awful secrets does OLDLADYNAME (tee-hee) harbor in the murkiest depths of her old heart? Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!
Love & Rainbows,