Under The Weather

Entry by: Eli Howie

13th February 2014
Ruby had never seen a dead person before. She didn't know what she was expecting but her Grandmother had looked quite angelic with her made up face and coiffed hair. Her blue eyeshadow had been perfectly applied, rather than the usual smudging arounds her crinkles. Perhaps it was the cooler body temperature. Or perhaps her Grandmother just hadn't been able to see what she was doing anymore. Her slightly crazed look always made her appear under the weather, hair poking out like she'd just stuck her finger in an electrical socket, a pale sheen on her sun deprived face, shapless mismatched clothing paired with bulky loafers, not to mention the frizz that could be seen beneath her arms when she perched yet another item from Vinnies precariously on top of all the others. She was like an old chook insesintly flapping about her barn, finding more things to add to her growing assortment of filthy nest objects.  

'She just won't die' Ruby's father said every time Ruby came home to the increasingly claustrophobic Willowbank estate for a visit. He always said it in good humour but Ruby knew that when her Grandma Mimi decided to leave it all behind he would be inconsolable. 

It had been twelve months since she had last come home and the housewalwere closing in on each other. Piles and piles of things sat unopened and forgoten in the hallways and rooms, every nook and cranny. Ruby had to watch where she stepped as the walls seemed to be closing in on each other. She didn't know how her father put up with it. She'd hightailed it out of here on her last day of highschool, battling her way out like she was on the frontline. She had little money, but a strong case against how one should be living. And this odd life was not for her. That was just the word for her Grandmother, odd, and Ruby wanted to rid herself of its clutches. She already felt as though it was pulling at her barriers, swirling and settling itself around her like a fog. 
'The Willowbank's are just plain odd.' 'Have you senem Mimi? Walking around in her white see through nighty and pink knickers?' 'Jday I caught her muttering about dragons in the garden.' 'And what about all that stuff...' The tail ends of conversation followed her around like a stench. She'd had little friends because she'd been too embarrassed to bring them home. Thank god she'd escaped its clutches. Her father, however, had not been so lucky.

Whilst her Grandmother sat deep underground in her coffin, the one she hadpicked out and stored in Rubys old room for 'when the time came' along with boxes of cuttlery, oven mits, washing detergent, toothbrushes and the biggest elephant collection she had ever seen, Victor Willowbank, the man of the estate, her father, was curled up on what Ruby assumed was a bed. Was this her grandmother's room? It looked like a tip shop. Books stacked high in corners, plastic bags of cheap finds in breeding mounds. She opened the nearest one, and found it full of socks. 'One can never have too many pairs of socks' She could hear Grandma Mimi say. Ruby shook her head. Did her grandmother really know what was in all these bags? She thought it was doubtful, but she also remembered the time she took a bag full of objects to school for a charity fate, choosing things from different piles thinking it would go unnoticed. 'Where is my wishing well?' Mimi had screamed. 'It was just here! A little black pot, what is going to happen to my wishes? And, my coat hangers and lamp shades? Someone's been here. Someone has taken my stuff!'

Ruby worked around her father, sorting through toilet paper rolls and buttons, bags of condiments and sewing fabric. Ten hours slugged by and she'd only managed to clear out a corner of the room. Her father still slept. She feared that if she left he would get lost among it all, just another item in this sad cluttered house. 

Ruby caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror now visible on the wall. Hair sticking out at odd angles, sweat clinging to her upper lip, and her eyes... God, she looked just like her grandmother, slightly crazed and under the weather.  
Marker 1
Marker 2