Martine sat staring at the fish pond. Over the sounds of grown up conversations, tinkling silverware and light chamber music which drifted out through the open doors of the dining room, she pondered the water and its lily pad tenants. The sun felt very good on her back and just as it began to verge on being too warm, was cooled by an occasional breeze.
She was enjoying the sight of the dragon flies as they flitted from pad to pad. Every so often a carp would make a slight ripple on the surface of the water. He’s probably looking for a fly or mosquito to eat for lunch she thought. Martine watched a small yellow finch land on the Hazel which grew in the garden. She loved Finches. Their bright yellow feathers were so pretty and were often the only thing she could see as they zipped about the garden like tiny kamikazes.
This is a nice place to be right now she thought, but just as she was beginning to settle down, she remembered why she was sitting alone on the steps, while everyone was inside enjoying their post baptism luncheon. She scowled at the memory of her mother quietly scolding her, while Gabriella swept up the mess. While she adored her new little brother, she could not for the life her understand why everyone made such a fuss over him.
She folded her hands in her lap and tilted her head up to catch the rays of the sun, as she had seen her Aunt Celeste do whenever she sat outside on the patio. Celeste was much younger than her sisters and was always given a glass of sparkling cider, which closely resembled the grown up drinks that her older aunts enjoyed. Celeste was beautiful and sweet and always told Martine to call her Celeste instead of Aunt because she didn’t feel ready to be called Aunt yet. Martine liked this because it made Celeste seem more like a cousin than an Aunt. Cousins were people that you could have fun with. Aunts were not. Right now Celeste was inside, probably eating her shrimp salad and behaving appropriately. Even Jacques, Martine’s Scottish terrier had deserted her for the cool of the kitchen and the possibility of Gabriella rewarding his patience with a piece of ham.
Well that is okay I suppose, she thought as she listened to the bees buzzing about in the honeysuckle. The sun was beginning to feel too hot on her face, so she put her head down for a moment. She thought about going back inside and apologizing, but then another breeze came through, cooling her off, and strengthening her resolve. Maybe I was right to drop the china bowl on the floor after all, and God is making me feel happy and quiet out here on the steps, away from the grown-ups. Martine knew that was not the case, but the thought did give her some comfort, if only for a moment or two.
She continued to listen to the sounds of the outdoors and decided that the buzzing of the bees went very nicely with the different conversations going on inside and the occasional ‘ting’ of a fork tine hitting a plate was a nice accent. Adding to this quiet little musical interlude was the growling of her stomach which would rumble now and then. I am hungry she thought as she visualized the cool gazpacho she had seen earlier in the refrigerator and the shrimp salad being placed on the plates with the tiny little grape tomatoes that she loved and slices of avocado.
Once again Martine considered going back inside and offering an apology for her behavior. She was about to get up when she heard the all too familiar “oohs” and “aahs” coming from the dining room and knew that Christian had awoken from his nap and was once again being presented to the guests.
Martine stood up and straightened out her dress, but rather than go back into the house, she walked determinedly toward the lily pond, where she proceeded to jump right in, shoes and all. She splashed around excitedly, making as much noise as possible. Two little finches that were nesting nearby in the hazel took note and flew off in search of quieter surroundings. Martine rolled around in the pond, which was only two feet deep, but she was careful to make sure that every inch of her body was covered in pond scum and mud. It only took a few seconds of her aquatic frolic to bring her parents and most of the guests out onto the terrace.
One look at the expressions on her mother and father’s faces told her that she had gone too far this time. Uh-oh she thought, until she noticed Christian, who in the arms of Celeste, appeared to be giggling as he waved his chubby little arms and reached out to his older sister.