...equal amounts of money for all 10 of…. Opaline sighed and looked outside. It was raining outside and inside the house. She wiped a tear off her face as she recalled why she was even writing this will.
She was walking down Walker Street, talking to her servants.
“Next month is the family reunion, and--” Opaline did not have time to finish, as she clutched her chest and fell on the floor. A swirl of emotions rose in her chest as she desperately tried to stand up. Her legs were paralyzed, and her bag fell over, spilling the contents of the planned reunion. The onlookers gasped as Opaline fainted on the floor. She woke up in a room that was draped in medicines and smelled like a swamp. A kindly a looking woman, not even thirty years old, stood over her.
“Hello, I’m Wanda the witch doctor. Yesterday, you had a heart attack and fainted on the floor. The ambulance arrived as soon as possible, and brought you here, Ma’am. We were afraid that you would never wake up, but, you right now have erased my doubts , Ma'am. Unfortunately, that was the good news. We tested your heart, and it has heart disease. It is incurable, and my crystal ball predicted that you would perish when you are fifty years old. We advise you to make your will quickly.”
Looking back, she knew that this day would come, and she would eventually have to make this will. She knew that most of her younger siblings would be fine with the will, at least. Rose and Bellatrix, among them, were her favorite sisters, and they would surely convince the other six youngsters. Zephyr and Rowena, however, would most certainly disagree. They took care of Opaline, especially during her later years. They picked up groceries, painted the house, and did many other chores. But Opaline wanted to be fair and equal. She looked
around Melanoid Manor and summoned her bravery. The family reunion was
happening today, and Opaline was planning on telling them the contents of her will. She gazed at the windows and braced herself. Then she stood up and opened the door. They were all there, waiting. She rang the bell and stood at the door. Her siblings, one by one, greeted her. They all said a very formal “Hello, ma’am,” and came in.
Coming through the door, they were astonished. The house, usually covered with an inch of dust, sparkled like gleaming stars shining from the night sky. Murky black walls transformed into rich velvet dikes, creating a fulminate of color. Many pictures of their childhood hung on the walls, and the floor was an ice ring, sparkling and shimmering. The whole ceiling danced with metallic light as beautiful statues appeared, seemingly conjured into place. The once lonely house was filled to the brim with servants and maids each carrying plates full of exquisite delicacies. Tables were decorated with gemstones worth more than one million dollars, as hors d'oeuvres were being put on the table. Joyful music played as the siblings were entertained with dancing and singing performers that twisted and turned. Beautiful fireworks exploded outside, as drinks clinked together in a silent but happy way of saying “Happy reunion!” as they danced the night away.
The siblings, worned out by the night's festivities, each took their seats around the living room, and soon the gentle hum of voices filled the room. Secretly, they all wondered why their eldest sister would prepare such a splendid reunion. Was she planning to finally leave the house and go on a vacation? Did she win a Nobel prize? Does she just want to tell them something? Soon, the sleepy, waiting siblings fell into a slumber.
The very next day, the siblings woke up. They were still seated on the couch. A door creaked. All of them jumped as Opaline made her grand entrance.
“Hello, dearest brothers and sisters. Thank you for coming to my reunion. I have a thing that I need to tell you.”
As she explained the whole deal about her heart disease, and the fact that it was incurable, and that she would be leaving when she was fifty, the peaceful and happy faces melted into anxious, sad, and angry ones. Some of the younger siblings started crying, because the matriarch of the family was leaving, so soon.
Opaline stared sadly at them. She quietly braced herself again, for this would grow into a full-on tongue-on-tongue fight.
Then she said, “The doctor told me to make my will.”
As she rolled her will out, Opaline was trembling all over. When she was reading it, she saw that Zephyr and Rowena’s faces turned from sad and mad to looking like children that have been told that they can’t have ice cream. Opaline took a deep breath and continued.
As she finished, just like she expected, Zephyr and Rowena immediately stood up, and Rose, seeing this, jumped up too, hoping to defend Opaline from their ruthless verbal attacks that would follow.
“Why do we all have the same amounts of money?” Zephyr asked.
“Well, it’s fair!” shot back Rose.
“I don’t think so!” yelled Rowena. “We worked for her, so we should get more money!”
“This is the only way to be fair!” Rose exclaimed.
Opaline stood there and realized that the younger siblings were in danger of seeing a very vicious fight. Their innocent faces flashed agreement to Opaline’s will.
“Bellatrix, take the young ones to the garden, please.” Bellatrix nodded and herded her young siblings out.
Opaline whirled around and saw that the argument had reached its climax.
“WE HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR THAT OLD WOMAN FOR TEN YEARS, AND ALL WE GOT WHEN SHE PASSES IS ‘EQUAL AMOUNTS OF MONEY’!” Screamed Zephyr.
“WHY SHOULD ALL OF YOU GET THE SAME AS US?” Rowena screeched. “WE DESERVE AT LEAST SOME MORE THAN YOU!”
“IT’S ALWAYS EQUAL!”
“IT’S NOT FAIR!”
“Yeah, well…” A momentarily speechless and defenseless Rose trailed off as Opaline saw that Zephyr was on the verge of jumping on Rose and breaking both of her arms. Rowena looked ready to murder her. As both closed in on Rose, Opaline made up her mind, and stepped in.
“You make sense, Zephyr. Rowena, you do too. But there is no place for ego here.” Opaline continued, “You will notice that you will each be receiving one of my favorite statues.”
“Sta-statutes?!” laughed Zephyr.
“We don’t need statutes!” said a disgruntled Rowena.
“If these ‘statutes’ are so precious, why don’t you let them take care of you?” Zephyr said. He pulled Rowena to the door. Rowena glanced back at Opaline, and surprisingly she was smiling. Rowena then walked out of the door, slamming it behind her.
“They will understand soon enough,” thought Opaline as she dismissed Rose to the yard. She then calmly walked into the garden. Peace at last.
Eight years later…
Zephyr and Rowena sold the old house to another wealthy owner, Lilith. She was very bossy and mean to them, but there was nothing they could do about it.
“Why are these ugly statues still in the garden!?” She erupted one day. Lilth had planned to plant some tulips, lilies, peonies, and so much more. It would look much better than the disgusting statues. “They look very ugly and worthless. Go ahead and do whatever you want with them. Just get them out of my garden!!”
Zephyr and Rowena looked at each other. They did not want the statutes, either. After Lilith left, Zephyr told Rowena “I will run to the auction center to see if these statutes are worth anything, even one hundred or two hundred dollars. If they are not worth anything, I’ll just donate them .”
Rowena just nodded. She still missed Opaline, deep in her heart. She wanted to keep the statutes, but she knew better than to tell Zephyr. Zephyr left her to her own devices as he hauled his statue to his car.
He also missed Opaline (more than he cared to admit, after that day when they left her),but the statues had to go. The statues were of a young girl reading, and a little boy holding a toy sword. They were an ugly dusty brownish color, and aside for looking terrible, of course any flowers would look much better than the brown figures. Finally, at the auction block, he tested the statue to see how much it was worth. As he received the printout with the estimate, Zephyr gasped. He could not believe his eyes.
“Opaline...” Zephyr murmured under his breath as he snatched the statue and raced back home. “She could not have an artifact worth so much! Maybe she did mean it! “Zephyr just could not wait to get back home to tell Rowena.
He delightfully told Rowena the good news.
“Rowena, I went to test the statutes, and…. Zephyr smiled like a boy that stole the cookie jar. His eyes gleamed and he bounced around like a ball. He just could not keep still!
“The statues are worth…” Zephyr paused for effect, as Rowena listened eagerly, following his every word. “Five million!”
Rowena stared at Zephyr, shocked. Then, Rowena smiled as tears came to her eyes. Opaline’s smiling face flashed across her eyes.
“She had this planned all along. I hope she wasn’t too lonely without us....”