Sarah-Jane strained the corners of her mouth upwards, nodding at Genevieve. She looked away and I shuddered. Good thing looks couldn’t kill, although someone like Genevieve was probably like weeds. That brought me back to the sunny, airy room and Genevieve’s trilling voice, “…had so many flowers. Of course, Great Aunt Laetitia didn’t plant them herself,” she laughed at the mere thought of Great Aunt Lettie getting her nails dirty. “But she asked the gardener specifically. I was there when she said…” Her impression was enough to make you take out a Life Insurance for all Great Aunts, “Alfred, that was the gardener,” Genevieve’s impression lasted long enough to lisp the gardener’s name, and Livy jumped in.
“That’s just the right name for a gardener, I’m sure,” and she looked over Genevieve’s head at us all, eyes wide, desperate for one of the other girls to bring us all back to Sarah-Jane’s attempt at poetry. I didn’t say anything. I could see Genevieve’s line of reasoning, which was more interesting than iambic meters, sonnets or rhyme.
Genevieve was back in her Great Aunt’s garden, and her lisping high pitched imitation carried on, “Alfred, I want you to permeate the air with scent, attracting every butterfly you can dream of. That is what she said, and Alfred, oh, the garden he created…”
Genevieve, swooning, her eyes shut, wasn’t able to see Sarah-Jane’s frown or Livy’s bulging eyes. I made sure to look away from them, staring hard at the last salmon covered cracker, hiccupping each giggle back down. “And of course,” Genevieve’s voice was only just louder than a whisper, “the following year…you should have seen the butterflies. It was the most social butterfly garden you can imagine. The butterflies seemed to thrive on their social lives, although butterflies are naturally tragic what with their short life spans, but to be a social butterfly pulled their spirits towards each other, and they didn’t need to cling to dark walls any longer, just as Sarah-Jane expressed so wonderfully.”
I staggered towards the hall door. Sally stared at me; her soft eyes making me shuffle faster. One of the girls near the door raised her brown pencilled eyebrows like McDonald signs. I couldn’t release my breath, as I might not need the toilet anymore. My head was swimming by the time I dropped down on Livy’s gold-rimmed toilet seat, gasping like a drowning hippo. I buried my face in my hands and howled. When I finished laughing, I stayed seated, too weak to get up. I dabbed at my face with toilet paper, averting my eyes from the lovely flower paintings on the wall.
I finally made it to the little sink, splashing cold water on my face with shaking hands, whispering “such social butterflies,” snorting in between. I was glad nobody else needed the facilities, as I simply couldn’t bring myself to come out.