Sunday, May 19, 2013

(#Thirty-five) Wuthering Nights #Family: Inspired by Wuthering Heights

Chapter Thirty-five
      Katarina and Hinton were seated in the Hidden Garden.
     ‘I’ve read the file, Hinton. Of course, I can’t pretend I’m not…surprised but it doesn’t change you. Not really. It really doesn’t matter to me.’
     Hinton looked surprised and hugely relieved.
    ‘I… I’ve drawn you something. When I’m not with you, I’m thinking about you. Do you…think of me?’
    ‘Do I think of you? Always.’
    ‘Meaning I accept you for who you are,’ Katarina said, as she ate the lunch she’d brought. She and Hinton, both dressed in long, dark coats (Katarina wore a red beret and gloves covering the expensive bracelet her father had given her for her birthday).  They’d met here for lunch to celebrate Hinton’s win – with the help of a perfectly worded essay attached to his entry.
    ‘Finally I can spell, read and write almost perfectly, thanks to you Katarina. Although I have to admit, it still takes extra effort to translate some words.’
    ‘I am so proud of you, Hinton. What words are still difficult?’
   ‘I love you.’
    Katarina smiled.
    Hinton continued, ‘they are simple words but hard for me to say.’
    ‘I love you too,’ Katarina replied.
    Hinton could not contain his smile.
    ‘I have been thinking of the future. The truth is, Katarina, I was never very interested in school. I preferred the horses and my Art and was never very big on study, nor was Heath. We were both too wrapped up in our own little worlds; Heath and his ghost, me and my cravings. Well, we shared the cravings. Perhaps Linus is the one you should congratulate. He just got accepted into Cambridge.’
    ‘Wow. That’s amazing,’ Katarina said. ‘I have to say I’m kind of surprised. He’s so into his weekend dance parties. I didn’t realize he ever studied. I’m still waiting to hear about Art College.’
   ‘Well, I’ve been thinking, wondering. I’m planning to go travelling this summer. I was going to start in Italy, and then maybe Greece…The scholarship gives me enough money for two if I travel second class. I was hoping you might come with…’
   ‘Yes,’ Katarina said. She was barely eighteen but she knew perfect when she saw it (or perfect for her) and the love she felt for Hinton was real and present. She didn’t care what her father thought of the Spencers and she had little memory of her mother apart from the ghostly young girl on the roof that day. The thought saddened Katarina so much she put the image out of her mind and convinced herself the moment could never be replicated.
    She’d demanded an explanation from Heath the next time they spoke but he’d just dismissed her sighting and said, ‘I warned you not to go up there…’
   ‘Perhaps some things are….inexplicable,’ was all Kate could think. The girl had looked so… real, so inexplicably like her. Katarina had barely seen the pyjama-clad intruder’s face, but she remembered her clear blue eyes, flashing in the dark, a ghost, a vision, a pretty little vampire.
     Katarina understood that somewhere, way back in time, near the place she and Hinton now walked, towards the glass house on Hampstead Heath, her mother had once met Hinton’s father, a meeting that created this new moment for her now.
     In her mother’s antique locket, which she always wore (it had been passed down through generations of Spencer women), Kate had placed a photograph of her mother, and herself; together. The locket, she was sure, kept her safe. Katarina looked over at the handsome young man next to her. It was hard to believe, eight weeks ago, they had barely spoken. Now, she couldn’t imagine being without him as he took her hand and they walked across the frosty mist of the Heath.
     The truth was in the final pages of the journal. That was why Linus had given it to her to read; she knew that now. The words contained strange truths but necessary ones. Her father was not her biological father. This was something she had guessed from the early chapters of the journal. To discover her heritage was a shock, to discover she had a half-brother in Linus, was revelatory. Katarina also had a younger brother but they had been in different years at separate schools and had conflicting interests. Katarina hoped they would become closer when they were both adults. 
     She thought of the last time she had spoken to Heath. She was alone on the meadow, angry and tear-stained when she went to him. Heath had had the strangest feeling he was not alone riding his horse that day. He’d lately, in his thirties, begun to hear the thoughts of every human being he came into contact with, something he found disturbing. Once it had only happened when he listened closely. Recently his specialist had warned him about it, warned him that he’d be fully immortal if he lived past thirty, free to roam the heath forever if he wanted to, free to turn himself to ash in the sun if he did not. His image would not be betrayed in mirrors or print. After twenty-six, he’d ceased to exist in photographs entirely.
    Heath heard her angry thoughts before he saw his daughter again that day and was not surprised to see her standing before him when he turned. Katarina wore the same long coat as her mother had worn, twenty years ago. Edmund must have kept it with Kate’s things. He owed her an explanation. Before she could speak, he apologized.
     ‘Here,’ he said, handing her his waterproof jacket. ‘The rain is coming down and it will protect you from the storm.’
    They rode together to the glass house in silence. When she asked him a question, instead of replying in words, he vanished in mist.  Katarina wasn’t sure if she would ever see him again.
    Months passed. There were so many questions and so few answers that Katarina had stopped asking for them. Her own father had died before she had ever challenged him on the matters of her parentage. Edmund had been a good father to her and she had loved him and mourned his loss and that was all that mattered. Katarina had inherited The Grange.
    Heath had not once visited them but Linus came around often for dinner. The three young people had wild parties in the drawing room that were the talk of the borough and many friends from Italy and Europe came to visit. It was a world of lightness and socializing that none of them - Linus, Hinton or Katarina - ever experienced during their solitary childhoods. Heath had become more and more reclusive and barely spoke to his own son, let alone Hinton, when they moved out of Hareton Hall. By then, Heath had stopped going to work, repairing the now crumbling mansion, and never appeared at his own pub for dinner like he used to.