Songs from Hell

Betrayal. Guilt. Depression. Stress. Fury. Name one negative emotion that Isla Padovesi hasn't felt. After going through the death of her loved Grandfather, Isla feels her father is a guilty traitor - to her. She believes he wants her to forget her Grandfather and, as she grows, their relationship shatters. She grows darker and colder to him. He seems to ignore her altogether. At least, till she finds out the truth behind his ignorace.

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1. Prologue

I loved my grandfather.

I hardly ever saw him, but I loved him. On the days when things were extreme, he would always be there. When the summer sun got unbearable, when the rains caused floods to break out, when the winter winds got harsher than ever, he was always there to look up to. He could make me feel like nothing was really extreme – that everything would eventually pass by.

He was there when times got out of hand, but he was never there when things were calm and undisturbed.

A man of adventure, my grandfather. He was never there to see the flowers quietly bloom in the backyard or the autumn leaves sway in the stray wind. He was never there to see us all smile as we went on with our daily lives.

But, despite all that, I loved him. And that is why I felt my nose get red and my eyes watery as I stared weakly at the picture of gravestone of Adalgiso Padovesi – the gravestone of my grandfather.

Even though, my father had not allowed me to go to the funeral, my young mind couldn’t stay lively without knowing that my grandfather was going to be there for me. Hearing his name always made me smile, no matter how few times I met him. And here I was, looking at the photograph of his grave with trembling fingers.

I felt my mother’s hand around my shoulders. I didn’t look at her, I only stared at the grave of the person I loved so much. He had told me the best stories, given me the brightest inspirations and wrote me letters when he couldn’t be around. I wished I had been able to say goodbye. At least, I wanted to know how he died.

But my father would not let me know. He said I was young and that it was not appropriate for children to go into the depth of death. My mother would ignore me every time I spoke about Grandfather. She would find me some chores to do, or quickly go to look after my younger brother, Jasper, so that I would stop questioning about him.

They were trying to make me feel like he never existed.

But, I missed him. My parents could control their answers, limit my questions but they could never ever control my feelings. They couldn’t tell me to stop missing Grandfather and, even if they did try, I would proudly disobey. Memories haunted me very night and I would occasionally wake up on a damp pillow and puffy eyes. My mother, a distressed woman herself, would often ask me what happened, but I soon stopped telling her the truth. Whenever I would mention Grandfather, she would tell me it happens and the next second she would start watering the flowers or something.

My father himself didn’t seem to miss his own father so much. He did get very busy after Grandfather’s death and, as I grew older, he distanced himself. He would often go on long trips to nowhere and return after weeks – even months. My mother became stressed, trying to manage two kids and bills and keeping up with working long hours to meet ends. Jasper, my brother, was five when Father returned from one of his long trips and Mom and he started fighting.

I never knew what it was about exactly, but I knew Mom was involved in an unfair struggle for so long. She must have been arguing about how she had to work so hard and how she had to balance her exhausting work life with household problems. I had to keep Jasper quiet, or Mom had threatened to beat me up. I never got a chance to eavesdrop on their conversation, but I heard Dad slam the door as he got out of the house, immediately after the meeting. And Mom was crying in her bedroom.

I wondered if it was about Grandfather. In fact, it was only after my fourteenth birthday that I decided it was no use to try to make him seem alive in front of people who wished against it. So, I stopped talking about him – much to my father’s relief, especially. He had a talk with me one day a few months after I had decided to stay quiet and told me he was happy that I wasn’t so much into my grandfather’s death anymore. He was grinning broadly all the time, while I hardly made eye contact with him. I was disgusted by his wish of Grandfather to remain unremembered.

And, that was also the last time he properly talked to me. We got distanced and stayed uncomfortable in each other’s company. I went to college in another city, just so that I was away from him and his face. He did ask me why I couldn’t go to a nearby college – and I answered him.

“Because I don’t wish to be around you,” I had spoken coldly.

And, my father, being my father, just said he understood and he hardly spoke to me after that. Years went by and I completed university in another city too – never willing to return home. That was till my mother called me in tears, telling me how much she needed my help at home and how busy my father was. She told me he hardly brought home two dollars a month. She said she couldn’t manage it anymore and Jasper was unable to get his own school fees paid because of that.

Therefore, I decided to drop out of university and went home to take care of the family. I wanted to confront my father and tell him how irresponsible he was, but Mom forced on me the fact that he was just extremely busy and he wasn’t doing it on purpose. My mind still boiling, I left the matter and got on my actual chores. I got a well-paid job at the local café and the manager was impressed at the fact that I was only 20 and he gave me the rank of Head Waitress, paying 500$ a month.

Things went a lot more smoothly when Mum and I both did our jobs and the bills were easily covered as were Jasper’s fees. But my rage for my father, and his unpleasant, strange idleness, never diminished.

I never stopped being upset at him for what he done to us – Grandfather, Mom and me.

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