I was sitting in my box when the older woman called me by that name. I jumped down from the sleeping place and went down to the next Box.
The Big Box - the one they all called home - was made up of two giant boxes stacked one on top of the other, I still find it hard to believe that they can't collapse, what with all the weight in the second box. There was also a box above the second box but it was of a shorter length if not of the same width. It was this the-boy-who-was-my-brother called the attic. I haven't dared to venture into it yet. Staying in the second box was perilous for me enough.
I got down to the small box where food was prepared and the older woman stood up from where she was arranging eating utensils into a white contraption.
'Tiana.' Her eyes watered again.
I didn't know whether it was second nature for her, but since I've known her - which isn't that long - her eyes were always moist.
'You called me, . . . Mother.' I still kind of found that word to be a mouthful. I don't know why but they all insisted I call her 'Mother'. Funny I couldn't remember her being my mother.
She smiled. It stopped short of her eyes. 'Yeah, I made some pastries and wanted you to have some.'
When I kept on looking blankly at her she said, 'Bear claws, baked from flour. Used to be your fav.'
I shrugged and said thanks as she handed me a covered flat eating utensil that'd been on the place the-girl-who-was-my-sister called island.
The-boy-who-was-my-brother came in with a big book.
'Found it, Mom.' He heaved and dropped it on the island. 'Remind me to never volunteer to go into the basement again.'
The older woman smiled. 'That's just you being lazy, Howard.'
'Whatevs, that place is creepy.'
The woman picked up the book and beat it. Fine golden particles flew off it. 'Tatiana, this is the family album, I thought looking through it might help to bring back your memory.'
Yeah. Right. My memory. I'd lost that yesterday, which is why I can't remember a thing, and the man-with-glass-eyes (I'm a doctor, said he.) proclaimed that showing me old stuff may help recuperate it.
She suddenly dropped it into the boy's hands. 'Why don't you take that book up for your big sister?' I could've sworn she glared at him.
The-boy-who-was-my-brother winced, probably from the heavy weight dropped into his hands and nodded. Then he turned on his heels and left the box.
The older woman chuckled and turned to me. 'Feel free to come for more, eh?' She rubbed my hair. My head felt tingly from the contact and I had this feeling that I didn't like people doing that.
She smiled again, as if she knew that and gave me a gentle push out of the box.
I made my way up the steps. My box was the third on the right, there were two before and one after it. Opposite were three boxes. One was for the older man, whom they made me call Father (He's Dad, really, said the-boy-who-was-my-brother), the next one was for the older woman, and the third was empty. The older woman had told me that. The ones on my side were for 'my siblings'. And the first on too was empty.
I stepped into the box just as the-boy-who-was-my-brother was dropping the book. He started when he heard my entrance and turned around, almost fearfully.
I chuckled. 'I don't bite, the-boy-who-was-my-brother.' I felt embarrassed immediately after saying that. I hadn't really caught their names earlier in the day when they introduced themselves and I'd given them names myself. 'Did I say that out?'
'Yah, you did.' The boy shrugged and perched on the sleeping place. 'I guess it's still all strange to you.' He paused and swallowed. 'I mean, you're my sister and it feels all strange that you don't remember me, we used to fight a lot.'
I was surprised. Even though I suspected deep inside that I might have a fighting spirit the-boy-who-was-my-brother didn't look like one. 'Oh, sorry.'
'Don't apologise. I'm Howard,' he said and seemed nervous all of a sudden. He stood from the sleeping place. 'Look, I've gotta get going, homework, you know.' He made a sound that I assumed to be laughter and he pulled open the box cover and he was gone.
I shrugged and picked the big book up, going to sit on the sleeping place. I could have used the sitting place but having tried it earlier in the day I wasn't looking forward to having a sore butt again.
The big book consisted manly of pictures of me and the family and I noticed that in all I had deep scowls on my face. In all pictures I had on the same attire; a white short-sleeve dress that seemed to swish around my knees.
I imagined it wasn't from discomfort of the dress that I was scowling, no, it looked so comfortable on me that I wished I were wearing it again.
It had some smudges on it though like I'd spilled something on it. I didn't think much of that. I tried to block out my surroundings and focus only on the pictures. The pictures had creases on them and most had smudged and torn edges so that meant they were old.
Concentrate, I told myself.
I stared at the pictures hard but nothing came back to me, I didn't remember wearing that dress. I made a note to ask for it.
I noticed the others were smiling in the pictures though it looked nervous. In some of the pictures the older woman and man looked angry. At what, I didn't know. There were also pictures of me with a lot of strangers.
I was struck by how I didn't really look different now from these old pictures. Did I have slow growth? Or was it just my thinking? The others didn't really look different too, so it was just my mind.
I got tired of focusing and trying to remember what I didn't even know so I dropped the big book on my box island and picked up the flat eating utensil of pastries.
It turned out pastries I did like for I finished everything and went to sleep.