The Smile

Semina's Past



Friday, October 27, 2006

When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted.
Frederick Franck

Semina and her Mother were on the bus that would take them to their new home.
Semina’s Grandparents had just moved to a new house that Semina’s Grandfather and Uncle built for them. It is a very big house, Semina has been there before and likes it very much. She is very happy that her Grandfather’s shop, garden, and chickens are still in the same place, next to the house where Semina was born.
“I know you will miss your toys Semina, you will have tem when you visit your Father” Semina’s Mother then told her that she would see her Father every weekend.
Semina smiled and felt happy that she would see her Father on the weekends and that she could play with her toys, she did not know about this before.
Semina and her Mother arrived an hour later at her Grandparents house. Her Grandmother gave Semina a big hug and kissed her all over her face. This made Semina laugh because it tickled.
Her Grandfather pretended to take her nose and then put it back.
They had hot chocolate with whipped cream, open faced sandwiches, cookies and cakes. It was like Christmas, but it was May and Mother’s Day.
Semina went to bed happy and sad at the same time. Happy that she would see her Father on the weekend and sad that they were no longer a family.
The days grew longer, Semina and her cousins could play outside well into the evening because it did not get dark.
Some of her cousins live down stairs in her Grandparents big house. Semina and her Mother have a big room, upstairs where her Grandparents live.
There were other cousins and their parents also living in the house and many cousins that live just a few houses away from her Grandparents house. For the first time Semina did not play her lonely games all by herself. Semina and her cousins put on plays. Semina was the director, writer and the lead in all the plays, because her Mother was an actress. Semina was always careful to give everybody a good role, because if she didn’t her cousins would get angry with her and call her spoiled. All her cousins had sisters and brothers, Semina was the only one that was an only child, that is why they said she was spoiled. Semina would have loved to have an older brother and she thought her cousins were lucky not to be only children.
All the adults would come to see their plays. Their Grandparent’s living room was right next to the dining room and in the opening between them is where, the curtain made out of a bed sheet, would be hung up by their Grandfather. The adults sat on chairs in the dining room and smiled a lot while their children put on the play for them. Semina sometimes though they were silly because they even smiled when the play was very, very sad. Sometimes the laughed in the wrong places, Semina would have to talk to her Mother about this. Maybe she can tell them when the play is sad and when it is funny.
Another thing the cousins liked to do is to make pictures. Semina was very good at drawing because she had so much practice. Her cousins sometime would tell her that her drawing was no good, but Semina knew they were wrong. One of her cousins always asked Semina how she liked her drawing and Semina always told her it was very good and that some day she will be a famous artist, this Semina knew in her heart. Semina also knew that her cousins drawings were much better than her own.
The cousins played cards, sang songs together, played ball, hopscotch and many, many other games. It was a happy time with many people and on the weekends Semina went to the city to see her Father.

The first weekend was not a good time her Father had put all her toys and her Mother’s things in big boxes and put them up on a high shelf in the cellar. Semina asked her Father if she could play with her toys. Her Father told her he would get them later, he told her this every weekend.
Semina did not see her Father much when she went to visit. He took Semina to her Aunt and Uncles house to play with Greta and said he would be back. He came back the next day to take her to the bus. Semina had to sleep in Greta’s room.
Sometimes he took her to her other Uncles house, so that she could play with her cousin Eric.
Semina’s Aunt would sometimes let her sleep in her house, there Semina had to play her lonely games all by herself. Her Aunt’s children were grown and did not live there.
Her Aunt had beautiful dolls in pretty dresses, Semina was allowed to go into her Aunts room to look at them. The dolls were on the top of a very high cabinet and Semina had to stand on her toes to get a good look at them, her Aunt told her she could not touch them. Semina had the same Birthday as her Aunt and that made her Aunt very happy. Once time she made a dress for Semina’s doll. Semina liked the dress that her doll had before, better, but she was afraid to tell her Aunt, and it would not have been good manners. Semina's Mother always told her to have good manners.
Her Aunt had many puzzles that Semina was allowed to play with, if she was careful not to loose any of the pieces and to put all the pieces back carefully in the box. Semina tried to be very quiet and to have good table manners, because her Aunt did not like noisy children or children that did not have good table manners. Semina was always very happy when her Father came back to her Aunts house to take her to the bus. Semina’s Father never forgot to take her to the bus, he always came back to the places Semina was to do that.
Semina’s Mother would always ask her what she did over the weekend. Semina told her Mother everything she did with her relatives. Some things she did not tell her Mother, she did not lie she just did not tell.
One weekend Semina stayed the whole time with her Father. She sat at the big desk and tried to draw her pictures, she felt lonely and sad.
Her Father took her to a place where he has his dinner. There were many people having dinner there. Many men who were telling jokes and saying things that Semina did not understand.
There was a lady who made the dinners, her Father told her that she was the owner of the place. Her Father went to the kitchen and helped the lady stir things. Semina saw her Father smile a special smile at the lady. One time when Semina walked into the kitchen her Father had his arm around the lady and when he saw Semina he quickly put his arms down and smiled at Semina.
Semina smiled back with a little shy smile. Why did her Father have his arm around this lady, that Semina did not know?

Smiled by Semina :: 1:17 PM :: 9 smiles

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Mother's Day Dinner

Learn to wish that everything should come to pass exactly as it does. Epictetus

“No Semina the roses are too expensive, we will get her the daffodils” Semina and her Father are in the flower shop on Mother’s day. “Semina you have to learn to save your money”
“Yes Father”. He said this to Semina many times and she knows he is right, because he has a lot of money that he has saved.
Semina wanted to buy her Mother beautiful yellow roses, her Mother told her that she loves yellow roses. Semina remembers the time she told her, it was when she was given a big bouquet of yellow roses on the last day of her play.
Her Mother was the star in the play and everybody wanted to talk to her and give her beautiful flowers. Semina was so proud that she was her Mother and that she had been allowed to see the play every night. It was just the first act, because Nanny had to take her home so that she could go to bed. Semina was allowed to go into her Mother’s dressing room and watch her Mother change into another person, the one she was playing. Semina knew that she was still her Mother, behind the makeup and the costume.
Semina saw the whole play two times, once with her Father at the opening and then once when her cousin Greta came to see it. Greta cried and called out “Oh, no she is dead” when in the play her Mother fell on the stage and pretended to faint, just as the curtain went down at the end of the second act. Semina leaned over to her and said “She did not die silly, this is a play, she will be back in the third act” Greta cried and carried on so much that Semina’s Father had to take her back stage to see that her Aunt was still alive. Semina was disgusted with Greta, she should have known that a play is pretend, she is eight years old, four years older than Semina.
When Semina and her Father return home with the flowers, her Mother had the dinner ready, the last dinner they would have together as a family. Her Mother kissed Semina and thanked her for the flowers, then looked at Semina’s Father and said “Thank You” Semina got a little shiver in her back, when she saw her Mother’s face when she said that, it did not look like a thank you look. Then her Mother put the daffodils into a vase and placed them in the center of the table.
Semina has a strange feeling in her tummy and a lump in her throat. So this is how sadness feels Semina thinks to herself, she has never had this kind of sad feeling before.
While they were having dinner Semina looked at the daffodils and had a hard time swallowing anything, she tried because she did not want to make her Mother sad.
Desert was a fresh pineapple. Her Father refused to eat it and said “I don’t want anything from that man” Semina had seen the fresh pineapple in the window of the kitchen for a few days. This was the first time they had seen or had fresh pineapple. Mother had to call someone to ask him how to peal and cut it, he told her how to do it. Semina tried very hard to eat the pineapple and to smile, but it was very hard she had not had this taste before and she did not like it, it hurt her throat. All Semina could think was I don’t like the daffodils, I don’t like the pineapple. But she smiled at her Mother and Father because she did not want to hurt their feelings.
After dinner her Mother cleaned the dishes and the kitchen. Then she picked up the suitcase, that was in the hall and said to Semina “Say goodby to your Father” Semina hugged her Father very hard and kissed him goodby, she noticed that there were tears in his eyes. Then her Mother took her hand and they walked out of the apartment.
Just before the door closed Semina looked back and gave her Father a little smile. Her Father smiled back and gave her a little wave.

Smiled by Semina :: 11:18 AM :: 6 smiles

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Semina Finishes her Drawing

Semina is back at the desk in the living room, she is swinging around in the big desk chair thinking about Adam.
Her Mother took her to say goodby to her friend Adam. He cannot hear or speak but Semina has learned the language that he uses, it is called Sign Language. Semina is going to miss Adam they liked to play and to make pictures together. Adam goes to a special school, all the children there cannot hear or speak , they learn the Sign Language there. Semina is the only friend that Adam has that can hear and speak and the only friend he has outside of his special school. Semina thinks Adam will miss her, she smiles her sad smiles and promises that she will come back and visit, but she does not know how she will do this, because she has never been on the bus by herself. She will ask her Mother.
Semina goes back to her drawing, thinking happy thoughts now.
Next to her Grandfathers Carpentry Shop is a fence and inside that fence are chickens and a house for them where they sleep and make eggs. Semina’s Grandmother showed her how to gently put her hand under the chicken sitting on the egg and take the egg away. First time Semina did this she was very scared, but now she can do it all by herself. The chicken never hurts Semina, she just sits there making low clucking sounds. It is very soft and warm under the chicken, even the egg is warm.
Semina’s Father and Uncle own a big chicken house and sell eggs to stores in the city. One time Semina and her Mother went there to see the little chicks, that were just born. Mother sat down on the floor and opened her apron, with the embroidered daisies on it, and let the little chick come into it. Semina stood behind her Mother with her hand on her shoulder and smiled, as she looked down at the little yellow puffs and noticed that they were the same color, as the center of the daisies on Mother’s apron. Mother lifted one of the chicks up to Seminas face, it was so soft and warm, it makes Semina smile to think about this.
Semina went back to her drawing and drew a picture of the wash house, that is right next to the chicken coop. In the wash house is a big pot over an open fire. Mother, her Grandmother and some ladies that help wash the laundry, boil all the white things so that they will be very clean. Then there are basins very big ones that have cold water running into them from a hose, the water is blue because the blue stuff makes all the white things very white ~~ Semina always wondered about this, how can blue make things white?
From the wash house in a U shape is the rest of the fence that surrounds the houses and the gardens.
Right across from her Grandfathers Shop is a potato garden, vegetable garden and a rhubarb garden. All of the Grandchildren love rhubarb and we ask Grandfather if we can have some, he tells us that we can have some from the left side of the garden, that is where the greenish red rhubarb grows. Grandfather saves the rhubarb on the right side of the garden for the ladies of the house to make rhubarb puddings and jams, that rhubarb is red and very sweet. Semina likes the greenish red rhubarb, it is a little sour. It is fun to peal thin strings of the rhubarb skin one by one and to roll it and make little roses.
Sometimes when Semina is sitting, on the table by the window in Grandfather’s shop, she looks out at the gardens. She has her back to the shop and when it is very quiet in the shop, all you can hear is the sound whoosh, whoosh of wood being plained and ssssss ssssss of wood being sanded. These are good sounds.
Semina likes it when the potato blossoms come, her Grandfather’s potato blossoms are white because he grows white potatoes. When she looks out the window at all the blossoms they look like a very large white blanket. Sometimes in other places Semina has seen lavender potato blossoms, that means that there are red potatoes growing there. Semina likes white flowers, they are her favorite, that is why she likes her Grandfather’s white potato blossoms. Semina finished her drawing, now she will go and show it to her Mother.
Semina thinks that maybe her Father will be home, because this is the last night Semina and her Mother will sleep in this apartment. Tomorrow after dinner they will go to Grandmother and Grandfather’s house. Semina smiles a sad smile when she thinks about this.

Smiled by Semina :: 12:30 PM :: 7 smiles

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