Chapter 27: Victoria
Thursday 25th September
Victoria was lonely. It was a week since she’d arrived and she hadn’t made any friends yet. She sensed most of the women resented her. Probably because she was Seth’s favourite, she told herself, pushing away the memory of two days ago.
She hadn’t seen him to speak to since then.
She thought it would be so different being in a commune; that she’d belong; be accepted for herself. Not as Richard’s stroppy sister, or her parents’ difficult daughter, which she knew was how they thought of her, but as one of the community here; as Seth’s girlfriend. It wasn’t turning out like that; not yet anyway. Two of the girls in the dorm had already complained about the amount of time she spent on herself instead of her taking on a share of the work. Well, stuff them, they could get lost. She had no intention of looking as grungy as they did. Any more than she was going to learn how to do the stupid knitting Jasmine had insisted she tried. She reckoned if she kept on dropping stitches Jasmine would give up on her. As for using that makeshift cooking range… Victoria shut out the humiliating scene. That woman, Chrystal, hadn’t needed to be so nasty, how was she to know she was supposed to check there was enough wood to keep the fire going underneath? Wasn’t that a job for the men? The tears came easily.
She breathed on the window and rubbed a circle in the grime on the glass with her finger. Peering out, she shivered. She hated it here.
She hated the rusted fence, just yards from the building she was in, and beyond it the expanse of wasteland. Hated the ugly skeletons of old buildings, mapped out on the ground by foundation stones, covered in pink weeds and coarse grass. Hated the spindly-looking shrubs growing from the collapsed ruins of the old mill. She especially hated the large corroded metal sheets that had replaced a part of an old fence, blocking off any view of the road beyond. By twisting her head she could just about see the large gates, padlocked together and leaning lopsidedly against two brick pillars. Like a bloody prison, she thought.
The excitement she’d felt last Wednesday as they drove away from the boring little village in Wales had gone. She’d replaced one stifling place for another.
If only they hadn’t walked by the canal that day.
She flopped down on her mattress and looked down the long room that was allocated to the single women in the commune. There was no one else around but they’d left their smells behind. She crinkled her nose against the smell…no, the stench, she thought the stench of sweat, of unwashed hair. Body odours. She pulled at the thin, horrid sheet of material that divided her mattress from the next. It didn’t reach far enough for her; she’d have liked to shut everybody out completely. The ‘so called’ curtains separating the twelve narrow mattresses weren’t enough to give Victoria the privacy she’d been used to. But they were enough to make her feel cut off from the other girls when they chatted at night.
That was how she knew that Seth held the daily meditations that she hadn’t been allowed to go yet. All he’d said on the second day she was in the commune was, ‘I’ll know when you’re ready to join in.’
She listened to their discussions, jealous of their time spent with him, envious whenever one of them had been singled out for group contemplation. Wanting to feel part of what they shared. To learn how to find that spiritual peace she’d been unable to find. That Seth had promised her that day, way back in the summer.
Pattern of Shadows:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1Riznh1
Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1U1XmYD
Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com
Living in the Shadows:
Barnes &Noble: http://bit.ly/1pHmeIh