Wednesday, December 31, 2008
After walking for a couple of hours they dropped by the gallery where Roma's paintings were sold. Then they decided to go to their favorite restaurant.
They ate, talked and laughed. After the meal they danced, just like they used to.
When the song ended, Bill took a step back, dropped on one knee, drew a small ring out of his pocket and proposed to Roma.
He told her that he can't live without her and that she's the most beautiful, intelligent, funny and unique girl he had ever met and that he would like to spend the rest of his life with her. Roma was so happy she almost burst into tears and couldn't say a word, so she just nodded.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This year the celebrations were different for the Board family. Nora, the mother of Bill, Bella and their younger brother Henryk, was growing old and more and more weary.
The whole family decided to go to the restaurant so that she wouldn't spend the whole day in the kitchen preparing the dinner.
Bill and Bella had a week-long break and came home to celebrate and spend some time with family and friends. Roma was overwhelmed with happiness. It was so hard for her to live there alone and have almost nothing to do apart from painting.
Every day she would get up in the morning and count the minutes until Bill came back to his dorm after classes and she could call him. They talked on the phone for hours, but that just was not enough. She missed his closeness, his touch, talking late into the night, holding hands... She missed the good old days when she could just walk out of her house and after ten minutes ring the bell in Bill's house because she just had to see him. She missed him insanely, but she did not regret not going to the university.
It must have been either the atmosphere of the day, or Bella finally started to grow up and realize that, whether she likes it or not, her brother was very much in love with Roma and that probably was not going to change anytime soon. She was not exactly friendly, but at least more civilized towards Roma.
The rest of the family already knew and liked the girl.
Even after Bill went to the university she was a quite frequent and welcome visitor. Nora and Chip treated her like a daughter and often invited her over for dinner.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I'm sending you a couple of new pictures, just as I promised.
Here you can see me playing with my parrot. I don't think I told you about her. Isn't she pretty?
And she can speak too. To tell you the truth I was a bit skeptical about that when I bought her, but after about a week she started to repeat some of the words she'd heard. Now it is hard to silence her at times. Thankfully she lets me sleep at night.
That photo of me playing with her was taken by Bella. I think we started to get along pretty well. I suppose she regrets being mean to us in the past. I hope she really isn't as selfish and unkind as she acted. She's my sister after all, and I don't want to loose her.
On a lighter note, I made a couple of friends here and some of them turned out to be members of some kind of a super secret organization. They invited me to their hideout and asked me to join them.
This whole secrecy is a bit funny to me. It's all about parties after all, but I like them, so I joined.
Bella, on the other hand, neither wants nor needs secrecy when partying.
She makes no effort to hide that the real reason she came here for is to have fun. I don't think I've ever seen her learning.
I guess you already know our younger brother, Henryk, will be joining us next year.
About a week ago he came here with two of his friends to see what awaits them at the Universal University.
These are all the new photos I have. I can't wait to see you again!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The person responsible for that appalling behavior was a delivery man with a parcel in one hand and some papers in another.
-Good morning miss! Is your name Roma Castillo? - he asked, consulting the papers.
-Yes it is.
-Very well. Please sign here... and here... Thank you. This parcel is for you. Good bye!
She went back inside with the parcel in her hand. It was in a shape of a cylinder, wrapped in a colorful paper and tied with a red ribbon. She cautiously unwrapped it wondering who sent it to her.
When she took the lid off the box she saw that it was full of deliciously looking and smelling chocolates. There was a letter too. Roma couldn't resist and settled herself on the sofa with the chocolates within her reach
and started to read the letter:
My dearest Roma,
as you know I'm not able to come for your birthday because of my exams. This box of chocolates is just a token. We'll celebrate properly when I come home (you'll get a proper present then too). And now get up and make sure everything is prepared for your birthday party!
PS. May your adult life be as sweet as these chocolates.
Roma looked around. Everything was ready for the party. The guests were supposed to start coming in about half an hour, so she had some time to take a shower. Just when she was leaving the bathroom, her first guest came.
It was not going to be a huge birthday party. Roma only invited three of her school friends (all of who were strangely drawn to swinging on the door of her fridge) and Adam, the only of the group that welcomed her in Challengeville that she still stayed in touch with.
The party was held on the lawn. It was sunny, as always, so there was no reason to stay indoors. Everyone was having great time playing kicky bag, having pillow fights or just chatting.
When the time was right they all gathered around the birthday cake and cheered
as Roma blew the candles, made a wish and spun into a beautiful adult.
The party finished late at night and left everyone in great moods.
After the younger guests had left Adam approached Roma and said:
-I saw the painting you're now working on. It already looks really good. I can see you've already made a huge improvement. You are talented and you'll be able to make huge money just by selling your paintings. But you have to start somewhere. I have an offer for you. A friend of mine is opening a gallery soon and he's looking for some young, promising painters. I think you two should meet and work together. It would be such a great opportunity for you.
He gave him his friend's phone number, she thanked him and promised to call him the next day.
That evening Roma fell asleep with a smile on her face. Everything was going so well.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I arrived at the campus a couple of hours ago. The journey was rather comfortable, but I was happy to finally get off the bus.
The first person I met at the Universal University campus was this very nice lady who showed me the way to the dorm I'm staying in (you can see it in the picture).
I quickly picked a rather modest room,
left all my stuff in there and went on to investigate the place that I'll be calling home for the next four years. I took a couple of pictures so that you could see what you're missing ;)
I was the first student to arrive at this dorm, and the only other person there was a cafeteria worker.
We chatted for a while and he told me that I can help him in the kitchen if I ever run out of money. When he was telling me about various places around, the first group of students arrived. I was surprised to see my sister among them.
I wasn't exactly happy to see her here, but we'll see how things go...
Anyway, here's a photo of a little learning area upstairs.
I can see by the condition of all this stuff that there were whole generations living and studying here before me. Kind of makes me feel special, but I think I'd rather sit on a decent sofa while learning, not wonder what is that thing making strange noises every time I move.
Oh, I almost forgot to write you about this strange tradition they have here. When I arrived that lady I wrote you about earlier gave me some random pieces of clothing,
told me to change and throw my old clothes away. That was weird! I think I need to go shopping tomorrow before classes.
And that's all I have to tell you about my student life so far. I miss you very much and I'd love you to be here with me. I'll call you tomorrow!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Suddenly Bill spoke in a quiet voice:
- Roma, I've been thinking... We'll be graduating from high school soon and I made a few phonecalls and I was told I qualify for a couple of scholarships. I guess you could get one too if you applied since you are so talented. So I checked and I'm almost certain we'll have enough money to rent a house during our stay in college.
- You'll have enough money, during your stay in college - she interrupted him.
- I'm not going anywhere. I can't imagine leaving this place – she said, looking around. - I moved in and out so many times, always uncertain of how long I am going to stay in one place before my mother will tell me to pack my things again. I've been living here for a little more than three years, but still I've never stayed so long in one place for my entire life.
- But you will come back here... We will come back... You can still paint and sell your paintings while in college, so that you could pay the bills. And I can ask my parents to keep an eye on this place.
- You know me long enough to know that I like to take care of things myself. You have wonderful parents and I am sure they would agree to help, but I'm not going to ask them. I'm not going anywhere.
- So I'm not going either.
- Oh yes you are. I know how much you dream about going to college. And you really should. You learn things quickly, and enjoy it too. While I'm struggling with everything and I am excited about graduating from high school because after that I can burn all of those stupid books. University just isn't for everyone, and it certainly is not for me.
She looked at his frowned face and smiled at him the way that always made him smile back.
- Oh come on, you know I'm right, I always am. Now come here and give me a kiss.
And so he did.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Roma's hair [Prologue, Chapters 1 - 11]: hair 63 by Raon
Flannel Shirt [Prologue, Chapters 1 - 9]: Confusion by Gelydh at Club Crimsyn
Jeans with boots [Prologue, Chapters 1 - 9]: Shadowtime by Gelydh at Club Crimsyn
Bella's hair [Chapter 8]: hair 48 by XMSims
Chocolates [Chapter 9]: Parsimonious
Roma's hair [Chapter 11 - ]: mesh - hair 82 by Raon; textures - "Missing" by Neena_Needles at Garden of Shadows
Roma's outfit (flannel shirt and jeans) [Chapter 11 - ]: by Aikea Guinea at Club Crimsyn
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Next day he visited her right after she came home from school.
This soon became his habit. Every day Roma was watching out of the window and waiting for him to come. They spent afternoons, evenings and whole weekends together. It started with just talking, laughing and having pillow fights,
but they soon realised that their friendship is something special. And that made them even happier. They couldn't get enough of each other. They strolled the streets hand in hand, danced to imaginary music
and shared their first kiss.
They soon were named town's most perfect couple. Adults and elders smiled at memories of their own first loves when they saw Roma and Bill together, and Clones' eyes were aflame with hatred and envy. Some of them didn't limit themselves to just watching and tried to make them break up. Bill's twin sister Bella (one of the Clones) tried to spread some nonsensical rumours about Roma's past, but Bill didn't believe a word she said. It only spoiled the so far good relations between the twins.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The younger, one on the other hand, helped her with having fun. Together they plotted against The Clones, as they started to call the blond girls, together played, laughed or spent long hours talking on the phone.
And suddenly something disturbed that pleasant routine of Roma's life.
She was doing her weekly shopping at the local grocery when her whole world collapsed, the flames of hell arouse around her, icy cold wind embraced her and she heard angelic voices in her head. In other words: she saw Bill Board. She was unable to move until he was around.
As soon as he left, the strange sensations stopped. She went back home with his image before her mind's eyes. She couldn't sleep that night.
The next morning she decided that she should go shopping more often. She forgot to buy butter yesterday anyway. So she went to the very same place that witnessed her private apocalypse the day before.
She bought butter, as well as a bunch of things she really didn't need. She examined every little thing she found around just to stay there longer. It was when she started to run out of excuses that someone tapped her on her shoulder. She turned around to see just the person she wanted to see.
- Excuse me, you're the newcomer, right? Roma Castillo?
She couldn't say a word and just nodded.
- I'm Bill Board – he said shaking hands with her. - I talked with Adam D'Lottery and he told me you're rather fun and don't know much people around here, so I thought that maybe I'd chat with you for a while - he said and smiled.
She smiled back and nodded again.
- That'd be lovely.
Apart from occasional lacks in homework department on her side, Roma did rather well at school. The first couple of days she was really treated like 'a colourful addition' to the neighbourhood, especially by other kids at school. Pretty much all of them were exactly the same, and very predictable. Especially girls. All they were interested in was fashion, their hair, boys and gossip. What is more, almost all of them were blond, like some kind of clones, which freaked Roma out when she noticed that.
It has been almost a week since she moved in. She was in the small living room of her house, painting as usual. Suddenly she heard a doorbell. She looked out of the window to see who that was and saw a vaguely familiar face. She opened the door.
- Hi! My name is Adam. Adam D'Lottery. We go to the same school. - the boy said.
- Hi! - Roma said, looking at him suspiciously and not moving a bit.
He looked a bit uneasy.
- Well, it's Friday and I was wondering if you would like to go out and see a bit of our pretty little town.
- Not really - she said. He was turning around to go home when she added:
- But maybe you'd like to come in?
- Sounds good.
She let him in.
- I'll be back in a minute – she said entering the bathroom. When she came back, he was no longer in the living room. She entered the kitchen and saw him swinging on the fridge door.
- What are you doing! - she cried.
- Sorry, just couldn't help it. I love doing this, but my parents don't let me. You should try it yourself!
- You're definitely not as boring as I thought. - she said, laughing. - Let's occupy ourselves in a more civilised way.
She took a kicky bag out of her pocket.
- I was the best in this back ho... where I come from.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Roma got off the school bus and slowly went into her house grabing the newspaper lying on the lawn and yawning on the way. She dropped her bag on the floor and went into the kitchen. She opened the fridge and took the first edible thing she put her eyes on. Equiped with that she sat at the kitchen table and began to read “The Challengeville Gossiper”.
She was trying to find job advertisements when she came across something that caused her to almost choke to death. It took her a while to calm down, and than she read again:
“Yesterday me and two other citizens of Challengeville had the pleasure of welcoming a new member of our community, Roma Castillo. We visited her in her house at Ulica Główna 100. We had a very interesting conversation over the strangest jelly I have ever eaten. We are sure miss Castillo will make a very colourful addition to our society. We wish her luck!”
The text was signed by Adam Dzwonko.
She found the piece of paper Baśka gave her the other day and dialed Adam's number. After a moment she heard:
-Hi, colourful addition speaking.
She heard him laugh.
-So you've read the article already.
-Yeah. Do you do this to every newcomer?
-Yes. I've told you yesterday, we love gossiping.
-You guys really need something to occupy yourselves with. A hobby or something.
-You know, we all have our goals here and we're working very hard to achieve them. So we want something to help us relax and forget about all that stuff we have to do.
-Yeah, whatever. In case you want to write something about me in tomorrow's issue I inform you that when I'm done talking with you I'm going to do my homework and finish cleaning the house. I'm sure you're able to write at least two pages about that.
-Wow, that's sensational! - he said, laughing.
-Isn't it? OK, I'm not going to disturb you any longer. Go write that article. Bye!
She put down the receiver and went to the kitchen to do her homework. It's been a while since she did some serious studying, so she was struggling with it. When she finally finished she was too exhausted to do any of the cleaning she planned. She sat at the table for a while doing nothing and then she finally remembered there's one place in her house she never visited. She got up and climbed upstairs to the attic.
There was hardly anything there. When her eyes grew accustomed to the limited lighting she walked closer to a big shape in the corner. There was something covered with a huge piece of white cloth. Roma removed it with one swift move. After the dust fell down and she was able to see everything again she saw an easel a couple of blank canvases and a big box with tubes of paint and brushes in it.
-Now that's interesting.
She struggled to carry all of these things downstairs and after an hour she was standing in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush in her hand.
After she finished cleaning bathroom and bedroom, Roma half-consciously fell into her new bed and fell asleep immidiately. She opened her eyes early in the morning and at first didn't recognize where she was. When she tried to move, she suddenly remembered everything. Her every muscle was screaming about that whole cleaning she did the day before.
- OK, there's no time to hurry up – she said to herself and decided to stay in bed for a bit longer. Fifteen minutes later her stomach let her know that it was awake too.
- Geez, bodies this days! They are so demanding! - she complained to the walls around and shuffled to the kitchen, where she made herself a bowl of cereal.
She was just finishing eating it whe she heard a doorbell. “Who's that?” she asked herself and moved towards the front door as fast as she could.
When she opened she saw Adam Dzwonko with a happy smile on his face.
- Good morning young lady! I hope you slept well. Now hurry up and go take a shower, the school bus will be here in about... - he paused and looked at his watch – forty five minutes.
She gave him a strange look.
- What do you mean “a school bus will be here “?
- And what do you think it means? To me, you don't look like a person who got all the necessary education, so I called the headmaster of our local high-school and asked if he would be so kind to find a place for you there. He said he'd be delighted to welcome you there today.
She was still standing there, looking at him as if he started to speak Chinese all of a sudden.
- Don't give me that look young lady. And go take that shower!
Roma slowly turned around and went to the bathroom. She returned fifteen minutes later. Adam gave her a critical look.
- Are these the only clothes you have?
- No, I have five shirts and three pairs of trousers more, but all are exactly the same.
- Oh well, we'll have to take care about that later. Now take this – he said giving her a small package with sandwitches in it – and off you go! Remember, be nice to to other children, listen to teachers and behave yourself.
- Oh shut up! - she said with a smile in the corner of her mouth.
They left the house, she locked the door and got on the school bus.
When she finished cleaning the kitchen and decided to take a short break before going on with her work in the bathrom, she heard a doorbell. Her heart stopped for a second. “They found me already?! But how?” was her first thought. She silently aproached the front door and carefully looked out to see who was standing outside. She was a bit relieved when she realised she didn't know any of the three people waiting for her to open the door. One of them came close to the door and rang the bell again.
- Open the door! We know you're there! - she shouted.
She decided to take the risk and slowly opened the door.
- Ah, there you are! My name is Baśka Misiurka, this is Adam Dzwonko and Beniamin Wystrzał. We came here to welcome you in our little town.
- Hello! Nice to meet you. I'm Roma Castillo. Come in! - she said with a nice smile on her face.
But she couldn't help herself and looked suspiciosly at her guests when they passed her as they where entering.
- Come to the kitchen. It's the only decent-looking place in this house for now. Sit down wherever you want, I just finished washing the floor. Do you want some jelly? That's all I have right now.
When they all sat down around the table with lumps of strange substance in front of them, Roma began her investigation:
- Are you guys always this nice? I mean, the whole welcoming thing?
- Well, yes. It's our local tradition to welcome any newcomers. We just think it makes people feel better if they know there are some friendly people around that they can ask for help. Actually, someday you may also be a part of a welcome wagon - Beniamin said.
- How exciting. I hardly can wait – she said with a sarcastic smile on her face.
- To tell you the truth, we don't give a damn for this whole supportive community thing. We are extremely nosy. All we really want is gossip. And everyone coming to live in a place called Challengeville have to be pretty special, don't you think? - Adam said.
The way he looked at Roma made her feel uneasy. “Maybe it was a mistake to let them in?” crossed her mind. She quickly finished her jelly.
- It's really lovely chatting with you, but I have some more rooms to clean before I go to bed. I hope you don't mind if I ask you to leave.
- Oh, not at all! Here are our phone numbers. - Baśka gave her a tiny piece of paper. - Just call any of us if you need help. Or someone to talk to.
- Thanks guys. I really appreciate that.
They all shook hands and as Roma closed the door behind her guests, she let the second sigh of relief this day.