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Chapter 8 - Mom and Dad's murmur-secret

Chapter 8 - Mom and Dad's murmur-secret

 

 

Mom and Dad had a secret. They murmured together with such a low voice that Rachel could not hear a word. Then, when Rachel moved closer, they would start talking at a loud voice of obviously a totally different matter. Like this:

- Murmur-murmur-murmur, said Dad in a low voice.

- Murmur-murmur-murmur, answered Mom, and when Rachel came closer:

- OH, YES DAD, DID YOU READ FROM THE NEWSPAPER THAT PEOPLE STILL TAKE GARBAGE UNSORTED TO THE DUMPING GROUND? IMAGINE THAT!

- OH, YES I DID, MOM, AND ISN’T IT STRANGE THAT NOTHERN LIGHTS ARE ONLY SEEN ON EARTH WHEN THERE IS A STORM IN THE SUN?

- OH, YES, DAD, AND THAT BRINGS INTO MY MIND…

And so it continued, of all sorts of matters that were loosely connected, if at all. As if Mom and Dad had just invented things to say to each other and just picked up any topic that came to their minds. When Rachel moved further away, murmuring started again.

Rachel wondered what the secret could be. Mom and Dad looked happy so it could not be a gloomy secret. Dad had recently started doing some woodwork at the basement – at least Rachel had heard sounds of sawing and hammering from there. Rachel decided to investigate the matter. And when Rachel goes somewhere, Ringel naturally follows.

There was something covered at the basement. Rachel lifted up the cover. It was an unfinished woodwork that had a bottom and sides. Rachel wondered for what purpose had Dad built it. She asked Ringel to take a look and state his opinion.

- It is a home, said Ringel mysteriously.

- A home? This is our home!, said Rachel and waved her hands in large circles.

- Maybe one day someone may sleep in it, said Ringel and refused to say any more. Rachel knew by now that Ringel was capable of seeing people’s thoughts and must have seen Mom and Dad’s thoughts. When Rachel started interrogating who was it that was supposed to sleep in the construction, Ringel hid the mouth from his face as a sign that no more would come out of it of this subject!

”Who could sleep in a construction like that?” It bothered Rachel so much that there was no space for anything else in her mind. The matter should be cleared up quickly, otherwise she could not think of other important subjects. And after a while she came up with the answer! A baby! Mom and Dad had been asking lately how would Rachel feel if there was a new member in the family. If you put legs on the construction it could be a baby cot. A rather funny looking one, really, but when Rachel stretched her imagination she could envision a square cot.

Rachel was really happy to have solved Mom and Dad’s murmur-secret! Now she could start thinking of other things again. The thoughts had already piled up. The hammock was the best place to think so Rachel decided to sprint right there and urged Ringel to keep up with the speed.

This was something that Ringel never quite figured out: why do you have to hurry to laze on the hammock? – To get to it faster, was Rachel’s standard reply.

While Rachel was laying on the hammock and thinking of all the things that had already piled up, once again she could hear the steady sound of sawing, occasionally interrupted by hammering. Tonight, Dad was banging at the cellar for a long time, and when he finally emerged, his face was one mysterious smile when he said to Mom: - It is ready!

 

Early next morning, before Mom left to work, Dad took the car and drove somewhere, with the same mysterious smile on his face that he had had in the previous evening. “Maybe he slept with that face”, Rachel thought.

Mom asked Rachel to come to the kitchen for a talk.

- Rachel, I need to tell you something, said Mom.

Rachel tried to act as if she had no idea what Mom was talking about although she had already solved the mystery!

- Your Dad and I have been thinking that it would be nice for you to have a friend.

Mom left unsaid that they were a little worried of Rachel’s invisible friend and had been thinking about the matter of her having friends quite a lot lately.

Rachel thought that babies are nice but not quite what she would call a friend. “They might burp on you if you go too close, and you cannot tell secrets to the porridge panties. Or, rather, of course you could”, corrected Rachel her thoughts right away. “It would be actually very good to share your secrets with them, because they cannot tell them to anyone else!”

- So your Dad and I decided to take action so that you could have a friend!, exclaimed Mom.

- Oh.

Rachel did not know how to respond. Judging from Mom’s face, she expected her to be happy.

- Is it a boy or a girl?, Rachel asked cautiously.

- We thought that it could be a boy, replied Mom. – And we thought that maybe you would be taking care of him most, feeding him, training him to pee pee and poo poo and to sit down and those kinds of things.

All reasonable thoughts escaped fast from Rachel’s head so that for once there was space. Was she to feed the baby, change the diapers and teach the baby to sit? But she was still a child herself, not even at school yet! Surely it was the parents’ duty to take care of their children, like Mom and Dad had taken care of Rachel when she was a baby!

- But I am too small to take care of him!, opposed Rachel.

- It builds up your sense of responsibility when you learn to take care of someone else. You can name him, too. You can take care of anything that you wish. Of course, we will be helping you from time to time, but you have the main responsibility, in everything.

- But, but, but, was all Rachel could utter. Dad drove to the yard.

- Dad just went and got him. Let’s go and say hello!

But babies came from Mom’s tummy, that’s how Mom and Dad had once explained it to her! How could Dad have it now? Rachel gave a desperate look at Ringel, but he was just whistling away and holding back his utter glee.

Rachel felt that the innocent freedom of her childhood had just been taken away from her, and Ringel did not even lift his finger to help her, just whistled away. Rachel felt that this might be a good place to wail, but because she did not know how bad the situation could turn into, she decided to hold back her cry a little bit longer. One tear had already escaped the corner of her eye, but she was able to wipe it off with the back of her hand without Mom noticing. Rachel clenched her jaws resolutely together.

Mom took hold of Rachel’s hand and walked her outside to welcome Dad and the new baby.

- Rachel, come over here, urged his Dad at the car, his face in one big smile.

- If I have to, said Rachel with her face more wrinkled than ever, and shuffled along to the car. It seemed that Dad and Mom wanted to put the baby on her responsibility even before he was out of the car. Rachel’s future looked gloomier than ever.

The baby was whining at the back seat. The seat was covered with newspaper and a blanket had been placed on the baby.

- Bravely now, he is so little that he cannot even bite you, suggested Dad gently.

- Babies hardly bite anyway!, declared Rachel in a dejected mood, and carefully raised the line of the blanket.

- What babies?, had Dad only time to exclaim when Rachel’s eyes met the gaze of the most beautiful brown eyes that were touchingly fixated on hers. A pink tongue was glimpsing in its mouth when it let tiny whines out of its white velvety muzzle, and Rachel’s heart simply melt.

- A puppy, how wonderful!, sighed Rachel. Her wrinkled face smoothed immediately and the gloomy thoughts made way to pastel pink, blue and yellow thoughts.

Mom, Dad and Ringel smiled when Rachel carefully carried the new member of the family inside wrapped in the blanket. A few teardrops escaped her eyes during the short walk but Rachel did not mind at all. They were tears of happiness, and Mom and Dad had told her that they are the most precious of all!

When Rachel came out of the house the next time (and that took time; first she had made an eating and a sleeping place for the puppy, then she had said bye to Mom leaving for work, and finally listen to Dad’s instructions for puppy care and stroke the puppy to sleep), an artistic dog house had appeared at the yard. Rachel had been so wrong in deducing that Dad had been building a cradle!

All in all, today had been a very precious day in Rachel’s life. Rachel learned that you needed to investigate things thoroughly to know how they really are. This was obviously what “don’t count your chickens before they are hatched” meant.

“Assumptions can prove wrong”, crystallised Rachel.

Ringel was happy. For many nights he had shown dreams of a sweet puppy to Rachel’s Mom and Dad, and finally they had decided to get a puppy for Rachel as a friend. Rachel needed also human friends, so Ringel started organising things once again.

After a looong and eventful day Rachel was finally in bed and said her familiar evening prayer. This time she added her thanks for the “counting-hatching” learning and for her new puppy friend (who had no name yet; the first thing in the morning was to name him), who already slept snuffling on its blanket next to Rachel’s bed.

Again, Rachel dreamed of being at the flower meadow, but this time she was not there alone any more. Ringel was flying eight’s above the field and a sweet little puppy bounced after the buggies, while Rachel made the most beautiful garland of pink and baby blue flowers.

Sometimes she would come to a lighter sleep when she heard Mom and Dad have laughing fits in their bedroom, next to Rachel’s room. Rachel’s misconception had amused them so much that it was hard for them to even get the dinner down, because one of them would always burst out laughing. And whenever one of them started laughing, the other immediately caught up, and the laughing would continue for a very long time.

 

 

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