My village was primarily known for this exclusive boarding school it
contained, whose alumni were bankers and politicians, the owners of
umbrella corporations that owned multiple others. They offered one
local student per year a full scholarship. I was both lucky and cursed.
I initially struggled at school, unable to concentrate and ostracized.
My family was large, noisy, and broke and until I left to board at the
school, I shared a room with three of my siblings. Two other bedrooms
contained another four siblings each a piece, and the last one contained
my parents. The bathroom was always full, the water always cold, food a
continual struggle to have enough off.
After my first summer at home, they had noticed the shift within her, the
change in dialect, within the syntax of her conversation, with the words
that she used. Arlo had a choice, as she could not live in both words and
survive. She found her way, though, understanding that this was her way out,
her opportunity to escape.
I had only been back to see my family once, on that first university break.
During my boarding school days, the only holiday I left to spend with them,
I was forced to. I turned the rejection of my birth family into the
acceptance of a freshly created one. I was still an outcast with the general
population, but not where it mattered. All other summer breaks I spent with
the quad, Caro, Quin and Chloe, hijacking all of our summer’s to spend time
I became interested in how easy it is to manipulate people, to mold
their opinions to how you wanted them to feel, and when our quartet
entered university, chose marketing. Caro broke from her family tradition
of law, and studied horticulture. Quin followed her passionate desire into
architecture. Chloe, the most indifferent, studied law as she had both the
marks and the encouragement of her mother. Chloe’s mother was unsettling
to all of us, and was only 28 the year they all went to university.
We were 19. Chloe and I traveled the 6 months after university gave both
of us greater insightinto the range of delusions that people were willing
to believe. After Chloe’s mother had brought us back. Work was always
intense, long and high volume. Quin had perfectly rebuilt the safest space
for our family to exist within. When Caro moved out to evolve into the person
she intended to be rather than the one she had been sidetracked into, the
Manor became a haven that fed us all, fed our bodies and replenished our souls.