I was Born the Unloved Twin
When I woke up, and I mean truly woke up, for the first time since being born it was alone in a basket. Given, it was a very nice basket, soft and well cushioned. I was still alone though.
More than a little irresponsible to be leaving a newborn alone wouldn't you say?
I mentally sigh as the signs of neglect I've seen in a dream, memory, seem to be starting early. I'm not a real baby, at least not mentally but who knows what could happen. I'm absolutely vulnerable and helpless at the moment.
Since I'm not a real baby there's should be no need to cry. It's shameful and against reason. I try to speak which is, of course, impossible at this stage, instead what comes out is a babbling cooing noise.
It sounds both absolutely adorable and mortifying to my ears. Still no one comes, even as time passes.
My motor skills are terrible as a baby. It's difficult to move the way I want to as if the signals my brain is supposed to send out are getting mixed up. Instead of forcing it I try to work around it, figuring out the ticks to some reasonable movement. There's no hope of escape anywhere outside the basket anytime soon but I'd like to have some semblance of control here.
No matter how much noise or wiggling I make no one seems to come for me. It's rather lonely for a baby to be treated in such a way. It may be necessary to cry? Who knows how long I'll be left ignored if I don't make an adequate noise. But I'm still very tired.
Right, when I decide to settle down for another nap I hear and feel the presence of people approaching. About time.
"Right and ready as rain! Oh dearie look at you, all bright-eyed. A healthy baby if I ever saw one."
An older woman cradles me with plump hands out from my sleeping spot. She seems simple but experienced in how she holds me. I'm just grateful I haven't truly been left alone. I'm getting hungry after all.
I try to coo as best I can at her touch, practicing positive reinforcement at my first caretaker. When I try moving my head I find it far too heavy to do so. But around her are some blurry figures that must be other people Three other women I assume, from the shape of their long dresses, though they sound much younger.
"Such a difference!"
"Oh if only the younger one could be so well off!"
Definitely younger with that chatter.
"Hush now girls, that's quite normal for multiple children. The firstborns are always stronger ones." comes the stern voice above me. I haven't known her long yet but I like her. She seems to have some sense.
"Oh but the poor little angel, Lady Maria had such a difficult birth."
"Ms. Gerta, are they finished with the baptism yet? The doctors so fear she won't make it."
A name? Ms. Gerta? ...I think that sounds familiar? At least no one I had a grudge against?
"Yes, she's been christened Lilyanne Maria Ventrella."
"Oh how gorgeous, and maned after our Lady Maria!"
"Isn't it odd how the younger child was named and baptized before the eldest?"
"It couldn't be helped after all, the little babe came out so frail that they feared the worst."
"Oh hush, all is right now and the children can be reunited with their mother. "
This sure is a noisy bunch of girls but I'll take the free news. Gossipy or not.
I recall my sister always being a little weak and sickly in our early childhood. Poor Lilyanna couldn't do this or that, sending me to various lessons and studies alone. It's concerning that she's such a weak baby but if memory serves me right she'll be alright eventually. Still, this place doesn't look very promising from what I can sense now that I'm here at the moment. No antiseptic, disinfectant, nor machines.
Wealth and supposed nobility be dammed, there's nothing usefully modern here.
"Straighten up your manner, we're approaching."
The three chorus to Ms. Getra's command. I sort of remember her now, if only for her sternness and ear pulling. She was still alright by my book back then, since she always talked to me as an adult. Hell, she actually talked to me, That was something.
Thinking about reliving such a harsh childhood is depressing.
They stop and open up a large heavy doorway with ornate carvings. While everything looks extra large to me at my size I can use comparison and past knowledge to make sense of what I see.
"Lord Frederick....Lady Maria. May I present to you your firstborn child."
"Yes, very good, bring her here."
At the clear command, I was brought to a bed in the center of the room. It was surrounded by quite a few people shaped blobs, servants, and others I assumed. Laid in the center of the head of the bed was a woman in white with long curls of shining bronze.
Leaning next to her in a sort of caring embrace was the sound of the voice. A much taller figure of a man, lean, lavishly dressed and with a head of amber hair. Even with my blurry eyesight, it's rather hard to miss that splotch of red.
Mother and Father. Instantly recognizable when they're together, even with my limited vision.
I was presented to them to gaze upon.
"Oh my darling, look Lilyanne, it's your older sister."
That was the moment that I noticed her. Bundled up, a baby like myself and nestled in mother's arms was Lilyanne. I could see her perfectly.
So small, this sleeping little pink blob. It was rather ugly if I was being honest. But I knew it was her.
"Dear do bring her closer. I wish to hold her but can't possibly let go of Lilyanne."
"Of course my Maria, now come here child. Remarkable how lively she is, with what a healthy set of lungs she was blessed with coming out into the world."
I pout at the man making to hold me, ah yes father always had a mouth like this. It never failed to piss me off even now. Can't even have anything nice to say towards a baby you just met? I'm yours you know?
I'm not exactly happy but neither am I displeased.
So these are my parents...it's been so long since I've last seen them in Rosalia's, my, memories. Not since they disappeared when I was 10. Dead I assumed.
It's a mixed bag of emotions, something Rosalia never achieved closure on. That same complicated mixture of love and resentment as towards Lilyanne but with a lot more yearning. Despite everything that happened Rosalia wasn't a bad girl, just one that too desperately wanted love that wasn't even there.
It's a disappointing though relieving first meeting. They seem to care somewhat I suppose, but I won't get my hopes up.
I've done enough of that in my past life. If I'm not as loved or cared for, just like last time, then there's no need to set myself up for more hurt. Rosalia's feelings are now my own, I will experience everything she has to some extent. I'll control what I can otherwise what's the point in getting reborn here?
A stab of pain strikes my heart as I remember my own parents that I've left behind. Humbler, older, not as pretty and so so much better. They weren't perfect, hell they weren't even together for over half my life but at least I had that. I had their love. It won't do to cry anymore, at least not now.
Hiccuping back the sobs that threaten to overwhelm me again, I turn to look in favor of observing this picture perfect family picture in front of me.
"Oh darling, she's so beautiful. You must place her into my arms, yes the other one."
Father agrees and positions me to be cradled opposite of my red faced sister. Mother's arms are thin, but I'm comfortable enough supported on the bed.
"Yes it's the same face, our little girls."
It's not a bad moment, being held together as a family like this. I think I've been feeling too lonely in the moment because I sink into it. Relish it. It's comforting, ebbing the surge of now painful family memories.
I think I can do it.
I can try again for the better.
It's not a declaration or a resolution or anything of the sort. But it's a start.