by Michal Reiben
Anna’s beloved grandparents, her plump grandmother, and her bony grandpa find her in the common room.
She’s delighted at their unexpected visit, rushes up to them and hugs them.
“Granny, did you bring me something to eat?” she immediately asks.
Her granny groans at the effort of bending over and searching through a bulging carrier until she finally produces two large bars of halva from out of it. Anna quickly snatches the halva bars from her, rips the paper off one of them, and gorges herself. She can’t contain herself because as usual, she is hungry. She loves Pinehurst but because of the rationing, ever since WW11 they are frugal with food. As she greedily starts gulping down the second bar, her grandparents watch on with expressions of disdain on their faces however she pretends not to notice. She finishes off the two large halva bars within a few minutes.
“Thanks, Granny that was so delicious.”
Anna’s granny begins to shuffle around nervously and seems to have something on her mind. After a while, she stops in front of her, looks her straight in the eyes, inhales a deep breath, and says, “Anna, I’ve got something important to say to you,” she takes another deep breath. “Your father and Andrea are getting married soon. You’re a lucky girl to be having such a wonderful stepmother.”
Anna feels stunned by this news but keeps silent. Her brain stirs in panic. She knows her grandparents are thrilled, for at long last they will have a daughter-in-law, although, for her, this is not good news; she doesn’t want a stepmother. Also in her heart, she realizes that from now on her life will change radically and she’ll be taken out of Pinehurst school. Anna looks up at the enormous window of the common room. It consists of multiple little window panes joined up together. Quite a few of the panes are broken. If a kid is caught ‘red-handed’ breaking a window he is made to pay for it out of his pocket money but on the whole the culprit remains unknown. She dreads the thought of going out into the world that exists beyond that window, for she knows that out there she’ll be a misfit. Consumed with grave misgivings and a heavy heart she slowly accompanies her grandparents out of the school building and towards the gravel driveway where their car is parked. Thoughts flutter around inside her head like a trapped butterfly. “What will happen to me now, what sort of life lays ahead of me?”