Begonia Séu held a grey hair in her hands. She could not discern whether this was one of her own hairs (likely) or that it came from her black-and-white-spotted dachshund (unlikely, but plausible enough). To keep herself mentally healthy, especially after the recent letter of Marcia Lapidis, she decided to take the high road and declare this grey hair as belonging to someone else. Even though she could accept herself getting older, really she could.
Patricia was already impatiently waiting inside the hall of a manor in the Crayoline District. The Crayoline neighborhood had duplicitous surroundings: at once it was a shrine of wealth, but also enormous poverty, because of the hospital and refugee center. Begonia did not like this part of The Netherlands and preferred living in the Bredius quarter. Granted, she did not have the luxury to possess a villa, but her home came at a close second. It was quite grand in its own way, being part of what she’d like to call a half of a double detached residence, save for the absence of a sunny garden and a swimming pool, garage and all that came with the Golden Triangle hallmark. But as a psychologist, she really could not complain, could she?
‘Well, I didn’t know Bussum had such lovely homes,’ Patricia said, while she gave a scornful look at the mess dachshund Dakota had made earlier. ‘Although I must hasten to add that I liked your previous condo at the Fisher Street as well, really I did.’
Begonia knew that it wasn’t altogether positive what Patricia was saying and focused on getting herself ready. Where were her boots, lip stick and comb? A little absent-mindedly she said: ‘The Fisher Street? I had to share my entrance with somebody else, don’t you remember?’
‘What gives? You had a terribly nice neighbor. I remember quite well the day she cussed at me for parking my car at her spot. That was really a way to make myself feel welcome in Bussum. You know that celebrity of the Dutch T.V.? She claims that she prefers to live within the fortress of Naarden. Can you believe it? Because of the history and the people.’
‘Hurry up, Bego. Marcia Lapidis is not someone you keep waiting.’
‘I could not care less about Marcia. Isn’t her surname Latinate? Does Lapidis mean stone?’
Patricia disregarded this information, especially because her surname Dendermonde had a kind of soap feel to it. ‘Did you ever come across a Dutch celebrity?’
‘Come across? You mean, as in gave therapy to? No, unfortunately not.’
‘Well, you know Doctor Rossi. He is quite inventive and kind of well-known too.’
‘I do not really know him, you know that. He is only there for prescriptions, something I’d loved to do.’
‘Becoming a shrink?’
‘No, if you put it like that, it becomes less attractive. I would like to become a psychiatrist. That is such a honorable calling.’
‘Think about my sister Deborah. She is insignificant in the Mental Health world.’
‘Oh please, don’t call her insignificant. She is the foot soldier in any hospital.’
‘Drop the act, Bego. Thanks to you she is just your ordinary psychiatric nurse.’ Something in Patricia’s voice revealed the true nature of her statement. Was she actually proud of her sister, no matter what?
‘I sense that you take issue with your sister?’
‘How do you sense such a thing, Bego? I have indeed heard a rumor that she has a ginormous tax debt that needs to be paid.’
‘Calm down, Patricia. Deborah can’t help it. She trusted her man, Earnest, completely. And she was busy with her riding school, remember?’
‘Since when are you defending my sister?’
Bego paused and looked deeply at Patricia. ‘I think you should cut your sis some slack. You do not know what happened. Don’t you know Blue Jasmine?’
‘Yes, I remember that movie. That actress, what’s her name, Cate Blanchett, drove me crazy. She has the most irritating of voices. And her whining about a song.’
‘Blue Moon? That’s one of my favorites. I remember dancing to the song when I was young.’
~ * ~
At dusk, they arrived at the home of Marcia Lapidis. It wasn’t a home for someone holding a grudge, judging from the beautiful rhododendrons and spacious garden. Especially if the grudge was directed at a psychologist, because Begonia thought she belonged to a special lot. It was just an occupational hazard, nothing more, nothing less. The lush surroundings had diverted her attention from two threatening Dobermann Pinchers. They were barking and attacking the vehicle, while she was driving in the entranceway. Marcia had taken precautions, at least that much was clear.
Begonia and Patricia felt trapped in the car and decided to wait for Marcia to show up. And finally she did, even though she was dressed to kill. In the shallow light of the evening, Begonia saw that Marcia was dressed in a fur coat and even sported white, silk gloves.
‘I am Marcia Lapidis,’ she uttered. ‘But I assume you know. Why else would you be here?’ Marcia did her best to emit a casual aggression, but could not.
‘Marcia, I am pleased to see you,’ said Begonia, whilst her cell phone was ringing. She did not answer, even though it could have been an emergency.
‘Likewise.’ Marcia said this word with a faux ferocity that was quite extraordinary, but still not believable enough for Begonia.
The telephone’s noise aggravated and she decided to pull the cell out of her jeans and turn it off.
‘You are everybody’s girl, except now,’ Marcia uttered.
Bego tried to focus, but could not. The dog was far too threatening, even if he was under complete control of Marcia. She decided that it was time to play games with this lady and said: ‘Marcia, I would love to feature your statues in one of my exhibitions. Ada Wong is one of my contacts, as you know.’
Marcia was kind of amazed. Begonia could sense that her strategy paid off and continued: ‘Marcia, your work is of impeccable, what do I say, sublime quality. It is one of a kind and truly breathtaking.’
Marcia blushed and momentarily forgot why she was mad at Begonia.
Patricia shuddered and touched Begonia’s hands.
‘I need to get going,’ Begonia said, leaving both Marcia and Patricia awe-struck. ‘Talk to you soon, Marcia. It is beautiful here, by the way. You really have your own museum in this royal garden. So pretty and amazing.’ She furtively walked towards her car and decided to bail out. All right, another problem dealt with, she thought.