When she was out in ice cream parlor Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo, she could only look furtively at the screen of her cellphone. Were there any notifications that she had missed? Begonia Séu was about to find out, armed with the laptop of Patricia.
The small hours were beginning, being 4 a.m. at night, and she was positively somnolent when checking her e-mail. The first line came however as a shock that woke her from her dreamworld, awakening dachshund puppy Dakota as well. The dog jumped enthusiastically on the lap of Begonia while she was reading the first e-mail, -
Dear Begonia, or should I say, miss psychologist Séu? First off, my sincerest congratulations. You have pulled it off yet again. Fleeing to Mallorca, the island where I met my ex-boyfriend. The one you handed to me as consolation prize, remember?
Begonia shivered. Was the sender of this e-mail the same woman that appeared during dusk at her lawn? Her mown lawn, to be precise? Immediately, she saw the resemblance she carried with a student of the Sorbonne, but she was still not quite sure. She did not know her name. Even though she shuddered at every thought of this woman, she continued reading, -
Yes, I am talking to you, Begonia. Therapy centre The Magnolia tree and all. Are you stuck with childhood memories, Begonia? Because things are about to turn nastier than any dead tree you might have come across.
Evidently, the writer of this e-mail knew Begonia well. At the same time, it sounded like a joke and even Dakota seemed to know better. But she was reading at this late hour and did not think about calling it quits, -
My son, Bart, was the innocent receiver of your behavioral therapy. Do you remember him? Of course you don’t, because he had glasses and was generally unattractive. You really brought out the worst in him. Your therapy has stained my life, alongside your impeccable blonde hairdo or your blue eyes that have attracted so many men. Of course, you are living the life on the Maple Tree Road. I do not meddle in those kind of affairs, but shouldn’t you let someone take care of your lawn. It doesn’t look very tidy to me.
Begonia consulted her memory, but could not recollect any particular patient with glasses. At least not one that could be as foolish as this mother, -
I am not imploring anything in this letter, just stating some facts. The first fact is that my son has had a terrible school career. Never at the highest level, but always suffering from mediocrity. You said that he enjoyed a gap year, but don’t you know how important it is to keep up with the Joneses? Even today, I witness the lack of intelligence in my son, which is all thanks to you. That is why I am asking you, as a dear friend, to drop by at Grassroots Road. Let’s talk about it.
With the kindest regards possible,
The concluding paragraph struck a nerve. Indeed, this woman was the one she had studied with in college. Back then, she already was terrified by this forlorn figure. Marcia’s aim in studies was to help those who are emotionally disabled. A strange condition indeed, and one which implied that some were suffering from ‘bad or incomplete emotions’.
~ * ~
Patricia entered the study, which functioned as a sleeping room for Begonia. She saw her head rest on the mahogany desk. Dakota was rolled up near the keyboard. ‘Are you all right, Bego?’ she asked.
Begonia did not respond. She looked like she had seen hell and could only awaken with visible strain.
‘Bego, please wake up.’ Patricia turned on the laptop and looked at its bright screen.
While Begonia was waking up, Patricia read the e-mail of Marcia Lapidis. She knew this fine specimen of a woman from a school party. Especially, she had a vivid memory of Marcia’s portrayal of Céline Dion.
Dakota the dog was not feeling well and started running ecstatically. After this broken night, the dachshund was still going strong.
Finally, after all these moments, Begonia uttered: ‘Please leave me alone, Patricia. I need to take off to Holland today.’
Patricia caved in and decided to help her friend. She would get a ticket to Holland and together they would learn Marcia Lapidis a lesson. Even if it meant taking Dakota as a secret weapon with them.