Natalia hated it when Shasta brought up history. She couldn’t see what ancient Rome, Greece, or Sumeria had to do with her world now. What could she possibly learn from the past that would help her? Was there some sort of secret way to attract boys in those days?
She shook her head. No. Girls in ancient times faced the same problems as she now faced. They didn’t have any secret methods of catching boys.
She couldn’t learn anything from the past. At least, nothing that would help her in the ways she wanted. It was just, well, all in the past for her. He giggled to herself.
Shasta would never understand her. Never. They might be sisters, twins, but they were as different as night and day. And they fought like it.
Shasta could have her books and her history. Natalia wanted to continue chasing boys and transforming into Marilyn Monroe. She wanted fame and fortune. She wanted to be on the silver screen.
Let Shasta believe that she could get ahead with an education. Let her believe that history was important. Neither would win the heart of any man, as far as Natalia was concerned. Only beauty, fashion, wealth, and talent would do those things. And she would follow those. Not history. Not education.
Shasta was frustrated. Natalia was not willing to see the dangers of her choices. She couldn’t get her sister to understand that she needed to know about the world in order to live in it. She needed history as a starting point.
She hoped that Natalia woke up before it was too late. If not, then she-Shasta-would have to play the part of her sister’s keeper. And she didn’t want to have to do that. She wanted to have a life of her own.
College, career, and then family. That was the way she wanted it. Right now, she wanted to get through grade school and high school. She didn’t care about the fame, fortune, fashion, or beauty. Not right now.
Besides. If some boy loved her later on down the road, he would love her for her. He would find her beautiful no matter what. The outside was nothing more than an illusion.
She turned her attention back to the book she was reading She smiled. Ernest Hemingway was a good author. At the moment, she was reading the latest offing from him, Across the River and Through the Trees. It was marvelous. At least she thought it was.
She couldn’t wait for him to release a new book. She had read everything he had written so far. He was one of her favorite authors. So much drama. So much mystery.
And then there was F. Scott Fitzgerald. he was another fascinating author. But he wouldn’t be releasing any more books. He had been dead since 1940. Too bad. He would have given Ernest a run for his money.
Perhaps someday, she would follow their footsteps and become an author as well. At the moment, she wasn’t sure. She had to make it through school first. After that, she would decide.
Valeria loved her girls. She was proud of them both. But Shasta put forth more effort in school than Nattie. And Nattie seemed bent on just skating by. She didn’t seem to care about school. Or life.
Valeria wished Nattie could be more like Shasta. She wished only the best for her girls. It just seemed like Nattie wasn’t concerned about doing her best and she knew her daughter could do better. What was eating up her daughter’s time?
Why did Nattie think that she needed to look like a woman in Hollywood? Better yet, why did she want top fashions when poodle skirts and modest shirts were good enough for her sister? Why was she trying to be something, someone, she wasn’t? Who was she trying to impress?
And why did she think she had to impress them for? Or was it all a way of acting out? But if that was the case, what had caused her to act out? Nothing made sense.
Perhaps she was overthinking it all. Perhaps it was just one of those phases. Whatever it was, she hoped that Nattie would snap out of it. And soon.
If she didn’t snap out of it, Valeria feared, she would not be able to live in the world. She would constantly be hurt by those she believed loved her. Valeria didn’t want that for Nattie. It just seemed as if there was something wrong, something broken, inside Nattie.
She sat on the couch quietly, her knees to her chin. She hadn’t done this since her childhood. It had always been her way of shielding herself from harm. Her way of thinking her way through her troubles. It was her way of finding security.
Rocking back and forth, she sat there thinking. She struggled with the problem more than was right. More than a mother should.
No matter how hard she struggled, she could find no solution. Nothing her mother and father had taught her could have ever prepared her for a child like Natalia. It was as if the girl had changed completely after Momma and Poppa Venechek left for Texas. At least when they had been around, Nattie had remained under control. But now? Now she was completely out of control.
She couldn’t help being worried. Nattie was a good girl, just a bit misguided. Was it the movies she went to see? Was it her taste in friends? Or the lack of friends?
She fought back the tears. Why did she have to have a child who wanted only to rebel? What had she done to deserve this? What had she not taught her girls?
A sound brought her out of her thoughts. She looked and found her husband, Michael, sitting next to her. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her gently to him. Her rough exterior melted and she began sobbing into him.
“Still beating yourself up over Nattie?” She nodded wordlessly to his question. “Don’t let her keep you from being happy, Baby. She is a child. She’ll outgrow this.”