Charlotte was going through a morning phase; she believed everyone should be awake at dawn. Running into Eliza’s room, she jumps on the bed, screaming how it was Saturday; they needed to go swimming, have a picnic, and Eliza had to bake her brownies. The excitement of the weekend replaced by Emilie, an exhausted smile, another school day deadened the atmosphere. Eliza groaned; the duvet pulled above her head; Emilie made Rylan promise, an A grade today would grant her a puppy.
Eliza stared at the soggy cereal, wheat hoops swelling, floating, her maths test nausea taking the desire to eat. Life felt unfair; hoops Rylan made her jump through, Eliza had proved she was responsible, why did he object to her having a dog? Uneaten breakfast disposed, Rylan frowned; Eliza started to see school as stupid, a way to make people conform to impossible expectations, become repetitive parrots and live within societal norms. She wanted a challenge, adventure, the world held possibilities to expand the mind; school dismissed her creative thinking rather than encouraging it. Emilie was the go-to when they required advice and encouragement or sense; Rylan struggled to understand his children, but this feeling he knew. Society demanded an educated individual; he knew Eliza’s intelligence was akin to Ziva, but she had surpassed his sister. He remained certain, Eliza, despite her intellect, still unprepared for the world outside. Handing her the lunch sack, Rylan suggested volunteering as she had as a child.
It seemed weird; Eliza considered her father’s advice, the school demanded regular volunteers for nursing homes, soup kitchens, local clean-up and bake sales, the latter being her favourite kind. Saturday morning, Charlotte provided the much-needed alarm call; convinced her father would welch on the agreement, she headed towards the bowling alley. Cake stalls were laden with goodies, her stomach rumbled, regretting the choice to skip breakfast. Her role, greeting the visitors, taking entry donations; many were tight, offering tiny amounts or ignoring her, what was worse the charity event brought minimal interest. Eliza sighed, her stomach aching, sweet aromas filled her nostrils, intensifying the feeling. Unattended Macaroons tempted Eliza, she could imagine the pink crispy shell popping on her tongue, the smooth strawberry cream making her mouth water. Resistance was difficult, she gazed longing; ditching her post, Eliza took the tray, stepping to the street she hollered at passers-by, promoting the delicious wonders waiting inside. The promotion worked, each welcome donation received a macaroon, she watched as people entered, intrigued and exit with arms of cakes, biscuits and full stomachs. Rylan may have thought she would be fearful of the world, Eliza believed she was ready and this event proved she had something special, as the organiser gave her a dozen chocolate macaroons as a thank you.
Her family gathered, greedy they took a share of Eliza’s reward, unresponsive to the knocking. Eliza ditched her macaroon to answer, a man with a large cage smiled. He looked through the house, the cage whimpered, tiny yaps, but the man refused to let her look until satisfied she and the home were suitable. A frown transitioned to a big smile, he asked Rylan to sign, nodding to Eliza she opened the cage. Wary of his new surroundings Sparky, a black and brown furry ball with four clumsy paws sniffed the air.