Luliana: Picky

The focus on Daciana, her declining health, took valuable attention away from Luliana. She wanted to spend time with her parents, the four of them together. Instead, Patrick took Daciana to the hospital for tests, without results. Luliana kept Leticia company, fussing over the details and the best part, what they would wear. Luliana would whirl and dance in each one she tried. She would walk down the aisle, scattering petals, leading the way for Leticia to marry Patrick. The few time Daciana joined them, she was too ill for the energy Luliana projected. She would sit, smiling, offering weak applause for the performance.

A few hours at school exhausted Daciana, her eyes growing more sensitive to the light. Her diet consisted of high-calorie smoothies. All washed down with anti-sickness pills. She would cry in pain, angry no one could help her. The worse symptoms would come in waves. Fever, coughing, sore throat, sweating and a rapid heart rate. The doctors had written her off as an attention seeker. years before were falling over themselves to help. Luliana hoped she would have a good day when their parents wed. She kept imagining the photos of them in the beautiful dresses. Luliana kept sneaking into the closet to try them on.

Luliana wanted to help, aside from cuddling Daciana when she cried at night. The school understood Daciana was ill. They believed school projects and extra homework would stop her from falling behind. It was not much fun when holding a pen caused her arm muscles to cramp. Luliana imitated her writing, asking questions, tapping her pen, and awaiting the answer. She sniggered as Daciana struggled to perform sums in her head. Projects were easier. Luliana would rush them. Leticia disapproved, but neither wanted to make things worse for the girls. They resigned themselves to helping Luliana complete the projects.

The good aspects of Luliana needed balancing as she picked at food. Luliana described herself as having a refined palette. Gone was the bland food Patrick had made for Daciana. He focused on being experimental and expanding his culinary skills. Luliana pushed the seasoned chicken around the plate, screwing up her nose at the sauce. It smelled funny. Luliana wondered if the cream was off. Patrick rolled his eyes as she asked what dessert he had prepared. There was no sweet treat for a child who refused to eat their main meal. Luliana sat, arms folded and bottom lip pushed out. Leticia teased, hoping Luliana did not trip over the lip.

Tucked up in bed, Luliana felt her stomach grumble. Their room opened out to the family area and Kitchen. She knew which floorboards would creak as she slipped past the open arch. Through it, she could see Patrick, his arm around Leticia, lips pressed to her. Luliana smiled, taking advantage she slipped to the fridge. The heavy door rattled as she pulled. Clinking bottles brought Patrick’s attention. Luliana closed it, ducking behind the counter. He loomed over her as she peered around the side of the island toward the fridge. Shaking his head, Patrick pointed to the table. Luliana watched as Patrick retrieved a ham sandwich from the top shelf. She peeled back the top slice checking the contents. A tentative mouse-sized bite became a desperate devouring. The delicious thick white bloomer bread, its fine layer of unsalted butter, hugged the ham. She leaned against the cushioned seat. A sleepy haze washed over her, and her stomach gave one final gurgle of joy.

Luliana poses

Reflected Daciana and Leticia pose

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