#9- Oh Cleo

‘I don’t care I don’t want to go to her stupid Christmas holiday.’ Cleo fumes from the hundredth time to her mother.

Today is her turn for tea, and they go to her favourite place for it, Fortnum and Mason. She’d been going on and on about JJ’s holiday invitations that was not extended to the both of them.

‘I say we go away on our own holiday to Florence I know just the place.’

Gyll indulges her daughter, Cleo took the divorce the hardest, she’d been a mama’s girl and never came to terms with it. It did not help that her ex-husband, Martin did not make it easy. Their relationship was non-existent.

‘It’s not far from Tuscany.’

‘I don’t care.’ Cleo shrugs, the years of being mollycoddled showing through.

No matter what Cleo will never get over the divorce and even worse she will always blame JJ for it, their mother had tried to dissuade her from that but her stubborn headed daughter will not budge on that point. Their feud had festered from when JJ was four years-old, so much so, she did not even invite her to her wedding or informed JJ of the birth of any of her children. After JJ moved away to study at Harvard, whatever was left of the bond that bind them as sisters was broken. Gyll is only happy that her other children have a better relationship with her youngest child. Better than she has, something she will never not be ashamed of.

‘Cleo, you have to let it go.’

‘I am not holding on to anything, mum.’

‘But you want to go to Florence for the holidays.’

‘Why shouldn’t we go away and enjoy ourselves.’

‘Because you don’t like to go away for Christmas.’

‘Well maybe this year I do.’

Gyll knows Cleo only wants to make trouble for JJ, much like she has been from when they were little. She never passed up any opportunity to make trouble for her youngest sister but to Cleo’s chagrin their father, whose good graces she always wanted to be in, still favoured JJ over any of his other children even if he remains so mad at her and their relationship is still fraught.

‘Cleo, I wish you wouldn’t hold on to this grudge, I beg you not to. Make up with your sister.’

‘She doesn’t want to make up with me.’

‘Have you tried to apologise?’

‘What for? I’ve done nothing.’

At that Gyll raises a brow and Cleo shrugs. They both know she had done plenty of some things wrong to JJ.

‘I have nothing to apologise to her for.’

Gyll decides to be honest with her stubborn daughter. ‘You do. I do. Your father does-’


‘Listen to me my darling, JJ suffered the most, the things that happened, the way I behaved… I am not proud of anything, and I am trying to make those amends but you should too. You hurt her in a way no sister ever should, and I know in that stubborn head of yours you know that’s the truth.’

‘What did I do?’

‘You were mean. You’re still mean, you blame her for things that she has nothing to do with. You were not there that morning and the pain of it will never leave me.’ Gyll shrugs, ‘I love you my darling girl, I always will and I am sorry for the way I behaved that has caused you so much anger and pain I do hope you can forgive me.’

‘I’m not mad at you mum.’

‘You hold JJ responsible when she had nothing to do with it.’

‘All I know is if she wasn’t born you would never have left.’

And there is the crux of the matter, this grudge he second oldest daughter has been holding on to from age ten.  Three decades a happy marriage and three children later, she still will not let it go.