Chapter 7: Decisions

There is no switch that flips when one becomes an adult in the eyes of the law. No magical changes or alterations, just the same thoughts in an older body.

Gone Without Water (Act 2, Scene 1)

Linsan had only been eighteen for a day and she was about to do the first adult thing she could think of: ask for money. Her mother had not had a job or show since last summer and her father’s commissions for essays were dwindling every week. Both of her parents tried to keep it hidden from her. However, ever since her mother’s confession during their summer picnic, Linsan couldn’t help but notice the gradual tightening of the purse strings.

It started with buying a little less at the store for food. Then it was replacing their favorite teas with more local ones with less flavor. Then the dairy delivery went from every three days to once a week and then every other week. Her mother’s dresses changed with their fortune, the fancy materials carefully wrapped and placed in the attic. The ones she wore to clean house became her daily outfits, though she never stopped wearing hats and the occasional gloves. The fanciest she got was when her weekly students came in to learn how to sing. There were only three of them.

What started as a vague idea became a necessity when Linsan saw how anxious both of her parents were for the monthly monies that came from Dukan, a man who worked with her father before the fire that destroyed everything. He had done well for himself, though she hadn’t seen him for better part of five years. The only reminder came once a month like clockwork, two hundred and fifty crowns on the third day. Cash.

Dukan had said the money would last until a few years after school. With her final days in a few weeks, she decided to head for his bank and ask for an extension and possibly more money. Maybe he would be generous. Just until her mother got another show or her father got a commission for a book or something more dramatic than the weekly newspapers.

Linsan decided to ask. What was the worst that could happen? So, on the day after her birthday, she stepped out of the house before the sun breached the horizon. It was a cool morning, not quite cold enough to cause her breath to fog but still a reminder that winter had ended less than a month ago. She tugged on her wool coat over her best dress and headed down the walk.

In her mind, she imagined what he would say. Would he demand some sort of service? If it was to work for him at the bank, she couldn’t say no to that. She was about to finish school and a steady job, even one that didn’t have anything to do with music, was better than none. She would gladly help her parents with that. It didn’t matter if he asked her to become a maid, factory worker, or even a herald.

She wouldn’t give up the violin though. Even though she didn’t understand the emotional connection between Palisis and her parents, she knew it was more important than anything else. They were willing to not sell the violin for potentially millions of crowns because of its importance. She wouldn’t betray them by ever letting that violin go.

Linsan wasn’t sure if that offer would ever come u. She had no clue how Dukan had changed in five years, much less what the bank looked like inside. Years ago, she walked with her mother and a wheelbarrow to deliver supplies from the attic to the bank but she had remained outside while her mother went inside.

That was the day when Tisin had made Linsan promise that she would never tell anyone that she had played the instrument. Even a simple melody would diminish the value of the instrument drastically, turning millions into hundreds.

No, Linsan couldn’t do that either.

A cold wind blew past her, tugging on her coat.

She ducked her head. Thankfully, she had braided her brunette hair into her best design and stole one of her mother’s favorite hair ties to keep it in place. The heavy weight, a staff award for a long-forgotten play, bounced against her back with every step.

It was time to be an adult. Her parents needed it.