Brother fails to respect his sisters – Ch 35
Brother! Who needs one when he’s such a bully – even though he’s the youngest of four children, Sophie thought as she returned to sit next to Bea on the couch, after both had visited their respective toilets. Sophie had marked her great-aunt’s letter with a highlighter to indicate where Bea was up to in translating the Dutch language,
When I went to Canada, I was very sorry to leave you. But my brother changed this fact and told you all kinds of stories which were not true.
‘Oh! That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?’ Sophie rolled her eyes as she pursed her lips.
Bea turned to her, ‘Yeeeeeees. It’s incredible, but true!’ She blew her nose. ‘It’s terrible. Heh?’
‘Mmm, mmm.’ Sophie closed her eyes for about ten seconds and opened them as Bea started to read again.
The travel, hotels and luggage were always first class for my brother if he was away. But I had to pay for everything, which in total cost about $2,000 during my time in Australia … I had to pay for what I was eating and for living with him.
Sophie’s face twisted cynically as Bea looked up to explain something she had trouble reading, ‘She writes that the girls had to work for their father in Australia.’
Sophie nodded, ‘Yes, my mum and her stepmother said that the girls worked very hard in the hostel for Dutch immigrants, doing all the cooking and cleaning…’
Bea relaxed, ‘Yes. They all had to work for their dad and his wife in Australia, is what she said.’ She turned back to the page.
But when it came to decide how much we inherited, it seems that… The friends were surprised, and it seems that my brother got more when you count it up all together.
Bea frowned and was silent, reading back a couple of times. Then she explained, ‘It seems that their eldest sister had not given all of his share of the money to Opa, but about a thousand each to Therese, Aggie and Ans (the three daughters who lived with Opa in Australia).’ Bea looked back at the page, ‘Yes, that’s what she says here. That some friends told her that their sister hadn’t given it all to your Opa.’
Sophie squinted at the page while Bea frowned as she scanned to and fro through the next sentence.
‘She says that it was strange, especially as…’ Bea resumed reading:
He told a story that he had no money because a thousand had been given to each of the girls, not to him.
Bea looked up with a cheeky grin, ‘She writes that when she discussed with Opa what the friend had told her, he was very angry.’ Bea looked back at the page then laughed as she pointed at the next sentence:
And if he was a child, I would have given him a good spanking!
Sophie laughed, until Bea began translating the letter again.
I had no say about my own money that he had put in his account, and I had no more money. So I had to beg him for some traveller’s cheques, about fifty pounds. Then he noticed that one of my suitcases was always closed and they tried to open it. But they could not open it. They told me that I had no permission to keep it locked.
Sophie let out a deep breath then held the next in, her whole body tensing and head turning from side to side. Bea’s lips pursed as she reread the next piece.
Before I left, my brother and his wife said that they told you, Nico, that they had the money. After that trip, I thought that I had to tell my sister, her husband and son. It’s now two years ago, and they said they had also experienced many difficulties with my brother, but they didn’t say what. So I decided to write to you now, in case they hadn’t actually told you.
Bea frowned as she scanned the next bit of the letter several times, and Sophie’s jaw was very taut, her lips sucked into her slightly open mouth as she held her body rigid in preparation for the next unpleasant revelation.
Jealousy in a brother seems to motivate bullying
He was always very jealous of me, but I got where I was with very hard work. When we were in Holland, they declared we were rich. But we always lived simply, saved our money and always had enough. But with no inheritance, I was saving money as I rented out part of my house to other people. My husband and I had a deep love for each other and were very content.
Bea paused to scan the next paragraph as Sophie’s face relaxed, her eyes soft and bright as she swallowed some tears at hearing about the happiness expressed by her great aunt in Canada. Bea resumed her reading:
Our struggles involved having a son who was mentally sick, but my troubles are less of a burden with the support of Jesus and God’s love. I don’t ask you to be sorry for me – only that you understand. Please think of me only with love. Bea and Nico and your kids, please don’t think that I am quarrelling about the family, but now, Nico, you know the whole story.
Bea began to smile and laugh as she scanned the next sentence,
Especially, that you are not supposed to know that your father got the money. Maybe, he is afraid that you might come and ask for money from him. These are his own words.
Sophie’s face broke into a huge smile as she and Bea’s eyes connected. Then Bea, shaking all over with laughter, fell across the couch, her head nearly landing in Sophie’s lap. Sophie’s eyes caressed her aunt’s delighted face.
After a few minutes of savouring the sweetness of the secret shared between all three generations of connected women, Bea focused again on Angelique’s letter, her eyebrows knitted.
Now they have forbidden me to tell you this, but I shall tell you, nevertheless.
Both women giggled.
I say that you too have the right to some of the money, just as the girls had the right, all except Emmanuelle… Your dad said that she was not allowed to have any either.
Sophie’s face dropped, eyes filled with sorrow, ‘As always.’