Dearest brother has been acting strange since mother Princess’s last visit. I am not sure what to think of this. We’ve always done things together but he spends a great deal of time in the dungeons, staring at the reconditioning chamber. There’s no one to recondition; we’re all lemons and therefore perfectly acceptable. Normally, I can tell what he’s thinking because it’s always been what I’m thinking. But not recently. I find this unacceptable. Mother Princess made me to be his friend and brother. We’re exactly alike. So…maybe it is me who has changed…maybe…maybe I am unacceptable?
Hnn. I don’t like this. Some days he is his usual self. We scream a lot and try to get the boys to build new rooms and make clothes. They’re trying…but they are…simple. I wonder sometimes if we got the formulae wrong. Brother sometimes yells at them unduly. They are starting to come to me more often, if they need help with things. I think this is making brother feel worse.
I know he lived alone for a long, long time and that mother princess abandoned him until recently. It is complex for him. I know he wants her approval, but everything he does sends her away. But then, she’s the one who made him as he is and left him alone. Mother princess angers me sometimes. She has food and supplies sent to us, but almost never visits. When she does, she just wants to leave. It’s as obvious as the nub on my head. It sours both of us.
Our boys have made something for us! It is a doll! It’s the most precious doll in the kingdom, I am certain! It’s made brother very happy. (Really, I’m surprised they managed to make something so nice) We decided he needs a house. Because he’s so sweet, that’s what we decided to call him. Lemonsweet.
We have given Lemonsweet a house. He has a bed and chair (I love the chair), a record player. It is very nice. We commanded the boys to make him sleeping bonnets. He is too precious to sleep without one, obviously. I don’t know why they didn’t think of it themselves. No matter. They’re just simple lemons, after all. We didn’t have enough candy left after Lemonjon to give them very large brains. I suppose they’re out there in the courtyard. It’s been a long time since we’ve checked on them but they’re probably fine out there, doing whatever they do. Lemonsweets is so perfect.
One of the simpletons from the candy kingdom came bursting through the courtyard earlier, just as we were playing with Lemonsweets. I sent him off with a lemon in his eye. I was just getting ready to put Lemonsweets to bed, when brother told me that Lemonsweets didn’t want to go to bed, that he wanted to dance. Who ever heard of a lemon dancing right before bed? It upsets the juice! Brother took him and made him dance any way. This unnerved me. We’d never disagreed like this before...but…he was starting to make me angry. We each grabbed Lemonsweets, and after a brief kerfuffle, I wrenched him away and put him to bed.
I was picking a bonnet out for Lemonsweets when I turned around and saw that brother was MAKING HIM DANCE!!! After I had JUST put him to bed! I yelled at him to stop, but he took Lemonsweets and said ‘we hate you’. I think I yellowed-out for a moment, because the next thing I knew our precious Lemonsweets was BROKEN on the floor. BROKEN!!! Poor, precious, fragile, baby Lemonsweets! I felt like I might juice for a second. I realized all at once that it must’ve been my fault, the way brother was looking at me. Suddenly my dearest brother turned on me, screaming “ONLY ONNNE!!!!!”
All I remember is pain and fear.
I am staying in the lower levels with our boys today…I don’t think I can handle any of his rages right now. Brother felt bad after what he did, after he’d had a few weeks of being lonely again. He spat me out.
I am missing half of my head…both of my legs. I…don’t know what to feel anymore. Brother made me a hoverchair to sit in as a way of apologizing. I was upset and told him he could cram the thing where the seeds don’t grow. How could I trust my dearest brother after what he’d done to me? I…I never expected to feel so afraid, especially not at his hands. Brother looked hurt for a moment and then I could see it turning into anger. He hit me and there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t run, not without the hoverchair. He stopped and looked at his hands. He looked afraid now. ‘Unacceptable’ was all he said and he left the room. I sat there in a heap, trying not to cry. A grown lemon, crying? Maybe I really am soft, like he says.
I ended up taking the hoverchair, of course. While I’d been…fermenting…brother had set the children to work cleaning the castle. They were doing more than cleaning it though; they were making sculptures and adding garnishes to everything. It looked strange; not at all like the castle I’d first woken up in. But then, my brother wasn’t the same Lemongrab…
I found it hard to eat as the weeks went by and my brother raged and stormed about. Sometimes he could be like his old self and then, just when I thought things might go back to normal, he’d go off again. Right now, just seeing him makes my lemonheart beat faster. I feel sick, and tired and cower at the slightest gesture from him. Brother is wearing me out with his random anger. I never know when he is going to talk to me and when he’s going to hit me with something. He is even being cruel to the children now. I saw him kick Dumpdome for sitting. That’s what Dumpdome does. The dungeons are becoming horrifying. There is a juicer down there. ON THE TOILET.
It dawns on me that I’ve never felt like this before. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the word ‘cruel’ or what it is to suffer from it. But for all of this…I still love my brother. I suppose I always did. Mother Princess created me to love him, and even though I’m afraid of him, I still…
Mnnn…I am a soft lemon after all. But the children, growing more afraid of brother, are coming to me more often. Sometimes they talk to me and tell me in their wonderfully piercing lemon-voices what they are learning and doing and feeling. It surprises me how much they know and feel. Did they always? Maybe I was too distracted with Lemonsweets to notice.
I understand, all at once, that I was cruel too. I didn’t understand what I was doing, how I could make others feel…but now that I’ve felt it myself, I am ashamed.
Brother sees them visiting with me and rages about it. He can’t stand that they would choose me instead of him. One, little Badlemonnohope likes to help his brothers and play music for them. It seems to calm them down. I don’t like the sound of it, but brother hates it. He came thundering in and grabbed Lemonhope (as the boys call him). He threw him into the dungeon room with the…juicing toilet. I don’t know the code for that door...and even if I did, would I be brave enough to open it and let Lemonhope out? I have never had to be brave before. Even so…I can sometimes hear that awful harp through the door. Even with all the reconditioning, he’s still playing. He’s a brave boy.
I have started sneaking the children some of my food, if brother eats their share. So far, he hasn’t noticed. My clothes are getting baggy…but the children look better. This is as brave as I can be, for now.
Sometimes, when brother doesn’t think I’m around, I hear him muttering about Mother Princess and becoming more acceptable. I thought he was acceptable, a long time ago, but that’s never mattered to him -- it’s always been Mother Princess. He’s tried so hard to be acceptable for her. Our mother never seems to care. I think this is what rots him. He’s decided that being who he was, wasn’t enough. Now he’s changed into this…this…bloated grapefruit of a lemon. Ugh. He eats most of the children’s food, and mine.
I am getting weaker, and brother even larger. Sometimes I feel like the seed smothered by the rind. I try to do what he says; he’ll hit me or yell at me if I don’t. Sometimes he’ll punish the children for things I must’ve done wrong, ensuring that I’ll jump at his commands. Jump…haha…it’s been a long time since I was able to really jump.
Brother, I am tired of you and tired of all this. If someone were to help us…I would try to be brave and help too. I…I can’t keep living in your awful shadow! I’ve learned what it is to be afraid! If I can…stop you, dearest brother, I will try.
…but I’ll miss you, even if you won’t miss me…