The drive to the country side wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Though I say as bad to spare the feelings of the driver. I gazed out the window more than half of the time, the other time I spent looking down at my iPod. The music played in my ears at a volume most would consider too loud, but at that moment I didn’t care.
“Here’s good.” I shouted at the driver before he reached the the garage door. “You can just let me out here.”
He set the parking break to his vehicle and proceeded to unload the bags from the trunk. “Is this house yours?” he asked in a think accent.
I nodded my head. The music still playing, this time only in one ear, the other bud hung close to my chest. “It’s the families house. It’s been here for longer than I can remember.”
“You are lucky.” he said with a smile.
“Some would think.” I said returning his smile half heartedly. I handed him a twenty dollar bill and picked the bags up off the ground.
“Thank you miss.” He said cheerfully. “Do you need help inside.”
“Thank you but I have got it.”
I saw my mother standing next to the large wooden door looking at me. She was watching me as she always did. Her hair was pulled back tight in a bun, as it always was. She stood so straight, it hurt my spine just looking at her. She made no attempt to help me.
I listened to the driver close the door of the taxi and drive away. I stood at the doorway of my new home, my mother next to me, offering no help. Even the door was larger than life on this place. Not to mention it was hanging off it’s hinges. I tried to open it fully with my foot, because my hands were full. I managed to crack it open before bags came flying out.
“You should have let him help you.” My mother exclaimed pushing past me and entering the house.
I watched her look around the foyer, as I picked the bags up. “Thank you mother, I’ll take that into consideration for the next time i stay at a giant mansion with a busted door.”
“Sarcasm doesn’t become you dear.” she said with a smile.
I grabbed the bags and mumbled something under my breath. I was soon inside letting the bags fall to the floor. The dust flocked up into the air, choking me as I tried to breath.
“Has anyone ever cleaned this place?” I asked coughing.
My mother, now standing in the door way replied. “It’s called abandoned for a reason.”
“Arn’t you the smart one.” I said with a wrinkle in my brow. “How long has it been like this?”
“Twenty years.” she had a look in her eye like she was picturing the past. “It’s been twenty years since a soul stepped foot into this mansion. I couldn’t bare it after your father died. I was the first in so long. You came here once with me as a child, but you were too young to remember.”
“Why am I here now?” I asked staring up at the grand staircase that seemed to go on forever.
“It’s yours Amanda.” my mother said happily. “This is all yours now. I wanted you to see it before you made the finale choice to sell it. I wanted you to know it even just a little before you get rid of it. It’s part of the family. I thought if you saw it, if you spent the night here, you would learn to love it.”
“I think if I spend the night here I will end up with some kind of mold.”
“You never could appreciate the finer things in life.”
“I don’t think a giant house, with cracked walls, and enough dust to make my own dust monster that eats other dust monsters is a finer thing. This place is a dump mother, I can’t stay here.”
“Why?” I exclaimed. “What is it about this place that is all of a sudden so important to you.”
“It’s our family history.” she said sadly “We don’t have much else left.”
“It’s not our family history. It’s no ones history. Its an old house with too many rooms, and no one to take care of it.” I could see that I was hurting her. “I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I don’t need you telling me what to do anymore. If you want to stay here be my guest, but don’t expect me to. I’m calling the cab, I’m going back to the hotel.”
“Amanda please, see what you have here.”
“No mother, for once I am doing what I want.” I got my cel phone out of my pocket and dialed the taxi. “I can’t stay here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I remember that trip.” I said out loud. It was the first time I have ever said it to her. “I remember that time you took me here. We stayed an entire week. You sat in that room up there and cried. I remember the sounds of you sobbing. I can’t stay here, where he died, where you….” I stopped myself.
“Amanda, my love it’s okay.”
“No it’s not okay.” I kept my tears to myself. “You left me.” I whispered. “It’s not okay and it never will be.”
She ran off up the stairs and slammed the door to a room unknown. I looked up after her, but dared not to climb the already broken down stairs.
I looked around the foyer, at the grand ceilings and hand scrapped floor boards. I walked into the kitchen and admired the cabinetry. I touched my hand against the cold travertine floor. I leaned against the marble counter top. I walked into the dinning room and touched the hand made table and chairs. I marveled at the crystal chandler.
I remember my time as a child in this place. I ran up and down the stairs so many times I lost count. I ate alone at that table. I sat in the window and read books waiting for my mother to come down stairs. I spent a week in this place, hoping things would work out.
After my father died, my mother disappeared. She wasn’t my mother any longer, just some tired woman telling me what to do. But I wasn’t going to let her tell me what to do this time. I took one more look around. This wasn’t my home.
A honk came from outside. I peered out the bay window and saw the same yellow cab in the driveway. I made my way back to the foyer and picked up my bags.
“Mother I am leaving.” I shouted up the stairs. “I know you are not happy. I know I promised I would spend one night her, I just can’t. I’m sorry, but this is too much for me. I don’t understand how you ever expected me to stay here. I know you are disappointed, but I have to do what’s right for me now. I love you.”
I marched outside not expecting a word from the pouting women upstairs. I put all my bags back in the trunk of the taxi. The same driver smiled back at me as he opened the door to the back seats. I stood outside the car for just a second to take another look at the house. I wished my mother would come outside with me, but I knew better.
Getting into the cab I put one ear bud back into my ear.
“I thought you were going to stay the night?” the cabi asked
I stopped the music for a second. “I just couldn’t bring myself to stay.”
“It’s such a beautiful house. What will you do with it, if you won’t stay.”
“Sell it I guess.”
“You won’t keep it in your family.”
“No.” I said sadly. “Mother can stay there if she wants.”
“How will she stay if you sell it to another?”
I put both earbuds in. “I suspect ghost can do whatever they want.”
I watched through the rear view as the mansion grew smaller with distance. If I left her there, I would never see her again. This was for the best. My mother left twenty years ago. She was gone the day we left that mansion when I was a child. She left herself there long before today. It was time to let her rest, and let the memory of her and the mansion go. I peered out the window and let it all wash away. I turned on the music, it was a volume most would consider too loud. I let tears fall from my eyes. I was hurting but at the same time, for the first time, I was okay.