“Addy, wake up.” My sister Anna said, standing over me. “People are starting to get here.”
I slept in my childhood bed for the first time in many years. “I was hoping it would all be a dream.” I admitted with a sigh. I stretched and gave my eyes a minute to adjust to their first glimpse of the sun before 11:30am that they had felt in years. I looked around the room. My old stomping ground. It reminded me of my cousin Victoria’s room-- she passed away from a rare childhood cancer when I was just a girl, and from the moment that she took her last breath, her room did not change. It was a shrine of dolls and tea sets just as she had left them on her last healthy day. Aunt Elise would go in her room and sit, and I often wondered if it wouldn’t hurt less to make an office or sun room out of it. Even though I obviously hadn’t died, for some reason my own Mama felt the need to leave my room exactly the same. Maybe it just ran in the family and had nothing to do with poor Victoria’s death in the first place-- maybe they were just afraid to let go in general.
I carefully made the bed, smoothing the pink quilt to perfection as I had done so many times before. Anna had always left her bed unmade, she knew that the housekeeper would be in to tidy things up, but I always made mine. Now looking back I realize that I didn’t want to sleep in a bed that my father’s mistress had touched. It was bad enough eating her cooking.
“Well, it wasn’t a dream. Mama’s gone.” Anna said, her impatience resonating through my groggy brain.
Her voice jolted me back to reality. Anna was already dressed in black with her hair perfect, makeup on, looking more like Mama than I had ever noticed before. We had never been what you could call close. She was a “daddy’s girl” and I was fiercely loyal to my Mama instead. If it hadn’t been for the years at boarding school, the grueling summer schedules, and the differences of opinion about our father keeping us apart, we could have been close. There is no doubt about that.
“I’ll be down in a bit.” I mumbled as I rummaged through my duffel bag, pulling out a crumpled black dress and heading toward the bathroom to wash my cares away in the claw footed tub.
“Daddy is here today.” Anna added, giving me fair warning.
She didn’t know why I hated my Father, but she knew that I did. Everyone knew that I hated him-- I made it my life's goal to make it known. “Okay, I figured he would be… After all, it is his house.” I said, rolling my eyes and closing the heavy door. I wondered how I would ever make it through the day that I had never even realized would happen to begin with. It had never occurred to me that my Mama could die. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t have anyone left to protect. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself now, but the sooner it was over with the better. As soon as the casket was in the ground, I planned to make my way back up the east coast toward Boston. At worst, I would have to spend one more night in the time capsule of a bedroom before I was on my merry little way.