Kim’s baked Mom’s carrot cake and made her trademark lemonade. They’ll eat on the balcony. She’s approached the visit the way Mom would have. Might be the wrong tactic. But she hasn’t talked to him without her mother’s moderation for years. She needs the comfort of how things used to be done.
When the doorbell rings, she experiences a brief flutter of panic. There he is, armed with flowers. She shows him around.
‘Your mother’d be so proud.’
‘I wish she could see your new home.’
‘Me too. But I’m glad you’re here.’
Dad smiles. Kim smiles back.
Kim shouldn’t have agreed to viewing an apartment. She wants a house. But every one she’s seen reminded her of her childhood home in some way. Three times, she’s picked up the phone to cancel the appointment. Each time, she put it down before anyone answered.
So here she is, entering with the estate broker. He gives her the tour and rattles off his sales spiel. Kim’s not listening. Her heart’s racing, her breathing’s speeding up. She walks straight out onto the huge balcony. What a view. And not a memory in sight.
‘Yes,’ she says. ‘This is the one.’
Kim likes the house. She walks out on the porch and – BAM! – she’s sixteen again, repainting the balustrade.
She’d thought of Mom as weak, a push-over who did as Dad told her. But when she lessened Kim’s discomfort by offering lemonade, only to intensify it with her words, Kim understood she’d been wrong. Their relationship changed. She talked to Mom every day. Until the day when Mom didn’t pick up the phone – it happened that sudden.
The wind chimes jingle in the breeze. Kim shakes off the memories. She turns to the estate agent.
‘Sorry, it’s not for me.’
I used this week’s FFfAW photo prompt and today’s Writing 101 prompt – loss – for this. When I saw the photo, it reminded me of the porch Kim had to paint a while ago, so I brought her back.
Read all the FFfAW stories here.
Kim wipes the sweat off her face. She’ll have to do it again in a second. The sun’s as relentless as her dad, but it’s the latter’s relentlessness that’s keeping her outside.
Kim’s mum arrives with a glass of homemade lemonade. Ice cubes tinkle. Sweetest sound Kim’s ever heard.
‘Dad said no drinks until I’ve finished with the balustrade.’
‘I know. You’ll end up dehydrated. Here.’
Kim gulps down the lemonade, then presses the glass to her temples.
‘I’m roasting,’ she whimpers.
‘Ideal varnishing conditions,’ her mum says. ‘Remember it for next time.’
‘Next time? Like I’ll throw another party.’
This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. It’s based on the photo by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Go here if you want to read more stories inspired by the prompt.