Chapter 1 – Part I
Alison: After the Funeral Tea
Alison walked through the living room picking up half full cups of tea and coffee and carried them to the kitchen. Dishes clattered together in the sink. Crumbs covered every available surface mingling with brown droplets and rings. Normally she’d be muttering about coasters and the inconsiderateness of guests, but today she just brushed it onto the carpet without a second thought.
It wasn’t the guests that bothered her right now. She stomped into the dinning room and started to rearrange the picked-over platters to that she could stack them together more easily. She managed to pick up seven platters, all stacked precariously together and started walking towards the kitchen when her toe cracked against the leg of the dinning room table causing her to propel forward, the trays sliding from her grasp. Everything crashed to the floor, food spilling everywhere.
That’s when she snapped. Her grief over losing her mom, her frustration with her family for not helping more with the funeral preparations, and total lack of sleep all culminated together as a wave of fury washed over her. Leaving the food and broken platters on the floor, she stormed through the house looking for her sister Jesse.
She found her outside on the front lawn waving good-bye to the last guests as they pulled away from the house.
“What are you doing?” Alison asked, her heels clicking on the driveway as she stomped to where Jesse was standing.
Jesse whipped a tear off her cheek and clasped her hands at her heart. “Mrs. Sanders had the best stories about Mom. Did you k—”
“No, I didn’t know,” Alison said, cutting her off. “What I do know is that once again I’m doing all the work. I’ve set everything up. I made sure the guests were comfortable, and now I’m cleaning up by myself. And the tea was your idea!” She could feel tears threatening to overcome her, but she fought to keep them down. “And where’s Dad and Robbie? I’m doing this all on my own! Don’t you care about how Mom’s life was honoured?”
Jesse sighed. “Of course I do! The whole point of having the tea was to mourn with people and hear their stories about Mom. That’s why I wanted to do it the tea here. I didn’t want to spend it worrying about things that don’t matter.”
Jesse held up her hand to stop her. “And second of all. While you’ve been so busy running around, you completely missed the fact that Dad got in a fight was some guy at the funeral.
Alison’s mouth opened.
“His fist was bleeding and everything. And Robbie! I’ve been trying to figure out what’s been going on with him. But of course, You probably didn’t notice any of that. You were too busy making sure the cucumber sandwiches were cut just right.” She pushed past Alison, leaving her standing, once again by herself, in the driveway.
It took some time for Alison to find her dad. When she did, she found him on the porch along the side of the house. And, of course, he had heard everything.
“Did something happen at the funeral?” Alison asked. The boards of the porch creaked under her feet as she walked to the railing and leaned against it to look at him. He was sitting in the porch swing slowing rocking back and forth. It was where her mom used to sit.
There was a long silence before he responded. “Someone from the past came back and I needed to make sure he stayed away.”
“That was cryptic,” she said, looking up at him from her place on the porch steps.
“You’re not going to tell me who he was?”
“Do you want me to take a look at your hand?”
“Jesse cleaned it up earlier. Thanks anyway.”
She started to walk away, but hesitated when she hit the grass. “Love you Dad.”
“Love you too, Pumpkin.”