Now That She’s Gone: Chapter 1 – Part 2

Chapter 1 – Part 2
Alison: After the Funeral Tea

Alison walked back inside, leaving her Dad on the porch. When she got there, she saw Jesse was already cleaning. She got to work and the two silently cleared away the dishes and wiped up the spills. It took nearly an hour and she was completely drained by the time it was done. Overall, it had been an exhausting day.

Jesse hugged her before she left. At some point while they were cleaning, their dad had slipped upstairs and gone to bed. She had a key and was just going to lock the door on her way out when she heard music softly playing. She had to listen carefully because she could barely hear it. Following the sound, she realized it was coming from the basement.

When she opened the door that led down the stairs, soft notes of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” met her ears. She followed the music down the stairs and found her brother sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by photo albums.

“You okay?” she asked.

“We never really knew her,” he said. He flipped the album page and pointed at a picture of them. They were at the beach. Alison remembered that day. They’d spent the day playing in the water on a deserted little bit of beach out in the middle of no where that their mom had discovered. After that it became their beach. It was a little out of the way, so they only went there about once or twice a year, but it was always the best day of the year.

Alison smiled looking at the photo until Robbie slammed the album shut. She looked at him in surprise and saw he was glaring. “Lies. All of it.”

Behind her she heard the creaking of the stairs. She turned around to see her dad standing in his bathrobe. His expression was more sad than she’d seen all day.

“Robbie, come upstairs. I think it’s time we had a talk.” Robbie glared back and didn’t say anything. They stared each other down with Alison looking between them stunned. Robbie was usually the easy-going one in the family. She couldn’t make sense of what was happening. “I understand you’re mad, and you have every right to be. But at least hear what I have to say. I’m guessing you have some questions.”

Robbie sighed and got up, leaving the albums in a heap on the floor and stomped up the stairs after his dad. Alison slowly slid the albums back onto the shelf. By the time she got upstairs they’d shut themselves in her dad’s office. She could hear voices behind the door, but couldn’t hear what they were saying. She decided to leave them to their talk. Jesse had been right; something had happened today and she had completely missed it. She walked out the door, curiosity and guilt warring to consume her.

Now That She’s Gone: Chapter 1 – Part 1

Dirty tea cupsChapter 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.”

“Wh—”

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.

“Yup,”

“You’re not going to tell me who he was?”

“Nope.”

“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.”