The Monroe Family manor has stood alone since 1949. Bethany was it's first owner sinde. She was exhausted from the move, from her foreclosed home just a few blocks over. This move was an important one. One of those times where everything was going to be alright. "Is this it?" She said. She pulled her the hood of her pink fur parka closer to her chest. The cold weather made her uneasy. It wasn't what she was used to when she was growing up in Los Angeles.
Frank got out the car and patiently stood by her side. It was obvious he didn't like the place too much. Too big and charming, too grand, too ostentacious, it's everything a mere look-a-like of the famed playwright, Arthur Miller, was not. But, at least it was cheap. He said, "This is it. I can't believe the deal we got on this place, huh?" His mouth hung open as he looked back at Bethany, who was still lost in the wondorous granduer of the gray old manor. She was easily distracted. He was used to it. He never minded. It was always best just to say what he had needed and move on, quietly.
"Don't get too excited," She said, leaning her head towards him and still gazed up at the tall, dark windows of the
manor in awe, "The plumbing could still be noisy."
"Ha ha," He sing-songed, "There's more to life than just hardware, sweetie. There's home." He nudged her and walked around to the back of the truck. Say something, move on. Whether she listened or not. It worked for him for the past twenty years of Marriage. It does today.
He pulled on the metal latch of the truck door and threw it up, slamming it against the roof. Oh, no. God. There's too much furniture. When did we have this much furniture? Frank took a step back, putting his hands on his waist. That's where they were usually right at home. He stared up at the masses of possessions, letting his mouth hang open once more. He's too frozen to think of what to do with it all. Strength was not his strong suit, among other things. Bethany happily strolled up to him and watched as he kept a steady gaze at the truck, unfazed by her presence. "That's a lot of stuff, honey," Frank said, "Did we always have that much...stuff?"
Bethany patted his chest with a smile. She said, "It's nothing you can't handle, honey." Of course he can handle it, when she's there to lift the many things that he couldn't raise more than a couple inches from the ground. She knows it's nothing we can't handle. Though the fact was evident, it was never in her nature to boast. After all, he's still a better cook.
"Right," He said.
Their sixteen-year old teenager, Mercedes, finally walks up to them after sitting in the van the whole time. Moping. She was leaving all of her friends, most of her family, her boyfriend...all because they're parents fell on hard times and they had to move. That wasn't her fault, it wasn't fair. It was true that all Mercedes ever wanted, all she asked, was to get out and make it on her own, because at sixteen her parents didn't see her apparent wisdom beyond her years. She could do it. And if they could never see her side, then wait two years, and life will be just again.
"What's he doing?" She leaned in and whispered to her mother. Why, oh why, did she have to go through all of this but now had to wait in the cold while he simply...stood there. Her mother read her thoughts, but avoided the issue.
"He's calculating," She snickered.
"Explain again," Mercedes said, "Remind me why we moved all the way out here? I don't know anybody." All she wanted was a little pity to her plight.
"Mercedes!" Bethany lowered her voice, catching herself. She never wanted to make a scene, even if nobody was watching, "I told you. We can't afford it anymore. Now, your father and I have decided that we need a fresh start, save some money, and move somewhere that we can afford to live in. So let's just make the best of it, huh?" She took Mercedes by the shoulder and gave her a few shakes. If words weren't going to do it, at least there was a little parental awkwardness to make a teenager keep quiet about the matter. Or so she thought.
"Right. And this 'mansion' is how we save money?" Mercedes looked back at the manor with raised eyebrows, if only to further make her point, "Look at it! It's gotta be 10,000 square feet or something in there." She looked back at her Mom, sarcastically. In her heart though, no matter how convincing or right, she knew her mother already made up her mind. For her, life was just meant to be that difficult.
"It's 3,400 square feet, actually, who's counting," Bethany said, "En suite, bathrooms, masters, chandeliers, and a little dusty but --"
"But no pool?"
Bethany gave her a knowing look. Mercedes just can't be satisfied, can she? Well, she'll have to be. This house was cheap and also available on short notice. Whether anyone liked it or not, there wasn't going to be any backpedaling. This was it. Luckily, nothing further needed to be said. Mercedes merely smiled and slowly backed away, slightly bending over in the cold air. She said, "I'm going to find my new room. I'll meet you guys inside, alright? God Willing." She turned around, they didn't see her roll her eyes. She quickly wiped the smile from her face. Her life can be so tiring.
By now, when Bethany could finally look at her husband, Frank who was already standing inside the truck. He only wanted to stand closer while he gazed at the mountains of objects and furniture, becoming more nervous about what to
move, and where, with every passing second. He pushed up the black rim of his glasses, right to the top of his nose. He sniffled at the cold air. This was not the easiest task, for the little man Frank didn't mind being.
"Honey," Bethany said, leaning to the side to peer at him, dawdling, in the truck.
"Yes?" He said. He was already exhausted before he could touch anything.
"I'm going inside with Mercedes...you let me know when our stuff brings itself in, okay? And when they do, make sure you don't let those pesky flying pigs get in the way."
"Yeah, okay," He said under his breath. His plate was full. He was beyond making a comeback to any of her jokes. She probably wouldn't have paid much attention to it, anyway.