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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Skeletons in the cupboard!

Submitted: September 23, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 23, 2017




We had been putting it off... just could not face it. Our childhood home that held so many wonderful, happy memories had been sold. While still grieving the loss of our adored Mum, Dad had also unexpectedly died of a heart attack.

We finally surrendered to the inevitable heart wrenching job of clearing out the house that had once been our home. Even the familiar smell still lingered, not in a negative way but a comforting aroma that transported me back to a different time and phase in my life, and which now provoked a great wave of nostalgia.

With great reluctance, me and my older sister Ann, had spent the morning bagging up our parent’s clothes ready to take to the local Charity Shop. We then went through the painful process of deciding which remnants of their lives could be thrown into a skip, and which pieces we wanted to save for posterity.

“I need a coffee,” Ann said, pausing to mull over old family photos, including those of our grand-parents and other family members now long gone.

“Gosh, I remember Mum showing me this year’s ago.” She was staring hard at an old sepia photograph, creased and shabby with age. “It’s the only photo of our Great Grand-parents, the little girl is Grandma Grace.” She reached over and passed it to me.

In the photograph my toddler Grandmother stared into the camera with wide innocent eyes from the comfort of her mother’s lap. A stiff, austere looking man stood behind her; one hand rested possessively on his wife’s shoulder, but there was something about his dark eyes that grabbed my interest. That intense stare... was it arrogance or self-defence? “He looks as if he’s got a big chip on his shoulder.”

Ann took another look. “He must have died not long after this was taken. According to Mum, Grandma had no memory of her father and Great Grandma refused to talk about him. All she knew was that before his death he had been a devout Baptist Minister.”

“Maybe he was ill and knew he was about to die.”

“You might be right, but we will never know.”

The arrival of the house clearance van disturbed our reverie. Burly workers piled out, paused at the heaving skip and began to rifle through its contents like scavengers. I noticed Ann gnawing at her thumb nail, her eyes wet with tears as she watched them load items of furniture, no longer needed or wanted, into the truck.

I turn to her. “This is heart-breaking, and there’s still the loft to clear out. I’ve had enough, let’s call it a day.”

“You’re right Kaye, I can’t take any more, its messing with my head.”



I mounted the loft ladder and shone the torch into the roof space, which is crammed with clutter. “Ann, this is heaving with stuff. We’re going to need some help.”

I phoned Will, my strapping son who had returned home after finishing his final year at University. “Get yourself out of bed, we need your help to clear out the loft. I’ll pick you up in twenty minutes.

He grunted, “Whar?”

“Just get dressed now.”

By lunch time, we had emptied most of the accumulated junk going back years, among which were old hats, a variety of moth eaten rugs and curtains, stored ornaments that had gone out of vogue, discarded toys, an old pushchair as well as boxes and boxes of dusty books. My eyes were suddenly drawn to a large wooden box. Curious, I tried to open the lid, but it was locked.

“Will, come over here, see if you can open this.”

He leapt to his feet and, in the space of a second the lid had been wrenched open and the contents strewn over the floor. As I rifled through the assortment of papers and letters going back years, an envelope addressed to Grace Bennett, marked Private and Confidential, caught my attention.

I lifted a folded letter from its ancient envelope and carefully opened the brittle, deeply creased sheet of paper.

“Hey Ann, there’s a private letter here addressed to Grandma Grace.”

“I’m intrigued, read it out.”


My darling Grace

In accordance with my instruction, you have been handed this letter by the executor of my will.

I have a confession to make. I lied to you about your father because it was too painful to tell you the truth. But you see Grace, your father lived a double life, and the revelation of his shocking confession left me humiliated and utterly devastated.

I am ashamed to have to tell you that he succumbed to the charms of a member of his congregation, and entered into a clandestine relationship that he went to great lengths to conceal. He disregarded not only his wedding vows to me, but the principles and discipline of his faith.

It was just before your second birthday that he revealed the sinful, sordid details of his secret life. I am so ashamed, I can hardly bring myself to write it down, but you deserve to know the truth.

I could have coped if he had left me for another woman, but the vile truth is that he left me for a man.

I told you he had died, and to me he had. In actual fact he and his (well words fail me), emigrated to America to start a new life together.

So now you know, I can now rest in peace.

Your loving mother.


Ann had visibly paled. “Gosh! How times have changed, I actually feel real pity for him. It’s obvious he tried to suppress his sexuality by marrying Great Grandma and attempted, for a time, to live a life of pretence. You said he looked like a man with a chip on his shoulder, and you were right. I hope he went on to live a new and fulfilled life."

I noticed Will had gone quiet. “You okay Will?”

“Mum, Auntie Ann, maybe this is the right time to tell you … I’m gay.”





© Copyright 2018 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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