MEMORIES

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


Flash Fiction inspired by the prompt THE KEY

Submitted: September 08, 2018

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Submitted: September 08, 2018

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I should feel sad... bereft, but all I feel is a strong sense of release. I walk into my gloomy childhood home and am instantly transported back in time, back to the little girl I used to be... cowed, controlled, a failure, a total disappointment.


The walls of the long hall are filled with family photos... my late Father who died in a tragic accident when I was just a baby. He had such kind eyes and, not for the first time, I wonder if he could have made my life more bearable had he lived.

A school portrait taken when I was about ten years old clearly shows the signs of strain in my young face, I almost look as if I am apologising for my very existence.

I pause at my grand mother's austere face staring back at me in disapproval. I can hear her now telling Mother that a child needs discipline, a firm hand, that at the end of the day I would thank her for it... advice she had applied with vigorous tenacity. I can instantly recall the grim hard lines of my mother's mouth, the determined glint in her dark, bird like eyes, the cloying smell of her face powder which she used to transform her face into a thick, pale mask, in stark contrast to her coal black hair, curled into a severe, stiff helmet.

Moving swiftly on, I enter the front room with its large leaded bay window. Everything is just as it was... the heavy flocked wallpaper, the faded, dusty red velvet curtains, the ornate fringed standard lamp and the fireside chairs carefully arranged in a half moon circle around the fireplace. In the corner is the chunky, carved wooden monstrosity that blighted my childhood and which still seems to be mocking me. I close my eyes trying to erase the image, but in my mind I am sitting on the stool in front of it, hot tears blurring my eyes, the back of my right hand covered in angry, red weals sustained from relentless sharp smacks from the ruler clutched in mother's hand. Her voice still echo's in my head... “Patricia, you will not leave this room until you have perfected this piece, do you hear me." 

Like a Sargent major, she had screamed insults, told me repeatedly I was hopeless, and demanded I practised until I had got it right, which usually involved hours of continued abuse. As a young woman, Mother had once dreamed of becoming a concert pianist but had failed to make the grade. Consequently, she had set her sights on achieving that dream through me... a vicarious objective she was determined to achieve... until I rebelled.

I walk over to the piano and lift the lid. Even now, the sight of those black and white keys fill me with dread... my palms become clammy, nausea rises up from the pit of my stomach and constricts my throat. I slump down in one of the fireside chairs and rock back and forth. “Oh mother, why did you make me hate you?”

How I had yearned for affection... a kind word of encouragement, a compliment, a reassuring smile, a tender hug, but those arms, those hands had only ever been used to mete out punishment. How I envy those who have been blessed with loving, supportive parents, who have a lifetime making precious memories to savour. Those who have found and experienced love, had families of their own.

 
The doorbell interrupts my reverie, I blink back the tears that threaten, then open the front door. 

A burly chap with a big round face and twinkling blue eyes extends out a hand. “Hi, I'm Brad Hughes from Cash for Clearance, madam.”

I shake his hand and invite him into the front room. “The house has been sold and I need it cleared as soon as possible. Please feel free to look around.”

Are you sure there's nothing you would like to keep? What about that piano... it looks like a family heirloom to me.”

No Brad, believe me, I am absolutely sure... it has no place in my life, only painful memories. You can take an axe to it as far as I'm concerned. In fact, I would happily help you.”


© Copyright 2018 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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