September 30, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a return to home. What does it mean to return? Is it to reconnect, discover or let go? It can be a town, house, farm, castle or ruins. It can be a country or family, one of origin or one adopted. What does the return impart?
This week’s Carrot Ranch prompt begs a question – what do we mean by home? I asked that recently – here – and in the comments it was clear it’s not necessarily connected to a physical place of residence but rather it’s the emotional connection to somewhere. Home remains home even after you’ve left it if you regard it as such.
In my latest novel, My Father and Other Liars, Maurice returns to his mother’s cottage, the family home, for the first time since she died. Here he is outside her bedroom door.
An image of the inside came to me: the print of the gardens at Hidcote, slightly out of true above the bed; the dresser with the cut-glass scent bottle and bowl of cotton wool balls; the three rings in a heap on the bedside table; the little gold and black alarm clock with the small crack in the top left corner; the middle wardrobe door, three centimetres proud of the rest, creating a shadow like a crack, through which it was possible to imagine the past seeping into the room; and in the middle of all this stasis, the bed with the dent on the right side. A very personal depression. I turned away. Nothing would remove the chill.
And for my flash, here is Mary, unexpectedly outside the family home, which she sold after her father died.
Mary didn’t move. She stared at her old family home. ‘Why are we here?’
‘Coincidence. The Shaws live at 52.’
‘You could have warned me.’
Paul took her elbow. ‘Come on; we’re late. You can stare in the windows when we leave.’
She rounded on him. ‘I don’t care about their taste in wallpaper, Paul.’
He blocked her view of number 12. ‘I thought you’d be interested not spooked.’
How to explain when she didn’t understand herself. It wasn’t the bricks and tiles she saw, but the memories, the ghosts trapped in the shadows and reflected in the glass.
If you want to catch up on Mary and her family saga, click here.