I was born to a very loving family, with two sisters and one brother who did not live past his fourteenth birthday, as he was taken by a sickness that kept him bedridden for the last month of his life. None of us knew what it was, but prayer did not help, nor did the remedies given to him by the doctor, who had a day’s travel to reach us when the weather would cooperate. My father had decided to build our home far away from the city, where many could access such services that were so easily available to others, but were far removed from our estate. He would always state that he’d had enough of the cities and their debauchery as a younger man, and would not bring his children up in such a festering stink of humanity. Upon visiting the nearest city I often wondered at why my father would say such things, as the city was filled with wonder and the kind of distractions from a simple life that we’d never known.
In fact it wasn’t until I was a married woman with my own child that I saw the true face of the city as my father had seen it. While I did not run from it or remove myself, I finally understood it, and I saw what my father had meant when he’d spoken of such vices. The city is indeed a wicked place at times, though above that underbelly of corruption, greed, and immoral choice lies the bedrock that good people have built, much as my father agreed with near the end of his life. When he passed, my husband and I took over the family estate, as my sisters, Hattie and Abigail, had moved far away and had lives of their own to tend to. They attended our father’s funeral however, for which I found myself grateful. They even asked me what I would do, to which I replied that my husband and I would be staying to watch over mother, who told us in no uncertain terms that she needed no help, but was happy to have her grandchildren in the house, as it made her feel young again. I suspect that my mother knew her time was coming short not long after father passed, as she succumbed to what many would call heartache only a year later.
I have known misery in this house, but not the sorrow that comes from hatred, nor true regret at moments of life not lived. By the time my mother passed, the city was well on its way towards us, expanding each year, each month it seemed, without cease. Once it came upon the boundaries of our estate we were made an offer to sell off portions of our land so that it might be developed, but we refused. My husband, my love and my heart, Anthony, wouldn’t hear of selling my family’s property, our legacy, and was adamant that the city could ‘damn well build around us’. How I laughed when I heard him say such a thing to a red-faced developer that promised to make life harder.
And oh, it did get harder, but not in the way the red-faced man had thought it would.
(to be continued)