'Music of the Past' - Written for the Writer's Cramp 1st December 2021.
|Stepping into the living room Shaun was struck by how cold and quiet it was. His parents house had always been warm and welcoming, a safe haven from the world at large. Somewhere to return to and share the holidays, chew the fat with his Dad, and get a fix of his Mom's home cooking. Now the place was chilly. Of course his mother hadn't been here for a few weeks. Not since she'd had the fall and been taken to hospital.
Shaun turned on the electric fire. He'd never been able to persuade them to have central heating. Shaun had no idea why they were so against it, they could easily have afforded it. He'd have to look into it now. Somehow even thinking about it seemed like a betrayal.
Then he pulled back the curtains, letting the late evening sunlight bathe everything in it's warm light. It felt better, but still too quiet. His parents beloved grandfather clock had stopped. Idly he wondered if it had stopped at the moment when Mom had died, then chastised himself for such nonsense. He was still relieved when he saw that it hadn't though.
Opening the glass door, he took the key from the cabinet and wound it carefully, remembering his Dad's instructions about not overwinding, stop when you feel the slight resistance, don't wind too fast or you will miss it.
They were together again. At least that was something. Mom had missed her husband of 33 years every single day of the ten she'd lived without him. She used to tell him, emphasizing each word,
"I miss your father Shaun. Every! Single! Day!"
He looked around the room, listening to the comforting tick of the clock. 'The heartbeat of our home', that was what Mom had always called it.
It was getting dark, he turned on the light, then redrew the curtains.
Making his way upstairs, Shaun turned on lights and closed curtains as he went. He knew he was shutting out the gathering gloom of his mood, and fending it off with light. He tried to think of the good times, and there had been lots of them.
He missed his Mom, he missed her love and her funny little ways. She'd decorated gingerbread men with little red icing sugar tunics, because her husband had always loved Star Trek. Over the years she had embroidered and framed many prayers. When the mood took her she would dance around the house singing "I Say A Little Prayer For You." When she stopped, she'd read out whichever prayer she was nearest to.
He smiled at the memory, as he went into his mother's bedroom. There was a coffee stain on the carpet. He'd cleaned up the broken cup when he'd popped in to get her things to take to the hospital. He knew that he'd have to sort out that stain and pronto. It was a painful reminder that she'd gone. Her last few hours in her home had been spent lying in agony with a broken hip. Thank God for her neighbours, who'd been 'keeping an eye on her.'
Wandering over to the dresser, Shaun picked up a small lacquered box. Turning it over he wound the tiny key till it stopped. When he opened the box, a plastic ballerina sprang up and pirouetted to the tinny strains of Claire De Lune.
Shaun held it, and remembered. Every nightmare, every tummy ache, every grazed knee. His mother would wind the little music box, and hold him as it played. Shaun cried.
Word Count: 592
Written for the Writer's Cramp Contest on 1st December 2021