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Rated: E · Other · Family · #2004370
This is a rewrite of what i considered a weak story. Tell me if i plugged the holes :)
The large SUV rolled to a stop in front of the non-descript stucco house.  A young man from the realty company emerged and began to remove his tools and signage from the vehicle to place the “For Sale” sign in the front yard of the home.  He looked around and after a brief debate with himself, decided to lock the car while he worked.  He was almost finished when the homeowner came out to speak with him.  Over the years, she had grown accustomed to the blank stares when she introduced herself, and made him feel at ease by saying, “Everyone just calls me Mrs. D.” 

“Thank you, Mrs. D” he said with a polite grin.

Not one for small talk, Mrs. D asked, “So what do you think of the prospects to sell this house?  Do houses sell fast in neighborhoods like this?”

She watched the mental gymnastics play across the young man’s face and smiled to herself when he settled on a diplomatic: “You never know.  It depends on what the buyers are looking for.”

“Tyriq, you better get your sorry butt over here.  Don’t play me!”

Mrs. D lowered her head in embarrassment that her granddaughter, Dominique, chose that moment to “discipline” her 7-year-old son, Tyriq. 

The young man cleared his throat and said he had better get this done so he can move on to the next house.

Mrs. D nodded and started to apologize for the commotion, but could not find adequate words.

“You don’t have to explain anything to me, Mrs. D.  Everybody is having a tough go of it these days.” 

Mrs. D quietly left him to his work while she hustled back to the house to try to quiet her granddaughter.  Mrs. D was not a very good at making excuses anyway and did not like admitting that she was also a little afraid of Dominique.  Mrs. D had been caring for Dominique since she was 10 years old because Dominique’s mother was in jail more than she was out.  Dominique had started out okay, but soon drifted after her mother’s attitude and behavior.  Dominique did try going to college but could not quite cut it.  Mrs. D was not surprised when Dominique showed up at her door again, this time with a baby.    Mrs. D did not want to sell, but she was long weary from raising her granddaughter, Dominique, and now a great-grandson, Tyriq. 

Mrs. D made the decision to sell after one too many polite complaints from her friends and neighbors about Dominique.  Her first inkling that something was not quite right came up when her friends were asking why she was not returning phone calls.  She was told that if Dominique got to the phone first, she would be very rude to any caller who asked for Mrs. D.  Now her neighbor Lily told her that she had bumped into Dominique and Tyriq while grocery shopping.  “Mrs. D, everyone in the store knew Tyriq was being a bad boy because Dominique kept screaming his name at the top of her lungs.  Mrs. D, What if there was a predator following them around the store? What if they followed Dominique and Tyriq home?” 

Mrs. D replied, “I know I can no longer make excuses for Dominique’s stupid behavior.  It’s just I’ve raised her since she was 10.  Maybe I let things slide because of her mother.  I don’t know.  I am too old for this.  Was Tyriq really misbehaving in the store?  Did you see someone following them?”

Lily let a little irritation show.  “Mrs. D, no, he wasn’t and no, I didn’t.  That’s not the point.  The point is she was screaming and drawing attention to herself and maybe one day she will get the wrong kind of attention.  Mrs. D, you are not doing them any favors by making excuses for her and overlooking the way she behaves in public.  Maybe it’s time to move on and let Dominique become responsible for her own child.”

“I don’t know where to start.  I would like to live by myself, but this house is too much for me to take care of by myself.”

Lily offered, “Do you want me to help assess your house and maybe take you down to the assisted living place by the mall for a visit?” 

Mrs. D was relieved to accept her offer.  She liked talking with Lily.  It was almost like Lily was one of her own kids.  Before long, Lily was laughing at the stories Mrs. D told her about the house, adventures with her kids, and how much the neighborhood changed over the years.

Mrs. D enjoyed telling Lily of happier days when she worked in the school system as a secretary.  That was where the kids dubbed her Mrs. D because they could not pronounce her last name.  Soon even the parents and administration and nearby neighbors were calling her by her favorite name.  Times and circumstances were now changing so fast, it seemed that this house was the only constant unchanging thing in her life.

Mrs. D confided to Lily that she could barely support three people on her Social Security and school pension, money was tight and the prospects of selling seemed insurmountable.  Mrs. D walked out to the sidewalk with Lily to see if there was anything that could be done to make the house more presentable.  She had already fixed the flowerbed shelf that ran the length of the bay window in front and put in some colorful flowers, and added newer awnings which gave some life to the otherwise drab appearance.  She was sorry to admit that adding the potted flower pots on short brick pillars on either side of the steps leading to the front door and hostas plants to line the front of the house did not do much to improve the curb appeal.  There was not enough money in her budget to fix the five broken and chipped steps at the front door or the step down at the end of the walk.  The house did look all of its 74 years.  She kicked at the loose cement of the sidewalk and felt a little disheartened that she did not have enough money to have the sidewalk in front of her home redone. 

She let out a ragged sigh and dragged her feet as she made her way on the asphalt driveway from the street to the back of the property.  Lily offered to share the expense to repour the shared driveway, but Mrs. D had to admit that it was still overwhelmingly out of what she could afford to do.  For now, Mrs. D was content to keep pulling the weeds that made their way through the cracks in the pavement.  Lily could see that she needed to leave Mrs. D alone to think things through. 

Mrs. D said goodbye and continued to the back of the house, looked at the garage and wondered how it was still standing.  All that she could do to make it passable was to put on a cheap coat of paint.  She was ashamed to admit that she got $2.00 interior paint from the discount rack at the local hardware store, and even more reluctant to acknowledge that the garage now looked better than the dingy shade of gray that now colored the stucco on the house.   

Mrs. D could remember buying this house with her husband 40 years ago when she was first married.  Back then they could afford to make everything look fresh and clean.  They were going to have lots of kids, work hard, save their money so they could move to the nicest part of the city.  Looking back, she regretted that they never acted to move those dreams forward.  She could make excuses that raising kids was expensive, there were bouts of unemployment, inflation, not the right time ….and it would still be a lie.  Somewhere along the line, the dream died.  If the dream had been given the breath of life, the struggles would have still been there, but the family would have been moving the dream forward.  But they did not do that.  And this house was a reflection of the defeat that she had felt.

This house needed to go, she needed a fresh start and to be gone from here.    With her step now a little lighter, she would call those kids of hers and they were going to move her to the assisted living home. 

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