“Here are the keys”, Harry said.
“Look at him acting as if he’s handing over the keys to the Queen’s jewels”, Sheila thought bitterly.
“Why now?” she asked. “Couldn’t I have had them when she was alive?”
“Are you mad?” he said. “You know how it would have broken her heart to give over the running of the house to you.”
“Does it ever occur to you who the mad person in this house is?” Sheila yelled. “I’m not the one who brought a parent to stay here after I got married. You’re the one who insisted we needed your mother here to run house – our house. You deprived me of setting up my home – she had to do it all her way.”
Harry looked at her silently.
“Then she wanted to cook. We had to suffer her food when she lost her memory. Remember the time she made a dessert and sprinkled it with paprika instead of nutmeg?” Sheila ranted.
“Don’t speak ill of the dead. At least she died happy – thinking she was needed.” he said softly.
“Yes! She really did think she was needed, didn’t she? She had to entertain us with her bad piano playing the moment we got back from work. Batty old cow!” Sheila said spitefully.
“Have some respect, Sheila.” Harry said, raising his voice a bit. “You know you’re going to miss her all the same. I know I will.”
“Miss getting those long calls at work when she wanted to fill me in on what Mrs Whatshername down the road told her? There are two people who won’t miss her calls!” Sheila said angrily.
“Two? he asked.
“Yes, my boss and I!” she said with a smirk. “It’s as if she knew each time I had a deadline to complete or a meeting to attend.” Grabbing the keys from him, Sheila began to walk out of the room.
“Oh! I forgot”, Harry said. “I found this envelope here with your name on it.”
“What? Who wrote this? It looks like her handwriting,” Sheila said, her voice filled with curiosity. She opened the envelope wondering what to expect. She sat on the couch to read. On a piece of paper torn out of a note book were these words written in a spidery handwriting:
My dear Sheila,
I know you hated me for taking over your house. But trying to look after Harry and you was all I could do. I know I did a bad job – but you were always patient with me. You endured my food and awful piano playing. You even put up with my intrusions at work. I’m sorry I called you so often. I just felt so lonely when you both were out. Harry is a good son to me- but you, Sheila, are the daughter I never had. I know you’ll be glad to have the keys to the pantry back. I was only passing through, my girl. You were always the mistress of this house! Take care of yourselves.
Harry watched silently as Sheila curled herself into a ball and started to sob bitterly.
The keys set me off. I hope you like my story!
This was written for The Writers’ Post Thursday Blog Hop.