Wednesday 17 April 2019

Episode 69 - Tea and scones with mother

Angela walked slowly up the steps to the front door and rang the bell.  Would her mother answer the door, or would there be a maid?
They had both a maid and a butler at the Manhattan apartment.  Those were the days when she lived like a princess.  She also acted like one, not that she cared to remember.
The door opened.
It was her mother.  In the four years since she had spoken to her or seen her, she had aged ten.  That youthful glow she had retained into her fifties had now gone.
That woman was still there, inside that older body, the bearing, the manner, and no doubt the speech.  Her mother was polite, well spoken, and had never raised her voice or lost her temper.
Except once.
The day the police told her Cathy was dead.
“Hello mother.”
The woman blinked at her, for a moment Angela thinking she had forgotten who she was, or had early onset dementia, but a few seconds later, she could see the recognition in her mother’s eyes.
“Hello Angela.  Where have you been?”  There was no teary reunion or hug on offer.  Her mother had always been ‘cold’ like that.
“Hiding.  From you, from family, from everything.  You know why.”
Her mother nodded, and stood to one side, opening the door so Angela could enter.  Once inside, she closed the door, and then escorted her daughter into a living room, quite spacious, with paintings on the walls, and glass fronted cabinets with books.
First editions perhaps?  Not to read.  Her father only bought something if it was going to appreciate in value, so he could sell it later for a profit.  He’d done that to several homes they’d lived in, and she guessed the Manhattan apartment had gone that way.
Money, it had always been about the money.
If he could have sold her for a large sum of money, he probably would have.
She sat in an armchair opposite her mother.
On the table between them was a tray with tea, cups, and scones.  Her mother didn’t know the first thing about cooking, so she must have a maid/cook on hand.  She didn’t clean either, but the room, the whole house that she could see, was spotless.
Her mother looked at her, “Why didn’t you come back for the funeral?”
“I hated the bastard, you know that.  If I did, I’d probably dance on his grave.  He was a bastard to you and to me.  I’m glad someone killed him.”
Succinct enough, Angela thought.  He had molested her as a child and had beaten his wife when he was drunk or angry.  Angela had complained to her mother about her father and she did nothing.
It was why she left as soon as she could get out of the house, and refused to come home to dinners or out for dinner in public.  She had punished her mother for her silence.
“Why have you come back?”
“It seems Al was unjustly accused of murdering Cathy.  I think it was my father.”

© Charles Heath 2016-2019

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