This is the fifteenth part of a fiction serial, in 721 words.
That refreshing night’s sleep left me in a good mood for the visit to my mum later. I got ready early and skipped breakfast, knowing mum would provide a huge Sunday meal, and a big stodgy dessert too. On the way to the house, I stopped off and bought her a bottle of the sweet white wine she liked. She wasn’t much for drinking, but she did enjoy a glass of that sticky sweet stuff with dinner.
No traffic locally meant that I was there just before two, and she was ready for me. Roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings, home-made mint sauce, and a bread and butter pudding with custard to follow. I was hardly through the door before we were sat at the table eating.
For someone who lives on easy microwave meals, fast food stuff, and far too much pizza, the traditional Sunday lunch was something I anticipated with my mouth watering at the thought of it. I accepted her offer of three more slices of lamb, and then ate a huge portion of the pudding, completely covered in home-made custard. Still seated at the dinner table, feeling a belly full of wind brewing, mum started to tell me the real reason why I was there.
“You will be thirty-one soon, and I will be seventy. Your aunt Jean is eighty now, and she isn’t well. In fact, she has liver cancer, and probably less than a year to live”. That shook me a bit. I had last seen Jean at Christmas, and she had looked the picture of health, even though the chestnut hair dye was more obvious than ever.
“So next week, I am moving from here and going to live with her in Danbury, to help her though the last months of her life. This house is sold, and most of the things are being collected by charities, as I won’t need them. If you want anything, you can take it with you today. I have some boxes in the garage that I want you to have, but the rest is up to you. And before you ask, I used an agent in Colchester. I didn’t want your firm involved, as to be honest, I think they have treated you badly”.
Well she was right about that. After a couple of golden years at the start, the company had sold off the commercial premises side, and then stuck me with getting rid of any new commercials that came in after. I had gone from hero to zero, in the course of three years.
Mum was still talking.
“This house fetched three-eighteen, more than I expected. Jean tells me the Danbury house is worth around six hundred thousand, but it is much larger of course. She will leave that to me, plus any personal money. Then I will leave everything to you. It’s not like I have anyone else to leave it to, after all. I know you will have to wait for that, as I have no idea how long I will live. But you can count on a very substantial inheritance once I am gone”.
That was food for thought. At least nine hundred grand when my old mum passed, probably closer to a million by the time she popped off. I should have felt guilty thinking that I suppose, but I didn’t. Jean had definitely had her fun with me, and mum was still on a guilt trip for not giving a shit about me. But it was a long time to wait, nonetheless.
Before I had even surreptitiously sneaked out the wind filling me up, mum was ready for me to go.
“Come to the garage on your way out, and I will show you those boxes. You will be interested in what they contain, but please don’t ring me and ask me about what’s in them. Promise?”
Two of the boxes were light, and one fairly heavy. They were sealed down with packing tape, and very dusty. Once I had loaded them into the Fiesta, mum reminded me. “Don’t forget your promise, I don’t want to discuss anything in those boxes. Remember that, Darren”.
On the way home, I could feel myself accelerating for no good reason.
I really couldn’t wait to open those three boxes.