Losing the house didn’t bother Caldwell. It had been chopped and changed so much since the divorce that it no longer resembled the house he had grown up in. What did bother Caldwell was what exactly his mother was selling. Was it the ornaments? The wood panelled flooring? The whole thing? The very land his summerhouse stood on?
Caldwell’s mistake, of course, was thinking that the summerhouse was his at all. In truth the glorified shed had not been gifted to him, or even loaned to him as a kindness. His mother was almost permanently abroad, and when she did vacation home, she spent most of her time staking out his father’s new bachelor pad. She had not noticed he was still there until he sat down at the dining table to confront her.
Mother, He began, quite ceremoniously.
Oh. Yes. She replied, taken aback.
Caldwell, isn’t it?
I’ve seen the sign in the driveway.
Oh, good. I was worried no one could.
What does it mean?
What do you mean what does it mean?
What does it mean for me?
Well…nothing, I imagine. You’ve got your own place now.
It was at this point that Caldwell realised his mother had not gifted him the summerhouse, or loaned it to him as a kindness. He also assumed that the binoculars on the table were not a gift for him either, but for something much more sinister.
I see. So you’re selling the house?
And the furniture?
And the land?
Yes. If someone can afford it.
And how much would it cost?
His mother then suggested a price that does not bear thinking about and honestly made Caldwell break out in a cold sweat.
Why? Are you thinking of buying it?
He had been.
No. I was just…curious.
Well. This was nice. Shall I show you out?
She then, in a almost farcical manner, proceeded to escort him through a house he knew inside out, and out into the driveway where he pretended to walk along the country lane for five minutes before crawling back into the property through a makeshift entrance he had built eleven years prior.