Friday, December 10, 2010

Part 14

Taking a deep breath, Elisa carefully walked towards the house that she knew so well. She used to be welcome there for so many years that, she’d seen how it transformed from a small, four-bedroom terrace house to a comfortably large,  spacious six bedroom beauty.  Nothing much has changed since the last time she was here, months ago. The lawn was carefully kept, the colourful flowers bloom gloriously under tender loving care, and everything was as neat as always.

Curious, as supposedly his mom was ill since the last few weeks, and yet she was the one taking care of this lawn, as far as she knew. The lawn was spotless. Elisa’s gaze searched through the familiar place and finally rested on the thing she was looking for. On the ground, next to his mother’s favourite mini orchid garden, was a small stone, where she and Ben had written their names on years ago when they started dating. At the time they said that their love will stay solid, and unmoved, just like the rock. Look at what’s happened now, she thought sadly. They were all childish games and beliefs that they should have long forgotten.

After a while, she summoned the strength to press the doorbell on the huge sliding, wrought iron gate. A few second ticked by without a sound. Then, the main entrance was slowly opened and Nina’s face appeared. She didn’t seem surprised, so Ben must have informed her of Elisa’s arrival beforehand.

“Hey, gosh it’s really been a while,” Nina opened the gate for her and they embraced, as per usual.

“You look fabulous.” Nina said, “But a bit thin, though,” she added. Elisa just smiled as memories after memories started to envelop her. This place, Nina, it was too much. She almost spun around and left when suddenly Ben’s father appeared.

“Elisa, you’re here,” he was smiling broadly at her, making her feel so bad inside. He extended his hand, which she shook and kissed respectfully. “How have you been?” he asked, the moment she stepped back.

“Good,” was all that she could manage.

The three of them stood there for a while before he finally broke the silence. “Come on in,” he invited, gesturing towards the direction of the main entrance to the house.

“Sure,” she said, grimacing inside. Is she really ready for this?

Biting her lower lips, Elisa followed Ben’s father into the house. The house was in semi-darkness. The curtains were drawn and, well, they all seem weird to her, somehow.

“How’s your mom, Nina?” she queried, looking around the house. Most of the furniture looked just like the way they were since the last time she came. Her gaze fell on a framed photo placed in a glass cabinet. It was not so prominent, yet she could not understand why it was still kept there. Surely it was in the past?

Unpredictably, she saw a shy smile on Nina’s lips. “Uh, look, actually..”

“SURPRISE!!!” Elisa jumped at the shouts and spun around so fast, her head was spinning. What is going on?

To be continued...

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