“Mother, mother, are you there?”
The kitchen is in order and no noise disturbs the peaceful quiet of the house, napping in the summer afternoon.
A mournful locomotive whistle in the distance, in gratitude for his love of trains.
The curtain hanging on the open door softly flutters at every occasional sighs of a light breeze.
From the adjacent railway station side, the glint of the tracks and the lonesome garden once vibrant of family happiness.
Not even a stray cloud in that sky so turquoise and so near so as to hear its sighs.
The man ran up the stairs that connected to the third floor. Almost caressing it, he knocked lightly on the bedroom door, receiving no answer.
Resting his hand on its handle, and with apprehension, holding his breath he cracks it open.
A familiar and forgotten smell of violets _envelops him. It is the scent of his mother, her essence.
The sweet fragrance he felt when as a child, attached to her bosom, he would find the strength to overcome his fears and, in losing himself into that motherly intimate warmth, he escaped the doubts of his future.
Or when half asleep, he would feel himself in her arms being held tight and rocked with love.
Or when as a grown man, he would catch the fragrance suspended in the air surrounding him, while watching her outside the door, under the shady tree with distant eyes lost on an undetermined point in infinity.
She was so intent in observing a distant time _ or maybe in chasing a vanished dream that she wouldn’t notice him.
Only when a furtive and inopportune tear would quickly run down a cheek _ leaving a humid trace on her wrinkled face, she would shake aware of the present, and with a trembling hand, blotting it dry, in apprehension of being caught in that moment of weakness.
He pushes the door completely open, the window curtains lightly fill, the room is immersed in an unreal silence.
The bed has been made, and his own face _ young and filled with emotion in the day of his college graduation, smiles from the photograph on the old dresser.
‘Mother’? It is more of a whisper that comes out of his lips spontaneously …than a call for her.
Even the bedroom like the rest of the house is empty. He is feeling desperate while he closes the door behind his shoulders.
In that penumbra of the corridor, he becomes aware of a small blade of light filtering from above between the doors leading to the attic.
With his galloping heart from the emotions of the moment, he climbs the few steps that separate him from the loved figure.
She does not become aware of his presence, she is bent over and going through and old trunk of memories.
A timid sun ray intrudes upon the suffused darkness of the attic. In its tail, dance imperceptible specs of dust, impalpable entities playing at chasing one another and rocking on miniscule rainbows.
Suddenly she straightens up and steps to the frail ‘body’ of a dress; her son not recalling ever _having seen her wear.
It is a white dress with small bouquets of delicate flowers shaded of yellow and orange, the same colors of those wonderful sunsets he often witnessed, sitting on the sandy beach not far from the house with the summer evening wind caressing his sweaty young body.
He held his breath while the woman, trudging to a long mirror stained by the years and covered with dust, becomes resplendent in a sun ray streaking through the attic.
Lilly, the old housecat, approaches him with joy, rolling on the floor and rubbing the little humid nose and tail against his legs.
He smiles advancing towards that lovely figure:
“ Mother: finally” he blurts out …while his eyes light up with joy and his arms reach out to embrace that tired and adored figure.
The woman turns around…in her face _ an expression relaxed and appeased…the eyes shining as star drops.
A light gust of the summer wind…a sigh…
Huge cobwebs dangle sadly indifferent from the ceiling…and the dust accumulated in the years…implacable…has covered the borders of everything in the attic, appropriating....
All is under the mantle of a white veil, a sad shroud that also encases the memories that as ghosts …revolve in desperation through the decaying ceiling beams.
The real estate agent has remained silent and apart, noting the emotional disruption of the man…then with much discretion; he approaches and places a hand on his shoulders.
Clearing his throat he mutters “here, sorry, you must sign this legal document mandating the sale of this wonderful old house”