The Witch is completed! With much work and editing needed, I decided to take a break and start on a new project. 🙂
Willow Well was a prosperous suburban town, full of large dark brown houses with dominant Victorian roofs and porches. I was told it had excessive amounts of greenery and culture. Someone else also described it as a place that was like a picturesque town from a book. This was all true; the reviews and guides did not lie.
As I watched the symmetrical houses and hedges blur past, I worryingly pondered on the situation I had gotten myself into. I sat in the back of the cab, huddled against cardboard boxes of my belongings.
I knew a little of the town from personal experience too. My mother and I drove along the main high street many times when we were on the way to the airport or visiting friends that lived in the city nearby. It was a two and half hour drive from where we lived. My mother suffered from car stiffness from time to time, and her stiffness particularly acted up when passing through this part of town. She always happened to be near lame from the hardships of sitting in the passenger seat, precisely when we turned the corner near her favourite coffee shop. She swore that there was none so quaint in all the country. Of course we just had to stop for a break every single time, before continuing the second leg of the journey.
‘Wouldn’t it be lovely if you looked for somewhere near here, Laura?’ She had used her best coaxing smile and honey-toned her voice. In response, I looked away to watch the people out the window. I could feel her keep her eyes on me as she sipped her cappuccino.
However, being the passenger this time meant I could take in all of the book-like town. Instead of admiration, I felt smothered and felt oppressed by the brown Victorian buildings. Had I just been transported back into the 1820s? Where were the flats and offices? Where were the takeaways and bars? I knew instinctively that the neighbours would scrutinise my newness and discuss amongst themselves whether I would put the garbage out on time. This world was clearly what my mother wanted. I despairingly questioned myself time and time again: why wasn’t I doing what I wanted? What was stopping me?
“And this here, is the high end Suburbia,” the cab driver said, breaking me out of my thoughts. He indicated to the grand old buildings that belonged to the past. “Many of the towns rich and wealthy live along this avenue; the Crofts, the Richmonds, the Lexingtons…” He continued whimsically on for a while, talking about their pioneering work and their almost-celebrity status. I immediately noticed that he used the same tone as my mother. I looked again at the houses that represented the dreams they both longed for.
“One day,” I laughed back. I bit my tongue to stop the sarcastic remarks that tittered dangerously on the edge of my lips. I suddenly had a great longing for my father and his small apartment in the dingy-side of my home-city.
The driver took a few more turns, before we hit Rose Street. I wished that I could blow the sugar dust off the name. He pulled in on the second driveway.
2, Rose Street, Willow Well. The quaintness of it all made me feel incredibly uncertain about the move altogether. What made me think this was a good idea? And then I remembered, it wasn’t my idea.
I got out the cab, tied my hair into a rough ponytail and looked up at the house I viewed with my mother two weeks ago. It was three floors, the third being a loft conversion. The brown wooden sidings and the stained glassed front door matched all the other homes along the street. I couldn’t deny the beauty of the house; its charm and character was obviously apparent in its porch and the large columns that supported the balcony. The columns were engraved with a wooden pattern of ivy. I admired the intricate detail of it on the first visit. The house also had a flowery front garden, full of blue hydrangeas and with the grass cut fresh.
It just wasn’t me… but when I thought things like this, I always immediately jumped to the all-consuming and depressing question: what was me?