The sun was starting to go down and the wind had picked up a little. You could see clouds coming out of the west and it looked as if it might rain a little later. Great she thought. It sounded like a scene from some old grade b horror flick. Someone dies, the poor unsuspecting heiress goes to spend the night in the house for the first time afterward and a nasty damn storm blows up. The next thing you know the spooks are climbing out of every nook and cranny in the place. The stupid heiress ends up getting her head hacked off by some crazy, non-dying, chauvinistic ass hole wearing a mask with a thing against women inheriting the family fortune.
Emma heard Charlotte calling her name, “Are you OK? You looked a million miles away and I had to call you three times.”
“Yes, I was just looking at the sky thinking it might rain tonight.”
“I caught the weather report earlier and yes we are supposed to get a nice little blow in here tonight.” Steve told her.
“What did you say, Sweetheart?”
“Oh, nothing Aunt Charlotte.”
Steve and Charlotte were sitting closer to the grill and talking between themselves so Emma turned her attention to the surrounding area. The irises continued all around the house and took up a good portion of the yard area and that was a lot because it was a damn big yard. The grounds around the house took up over five acres. If you counted the land around the barn and out building it was almost twice that much and there were irises and daylilies covering a very large portion of that as well. They weren’t willy-nilly either. They had all been laid out in neat little rows and in nice little patches and all had been well tended. Right now it was the irises in bloom but come June you would be met with all the day lilies. Scattered about the place were also roses and other flowers that bloomed at different times. During the entire growing seasons you would find something in bloom and color would meet your eyes everywhere you turned. Right now the irises swayed in the wind and the effect was almost hypnotic.
Emma thought back and could remember playing in this very yard. She had had a tree house in a big oak tree on the north side of the house. Emma got up to go check.
“Where are you going?” Steve asked
“I was going to check and see …?”
“It’s still there Emma. Your grandmother had it kept in good repair.” Charlotte knew what her niece was talking about.
Emma headed around to the side of the house to see the old tree house she had spent so much of her time in as a child. There it was. The tree stood about thirty feet from the house. The area around the tree had been beautifully landscaped. Where it had been mostly cedar chips around the base when she was little now there were flowers almost all the way around. There was an almost fairy tale quality to the tree house now. It had been painted a green color that made it blend into the foliage around it and the windows painted with a brown to match the bark on the tree trunk. Her dad had built it well but her grandmother had added the touches that a little girl would love. There now were flower boxes built into the rail around the balcony or porch or whatever you called the open space on a tree house? It looked like a little girls playhouse picked up and set in a tree.
Emma wasn’t sure how she felt about the changes. When her father had built it he had done it with love and care. He had insisted that if she was going to sleep in it then the door and little windows were going to have screens to protect her from pesky little critters. He had built it to last too but it had remained in a natural wood state and little frills were not his strong point. Now it looked like a little girl’s tree house. It also broke her heart to realize how much her grandmother had missed her and hoped that she would return.
She climbed up and sat on the porch with her legs hanging over the edge and she just couldn’t hold it back any longer. She cried. She cried as if the whole world had collapsed and fallen on her shoulders. Not the shoulders of a grown woman either but those of that little twelve year old girl who had left here all those long years ago. She cried for the little girl who had been ripped from the home where she had been born and lived for all of her childhood years. She cried for the much loved grandmother that she never saw again and she cried for the father that had so cruelly been taken from her at such a young age. She cried for the mother whom she had loved so dearly and would never be held in her arms again. She cried.