It was with nothing short of disappointment that I learned about my parents’ plans for Christmas. For years, they’d spent the holidays with their kids, but just this once and possibly more in the future they wanted to enjoy the little time they had off from work. My parents enjoyed their work, and they’d raised us with a lot of love and warmth, but we were all grown up now. They wanted to spend as much time with each other as possible and so, had decided to spend Christmas in a small town in Europe, where they’d once been stranded without any money, but that was a story for another time.
I had never spent this particular time away from them, but there was always a time for firsts. Besides, they deserved a break. Despite this acknowledgment, it was with a heavy heart that I said my goodbyes to them. I’d be gone before their return.
My sister was inviting some friends of hers to stay over for the break. I didn’t bother telling her I needed some space. Maybe it would be nice to have them. The house wouldn’t be so lonely. More people meant I could stop avoiding the studio and have some much-needed fun there. Besides, I’d been meaning to take inventory of the things down there rather than just indulge in my own creations. I grew excited, thinking of it like an adventure.
The one thing I liked about the space was that it wasn’t completely closed off from the outside world. I knew there were some windows hidden behind the looming piles of old things, and some which had been painted black. Our house was built in a way, that semi-circular windows had been incorporated into even the basement, which made it easier to air it out. Unfortunately, our entire family could be immensely lazy, and no one had bothered with anything below ground floor. Although the house was old, it still only needed renovations for plumbing and internet connections, as well as a few other minor changes. It was a sturdy house and would continue to be there long after I’d left it.
I snapped out of my head when I heard my sister’s truck honking twice in warning outside. Her friends must be here. Maybe I could involve them in the cleaning process too. It might be nice to have the company downstairs, but some secretive emotion rose up inside of me. A part of me who had been thinking about the grandfather clock did not wish for other people to discover it worked. If it was working then it could be sold.
The clock must not be removed.
A shiver trailed down my spine and stayed for a minute before dissipating into nothing. The little voice in my head sounded nothing like that though. It seemed almost foreign in nature like it had come from elsewhere and was pretending to be mine.
No, it did not need to pretend.
I shook my head. Maybe I needed a break away from everything like my parents did. But before I could decide to move inside the basement, or away from it, I spotted a familiar figure looking at me.
It was James, my brief high school flame.