Until Harry(3)By: L.A. Casey
You can do this, I told myself.
I repeated the thought over and over in my mind as I lifted my hand in the air and prepared to knock on the darkly varnished door. I didn’t get the chance, though, because the door suddenly opened, revealing a pair of women in their mid-twenties who were exiting the house. I had no idea who they were and found myself staring.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the woman with platinum-blonde hair said on a gasp before composing herself. “Can I help you?”
Who is she? I wondered, and why is she asking if she can help me?
“No, thank you,” I replied civilly. “Can I get by you?”
The woman didn’t move, and the brunette next to her folded her arms across her chest and stepped closer to her friend. I glanced to her, then back to the blonde. It looked like they were trying to keep me out of the house.
“Who are you?” the blonde asked.
Her tone wasn’t rude, just curious.
I impatiently tapped my foot against the ground and counted to five before answering. “I’m Lane. This is my parents’ house. Can I please get by you?”
“Lane?” the blonde woman gasped.
She spoke as if she knew me, but I didn’t recognise her. I nodded to her question, and it caused both of the women to widen their eyes and instantly separate, forming a passage between them. I thanked them, stepped between them and entered my parents’ house. I took a nervous breath and walked across the hallway and towards the parlour.
I glanced over my shoulder when the blonde and brunette rushed by me and headed down the hallway in the direction of the kitchen. I looked away from them and back to the parlour door. I knew my uncle would be in there; it was where my Aunt Teresa had been laid out after she’d died many years ago.
I reached for the handle of the door and gently pushed it open with my fingertip. The scent of jasmine filled my nostrils and wrapped around me like a blanket. I inhaled a deep breath and let the comfort of the familiar scent surround me. My gaze was downcast, but out of the corner of my eye I could see the legs of the stand that the coffin was lying on. I slowly walked over to it and lingered for a moment. Before I froze up altogether, I moved around to the right side of the coffin and sucked in a breath when I lifted my head and my eyes landed on him.
I slapped my hand over my mouth when a sob escaped. He was really there – it wasn’t some sort of sick joke. . . My uncle was really dead. The sight of him brought back a sudden memory of talking to him over Skype a few years ago, and it played havoc on my heart.
“Lane, darling, please talk to me,” my uncle pleaded. “You aren’t happy. I can see it in you.”
“I’m fine, Uncle Harry,” I sighed. “It’s just taking me longer to settle in here than I thought it would.”
My uncle dead-panned, “You moved to the city four years ago.”
“So?” I grunted. “It’s a different country. It’s still a lot for me to get used to.”
“Are you sure?” my uncle pressed. “Maybe you should talk to your nanny – she’s very good in situations when you’re sad.”
An alarm went off in my head.
“Nuh-uh, I don’t think so. I don’t want to speak to the Irish Oprah. She’ll just nit-pick and I don’t want that. You know she will talk me into getting on a plane and coming home. She has a gift, and I’m not letting her sway me.”
“Then tell me what’s going on – please?” he pleaded. “I can sense something is off with you. Did something happen?”
“I’m. Fine,” I assured him, then decided to put him out of his misery. “I just had a bit of a weak moment and thought about doing something silly, that’s all.”
“Explain,” my uncle almost growled. “Now.”
I gnawed on my lower lip and brought the volume of my voice way down so the other customers in Starbucks couldn’t hear me. “I had a dream about him last night, and I woke up in a cold sweat. For a second, for a split second, I thought about taking some pills. Before you freak out and demand I come home, know that I know it was a very serious thought, and I’ve booked a session with a therapist to talk about it.”
“Lane,” said my uncle firmly.
“I’m fine – I just want to talk to a therapist about it.”
My uncle blinked. “It may help if you talk to Ka—”
“No.” I cut my uncle off. “I can’t.”
“No, Uncle Harry, I don’t want to see or speak to him. Please. I can’t.”
My uncle grumbled. “Okay. Fine.”
I groaned. “You do this at least once a week. When will you give up on getting me to talk to him?”