The old lady peeped through the curtains and glanced at the familiar sight of the neatly trimmed rose bushes framed by tiny shrubs, a feature shared by almost all the houses in the neighbourhood. Though she could see her own wrinkled face and gray hair in the glass, she could also clearly see the brunette next door chattering away on the phone all the while waving her hand; surely she was gossiping about the new family who had moved in the house up around the corner earlier that week.
Shaking her head with amusement, she glanced away and spotted the kids of the house opposite to her wrestling over what seemed like one of those game play thingies her grandson made her buy for him last Christmas. Eventually, the younger one climbed up on his elder sibling’s shoulder and had just managed to gain control over the situation but suddenly their father rolled into the driveway and the two promptly broke apart and ran inside.
She closed the curtain and turned back to the empty house, devoid of any living being except for herself and sighed. How many times had she told her sons to hire a young woman who’d act as her companion and keep her entertained? But they never agreed on the grounds that one just couldn’t trust strangers these days. Besides, her solitude was her own fault.
Not only had she refused to move out of this place which had been her home since her wedding day over 55 years ago, she was also adamant about not letting her daughters-in-law or grandchildren uproot their city lives and move in with her. No sir! Her parents had raised an independent woman and she was not going to start making changes just because a few bones and muscles of her body refused to work the way they used to.
Without conscious thought, she once again faced the window and a hand raised itself to move the curtain away of its own accord. She stopped herself just in time and mentally shook herself. She wasn’t an eavesdropper or a stalker. She wasn’t even bored what with all the gardening, reading and painting she did every day. Not to mention talk to her dead husband’s portrait; it calmed her.
But beyond those windows lay a world she longed for, full of people, laughs, tears and more people. Sometimes she wished she wasn’t as stubborn and practical as she was. Sometimes she wished her sons would see through her fake bravado and put a little more pressure on her to move out. It had been years since the house lost its charm; now it was just an albatross around her neck.