I arrived just in the nick of time, she was there stood at the base of the ladder, one foot on the rung, ready to climb. Okay she was most likely even at her age, capable of climbing up to the loft, but in her state I could not allow it. Right now, I wished my brother was here; I did not like the loft, never had, but if it meant stopping my mother from climbing up there, so be it. She was adamant she wanted that box down, the one that belonged to my father. I shook my head, and sat her down in a chair I had pulled out of my old room, and where I had been sleeping for the past few weeks.
I could not expect Tristan to stay, he had a family, I had, just me. I was a happy single thirty year old, no matter what my mother thought. She wanted me settle down. I brushed it off. Men, why did I need a man to be happy? Grandkids, my mother wanted more than the two my brother had already given her, even with a third on the way.
My mother would start her speech again soon I knew she would, she had since the day my father passed. I knew it was her way of coping, losing my father suddenly, how he would never see me married, or have children. He knew I was happy, and that I had just not met the one. I stood on the first rung of the ladder, grasped the one above, and soon found myself surrounded by darkness. I fumbled for the light switch, my hand brushing something I did not like to think about. I was not a fan of spiders, and knew the loft would be crawling with them. I held my breath, finally finding it as the light engulfed the whole loft space. I had to admit the space was larger than I expected, and there was a few boxes stacked here and there. Not as scary as I had expected, but it was small space. I would not have to crawl on my hands and knees as I had thought; I would be able to stand.
“It’s a wooden box, with a rose engraved on it.”
“Yes, Mum, I remember,” I told her. I had never seen the box before, but I was sure I would know it when I saw it. “While I am up here, do you want the Christmas decorations down?”
“I’m not putting them up this year,” she sighed.
I moved back to the entrance and stuck my head out of it; I could see a single tear trickling down her cheek. I had not meant to make her cry, but the boy’s would expect her house to be decorated. I said this as gently to her as I could, she nodded, saying I was right, of course I was. I knew my father dying suddenly had shocked the whole family and I worried my mother would slip away. She was looking thinner, frail. The main reason I stayed over, was to make sure she was okay, eating, and not just sitting in a chair staring out the window at the world going by. I had caught her a few times, doing just that. She would tell me, she was remembering the old days, like bringing me home as a new born. The day my father came home after his promotion with a tree for Christmas that was far too big to fit in the house. I recalled the tree, he had to cut the top off to make it fit and wedge it in the corner of the room. Then he had to cut it up to remove it once Christmas was over. After that, they bought the fake ones, plus Mum was sick of the needles on the floor.
I planned to stay for as long as my mother needed me. I knew she would not want me here once she was back on her feet. How someone got over the love of their life dying was beyond me, I had no idea how I would feel since I have never been in love. I returned to loft, and began searching. I came across a box, one filled with things I had long forgotten. Christmas cards, it was full of them, I sat crossed legged, on the cold wooden floor, and scanned through them, as I recalled the names and scribbled messages. Some were from my school days, then one card made my heart miss a beat. I had not thought about him since we left school, Jason Wright. I wondered what he was up to now, as I scanned the card. It was then I recalled his promise to me. It was in another card, I was sure. I chuckled and riffled through the box. Of course, I had kept that one too, Jason had promised to marry me if neither of us were married by the time we were thirty. I was still single and had turned thirty three weeks before. I had no idea where or what he was doing, I assumed he was married already. I had almost forgotten what I was up here for, as I stashed the card in my back pocket and carried on my search.