The Silver Box by Louise Suzan

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The Silver Box

‘I know you're sad to leave baby. But you will grow to love our new home just as much.'
‘And where exactly is our new home mum?' Her hands tensed around the steering wheel, and she pulled a face stopping herself from yelling at me. We had been driving for almost 2 weeks. Mum had no idea where we were going, but she was certain she would know it when we got there. This was exactly the way her and my father found the town I was born and bred in. I had known mum was not happy in the town of Franklin since my dad died, but she stayed there for the last 16 years, mainly because I loved it.
‘Don't worry mum, I'm just tired. I'm sure I'll love it. Where ever it is.' Something in those words reminded her. I knew from her eyes she was remembering dad. Almost everything reminded her in some way of him, and 16 years on she still cried over him every day. Dad died before I had the chance to meet him. Mum was only 3 months pregnant, he didn't even know. Our home in Franklin was covered wall to wall in photos of the two of them, always smiling, full of happiness and love. I was so used to seeing both these faces in photos, but I have not seen either of them for real. Mum has never had that happiness in her eyes in my whole lifetime, as she did in each and every one of those photos. I knew from the photos that I looked remarkably like my father, both with golden hair, emerald glittery green eyes and brown tanned skin. A total contrast to mum.
‘Go lay down in the back, I'll wake you if we get there.' It was a good idea; I hadn't slept in 24 hours. I kissed mum on the head, and left the through the curtain. When mum came home with this huge old dirty campervan I was horrified. Now, I am glad that if we have to be in a car for god knows how long, we at least have fully sized beds, a kitchen, bathroom and I'm thankful I can escape when the memories of dad get too much and she starts to sob.

I must have been exhausted, I can't even remember peeling the sheets, but the clock on the wall told me I had just awoken from a 6 hour slumber. Refreshed, I sat up and realised we were stationary, but mum wasn't in her bed. I pushed past the curtain, keys in the ignition, radio blearing, no mum. I was still fully clothed, but had no shoes. There really hadn't been much need for shoes over the last 2 weeks. I manoeuvred into the front seat and peered through the windshield. We weren't even on a road. It looked like mum had steered up a small shrubby dirt track, not intended for a wide campervan. She had only stopped when the track narrowed into a bottleneck, only permitting foot traffic. It was just like mum to leave me hear and walk into the bush on her own. There was only a little of sunlight left in the warm day, I took the keys from the ignition and sighed opening the car door; she better not have gone far.

The beautiful surroundings easily distracted me from the frustration I was feeling. Maybe mum though she would find our new home down this bushy green pathway. It was a particularly stunning bush land. Birds and insects seemed to sing together, the air was warm and sweet.

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