Contentment changed in a split second.
I went back to the Swiss estate not long ago, and found it looking oddly different than when I was a tenant there three years before; it's walls were looking less whiter, it's windows more smaller and the environment less serene than I remembered it, and the grasses were not so lush as I had pictured it in my head, only that four years before now, I had just come there as a contracted wife to Mr Jacobs. Perhaps I was still younger and naive, Perhaps It wasn't as beautiful as I thought it was.
The whole looks of duller paint had made the place looked like it was not taken proper care of, but that was far from the truth, because when I entered into the house after crossing the lawn that seemed to be more than a thousand Miles, I had reached the front door of the house and when I stepped into the house, I had seen maids doing their normal duties.
I was told that Mr Jacobs was not home and I acted as if it was new information reaching me, but it wasn't. I knew that Mr Jacobs had gone on a trip and that was why I chose then as the perfect time to visit my old place because I had missed it, I wasn't bothered if the housekeeper—who was still Rosetta, the same person who kept the house while I was there—would inform him that I had come. The fact that the owner of the house was not present didn't stop my purpose of visiting: to look around and take in the whole scenery; for satisfaction that I had long abstained from.
I walked out of the house towards the back of the building, the ground was unsteady under my feet because it was covered in stone, something that was made to serve as decor.
I was reaching the patio.
I could see it clearly from the place I now stood with my hands akimbo, it was beautiful, string lights hung from a big umbrella, with chairs and tables set in the midst of blossoming trees, I took in the breath of fresh air; I could smell the sweet scent that the Jane Magnolia tree let out in the air.
I went over to it; to get a closer look. The tree looked dry, too dry, perhaps that was how it was supposed to look…or not, it smelt fine though, I placed my hands on it. It was hard under my palms, I could see tiny ants climbing the tree: manoeuvring around the rough bumps, and I had a thought, it flashed in my head for just a second but it was enough for me to grab so much Information, I saw us—we humans—like tiny ants trying to find our way through unleveled grounds: such as the grand canyon, but, bigger.
Convinced that the tree was fine and not dying, I left, perhaps it had more years to live…
I passed through swinging doors that was at the back of the house, into a small living space, that was immensely decorated, with all kinds of antics, there were large dark paintings hanging on the walls and some laying—wedged by the walls—on the ground, I knew Mr Jacobs to be someone that appreciated all things bright, it seemed like his taste in art contrasted…or I didn't know him: simple.
I visited a few places and then I left the swiss estate, changed, with the sweet feeling of content flowing through my entire being.
I wondered what would be said to Mr Jacobs when he arrived back home, would he see my coming as intruding?, infact I hadn't really thought out that part, more still, I didn't feel disturbed until I had woken up on a Saturday morning to find a bouquet of flowers laying on my door mat, I hadn't thought it to be anyone that would be so nice to send me them—since I didn't have any lovers, if there were any secret admirers I would have known before then—I was totally unaware of the person's identity until I had picked up the flowers, taken it into my house and then loosened up the flowers from the bunch to put them into my flower vases—Gardenias are my favorite type of flowers—when a note slipped out, it was as white as the gardenias itself. I let out my breath, that I had unconsciously been holding and then read through the note.
“Claudia, I had so long awaited your arrival."
The tention that had started building up when I picked up the bouquet from my front door till when I read through the note had found its way to my heart through my veins in a sharp thrust, I felt a certain feeling of guilt; at first going to the swiss estate, the one place I knew I shouldn't go, although the one place that was home; it was nothing less than home.
I didn't know what to do next, or if I should do anything at all, the note didn't say much, but what was it implying?.
I bent over and placed my hands on the sink where the flowers layed individually, out of their bunch.
I found my hands shaking, I stood up and went Into my bedroom. That was Saturday morning.
Now it's Thursday afternoon, I made up my mind to revisit the swiss estate, and this time knowing fully well that Mr Jacobs would be home, I didn't know if it was a bad decision, I was familiar with making bad decisions in my life; something that had forged from nothing entirely and had brooded over a period of time to become something so…so powerful, so powerful that I couldn't control it because before it became powerful I had left it unattended to. Just as how I couldn't control the urge of going to the Swiss estate.
I had climbed down from my car and I felt hot air from the afternoon sun slap me on the face. Once again I had walked past that never ending lawn, each step I took towards the mansion the more dreadful I felt, my gut grumbled and I could almost hear my heart beat, but I wasn't conscious to anything, I couldn't process thoughts either: I was in a very confused state of mind.
I felt fear, the same fear that had lived with me from the moment I stepped foot in this estate, three years before—but I had failed to acknowledge that fear after spending some time in the mansion, even though I could feel it and almost smell it with each passing day, I was scared that the very second I concede it, that would be the very second it would become, so I let it run loose about my head, but never pinpointing at it— it was as if the very day I came here colour had been added and the same colour had left the moment I left. In my heart I felt that Mr Jacobs would be watching me from a slightly open window, somewhere.
“Welcome madam Claudia,” Rosetta had said to me “Sir would love to see you in the sitting room, upstairs."
I knew my way around the house, nothing had changed though—nothing, not even a couch was moved or a flower vase gotten replaced—it made me feel as if I never left the house, as if three years were merely three hours, which it wasn't, the time I've spent after I left this house was long, and was wisely spent.
But then, my coming here was not the same reason why I had come before, I had come to see the man that I had gotten married to and at a point in my life fallen in love with, the man who's presence had made up an important part of my life.
He stood facing the window that I could see his tall frame silhouetted against the beaming light of the afternoon.
Rosetta had slipped away from the room unannounced, I had heard the shutting of a door behind me but I never turned, the room fell silent. It was not exactly noisy before, but, this was the alpha of all the silence I had witnessed in my entire life.
“Claudia." He said breaking the silence and turning to me, his features were hidden, blocked by the light that passed through from the window, I knew what he looked like though—I saw him on the TV and in magazines—He walked to one of the chairs and signalled for me to sit in one.
I did, I sat.
I didn't know what next to say, the reason I had come? Or the reason I had come before?.
“We've grown past that already, haven't we?"
“I fancy nothing in this house has changed since I last saw it?." He looked about his room and then at me, I turned my gaze to the open window, I could feel his gaze on me, I couldn't meet his eyes, just for a moment I had a thought…just breathe, I hadn't settled on another thought after that.
“You look good, Claudia, I'm pleased to see that you're well taken care of."
“You don't look too bad yourself." I heard him chuckle, I looked at him, our gazes locked.
“I have been thinking, Claudia, and I prayed deeply in my heart that you'd come back, home…” he searched my face to gather emotions, I almost thought I could notice the way the tone of his voice wavered, but the person I had known him to be, the person he had so expertly presented to me as himself, would never feel nervous, not even the slightest bit. “…but, I want to ask you myself to hear what you have to say because I have learnt from our past that I should never guess what you might want, because one moment you're happy and whispering faint sweet words that tickles and the next you're out of the house and then no where to be found, so I want to ask you, Claudia, why are you here?.
I would answer his question…of course, but I stopped to think.
I just hoped that he wouldn't see my silence as repulsiveness.
I looked at his face, his emotions were clear, his gaze was soft and his slim dark brows were furrowed together, his lips were straight, not bent upwards or downwards. It came as a surprise to me that he wasn't hiding his emotions, The person I knew him to be would see showing emotions as being vulnerable…what did he mean by “I prayed deeply in my heart that you'd come back, HOME"
"Are you alright?.” I asked him, troubled.
“I thought you wanted me to leave?." I asked still confused.
"What do you mean by that.“
"We were supposed to be unmarried after a year."
“And, did I tell you I wasn't trying to get things done, we had more than a month left, matter of factly you left when we were still married."
" I…” I said then I trailed off, still leaving my mouth opened in the " I “ pronunciation, the moment I realized I left my mouth open, I closed it.
There was a revelation in what he told me, perhaps I was wrong about him, perhaps I was wrong about leaving him, maybe we could have worked things out together; it dawned on me that I had made a big mistake, a huge one, something I would wish that I could go back in time to fix because except that, nothing else would fix it, but I couldn't go back in time, I was just sitting on a soft leather seat…nothing more, I could swear that I felt my pupils dilate.
“A penny for your thoughts?."