I bought an old building, in a town you probably never heard of, in Mississippi, of all places. It had been abandoned for over a decade. The real estate agent thought I was nuts, “You won’t ever make any money off this. This whole area is dying.”
“That’s why I’m buying it.”
I knew I was buying it the moment I set foot inside. The wide hall at the entrance, the absurdly tall ceiling, the ancient stairs to the second floor. It was perfect. Exactly what my heart wanted. A big place for one person. Too big, really. With old wiring, old heating, and no air conditioning.
But, it was the perfect building for me. I could rebuild it. My way. The right way. Replace the wiring, heating, plumbing. Install air conditioning. Restore as much as I could of the walls, the floors, the windows. Reconstruct what I had to.
And when it was done, I could stop.
Three decades of break neck speed in a career that had left me bordering on dead inside. With no dreams. No goals. No hope. Just a machine, going through the motions each day.
28 years in a marriage to a woman who turned out to be in love with my career, and the money I made. Money spent on cars. Clothes. An endless string of new models of cell phones. Trips to the spa each month.
And, when she had enough, I got home from work one day to find my suitcase on the front step, new locks on all the doors, a new phone number that I didn’t know for the house, and a note on the door that said, “I’ll see you in divorce court.”
That’s how life went.
Until Lilly turned up at the SPCA one day. The perfect cat for me. My sister had insisted on hauling me to the SPCA, and made me sit, with her, in the room full of cats. That’s when Lilly walked up to me, climbed into my lap, and looked at me with her giant green eyes. And the heart I thought was long dead started beating again.
That’s how I wound up here. In this house. With Lilly, my cat. She wanted a home. I wanted a home. I wanted a home for us. A quiet place. Away from things like the career that had nearly killed me. Away from the traffic of the city, traffic that never stopped, that was endless, every hour of every day.
A haven. An escape. A land of peace, and quiet. Away from everything defined as success. Just me. And my cat. And maybe, with time, we’d add more cats. If Lilly wanted.
It’s week 116 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.