Whispers of the Heart

Listen carefully and the words will speak to you

 

     As I drove along Route One I realized how different this trip home was going to be. Coming home on spring break and a couple weeks each summer at teh Grande Victorian home in this small coastal Maine town with my grandmother had been fun. It had been two years since I left and went to Connecticut to attend college and so many things had changed. This time I was coming home for good' gave up my student life at UConn and was hoping to get accetped to Umaine in Machias for the next school year. The meeting at the lawayers had gone well, he stated that all assets would be transferred to my name and there was enough money in the accounts to keep the estate going for approximately five years without making any change in staff or landscape.
     My thoughts drifted to how I was going to now become the head oft he estate over Desmond, Emily, Michael and Jon. Since I was the gage of twelve, they had been like my parents and now I was supposed to tell them what to do, the irony made me laugh in amusement. At least their jobs were secure and I could afford to keep their services at the house. My grandmothers home was a three-story well-kept Victorian home with a widows peak that overlooked the ocean. Its' magnificent architecture and character boasted a wrpa-around porch with swings on both ends, perennial flower gardens that made most greenhouses look shabby, a beautiful weeping willow in the gront yard with a hammock underneath and the rocky coast of Maine to enjoy all year long.
     The house was a light mauve and ivory on the outside and you entered into a foyer of marble and slate with a cherry deacons bench, coat rack and closet that housed slippers for all visitors. My grandmother took great pride in her hardwood floors and oriental rugs, no one was allowed to walk in with shoes on their feet. Through the foyer was a large entryway that had doors to both sides leading inot a parlor on one side and a den on the other' ahead of you was a marble spiral staircase to take you to the bedchambers and library.
     "Don't you be sliding down the rail" echoed in my head, how she knew what we were planing to do before we evnen got to the staris I never knew, but when she wasn't in the house David and I would both slide the banister and we kept it our secret. There wans't much you could keep from her, she was a very wise woman.
     In the parlor my grnadmother would entertain her guests, it had large windows and french doors leading out onto the proch overlooking the rocky coast. In the den she had a cherry roll-top desk and a Steinway baby grande piano; the walls wer decorated with many famouse pieces of art. We used this room at the holdiays and would sing carols while my grandmother palyed for us.
     Our Christmas tree would stand in front of the bay windows beautifully decorated in a Victorian fashion. The lights were always white, never flashing, beads strung gracefully over the branches with mauve bows accenting each loop and the rmaining decorations wer all ivory, mauve, gold and burgundy. The tree looked like it belonged in the foyer of Macy's; it did make its debut in some of the local newspapers, something we were always proud of. The holdiays wer a special time for all of us, festiviites daily in the smalll town of Cherryfiled, (my fellow classmates at UConn had not even heard of this town) and there would be Christams caroling on Chrismtas Eve Oceanside every year followed by a fabulous fireworks display.
     Time had passed along as my thoughts whad drifted back to my earlier years and I found myself pulling into the driveway in not time. I stopped at the front stairs so I could unload my car before driving it inot the breezeway. As I got out of my car the house staff met me and wre all so glad to see me.
     "Let me take your bags for you:" stated Michael.
     "I'll go park your car for you" replied Jon.
     "Come in, relax and let me fix you a nice snack" said Emily.
     They were all so eager to assist. To my surprise Desmond was not here to meet me.
     "Where is Desmond?" I aksed.
     "He thought you needed to rest a night before he [put you to work" replied Emily.
     "Oh, I see some things have not changed."
     We all chuckled.
     Desomond had quite the way of keeping you going during riding lessons. He was a distinguished rider and handsome young man., you did not want to look weak or incompetent to him no matter how tired you were. He had been riding since his early childhood days and now being a lad of 22, he was one of the finest dressage riders in the country. He had a fine muscular build, worked out regularly at the gym, and rode daily. His bronze tone skin against the pale tan riding outfit was satisfying to look at. His sandy blonde hair and blue eyes were irresistible to most of his students; I think some took lessons from him just to watch him ride.
     My grandmother had adopted Desmond like a grandson after we lost David. David was only 12; loved to surf the waves and one day he didn't listen when he was told that the tide was high and the undertow wa fierce. It dragged him under before any of us even knew he was out there. At first we thought he wa playing games with us and hiding; then when he didn't come to lunch when called, we knew something was wrong. Grandma called the coast guard and a couple hours later they found his body, so frail and colorless, I didn't want to go near the water for a long time after that.
     David was a spry young lad, he loved to climb the rocks at the beach, surf the tide and look for ocean habitat when the tide went out. Many an early morning you could hear him laughing as he ran through the water splashing and throwing crumpets to the gulls. Desmond reminded her of David in many ways.
     When Desmond decided to take the job giving lessons, my grandmother offered him the use of the graden house in exchange as part of his compensation. Along with the house came the use of the grounds, tennis courts, gym, indoor and outdoor pools. He gladly accepted along with a small stipend for himself and has now been with us for three years.
     My first night back was great. We all sat around and enjoyed Emily's fine strudels and hot tea and then I decided to retire early. I stayed in my childhood room, things had not been changed since I went off to college. My posters were still on the wall, trophies on the shelf over my dresser and everything was left untouched. The room felt like a child's room though, and somehow it didn't feel like I belonged in ti anymore. Maybe I would look inot remodeling it in the near future but for tonight it would have to do. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day for me. So much to look at, see what needed to be done and I was sure that Desmond woujld put me right back in the saddle. I hadn't been able to ride much while away at shcool, this would be challenging,. With these thoughts in mind, I ly down on my double canopy bed and closed my esyes. it wasn't long before I was sleeping.
     The next mornig I awoke to the sound of the ocean and the smell of salt air; I was home. I could hear the gulls looking for their morning catch and  wonderful aroma and drifting up the stairs. I got up, stepped into my slippers and robe and headed downstairs to the kitchen.
     The kitchen had a scent of fresh-baked bread and it lured me in. "Good mornig miss" I heard Miss Emily say as I entered.
    "Smells wonderul" I replied.
     She poured me a cup of fresh brewed coffee and I thanked her and took it to the porch to enjoy the morning air. A short while later she announced that breakfast was served. I went into the breakfast nook that was built out of the backside of part of the wrap-around-porch so that we could enjoy the light ocean breeze in the mornig. In front of me were scrambled eggs with cheddar chesse and chives, fired grits and a raisin scone.
     "Your spoiling me" I stated, "but that's okay, I like it, everything looks great."
     "Thank you" replied Miss Emily, "will there be anything else right now, miss?"
     "No, thank you" this is wonderful.
     I finished my breakfast and went upstairs to get dressed for the day.
     It was wonderful to be home. I spent most of the day walking the beach picking up little treasures, sat on the porch and read one of the books out of the library for a bit and then headed down to the stables. I had just gotten in from my riding lessons and was ready to climb into a tub full of bubbles. To soak these sore muscles seemed like the best thing to do right now.
     I finished my lesson and walked Barney, a beautiful chestnut gelding, unsaddled ihm, cleaned and placed my tack in its proper place in the stables and then spent a half hour brushing him down before I came in It was now dusk and I was ready for bed, but still had lots to do tonight. Even with the housekeeper, groundskeeper and butler, it seemed like there was not much time to relax.
     I decided tonight that I would stay in my grandmother's room. I stared around as I got myself undressed. Everything was picture perfect right down to the doorstop at my door with the brightly polished brass and shiny white stopper.
     I entered the bath and gazed at the marble and tile that shined back at me. I stepped down inot the Jacuzzi bath; the warm water was relaxing. Plants surrounded the bath and the large picture window next to the tub overlooked the flower gardens, it was easy to loose yourself in though. I glanced out the window and caught a glimpse of Desmond removing his robe and getting ready to take a dip in the pool. He was an enticing site with his bikini swim trunks and exposed muscular body; I looked away toward the gardens to avoid any more desires about Desmond.
     My thoughts drifted to my grandmother. She loved her gardens, there were always fresh-picked flowers in the foyer and on the dining table. Things are different now without her smile and tender voice at the end of a long day. She had been in her eighties; still riing, gardening and telling stories that wer fascintation I guess I never thought she would actually ever be gone; she was such a big part of my life. I remember how she alwys knew the right things to say when I was feeling down, that comfort in her tone made everything alright. Just as she was comforting she had firmness about her when she felt that we were not following the rules of life. She had a way though of telling you that things were not to her satisfaction without ever really telling you. She would start a conversation as if she knew every little detail about the mistakes you were making and somehow she would get you to confess. I never did figure out how she did this, but it worked. Now I am sitting here in her room looking around and noticing that she is not really gone at all. Her memory will always live on in these walls and her presence seems to fill the air.
     We have not changed a thing about her room. The tall windows are still covered by the heavy red and gold paisley drapes layered with a sheer white curtain underneath that wisped as the wind belw threw the open windows. This room was beautifully decorated with antiques. Victorian mahogany dresser topped with an oval wood-carved mirror stood on one wall; vanity with a similar style mirror was on another by the window seat. The wardrobe on the opposite side of the room made me chuckle as I looked at it. This was my favorite place to hide when I was a child and it still looked larger than life to me now with it's two large doors atop of the largest drawer I had ever seen. I used to ask my grandmother if the drawer was made large because grandpa had been a large man. This made her laugh quietly, seeing I had never actually met my grandpa, had only seen pictures of him and he looked like a great man.
     A step-up queen-size four-poster bed with the most beautiful head and footboards I had ever seen was comforting at the end of a long day. It had a beautiful laced ivory crochet canopy that made you feel like a princess when you lay down. At each side of the bed were mahogany nightstands covered with lace doielies and porcelain lamps. The lamps had pictures on them of a Victorian lady sitting on a sofa chair. They were ivory and red in color with a red shade, and ivory lace cover over the shade. A portrait of my grandmother adorned the wall over the wardrobe and various scenic pictures accented other areas of the room.
     The window seat was in a bay window that overlooked the ocean; the view was breathtaking from here. At first I did not like climbing to the third floor of this Victorian home but the view makes it all worth it. Some mornings I'd find myself sitting here listening to the crash of the waves and the caw of the gulls as they look for a morsel on the beach. As I sat here now in my terry robe the waves soothing sound drifted me of to my childhood days.
     "Don't go too close to the water" I would hear my grandmother say. She worried about us so much, since the death of David I understood why. We spent much of our time at the water building sandcastles and looking for beach treasures. When the family would come over I would try to sell my shells and other findings, surprisingly, they always purchased something from me. They alwyas nknew how to boast my ego.
     It was getting late so I went to the vanity and picked up the gold brush with white soft brishles and started to brush my hair. "Three hundrd strokes every night" I could hear my grandmother saying. When finished, I stepped into a lounging outfit so I could go down to the kitchen and have a light diner before retireing for the evening. I placed my long auburn hair up in a bun atop of my head and headed downstairs.

 
    
    
    

 

     As I drove along Route One I realized how different this trip home was going to be. Coming home on spring break and a couple weeks each summer at teh Grande Victorian home in this small coastal Maine town with my grandmother had been fun. It had been two years since I left and went to Connecticut to attend college and so many things had changed. This time I was coming home for good' gave up my student life at UConn and was hoping to get accetped to Umaine in Machias for the next school year. The meeting at the lawayers had gone well, he stated that all assets would be transferred to my name and there was enough money in the accounts to keep the estate going for approximately five years without making any change in staff or landscape.
     My thoughts drifted to how I was going to now become the head oft he estate over Desmond, Emily, Michael and Jon. Since I was the gage of twelve, they had been like my parents and now I was supposed to tell them what to do, the irony made me laugh in amusement. At least their jobs were secure and I could afford to keep their services at the house. My grandmothers home was a three-story well-kept Victorian home with a widows peak that overlooked the ocean. Its' magnificent architecture and character boasted a wrpa-around porch with swings on both ends, perennial flower gardens that made most greenhouses look shabby, a beautiful weeping willow in the gront yard with a hammock underneath and the rocky coast of Maine to enjoy all year long.