It was dark in the house as she made her way further down the hallway. She felt as though the walls themselves were weeping as the sound of someone crying floated down the hall. Such sorrow and suffering in that voice, she wanted nothing more than to turn and leave this place. She turned and looked back to the door, a bright blue, her father had painted as a joke to her mother. It called out to her as a way to safety, away from the coming pain that she knew await her at the end of the hall. She stepped forward once again, the wood beneath her creaked.
“Jessica?” the soft and broken voice called out in uncertainty.
“I’m here mother.” She replied but under her breath, “I’m always here.”
It was at that moment she finally reached the end of the hall and opened the door to see her mother on her knees next to the bed where her father had been for the last five years. It looked so empty now, she could see the indention of where he had been laying before the ambulance came and took him away. The indent of the man who she had called father and had been there for every success and failure she had ever had.
She couldn’t contain it any longer and as the tears flooded down her face to meet the floor she felt strong arms envelop her.
“You will be okay, I promise.”
Her face was lifted upwards to meet the face of her father. He was standing with his arms holding her close.
“Good bye my darling daughter, I know this is hard. I wish I could make it easier but I am afraid that for you it won’t be. Your mother’s heart is breaking and as a last wish she is allowed to come with me. I love you, be strong and we will watch you succeed together.”
He faded before her eyes and as he faded she felt the arms that had been holding her lessen their grip until they were gone.
Jessica looked down to her mother and was granted in that moment the last smile her mother would ever make. As the light faded from her mother’s eyes Jessica fell to the ground surrounded by the memories of her family inside a house she once called home.
She regretted not being home for Christmas, for avoiding coming home while in college, for sacrificing her family for the career that was now meaningless.
She wept in the silence this house now offered as consolation.


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