Previous draft chapters
Finally, in Lake Haven, Mandy stopped in front of her mum’s cottage. It had been over 3 years since she had been there last and then only to pick up her mum when she had fallen ill and had to go back to San Fransisco to see her specialist. No time to see anything or anybody.
It was strange walking in through the front door and seeing the familiar hallway still intact with warm coats and hats on the rack in the hallway and family photos and favourite art pieces lining the walls leading into the lounge room. The sight and smell of the place brought back memories. Nostalgia and a longing for the familiarity of her past made her throat tighten and overwhelming need to cry surprised Mandy. “I must go visit mum soon. It has been too long”. Mandy was normally a regular visitor to her mum’s townhouse in San Fransisco, but the last 2 months had been so hectic that she had not made time. Maybe she should go visit before heading back to LA.
Mandy and her mum Joyce had a close bond. It had always been just the two of them since her father Gary died when Mandy was only 6. They lived in Australia then. In a small town near Adelaide in South Australia. She remembers the day so clearly when the police came to tell them Gary had died in a horrific car accident on his way home from the mines.
Mandy’s father Gary was an Australian and had met Mandy’s mum when she was traveling Australia as a young 22-year-old. Gary was a few years older at 29, divorced with a young child of only 2 years old. His son, David, lived with his mum in Sydney so visits were rare. Gary worked in the mines, four weeks on and four weeks off. Sometimes they would all drive to Sydney and visit David. When David got a bit older he came to visit most school holidays. They always had a great time, Mandy loved having a brother around, and always hated when his visits came to an end and they had to say goodbye.
She remembers her parents being so in love. Gary always returning from his four weeks working in the mines with gifts for her mum and her. The house was full of laughter then and friends would come over for dinners and long nights of talking and drinking. Her mum’s eyes would sparkle and the smile on her face spoke of a deep love that would last a lifetime. Even if physically her parents would not be together for long. Mandy loved lying in bed listening to the merriment.
When her father died part of her mum died too and they returned to the US to be closer to her mum’s family. Mostly it was still just Mandy and her mum and they both settled into life as it was. Over time the memories of her father faded except his great storytelling ability. Mandy’s love of writing somehow made her feel closer to the dad she lost at such a young age. Almost like her way of keeping her dad alive.
Mandy walked through the rooms of the cottage breathing in the smells and the memories that came flooding in. She settled in her own favourite room, at the back of the house, walls in a soft yellow framing the view of the bright pink rose bushes in the garden outside. She could see her mum’s gardener loved his work in the way every plant was healthy and cared for. The beauty of nature always took your breath away. Mandy wished she had more time herself to have a garden, but her lifestyle in LA did not suit or allow for that at this stage in her life. Her successful career had a price, but she wouldn’t have it any other way for now.