When my father fell ill, we had to scale things back, let some things go. I’d get so frustrated – there were things he wouldn’t let me fix, that I actually could have – “You’re just a boy, what do you know?” At the same time, there were a million things that were beyond me, but Dad wouldn’t hear of letting anyone else near the house to take care of it – his pride got in the way. He’d hobble out, painfully and laboriously, and shake his head. And so the greenhouse got boarded up. The pool was drained. The gardens were left to their own devices, and the fountains ran dry.
When my father died, the electricity went haywire. He’d wired it all himself – he was an electrician by trade – but my parents had never meant to stay there more than a few years. So the lights would flicker, would brown out, would black out – and then the next day, they’d be fine. My mother was convinced that it was my father’s ghost. When the breakers started shooting sparks one morning, my mother cursed – it was five in the morning; I had just gotten out of the shower, getting ready for work, and she was hoping that I wouldn’t see it. Apparently it had been happening for a while. I put my foot down, called in sick to work, and called an electrician – ghost or no ghost.
My dad would have been furious, but he wouldn’t have wanted the house to burn up around us, either. The electrician we called in couldn’t make head nor tail of what Dad had done – and none of it was to the current code – but he called Dad a genius and rerouted everything.
That was when we lost electricity to the workshop, the hot tub, and the gazebo.
Time marched on, as it inevitably does; I moved away, and Maman was forced to shut off the part of the house I lived in – my bedroom, the office and bathroom on that end of the house. She moved out; I moved back home to put things in order. And now, at last, it’s time to pack up and leave Arvingdale for the last time.