“A little to the left.” Emily said to the moving men as they positioned her couch.
Emily was excited as this was moving day into her new home. She had purchased it from her uncle who moved into a condo.
Her uncle showed her the various aspects of the home and the little tricks to get certain things working. For instance, he showed her how to fidget with the lock on the front door to get it to snap and lock.
“Uncle Bill how long has this be broken?” Emily asked
“Never mind how long it’s been broken. Are you going to ask me how long other things in the house have been broken also? It’s bad enough your mother badgered me until I agreed to sell this place to you.”
Emily was used to her uncle being cranky and spouting off at the mouth. He’s been doing it for practically her whole life, and she couldn’t figure out why. She must have asked him dozens of times, but he claimed that’s just the way he is.
She remembered one time when Uncle Bill yelled at her mother because she dropped in on him unannounced to check on him. “Why don’t you think I am ok? I wish the family would stop worrying about me and get on with their own lives”, he said to her.
Emily knew something was bothering him, but he would never admit to it.
She unpacked the utensils from boxes and put them into the kitchen drawers. Emily could hear her uncle telling the moving men they were doing a horrible job and they he was going to speak to their boss.
Emily was glad a little that her uncle was criticizing her and the way she was setting up the house her way. Before she moved her uncle gave her an earful of how to not make any major changes and that only small ones he would tolerate to “his” house.
The moving men had left as Emily was still busy rearranging items in the kitchen. She opened one of the last couple of drawers and discovered a 2 inch by 1 ¼ inch plastic container.
She picked it up in her hand wondering what was inside. As she began to open it her uncle came into the kitchen and yelled, “Don’t open that!”
She turned to face him as he snatched it out of her hand. “Uncle Bill what’s in it?” she asked
“Nothing don’t worry about it. It doesn’t belong to you so mind your business.”
“Why don’t you want to show me? Is there something on there you don’t want me to see?”
“It’s private. Just forget about it and unpack.”
Emily didn’t know what to say and just walked outside back to her car to pick up another box.
As she came back into the house, she saw her uncle staring at the container with his teeth clenched. He slid the film into the front pocket of his jeans.
“Uncle Bill are you ok? What’s on that roll of film?” Emily asked
“Nothing don’t worry about it. It’s nothing.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s nothing. It clearly makes you upset”, she said
“I told you don’t worry about it”, he said as his eyes shot up at her
The front door opened, “Knock, knock”, as Emily’s mother, Mrs. Watkins, walked in.
“Hi Mom”, Emily gave her mother a hug
“Hi Bill thanks for helping Emmy out. How you doing?”
“Good”, he said as he walked outside to take a breath.
“What was that about?” Mom said
“Oh, nothing just Uncle Bill being Uncle Bill. I found a roll of film in one of the kitchen drawers and asked him what was on it, and he flipped out.” Emily said
“Well, your uncle always had one or two things in his life the family felt like he was hiding. Best if you didn’t ask anymore cause you’re just wasting your time. Believe we all tried.”
“Yeah, but I’m his favorite niece so I’ll get him to spill it. I mean I got him to sell me his house which he didn’t want to, but he did.” Emily said
“Selling you a house is one thing but revealing a deep secret is another”, Mom said
Emily and her mother finish unpacking kitchen supplies as Emily heads off to the living room to see if Uncle Bill needs a hand.
“Hey, Uncle Bill, you need help with the boxes in here?” Emily asked as she entered the living room.
“Uncle Bill? Where are you?” she said
Emily walked back into the kitchen, “Mom Uncle Bill isn’t in the living room.”
Mrs. Watkins pointed to the front porch and said, “Your uncle is on the front porch.”
Emily walked out the door to the front porch where Uncle Bill had his head down with the roll of film in his hand.
“Uncle Bill are you ok? Whatever is on that roll of film has you very upset. Do you want to talk about it? Emily said
“No not really. I am not ready to look at what’s on this film. It’s too painful”, he said
“Maybe looking at what’s on the film might bring you some relief”, Emily said
“Come on let’s go inside and finish unpacking you”, he said
Thirty minutes later Emily unpacked the last of the boxes and started to head upstairs to put clean sheets on the bed so she could spend her first night in her new house.
“Well since you are all unboxed, I must go run an errand or two. I’ll be back to check on you two in about an hour”, Uncle Bill said
Emily and her mother sit down at the kitchen table and start to brainstorm ideas of decorating the house would look like.
They start hanging pictures in the upstairs bedrooms as the noon hour approached.
Uncle Bill comes back to the house after running his errands. He puts a paper bag on the counter. “Emily, Kathryn come in the kitchen I brought us lunch.”
“Thanks Uncle Bill you didn’t have to do that”, Emily said
“Well, I was thinking about what you said before and I have a surprise for you and your mother,” as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out pictures from the roll of film Emily found.
Emily and her mother stared at the pack of photos and then back at Uncle Bill.
“Let me show you what was on this film that I never wanted to get developed,” Uncle Bill said
Mrs. Watkins grabbed one of the photos and turned to her brother and asked, “Is this Joanne, the girl you used to date years ago? Whatever happened to her? You told me you two broken up.”
Uncle Bill stared at the photo of Joanne and him sharing a banana spilt as tears rolled down his face. “What I never told you or anyone in the family is Joanne was struck by a car walking home one night after one of our dates. I asked if she wanted me to walk her home, but she said she’d be ok by herself.”
Emily eyes swell up as Uncle Bill broke down into uncontrollable tears. Mrs. Watkins and Emily got up and both pulled him in and hugged him.