I clutched my copy of The House of Seven Gables, feeling the worn material of the binding beneath my fingers. Rocking up and down on my toes, I stared at the house in front of me. The hodgepodge peaked roof with weathered wooden shingles almost fit ‘my’ house, as I had started calling The House of Seven Gables when I was a kid.
This wasn’t ‘my’ house, but it was close enough, and I had seen this one many times before. I eyed the Sale Pending notice that dangled from only one chain on the real estate sign. Interesting. It had been for sale for so long yet no one had even given it a second glance—until now, apparently. Sale Pending waved in the cool breeze. I frowned. It wasn’t as though I came by often, I managed a visit to my hometown only once a year.
Shrugging, I turned away. The house was one I always admired, despite its dilapidated state. Whoever was buying the house was buying a ton of work. I tucked the House of Seven Gables into my purse. It was time to get going. The shop closed at three, and besides, nine in the morning wasn’t very far away when I still had ten hours of driving ahead of me. It wouldn’t do to be late for an interview, either.
I turned away and took a few steps down the cracked sidewalk. The chill wind picked up again, and I buttoned a few more buttons on my coat, closing it up to my neck. I hurried to where my car waited at the curb. I tugged on the handle once, but as usual the door didn’t budge. After a quick kick with my scuffed boot the door popped open.
I slid into the driver’s seat and turned the key. The engine groaned then rumbled to life. It let out a sigh, as if saying, “Do we have to?” But once I put it in gear the car chugged obediently along, leaving the house behind us.
The clock on the dashboard read 2:45. Fifteen minutes to go. The only reason I had stopped in this little town was to go to the shop, so I had better not be late! The house had distracted me from my mission. My wondering mind often got me in trouble that way.
My car chugged along a street so narrow that the sidewalks threatened to invade the road. A few blocks down the road I stopped in front of my destination—Yum’s Ice Cream. Less than imaginative name, but the owners made up for it with the crazy flavors and combinations they came up with. There was one in particular I was craving. Kiwi pecan ice cream—a flavor less than conventional, in fact, I didn’t know of another place that served it, and so I got to sample it only when I came into town to visit my parents. I put my car into park. Visiting my parents. That wouldn’t be happening anymore, and I was moving on with life.
I stepped out of the car and headed for the ice cream shop. Kiwi pecan ice cream and then a 9 hour trip to a job interview and possibly a bright future.