Make the most of your dreams, Aunt Daisy had told her…
Lisa opened the front door of the shabby terraced cottage, glad to be away from the rain. She was on the verge of tears.
Switching on the light, she stared around sadly, taking in the old green armchairs and, in prime position in the small room, the old piano. The television was positioned on the table in the kitchen-cum-dining room.
She went over and touched the piano reverently.
First the funeral, now this: the house clearing.
Aunt Daisy never had much, even though she had remained single all her life, preferring to give any surplus cash to the local dogs’ home where she often volunteered. How she had loved those furry friends.
“Better than any human,” she had often been heard to say, and was distraught when her old rescue dog Bonnie had to be put down.
Lisa sighed, realising how much she would miss her dear aunt.
Her younger sister and two brothers never had quite the same relationship with the old lady, so even though Lisa was heavily pregnant with her second child, it had been left to her to clear the cottage.
An auction company would be along shortly to take away unwanted stuff – which, really, was all of it, apart from the piano. Aunt Daisy had stipulated that it must belong to Lisa.
Her brothers and sister had scoffed at the loyalty Lisa had felt to Aunt Daisy.
For a start she wasn’t actually their aunt, just an elderly lady who had lived next door.
She had not been the easiest to get along with – grumpy and taciturn. Yet Lisa had seen another side to her, often popping in for a cup of tea and to listen to the woman’s rants with complete sympathy.
Her siblings never saw their neighbour as Daisy did.
She knew there was more to her. Inside was great kindness that was rarely shown.
Thankfully, Lisa sank into one of the cosy armchairs. She still had the unopened envelope in her coat pocket, thinking it merely a curt goodbye from Aunt Daisy, not yet ready to read it.
Sighing, she stared around the drab, worn-looking room.
The rain had almost stopped, leaving the odd drop sounding as it fell from the window pane onto the path outside. This was a blessing, encouraging things to not look quite so bleak.
Lisa had never been executor to someone’s belongings before, and her emotions were in turmoil.
Then she smiled, remembering when she had come here most days to play the piano. She had spent hours making up crazy tunes.
Her parents never seemed to have any spare money for piano lessons, but Lisa used to bash the keys in her childish way, imagining many beautiful tunes she would one day learn to play.
Aunt Daisy had encouraged her.
“Make the most of your dreams, girl,” she would say.
Ruefully Lisa touched her protruding stomach, realising that being a pianist had been just a pipe dream. Though being a mother was better.
Perhaps Daisy should have been a mum, having infinite patience with the young Lisa, enjoying the same things together.
Lisa went over to the piano and, lifting the lid, ran her hands across the keys.
The noise jarred her; it obviously needed re-tuning. Another thing for her husband to moan about when it was somehow brought into their small house.
Lisa was adamant about keeping the ancient heirloom – well, for a while anyway as it had been bequeathed to her.
Again, her brothers and sister had scoffed at the idea of having such a monstrosity filling up her already cramped space. Especially with another child soon to arrive.
“Don’t know what you ever saw in the old bat,” her youngest brother had remarked.
Lisa had seen past the angry veneer. A few times she had connected with a very lonely old woman, who had given up her youth to care for her sick parents. That in turn had left her isolated and missing out on her own life.
Lisa glanced across the room at the old bookcase, remembering how the old lady loved to read, mainly the classics.
No wonder Daisy wanted her to have the piano. It was a way of giving to her and not the others. Her secret way of admitting their friendship.
As she waited for the house clearers, she decided to open the envelope that the solicitor had passed on to her.
Lisa stood up in amazement, then almost fell back into the old saggy armchair. Inside was a cheque for two thousand pounds – and it was made out to her.
“Goodness me, you old devil!” she gasped happily.
Then, the tears poured down her face because she wasn’t able to hug the lonely old woman and say, “Thank you.”
Perhaps later on, she might even have those piano lessons after all.
Enjoyed this story? You’ll find more entertaining tales in My Weekly magazine. In newsagents and supermarkets every Tuesday, or subscribe and save pounds.