The trouble with committing to publishing a short story every Friday is writing a short story for every Friday.

Today’s offering is a work in progress. So you’ll get it in the current draft form.

Be kind.

The Front Room

“Put a sweater on and open up the heating vent when you go in there.”

“Yes, Aunt Ethel.”

The front room was always cold.

I didn’t matter what time of year it was, there was always a chill in the front room.

Maybe that’s why the room was never used. Or almost never used.

This was my aunt’s house. Before this it was her parent’s house. The home place.

The house where my father was born.

When my father moved out, the indoor plumbing moved in and his room became the bathroom.

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Much of the house was like that. Originally just the front room, the middle room, and the kitchen, bedrooms had been added on one side, my father’s bedroom and a closed in porch on the other.

By the time I came along, my grandmother was gone, having passed from cancer just months before I was born. My aunt, a registered nurse, widowed at a young age, had move home to care for her father.

When my grandfather passed, the front room was closed. At least that’s the way I remember it.

Everyone who visited my aunt came in through the back door. No one ever knocked.

A glass door sealed off the room from the rest of the house.

I am certain that there were times when the family was all together that they would gather in the front room, but it was more likely that they gathered in the middle room, now the dining room.

That is, when they weren’t just around the kitchen table.

So, the front room was always cold. Always closed.

The piano was in the front room. My cousin gave me my first piano lesson there. When I finally started taking lessons officially, I would practice there. We didn’t have a piano at my house. That made practicing a challenge because we lived across town.

When I was a junior in high school, we moved to the house next door. I started spending more time in the front room, at the piano.

After college, I moved home and picked up piano lessons again. Almost every evening I’d go over to the house to practice.

I never knocked. The door was never locked.

Sometimes, more often than not, my aunt would have me perform little tasks for her before I practiced.

In the winter, she would tell me to turn the heat on in the front room. Sometimes I would. Usually I just wore a sweater.

I came to spend hours in the front room, and I never remember it being warm.

The front room was always cold.

Photo by Ebuen Clemente Jr on Unsplash






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The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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