#67 The Dream House

by Jackie Hatton

Her mother always dreamed of a bigger house, with a beautiful hall, separate spaces for cooking, dining and sitting, no sign of kiddy clutter and a sexy master suite. Whenever they went down the High Street they always paused before the estate agent’s to see what was on the market.

“Dreaming is free,” said Mum.

Huddled round their kitchen table, they spent hours poring over home décor magazines. Even then, before circumstances cast them worlds apart, they were dreaming different dreams. Mum favored French country living. Melissa preferred modern design. The only thing they ever agreed upon was black and white tiles for the hall.

“Classy,” said Mum.

“Classical,” said Melissa, “like a Vermeer painting.”

“What’s vermeer?” asked Mum.

Melissa laughed. “He’s a dead Dutch artist, Mum. You know my teacher says I should apply for scholarships to study art at university. It could lead to a job in a gallery.”

“Like House of Art in Evesham,” said Mum.

“Like the National Gallery,” said Melissa.

“I don’t think much of their pictures,” said Mum. “They’re all so dark.”

It took decades of work as a curator before Melissa could finally afford the dream house. First thing, she tiled the hall. Then she flew Mum half-way around the world to see it.

“Ooh, the floor’s lovely,” said Mum. “But the house is too cold. You need some kiddy clutter.”

“It’s a bit late for that, don’t you think?” snapped Melissa.

“Dreaming is free,” said Mum.

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