So after speaking to her Mother’s solicitor and having had it confirmed that her Mother wasn’t having some kind of final joke with her, Scarlett had spent the rest of her birthday in a daze. Her birthday would have been a difficult one anyhow. Scarlett hadn’t pictured how she would spend her twenty-first but she knew she didn’t envision it in a strange town, wearing clothes she normally wouldn’t be caught dead in, not to mention the small matter of not having a roof over your head.
Of course that was the other small matter the solicitor had to discuss with Scarlett. Her Mother had put Scarlett’s flat up for sale so technically Scarlett was homeless. It didn’t matter to her that she had a “valuable asset” in the land in Appaloosa Plains. She didn’t have anything there. Luckily though Scarlett had remembered that her Mother had helpfully left her the number of the local builder. When Scarlett had contacted them feeling nervous, the man on the other end of the line immediately put her at ease. It turned out that Scarlett’s Mother had contacted him months ago and told him Scarlett would be in need of his services so the call had come as no surprise.
Within days he had erected some walls on Scarlett’s land. It felt bizarre to her to refer to it as “hers” Scarlett also felt dismayed that some walls and basic furniture were all she could afford. She knew her Mum didn’t approve of her party girl life style in Bridgeport but was making her live like a hobo the answer?
Scarlett felt like her Mum hated her. All of her friends got something significant for their twenty-first birthdays, Scarlett got… land. It was a sad day when you missed your rat infested apartment. Hell she even missed the neighbours that would throw wild parties one night, then be fighting the next and moaning at her about the noise.
To keep her mind off those thoughts, Scarlett decided to go exploring. She may as well get to know Appaloosa Plains. After all, it’s not like she could afford to go anywhere else. On the right of her plot of land was a children’s play park.
Across the street was what a house and what looked like some kind of park. She would have to check that out.
Scarlett badly missed sky scrapers. She missed the sounds of the city; of traffic, cars blasting their horns, the rumble of the subway system and the smell of the city. Appaloosa Plains was the complete opposite with trees dotted over the landscape, blue lakes and the hills in the distance. Stopping to smell some flowers, the smell seemed to trigger a memory in Scarlett of her Mum. Her Mum had loved flowers and had a beautiful garden full of rare flowers. Without thinking Scarlett had plucked the flower from the earth.
Scarlett continued to pick the flowers from the ground. Absently thinking how much her Mum would love them. It took Scarlett a few moments before it sank in. Again. Scarlett still couldn’t believe it. Even after the funeral, Scarlett couldn’t say the D word. The word made it real and Scarlett wished more than anything she could believe that it wasnt.
Through all her walking of the neighbourhood, Scarlett found herself in front of a small lake at the park. Thanks to her conversation with the solicitor, Scarlett had found her Mother had left her a fishing rod alongside the plot of land. Scarlett had thought it was yet another bizarre thing to do but Scarlett now understood. Her Mum wanted her to fend for herself, to have a skill that would mean she would never go hungry.
Dipping the line in the water experimentally, Scarlett wasn’t sure what to do next. She had never fished in her life before this point. Her Mum and her Uncle used to, on camping trips when they were little but Scarlett had never bothered to join in.
Scarlett stood patiently by the water’s edge, watching the hook bob up and down below the surface. She had no idea if she was doing it right or how long it would take before she got a bite. She knew if her Mum was watching her she would either be proud her daughter was trying something new or laughing her head off at how bad she was.
An hour later though and Scarlett was ready to call it a night. She had caught two minnows and she thought that was enough for one day. Tomorrow she would go to the market and sell them. As she stretched out she felt an ache in her lower back and she made a mental note to find the gym and try get fit.
To make matters worse by bedtime Scarlett was sneezing repeatedly. Damn allergies. This never happened in Bridgeport. As she climbed into bed, Scarlett was glad her cell phone coverage was poor, the last thing she wanted to see on Simstagram was her friends giggling over glasses of wine and dancing the night away. The same friends that hadn’t made contact with her since her Mum.. screw them. Scarlett didn’t need friends like that. Closing her eyes and trying to pretend she had a roof and four solid walls, Scarlett just prayed her belongings would still be there by sunrise.