Kerry inherited a mansion house from her late uncle. The property has been passed on from generation to generation without maintenance funds to keep the property running. Kerry occupies a small section in the basement where each morning at 5am she wakes up alone, packs her handmade wooden crafts onto the rear of an old truck, then she drives to the nearest selling point.
And the days repeat this way; on, off, mornings, nights, weekdays and weekends but sometimes there is a twist or two; an unwanted letter in the Winter or a surprising visitor during the summer. Like that day when a woman stopped at Kerry’s market stand, making small talk and clicking with each other straightaway.
The woman was Victoria, a real estate investor staying for a weekend at one of her many holiday homes. She asked Kerry, “You look young my dear, have you been working the markets for long?”
“Thanks for the compliment but I’m 29, not so young anymore. I’ve been hustling here for 4 years, my uncle initiated me to this place and to wood crafting. He passed away recently but I keep coming for the money of course. I also enjoy the scent of the breeze at dawn and I get to talk to lots of nice people like you, even if there is always a percentage of rudeness, but that’s not any different than in any other places I guess,” said Kerry followed by a smile of resignation to her situation.
“Don’t say such a thing, 29 is the beginning of life. Myself, I used to think like you but you’ll see at my age, you’ll look back at this moment in time as the start of adulthood. You still have plenty of life ahead of you and so many lessons waiting for you. I think the key to enjoying life, is to have a plan. Do you have one? What is it that matters to you my dear?,” asked Victoria.
Sensing the thirst of Victoria to satisfy her enquiring mind, Kerry who anyway was experiencing a dry spot of clientele, suggested to Victoria to wait for her to pack up her stuff. As the sun was shining on them, Kerry invited Victoria to come and see what matters to her in life by way of an afternoon tea in her garden. Victoria who was on a weekday break had all the time in the world to feed her curiosity and accepted the invitation willingly.
Once arrived at Kerry’s home, Victoria gasped, “Oh gosh my dear! I didn’t expect you to live in such a lovely mansion house. If you don’t mind me asking, is it yours?” Kerry told Victoria the story about her uncle’s inheritance.
“After a lengthy career as a real estate investor… I’m telling you… your situation is very common, I’ve even seen people inhabiting ruins. But the exception here is that you are sleeping under a golden roof! Do you realise this Kerry?,” asked Victoria.
“Of course I love this place, nonetheless it’s a burden. I barely use any of the space and on thunderous nights, the house creaks and cracks, it’s most frightening! Sometimes I get so paranoid when I listen to the silence, I hear sounds… as if the silence was speaking to me. So I think the roof is more haunted than golden,” said Kerry trying to make fun of her loneliness.
Victoria started to get annoyed by Kerry’s blindness to her fortune but before judging her she changed her perspective and said, “so what is it then that matters to you Kerry, that thing you said you’ll show me?”
Pointing at a violin in the hallway, Kerry said, “there, this is what matters to me, that’s my dream and when I hold it I imagine gatherings of spectators surrendering to their emotions as they surface at the sound of my notes, their spirits merging with mine to be re-lived through my symphonies.”
“What do you think is stopping you from making your dream of living from your music come true?,” said Victoria.
“Isn’t it obvious? In between the market and my craft, I barely have any time left to attend auditions which are a long drive from here. I have no choice. If your idea is to sell the house then don’t waste your breath as it is not an option. In respect for my ancestors, I will never, never sell out,” stated Kerry firmly.
“Oh dear, that was quite a pessimistic speech. When something matters to you there is always an option and you are sitting on it as we speak,” replied Victoria.
“Oh really?,” asked Kerry.
“Yes really, all you have to do is to rent out the rooms and there you have it my dear, your ghostly mansion turned into a profitable hotel! But I won’t tell you more, I gave you a seed, now it’s up to you Kerry to plant it wisely,” offered Victoria.
Grateful for the advice, Kerry thanked Victoria and they both agreed that Victoria would come back to visit Kerry the following summer. Their chat was brief but rich. After Victoria’s departure Kerry was confused at the shocking feeling that their meeting was meant to be.
As planned, the next summer arrived and Victoria came back to visit. The white sheets on furniture were all gone, the dust had been swept away on chandeliers, the wooden crafts were shelved for sale and yellow flowers from Kerry’s garden were displayed in all corners of the house. In the hallway, Kerry was playing violin surrounded by guests relaxing through her music and savouring a dinner cooked by a chef that Kerry employed part time recently, as she started to make profits. In what was once a money draining property, Kerry was prospering in doing what mattered to her and not selling out on her gifted assets.
This was the last conversation between the two women:
“I feel a bit stupid, I can’t believe I didn’t think about this idea myself,” said Kerry.
“Don’t feel silly dear. Sometimes what really matters to us is elusive, it takes another perspective, an expanded vision to see it. We often miss what stares us in the face, that’s why there are things that only time and coincidences can teach us,” replied Victoria.
“Deep down I knew what mattered most in my life but at the time it seemed so out of my grasp. Thankfully, you have provided me with a ladder to reach it. I can’t thank you enough, I wish I could do something for you too,” said Kerry.
Victoria smiled and replied “You’re welcome Kerry. You’ve made the right decision by inviting me for tea, then you took action on my advice, so congratulate yourself! And I felt meaningless before we met, in my job in order to get the best value for money I learned to harden my heart and it has weakened my integrity. But today I feel proud to have helped an honest and respectful person like you and that matters to me. So thanks in return. Let’s say that our encounter has mattered and will always matter to both of us.”