I woke up with a searing headache and groped around in the bathroom for painkillers. Picking up my phone, I noticed I had 4 new text messages, all from Kathyrn. My mind was elsewhere but I felt a sense of sudden warmth at her concern. Each text got more frantic as it asked if I was okay and why I'd suddenly left yesterday, though I could tell she was slightly pissed off about it too.
I rubbed my head in slight distress, resolving to deal with those questions later. I hated to fob her off but right now, I had to go, so I simply texted back saying 'I'll tell you later. I have to figure something out but thanks for thinking of me. Don't worry about me. x' And then I left.
I pulled up to the house and turned off the engine. My heart was beating faster than normal and my mind was sifting through thoughts that I couldn’t process. I was still confused by my feelings at now suspecting Uncle Alan had something to do with my past. Perhaps all this time, all my life, I'd been so wrapped up in my own problems that I'd failed to see the bigger picture. Yet some small part of me didn't want to believe any of it. My whole childhood had him weaved through it. He had fed me, brought me up like his own son. Even though I'd never warmed to him and always felt alone when he was right beside me; even though I'd despised our lifelong awkwardness that we'd never been able to shake, deep down I knew I owed him a lot and for that I still loved him.
But what was I doing here!? I was completely over-reacting and letting myself run away with my thoughts. It would all be figured out in a few minutes of conversation, I was sure.
The grey Vauxall still sat in the driveway and memories of school runs were already rolling like a film reel in my head. I didn't want to get out of the car. I was dreading what was to come but I simply had to know. There was no way I could go away without at least attempting to untangle this labyrinth, now that I had something to go on. Perhaps I really was close to finally figuring out what had truly happened in the first five years of my life.
I found myself standing outside the peeling door, staring at the familiar grooved pattern. I followed it with my eyes, just like I'd done ever since the door had been replaced on that spring afternoon. I finally pulled the doorbell with a shaking hand and felt more than heard the blood pumping in my ears. I put my nervousness down to not having seen Uncle for 6 years. What if he wasn’t in? The bell tinkled and I could still hear it even after it had stopped. Please be in, please be in. A few more seconds passed. I almost walked away, convincing myself that he was out, but then a shuffle came from inside and a figure shimmered behind the frosted panel glass, surrounding the door. It opened.