The inevitability of what was to come wearied and depressed us. It started with my parents getting wind of some rumors circulating through the New Village grapevine. The gist of it was that the land on which our house was built was going to be sold to some unnamed person. When the rumors persisted, my father sought out the owner of the property and demanded to know whether they contained any truth. The man conceded he was thinking of selling, but had not yet made up his mind. My father did not press the issue, and that night reported his conversation with Mister Selwyn—the owner of the land—to us. We were not worried; after all, these things happened on a fairly regular basis. In fact, Mister Cooper, the previous owner, had sold the land to Mister Selwyn after we had occupied it for a number of years.
Several months later, with the rumor mill still churning out its usual fare, we put the grapevine gossip out of our minds and concentrated on more tangible things. That was when Mister Selwyn informed my father he had decided to sell the land after all and we had to move our house. We were stunned! Move our house? Why? If Mister Selwyn wanted to sell his land, why didn’t he just go ahead and do it? Was the transaction contingent on us getting off the land? Why didn’t Mister Selwyn let the new owner, whoever that would be, decide whether he wanted us off his property or not? And, furthermore, why didn’t he offer to sell to us? We built our house on that land more than fifteen years ago. Didn’t that give us the right to be considered? Furious at the man, my parents paid him a visit.
As we anticipated, my parents’ unannounced visit did not go well. Mister Selwyn was definitely not pleased to see them; that was unmistakably communicated by the hard set to his jaw from the moment he greeted them outside his house. My father stated his family’s case in simple, reasonable terms to his landlord and waited while his wife fidgeted impatiently beside him. In such matters, he knew he had to be the spokesperson, as my mother was not known for her civility or diplomacy when dealing with people like Mister Selwyn. The landlord was unmoved. He replied that he had already found a buyer for the property, but the buyer wanted the land free of all encumbrances before he purchased. That meant they had to go. He gave them one month to get the house off his property or he would take legal action against them. My mother exploded. Her face like thunder, she dredged up Selwyn’s history and attacked him with some of the unsavory deeds of his and his family’s past. By then, she had dropped the “Mister” title and her remarks were caustic and derogatory. My father finally led her away, still hurling colorful epithets at the shocked Selwyn.
Author’s note: The preceding is from the story “Moving house” from the novella, “House of Tears” now on Amazon Kindle.