Even when the sun found its way to England, her aunt kept the summer house boarded up and bolted shut.
“It isn’t safe.” she’d say, hands resting on Tanya’s shoulders as she steered the child back towards the main house where the rooms were filled with blooming flowers and climbing plants that wove around banisters.
When the cancer set in, years later, stripping Tanya’s aunt of everything that had made her beautiful… they found the papers.
The black and white photos which held more colour than the sunken cheeks of her aunt; a thousand smiles scattered across feet worn floorboards in a summer house Tanya had though the key was lost to.
Untouched, the summer rooms held more dust than furniture and upon the master bed lay her aunt, breath gone, clutching the photo of a woman Tanya could not recognise and her mother refused to look at or name; “she was no one, a mistake, distraction, a ghost your aunt could never let go.”