Perfection of Suffering - M. Sinclair Page 0,1

see Mrs. Born watering her stunning rose garden again. Something that she had done every single evening, once it was a bit cooler out. That was before this spring, though, when she’d taken a horrible fall and hurt her hip. Within days, her daughter had driven in from Savannah, Georgia and packed up her entire estate in order to move her into their place.

Just like that, we’d lost someone who had literally been fundamental to my childhood. It had been a shock to the system, and while I couldn’t blame them for making that choice, especially because I understood how important family was, I couldn’t deny that it was a bit sad.

I also was terrible with change, so my view on the entire situation, as a whole, was no doubt a bit skewed.

It was one of the reasons I loved photography. Well, one of the many reasons. In that moment, when you decided to take a picture, you were creating a piece of evidence that showed a moment of your life that would absolutely never change. It would always be there for you to remember, no matter what else happened. I found that notion oddly beautiful.

Someone new was moving in, though, changing a small but seemingly massive part of my daily life, and I was both interested and concerned what that would bring. My eyes ran over the large mansion that sat diagonal to us, wondering just how many people were moving in. I mean, the house was objectively massive, more so than any of the others, which was saying something, because Mrs. Born’s husband had built it from the ground up when this community was originally established. Even after his passing and after her children had moved out, she’d never left the property, claiming that it was such a large piece of their love, she didn’t feel right selling it.

I’d always loved that sentiment.

Today, though, the house was filled with movers, walking in and out of the front door as covered furniture was transferred up the pale stone stairs and into the grand foyer. For the entire summer it had sat essentially empty, the vacant, eye-like windows watching me whenever I would glance over. No more, though—now someone would live there.

Someone who had to have a fairly important place in the community, considering the background checks and price tag associated with the multi-million dollar complex.

Sitting up in my chair, I tried to casually examine each worker that went in and out of the house, attempting to distinguish the family from the people aiding in the moving process. I was failing terribly, and despite attempting to not look crazy, I was staring pretty hard. I could only hope that the massive ferns that covered this balcony were shading me to some extent. I didn’t want them to think I was weird.

I couldn’t help but be a bit excited, though! I knew my mom, Kristy Aldridge, felt much the same, because I could hear her humming from inside the house, where she was no doubt buzzing around and putting together a ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’ basket.

Hospitality was a literal drug to my mother, and this little incident was going to give her a fix that would last quite some time. Honestly, I loved her for it, and her enthusiasm was rather contagious, affecting the energy of the entire property. She had always been like that, though—when she walked into the room, she drew people to her like a magnet.

In part, it probably had to do with her being Reese Witherspoon and Martha Stewart in one nearly 5’11” rail-thin package of pure happiness. I could tell you without looking that her dark brown hair was currently pulled back in a loose, relaxed braid that complimented one of the many pastel dresses she wore. Despite her place in society, my mom had never lost her free spirit, and I found it amusing that she walked around our million dollar estate in bare feet, because, as she stated, ‘life’s too short to be uncomfortable.’ Honestly, I wasn’t embarrassed to admit that I looked up to her.

Then again, I was a bit biased because my parents no doubt changed the direction of my life completely when they adopted me. I grew up not realizing just how lucky I was, and still, even then, appreciated them. Now that I understood where I had come from, the feeling was absolutely intensified.

I didn’t want to consider what my life would have been like if she and my dad,