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Sterling Villa

Jusmi is an English teacher. Obtained her Masters in English literature from Gauhati University India shares an immense love for writing.


I was waiting for my boss Mr Ronny Sprigs in his glass cabin. He was late than usual. After flipping through two or three magazines finally he arrived. Without a smile, he sat on his chair and passed me a blue file and urged me to go through it. I tried going through it and stopping me in between he said, “ I need the work to be done positively by this month. You can take that file along with you and read it carefully and update me as to what help you might be needing”. Saying so he dismissed me. Taking the file I came back to my desk and started going through the details.

The next morning I went to Sterling Villa to get the work done. When I reached the place it took away my breathe away. In front of me laid the most magnificent villa that my eyes have ever witnessed. It stood proudly in the middle of a lush green lawn and a beautiful garden. Therefore for the first time, I met Mrs Rayon. She was perhaps in her late fifties but she was very grateful. Her full name was Ariana Rayon. Seeing me she got up from the breakfast table and came towards me. She greeted me, offering me coffee she asked me about the purpose of my visit. I said, “ Hello, Mrs Rayon I have come from the Law firm Warrens & Co. and wanted to discuss something regarding Sterling Villa. I am Josh Barricks is it a good time to speak to you? She asked, “ Are you the lawyer Mr Josh Barricks ?” I replied in positive. Without wasting a single minute she started to scream at me saying, “ How many times have I informed your stupid boss that I don’t want to sell my house. Does he even understand English? Definitely no I guess otherwise why would he send some poor young chap to persuade me of all. Hey, listen Mr Jose or whoever you just convey to him that I don’t want to sell the house that my husband has built for me with his own hard-earned money. Next time I see you and your stupid boss hovering here I will let the dogs loose on both of you. Mind it! Now just get out of my compound”. I was taken aback by such a kind of behaviour. I left without uttering a single word. But, the whole night I was not able to sleep even for a moment. Mrs Rayon’s face was repeatedly coming in front of my eyes. I remembered my own mother who would be of her same age.

The next day was Sunday so I decided to visit Mrs Rayon. Around 5’o clock in the evening I went to her place. I knocked on the door and waited for her to open. After a few minutes, she came. Seeing me she closed her eyes and pursed her lips in irritation. I spoke up, “ Don’t worry Mrs Rayon I have not come here to irritate you. I just need five minutes of your precious time. If you allow me I can come in and explain everything”. She thought something for a minute or two then allowed me inside her house. The interiors of her house were painted in lilac and off white. It was beautifully decorated with priceless paintings and books. I could see a big portrait of Mr and Mrs Rayon adorning the wall. The portrait was framed in a big wooden frame and I stared at it when she said, “ That’'s John my husband. We took this picture four years before he expired. And can you see that photo over the cupboard? Yes, that one. We took it on the day our daughter was one year old. On her 1st birthday”. I asked her, “ Oh! I see. Where is she now? Does she visit you often Mrs Rayon?” She kept quiet for two minutes and the replied, “ No she doesn’t come to meet me. She left us when she was three years old. She died of typhoid and at that time we did not have stable income to save her.” I felt sorry to ask about all this to her. She looked quite gloomy by now but surprisingly she asked me, “ Would you mind some coffee?” I said I would love to have it. She went to the kitchen and in a jiffy brought two cups of coffee. There for the first time, I observed her from close proximity. She had wrinkles all over her face yet she posed a kind of charm which brightened her whole personality. Passing me the mug she started asking me about my family and about my where outs. I informed her that currently, I am residing in my company’s guest house and that my family lived in a different town some five hundred miles away. She showed me her family album and gave details of each and every picture stuck there. She suddenly said, “ You people think that you will give me some notes and I will surrender my house to you all. But, can you all feel how much I and my husband had endured building this house? We had sacrificed our happiness, our time and so many things. Can you pay for all this as well? I guess not. Let me give you a lesson. Money cannot buy memories, they can’t buy feelings as well. Here in this house, I have lost my husband John, my daughter Michelle. But, still, I remained strong thinking they are with me in my every move. Now, you people want to snatch that too in return for a few bundles of notes. Can you see that corner over there? I can see Michelle playing there with her doll every day. Can you see that book? John spectacles are still lying on its top. See that white bougainvillaea flowers blooming aren’t they beautiful? Those are mine and John’s favourite. We would often sit under it and chat for hours. How can I sell all this Mr Barricks?” I kept quiet I had no answers for all her questions. I only said, “ Mrs Rayon it’s quite late. I would like to take a leave. Goodnight”. She stopped me and said, “ How will you go now it’s already too late and also raining heavily. I have already prepared some baked chicken and vegetables. Have some food and spend the night here as you won’t get any cab now owing to the bad weather”. As I refused the weather outside became more hostile. As if it was forcing me to spend the night with her. Finally I agreed as I had no other option. We sat on the dinning table for dinner. Between having food she informed me that it was her 60th birthday tomorrow. We had dinner and went to her respective bedrooms to sleep.

I couldn’t sleep the whole night thinking about Mrs Rayon. The next morning I met her on the breakfast table and wished her a very happy 60th birthday. She smiled and thanked me. I decided to take leave but before leaving I said, “ Mrs Rayon I promise you one thing on your birthday. Come what may ever Sterling Villa was yours and it will be always yours no matter what. I am going to be your lawyer from today. I am leaving for office now to file a law suit against Mr Ronny Sprigs and also to give my resignation from his firm. You don’t worry nobody would dare to take your house from you.” Saying so I came out and I could see a content and peace on her face. I loved it.

It’s been twenty years now after Mrs Rayon’s death I am the owner and caretaker of Sterling Villa. As a promise to her Sterling Villa now houses hundreds of widows who are homeless. I hope Mrs Rayon’s still live here.

© 2020 Jusmi Saikia