When I was little, I wanted to be a musician. Like, a lot. I even took violin lessons. Voluntarily.
I wasn’t very good. Maybe I’d have gotten better, I don’t know. I never got the chance to find out. Life got in the way. Or rather, death did. I was eight when my parents died.
After their deaths, I went to live with my grandfather.
Edgar Dolman, III wasn’t a bad man–not mean or wicked or anything like that. He just had certain ideas about how things ought to be done. That “III” weighed pretty heavily on him, I think. Even more so after my dad–his only son–died. There was no one left but me to carry the burden of his legacy, and I was just a girl.
Not that girls didn’t have their share of familial responsibilities, too. Maybe I couldn’t carry down the family name, but I could learn to think and behave like a Dolman. Dolman Industries and this big old house would belong to me someday. I had to learn how to run them.
So I grew up, there under my grandfather’s watchful gaze. Aside from that, nothing ever really changed.
Including my interest in music. I didn’t care what genre it was–classical, country, rock. I loved them all. I’d have given anything to trade in my stack of schoolbooks for a guitar. A piano. A drum kit. Anything. Everything.
Music had no place in my grandfather’s grand scheme of things, however.
When I was a teenager, I discovered punk rock. It got under my skin and provoked thoughts of staging a rebellion against my grandfather’s ideas of propriety and responsibility. I’d run away, join a band, and never look back.
Except, of course, I had no idea how to play. Anything.
The closest I ever came to running away was when I moved up to the garret room, slapped a few posters of bands my grandfather despised onto the walls, and cranked up the music as loud as I could stand it. Which was pretty loud. I’d let the music pump through my veins and dream. If I couldn’t be in a band, maybe I could be a manager. A promoter. A studio exec.
I wore headphones when Grandfather was home, though. And I made sure I never gave him cause to set foot into my room and in doing so discover my hidden rebellion. Good grades and immaculate school behavior record, that was me. The only rebelling I got around to doing was inside my head.
Grandfather wasn’t a bad man, after all. And we were all we had left.
I went to college. I dutifully majored in business. (Although I took as many music electives as I could. I even sneaked out to some concerts.) Then I graduated and returned home to Dolman Manor.
Just in time to find out my grandfather was in the final stages of an illness which he’d kept hidden from me up until then. My every waking hour since then has been spent helping to take care of him, however I can.
As of 3:53 AM on a Wednesday morning two weeks ago, he no longer needs me to take care of him. Edgar Dolman, III has moved on.
Now, it’s just me. Me and this big old house, and all the oppressive weight of that unclaimed “III” weighing in the air. I miss my grandfather. And I feel bad that his dreams of passing down his legacy didn’t quite come true. But running Dolman Industries is still the last thing I want to do.
So maybe I won’t.