Between the two driveways leading off of the bulb was a lilac tree which bloomed so ferociously in the late spring that it looked like a pink avalanche caught in stop motion.
As a child, Matthew would often stand and look at it, waiting for the pink to spill out onto the cul de sac.
The last time Matthew had talked with his brother was at his father’s funeral, almost twenty years in the past now.
Now, at the commemoration of what would have been his father’s hundredth birthday, there had been talk of some sort of united thing with all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of ‘the great man’.
Obviously there had been push-back from the various factions of the family, mostly because they wanted some part of the
The house was now a heritage site, generating thousands of dollars in revenue for the town, not just from admission fees to it but from merchandising that the entire town took part in.
T-shirts with a Warhol-esque lithograph of the house.
Commemorative whiskey glasses.
Julian Chapman bobble-heads for God’s sake.
It was a bit pathetic, really, the town basing its entire identity on one man.
But, Matthew thought, wasn’t that exactly what the family had done as well, what he’d done?
The only books of his that had sold were those of Julian’s that he’d helped finish.
Him and his cousin, Jillian.
Her mother had been prophetic in naming her after him, as she had turned out to be the only writer in a family full of writers with a career to rival his.
Matthew flashed his lifetime pass at the volunteer at the house’s entrance.
The foundation had spent the last few years re-modeling the house to approximate the way it looked when Julian was still there, writing in the corner bedroom.
Now it looked straight out of an early 70s movie set.
From the looks of it, Matthew observed, they’d gotten most of it right: Julian’s writing room was as he remembered it, although the addition to toys was an odd touch.
Julian would never have allowed toys in his private space, especially the kind that they had there.
That had to have been his sister Adrienne’s influence, trying to remake Julian into this big family man.
How would she have known what he was like in those days, anyway?
She’d disappeared out east to college at sixteen and never looked back.
Her saccharine memoir was the basis for his popularity resurgence as well as family drama, when his other sister’s memoir came out, claiming the opposite of Adrienne’s.
Julian would have had fun with all this, Matthew knew, the creation of a narrative where the fiction mixed seamlessly with the truth.
He would have considered this his magnum opus, the transformation of his life into a grand epic multi-generational novel, giving him the immortality he coveted.