This time I will be writing a serial type of story.
As I meander through my imagination, I expect an episode to take shape in time to be posted each week.
If you would like to catch up, simply click on the “Red Sweater Serial Tab” at the top of my blog.
The Red Sweater
Part SixRachel brushed past Roz on the stairs mumbling, “Sorry.” She fumbled in her purse for the key to her room. Her hands were shaking as she struggled to get the key into the lock. Once inside the room, she closed the door and leaned up against it.
It was now dusk. The window shades were drawn, darkening the room but she did not turn on a light. Her legs felt rubbery. She slowly sat down on the edge of the bed. With a rigid arm on either side of her body, and her palms pressed into the mattress, she tried to steady herself.
She slowly shook her head back and forth and began to cry. She turned and crawled on all fours up to the head of the bed. She sank down onto a pillow, pulled her knees up and hugged them tightly into her chest. She tried to make sense of it all. She had many questions and most of them began with “why”.
Earlier in the day, mid morning, right after breakfast, Rachel got into her rental car, typed an address into the car’s navigation system and started on her journey. She wasn’t sure what to expect, but she felt she had no other choice. The weight of uncertainty was suffocating. Her episodes of panic and anxiety were becoming more frequent and intense.
Evie told her she was becoming obsessed with the whole thing.
“You should move on, Rach. Dwelling on the past is not helping.”
She hated when Evie talked about moving on. What would she know about it?
That’s not fair, Rachel thought. Evie has been through difficult periods. She knew her sister was only trying to help.
According to the GPS she would arrive at her destination in less than two hours. During the first part of the trip she traveled on rural single lane roads. Under different circumstances she would have been able to appreciate sitings of long neck herons as they skillfully tip toed their way through scenic grassy marshes.
This morning, though, her thoughts were narrowly focused.
Rachel vividly remembered the day she found the document.
It was a Sunday afternoon. Her mother called to ask if she would help her clean out Rachel’s father’s study. It had been two years since he passed away. Actually the day her mother called was the two year anniversary of her father’s death. With the exception of an occasional dusting, the room had remained exactly as it was when Rachel’s father was alive. It had been his refuge.
“It’s time, Rachel,” her mother said. “Evie and Ed are out of town. It will be just the two of us, I’m afraid,” she added.
The room was small, but her father had made efficient use of the space. There were floor to ceiling book shelves along opposite walls. Two club chairs were placed in front of a double window which looked out onto the street in front of the house. Her father started out each day sitting in one of the chairs sipping on his coffee. He liked looking out the window, watching the early morning walkers and joggers as they passed by. His desk and computer were situated along the other wall facing the center of the room.
The two women spent the afternoon sorting through papers they found in her father’s desk.
“What are you going to do with the desk?” asked Rachel. It was an old worn oak piece.
“I was going to give it to the second hand shop. You know, the one affiliated with the church.”
Rachel said, “I would like to have it, Mom.”
“This old thing?” her mother exclaimed. “It’s full of nicks and scratches.”
“I know,” Rachel said. But, it was Dad’s. And look, here’s where Evie and I carved in our initials, she said pointing to the side of the desk.”
When her mother tried to open the center drawer, it stuck.
“It seems to be locked,” she said.
“Here let me try,” said Rachel.
Rachel tugged, but it wouldn’t budge. She pushed it in and then pulled on it again and it gave way.
That’s when she found it. An envelope, yellowed with age.
“Emma’s Birth Certificate” was hand written on the front of the envelope. She recognized her father’s distinctive script.
Confused, Rachel’s eyes narrowed, her brow knitted. “Who is Emma?” she asked.