I forced a smile for each person who filed by to pay their respects. Like a dull needle skipping clumsily across a broken record, they repeated the same words.
“So sorry dear.”
“Call us if you need anything.”
“Come see us.”
“Your mother was the best…or the sweetest…or a lovely woman…or a good friend.”
She was. All those things and more. I remember thinking that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. And she had the voice of an angel, singing me to sleep each night as she tucked me in “all snug like a bug in a rug”. Mom taught me how to read and how to cook and how to shave my legs.
Just two years before we had buried Daddy, the first man I ever loved. He taught me how to swim and ride a bike. He took me fishing for blue gills, and hung an old tire swing from the towering oak tree in the front yard. Daddy spent many nights helping me with homework, and he was there too, to hold me when some silly boy had broken my heart. How I wish he was here now to hold me. How I wish both of them were still here.
I only had three days to get the house ready for auction. Three days to sift through a lifetime of memories and to pack the things I would keep.
I started in the kitchen, boxing up granny’s silver and tea service. On the top shelf of the cabinet was mom’s recipe box. Pages of handwritten, oil-stained sheets of tattered paper were a treasure to me.
As I thumbed through the recipes I found a sealed envelope. My name was printed on front in mom’s handwriting.
My hands trembled as I slid my finger under the flap. The paper inside was faded. “When had mom written this?”
I unfolded the page. “Whose handwriting is this?” I thought. It wasn’t Mom’s or Daddy’s. I flashed a glance to the bottom of the page.
“Aunt June? Why would she be writing a letter to me?”
My eyes raced to the top of the page, ‘Dear Annie and Tom…’ Mom? Daddy? Why would Aunt June write you a letter with my name on the envelope?”
I dropped to the floor, hot tears burning my eyes, as I read Aunt June’s words…her secret…mom and daddy’s lie…my truth.
kat – 23 February 2016
A story for this week’s Ronovan Writes Friday Fiction Prompt: You’ve just been handed a message that makes you drop to the floor, trembling uncontrollably.
To read other stories or enter your own, click HERE.