The Letter – Part 2
I woke to the plunk, plop, plink of the leaky faucet in the kitchen sink. My back and neck ached from having fallen asleep on the floor. The skin on my face was tight, sticky from dried tears.
It felt like a horrible nightmare, except for the crumpled letter still clenched in my hand. I smoothed the wrinkles, wiped the crust from my eyes and read the words again…
Dear Annie and Tom,
You are two of the most amazing people I know. For whatever reason, fate chose not to bless you with children, yet me, who would make a terrible mother, with this beautiful baby girl.
You know I can’t begin to give her the life she deserves. But you two…how wonderful her life would be if you could find it in your heart to take her as your very own.
I promise from this day forward to be simply Auntie June.
I’ve spoken to an attorney who will draw up the papers so we can make it official.
Just one favor is all I ask. May we name her Grace? She will always be Grace to me.
My eyes burned as I fought back tears. I had cried enough this past week. To think losing Mom was the worst thing I could imagine.
“Mom…if you are listening somewhere, you should know, this damn letter will never change who you and daddy are to me. Never.”
But things had changed. I had always believed that I looked like my Aunt June because she was mom’s sister. We had similar tastes and mannerisms. It was all starting to make sense now.
June had pursued a career as an interior designer. She had been featured in popular magazines, commissioned by celebrities, and had her own textile line as well as a chain of retail specialty emporiums. June even hosted her own syndicated radio program. Never married, she had done alright for herself.
Things would be different now that I knew the truth. How could they not be? Sweet, fun Auntie June had now become the mother who couldn’t be bothered by the inconvenience of a child. To think I admired her all these years. I honestly don’t know how I feel about her now. “Numb” is a good word for it. How does someone give up their own child?
“Get a grip, Grace. You’ve got to finish what you came here to do.”
But what am I going to say? How am I going to act when she comes over today to help me pack? I wish I hadn’t invited her. I don’t need this. Maybe I should call and cancel.
I pulled myself up from the floor and started a pot of strong coffee. While it was brewing I took a quick shower, changed into a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and tied my hair up off my face.
Always prompt, June arrived at exactly 9 am, carrying a box of fresh pastries.
“Hello Grace dear, how are you doing this morning? Were you able to get any sleep last night?”
“Well, Aunt June, it was a rough night. I started packing up the kitchen.” Knowing was making me crazy. “I’m keeping Granny’s silver flatware and tea set.”
“Oh, those are definitely keepers, Grace. They’ve been in our family for almost a century.”
“And Mom’s recipes. I’m thinking about compiling them into a book.”
“Wonderful idea, Grace. I’ll definitely want a copy of that. Would you like a danish?”
I was never one for beating around the bush, “And you’ll never guess what else I found…a letter to Mom and Daddy…” I said, searching her face.
“What letter is that, Grace?” June looked away.
“You know the one, June. You wrote it, in fact.”
“Yes.” June glanced back at me. I looked straight into her blue eyes…the same blue with dark violet edges as mine.
Her face flushed. I could tell she knew.
“I think I’ll head into the parlor with a box and some packing paper. Quite a few family treasures in the parlor you know. You keep working in the kitchen, Grace. We can break at noon and head downtown to the diner for lunch. Is that okay with you?”
And just like that, I knew I had another family member to bury this week. Not literally of course. Some secrets are best kept…secret, I suppose. But how I wished we could have talked about it. Maybe one day.
kat ~ 7 March 2016
This short story is Part 2 of “The Letter”, both in response to Ronovan Writes Friday Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is: “A Lie is Told”
- See if you can come in at more than a Word Count of 600. Control your word usage. (SUGGESTED)
- Using the prompt of ‘A lie is told’ create a scene. This scene can be about what happens because of the lie, or how it makes the person lying feel, or anything you can come up with. If a series is being written, like some are doing, this lie can come back later to haunt the liar. (REQUIRED)