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I was beginning to think “not now” meant “not ever!” June hailed our server for the check, then dashed through the kitchen with a quick “Ta-ta Joe, it was lovely as always.”
I could barely keep up with her. She was waiting in the car when I finally made it outside. The ride home was a tense high speed zip through town, screeching to a halt in the driveway.
“Well dear, I can come again tomorrow morning if you’d like. I have some business to attend to this afternoon. Is that alright?”
“Sure thing, Aunt June. See you tomorrow then.”
And with that she was gone. I had plenty to do inside. I stacked the boxes we’d already packed in the entranceway.
My friend Laura had offered to help when I saw her at the funeral. “If there is anything I can do,” she had said, “don’t hesitate to call.” Being alone in the house after the events of the last 24 hours was more than I could bear. I tapped her number into my phone…
“Hi Laura. It’s Grace…”
“….yes, Im dong okay…”
“…if you don’t have plans tonight, I could use some company. I’ll fix dinner…”
“….wine? That would be lovely…”
“….a nice red would be great…”
“…yep, we do have a lot of catching up to do…”
“…I’ll see you soon then. Just let yourself in. I’ll be upstairs in Mom’s room. Bye.”
When June got home she dropped her purse and sweater on the floor at the door. Letter in hand she plopped on the sofa.
With trembling fingers she slid the letter from the envelope, sighing deeply as she read…
I know the truth about you and Tom. I’m sure you were hoping that your little secret would stay hidden forever.
I’m assuming if you are reading this, that I’m dead and gone. If Grace doesn’t know yet, she will soon. I put your letter to us in a place where she would find it. Now she’ll know the truth too…or at least part of it.
How could you betray me! My God June, I had just lost a baby!
You were always jealous of me. I watched you flirt with my husband for years. I never imagined the two of you would act on it.
Tom told me just before he died. I suppose he felt he needed to clear his conscience. To think I was so grateful to you for such a selfless gift, my dear sweet Grace, when it was obvious that I could not have a child of my own. Was this your way of making amends? It didn’t work.
Tom begged me to forgive him…and I did. But you will never have that chance. I’m not sorry about that. I don’t know if I could ever forgive you.
Grace will want to know the truth. She won’t likely give up until you give it to her. She has a right to know that her beloved daddy is her true biological father.
Frankly, it’s the bed you made for yourself. Maybe you’ll find redemption and forgiveness by finally doing the right thing.
You are the only family she has now. But the lies have to stop once and for all. You want to make things right? Tell her the truth June!
June felt sick to her stomach and oddly relieved. Living a lie all these years had been exhausting. Watching Tommy and Annie share the life she would never have and watching Grace grow up thinking of her as only Aunt June had been agonizing.
“I have no intention of talking about any of this to Grace,” she thought, “I’ve kept this secret for 25 years. What’s a few more days?”
But June underestimated Grace. It would not be so easy.
kat ~ 15 March 2016