I met Laura in kindergarten. We had remained friends through high school. Our lives splintered in different directions after that. I went to an out of state college and remained there settling into my life and career. Laura married her high school sweetheart and spent a few years in community college. The arrival of her first child set the stage for her life’s work, being a mom and homemaker. She was good at it.
But even though I hadn’t married or had children, and she now had four, we found plenty to talk about when I returned to town. I needed her more than ever now, when everything I thought I knew about my life was crumbling apart. Our friendship was one thing I could count on.
I was upstairs, just starting on Mom’s room when I heard Laura’s car in the driveway.
She let herself in. “Hey Grace, time for a break! I brought the wine. Haha, I’m lying…I brought two bottles! And Danny has the kids tonight. I’m all yours! Grace?
Laura was a nut! I called downstairs, “I’m up in Mom’s room. You know me so well, Laura! This is definitely a two bottle night! Be right down! I left two wine glasses out on the kitchen counter.”
By the time I had gotten downstairs, Laura had already uncorked the bottle and filled our glasses.
“So spill it girlfriend. I know you didn’t invite me over here for giggles!”
“Let me get dinner started. Pasta and salad good for you? Then we can chat.”
“Grace…I heard it in your voice when you called. Something’s up!”
I put the water on to boil, dumped some pre-made salad in a bowl, opened a jar of sauce to warm on the stove, and took a seat at the kitchen table across from Laura.
I raised my glass to her tipping my head, “Well, do you want the good news or the bad news?”
“This doesn’t sound good…lay the bad on me first…”
I took a deep breath, a gulp of wine and blurted it out, “Mom and Daddy are not who I thought they were!”
“Um…okay…and this is bad, why? You’re being cryptic girl! Come on, it’s me. What the hell, Grace?!”
“I was going through old recipes and I found a letter from my Aunt June to Mom and Daddy…They are not my biological parents…June is…well, she is my mother! I have no idea who my father is!”
Laura’s jaw dropped. When she regained her composure she reached across the table to hold my hand. “Oh sweetie…I’m so sorry. Were you alone when you found it? Of course you were! Oh god, Grace, I can’t imagine…you said there was good news?”
“I lied. There is no good news. Aunt June won’t even talk to me about it.” I was trying not to cry.
The water was sputtering out of the pot and sauce was splattering on the backsplash. Laura flipped into “mom” mode. “Here let me get these pots settled down.” She added the pasta and gave the sauce a quick stir before turning the burner off and covering the pot.
“So June knows…well of course she does! You know Grace, I hate to bring this up. I know how upsetting this must be. But this explains a lot.” I looked up.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, back when your dad’s health was failing, my Dad spent a lot of time with him. One afternoon when the kids and I were visiting Mom he came home visibly upset. He had a word with my mom in the other room and I overheard him, say, “I told him he had to tell her…” And then my Mom said, “Poor Annie…oh my, and what about Grace? I just can’t imagine…”
Laura served me a plate of pasta and took her seat at the table, “At the time I thought they said what they did because your dad was so sick and they felt bad for you and your mom, but it didn’t make sense. What could he possibly have to tell your mom that he hadn’t already said?”
“Daddy had something to tell Mom? Are you sure you heard…”
“Oh I’m sure. I remember because my dad was so upset. And now I’m wondering if this has anything to do with your letter Grace…”
“I can’t imagine…”
“Tell you what I’m gonna do Grace. I’m gonna ask Mom and Dad what it’s all about. You don’t need any more surprises. Let me handle it. Now eat your dinner before it gets cold.” Always the mom, my good friend. “Besides, we have another bottle of wine chilling and I want to hear all about your fancy career and fabulous social life! Oh to be single again!”
I loved Laura! I felt relieved. She was just what I needed tonight…someone to take my mind off of things. Tomorrow, I would have answers.