Serafine stared at her cellphone on the end table. She couldn’t recall the last time she’d spoke with her father. Actually she did. It was a few days after Grammy’s home-going service. He tried to talk with her, to comfort her. But she did not know how to accept his presence, let alone, his embrace.
It was awkward.
Serafine shrugged. They had always had a strained relationship. He and her mother left her to live with Grammy and as far as she was concerned he did not exist. But the reality is, he did exist. And he had all of Grammy’s belongs, if he hadn’t sold them off.
Drugs tore her family apart.
“So what is Miss Jo talking about?”
Rachel invaded her thoughts. She almost forgot she wasn’t alone. Reaching for the letter she lightly ran her fingers across the back, feeling the indentations left by her grandmother’s strong pen strokes.
“I think the next clue is with my father,” Serafine said.
She flipped the letter over, her index finger gliding over the signature. What she wouldn’t do to hold her once more? Her tears began to fall again.
Rachel draped her arm across Serafine’s shoulders and pulled her close.
“Your father? Why would he have her favorite book?” Rachel said recounting the clue left in the letter.
“After her service I couldn’t bear walking in her house, let alone handling her things. He offered to help and I let him.”
“So he has everything? I thought she left the house to you.”
“I’m not certain what he did. The house is mine but I gave him the keys and just left it for him to handle.” Serafine sat up and used a tissue to blow her runny nose.
“That’s not like you. Do you trust him?” Rachel grabbed their cups and walked back to the kitchen.
Serafine gave her a strong sideways glance.
“What?!”, Rachel said with her hand on her hip, “You’re the one that gave him your keys. So don’t give me that face Missy. Want a refill?” She began filling the kettle with water and placing fresh tea bags in their mugs.
“Yes, please. And I know. I just couldn’t bear walking in her house, seeing her things, smelling her scent—”
The force of her sorrow overtook her. Rachel crossed the room quickly gathering Serafine into her arms.
“I was so awful to her these past few years.”
Rachel held her, not saying a word.
“I let my anger and bitterness overtake me not noticing how she was slowly dying. How could I have been so selfish?”
She let the word rolled off her tongue like venom, poisonous and lethal.
“All I could think about was myself, leaving her to die… To die…”
Rachel rocked her, “Let it out…”
And the dam broke.
Serafine cried because she missed her. She cried because she loved her. She cried because she felt so alone. She cried because she knew she had broken her grandmother’s heart and she never got a chance to say sorry… Or to remind her how much she loved her. Her body shook as her shoulders heaved and she struggled to breath.
Seconds turned into minutes. They sat with the music between them. Each in her own thoughts.
Rachel broke the silence first.
“The way I see it is you have a second chance Ladybug.” She smoothed Serafine’s unruly curls.
She continued, “She knew you loved her but you have the chance to see this process through.You can’t take back what you’ve done. But you can decide to honor her by doing this.”
Rachel used her free hand to place the cellphone in Serafine’s hand.
Serafine nodded her head in agreement. Then she grabbed a tissue, wiping her eyes first then her nose.
She held the home button on her phone, “Call James.”
“Calling James Morgan.”
She activated the speaker phone and together they listened as it rang. Rachel used the remote to lower the volume on the music just as the line connected.
“Hey baby girl, what’s up?”
“I need to come by today and talk with you.”
“Sure, I’ve been expecting you.”
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