THE VERDICT IS IN – part 2
As her car drove off I checked my purse, knowing before I looked I didn’t have car fare. Oh why did I wear these blasted high heels? Well, because that is what she would expect. I am always to do what is expected of me. After walking a few blocks I saw a bench and a bus stop. I inquired of the driver and found I could get home using two transfers and boarded, paying my fare.
Time didn't matter. I had no engagements for the rest of the day and I wouldn’t be able to reach my friend until evening. Should I tell him of my conversation with my Aunt? Well, I must. I have to make a decision and he has been so kind in helping me sort out all of the confusing issues.
My mind wandered back to the day we met. Anxiously, I clutched his book, waiting in line with his other fans, hoping he would sign my copy. He was such a handsome gentleman, very distinguished in appearance with graying temples, his hair still wavy as it was in his photo on the back cover of his novels. “Child, uh Miss, I asked your name so that I might inscribe your book.” He was so kind, so patient with me from the very beginning and I, such a foolish image, taking up his precious time as I was once again lost in thought rather than paying attention. But he found me delightful ,he had said ,and had asked me to join him for tea.
The doorman told me to stop at the desk, that I had an envelope waiting. I wondered at this but thought perhaps Jonathon had made more revisions to my manuscript so I collected the envelope and went on up to my apartment. I immediately removed my shoes, kicking them a good distance away from my red swollen feet and sunk onto the sofa. I thought it odd that there would be tape on the envelope and it was too small to be my manuscript. I carried it to my desk and retrieved the letter opener, struggling with the strong tape holding it closed and as I cut through the last of it the contents dropped onto the desk and the floor. “Aunt Jane is right”, I thought to myself, “I am hopelessly clumsy.” I gathered the contents, a hand written note and some photos. They were photos of my parents with a young child that resembled me but of course that couldn’t be. They looked older than I remembered but the tears in my eyes made my vision less than reliable. All pictures of them had been removed from my Aunt and Uncle’s home and I was not allowed a single photo of them, save the tiny photo in the locket I wore. I tended to dwell too much on their death, my Aunt explained, and since I was given to such a melancholy temperament, it was better not to have constant reminders of my departed parents. I wiped my eyes and strained to read the note.
Your memories are not wrong. I know your parents and they have told me how you were stolen from them by your Aunt and Uncle. They have asked me to send this letter and the pictures as proof that you were with them as you remember, up until the time they were falsely imprisoned, just as you have been kept in the convalescent home. They are alive and will be in touch with you, through me. They have never given up hope of being reunited with you and are working on a plan for this to take place. You must tell no one of these matters. It is imperative for your safety and for theirs as well. They have risked a great deal to make contact so please be patient and wait for my next contact.
My heart threatened to come through my chest with its pounding. My vision was blurry but not from tears this time. I was in the midst of one of the worst Panic Attacks I had experienced in years. I knew the symptoms well enough to know that tunnel vision was going to be part of this one. It is a most frightening and debilitating state in which one can see only from the middle portion of their eyes with blackness all around. I also get extremely weak and nauseous so that moving from where I am when one comes on is all but impossible. Thoughts raced through my brain at lightening speed, unconnected and bizarre. I could not control the waves of emotion that carried me from crying to a hollow hysterical laughter. “My parents were alive … who is this person, this friend … we were in danger… we … I was not alone … the LIES … I had been made to believe I was insane … my parents were imprisoned … I had to get to my medication … I can not move … I am falling.
I slid from my chair and crawled the full length of the living room and into my bedroom where my pills were kept in my dresser drawer. I had been doing so much better I had quit carrying them with me but I hadn’t let go of them either. Somehow I managed to pull myself up and leaning on the dresser I was able to retrieve the pills. I fell onto my bed and stretched for the water container I kept on the night stand, swallowing the pill and praying it would take hold quickly. I curled into a ball and pulled the throw over my chilled body, clutching a pillow to my stomach. I tried to focus on my breathing, forcing myself to slowly inhale and then exhale, watching as my chest rose and fell with each breath. I was lightheaded and exhausted and before long I felt my eyelids start to close against my will. I needed to stay awake and sort out all of these questions. I needed to put these puzzle pieces together … I needed … rest.
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