The morning had dawned with a huge bang. Somehow the cellar door had been left open and the wind was blowing across the back yard, whipping it back and forth. It had waken the baby sleeping across the room. Jeffery raised his head from the pillow reluctantly when he felt his wife jabbed him in the ribs.
What??? It was always that way with him…the choices or dilemmas saw him to running away. He had a difficult time facing what was to be faced. In this case the baby seemed the most important but then his wife guided him in the direction of the door and headed toward the crying baby herself.
There was something that did not seem right when he walked through the kitchen and out the back screen door into the yard. He could not remember the last time they has been under the house. “Why would the cellar door be open?” he wondered as he removed the twig that held it open? When he glimpsed inside, all seemed to be in order. He smiled at the thought of order as he peered over broken lawn mowers and twisted lawn hose. After he closed the door he stumbled across the lawn toward the back door. He needed to have his cup of coffee.
That was when he realized she was gone. The coffee was cold and her chair sat empty, the paper was not on the table and her slipper sat cold on the floor. He ran down the hall to her room. The bed was neatly made and he knew when they looked in the cellar next time the glasses and her suitcases would be gone. It caught his eye in the darkened room and when he walked closer he saw that there was an envelop on the bed.
He sat down with a groan. He didn’t call his wife. He knew she would have guidance to offer him. She might even be happy about Etta’s quick departure. He couldn’t face that, not now.
He held the envelop in his hand and waited before opening it. He knew that Etta had a story to tell…or at least she needed to clear a few things up. But now that he thought he had the answers in his hand, he was not sure that he wanted to know. She was too much like him. They thought and looked alike. It was so strange how she knew about him without really knowing. Then it came back to him…the night she came to the door, strange yet somehow familiar. The words…”your father said we looked alike”.
At the family reunion they had never really connected and his father acted as though he and Etta had never met when they were reintroduced. Etta, for all her maneuvering of people had never made a move to even get to know him. “She might have been overwhelmed with the crowd,” he thought. But she had not even looked at him. He really didn’t recognized her on that night she came to his front door.
So what had she meant…”your father said we looked alike”. He looked at the envelop in horror. On the outside were written the words, “The Truth”. Who was she? She had been there for over a year, living in his house, helping guide his children and he had not sensed who she was…well not really? The envelop grew hot in his hand and he began to cry. He wept for the mother he never knew, for never having brothers or sister, for the lost opportunity, for himself. He did so want her to be his…he wanted her back, he wanted to know she was safe and not in danger. He did so want all that. He began to open the envelop when he realized that he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t know, not ever. The reasons for her coming and going, the realization of what that held in the ebb and flow of his life…he did not have the courage to face it. Not today he said. She will be back. At least he had had her for a while, he really had loved her eccentric ways and colorful lies. He could see her gray hair and the bag she brought the groceries home in. He heard her singing “Save the last waltz for me…” and dancing around the kitchen humming “blue suede shoes”. He decided he would just pretend. The truth was not necessary..
Dad, the next to the youngest said, “Where are the potato chips. Did you know the peaches are rotten. Aunt Etta has been at it again!”
He just sighed and smiled. He knew she would be around forever, at least in spirit.