windows and mirrors
2 days ago
The morning after the downpour found Rebecca on her sofa, the TV still on and a small knit throw wrapped tightly around her. She heard the weather man promise sunnier skies and highs in the mid 80's. Her head was splitting. Rebecca guessed that drinking half a bottle of wine by herself had not been her best move to date. She crawled into the bathroom fumbling for the Advil bottle and headed into the kitchen to make some coffee.
She waited impatiently while the coffee brewed and perused her lengthy to-do list. She realized that she still had plenty of work to lose herself in. Plenty of work to absorb her pain. She didn't need to be involved in this whole Becky, Vince and his sister/her mother-the-drunk disaster! She had floors to sand and walls to paint and cabinets to replace... flowerbeds... sidewalks... it was just so much, she thought... how will she ever get it done? She poured a cup of coffee and slowly sank into the papasan chair in the front room. The mantle clock sang out the Westminster Quarters - so it was quarter of - but quarter of what? She dozed off until they chimed again - 10 times... 10:00 am. She honestly couldn't remember the last time she had slept until 10:00 am and she remembered why - her whole morning was basically gone.
She finished her coffee and decided to end the suspense once and for all. WHAT was under that terrible linoleum? She needed her iron to heat the linoleum to weaken the aggressive adhesive. Unfortunately she was still unable to locate it in all the boxes. How much could an iron cost? Maybe she should just go get a new one. "One more time - just dig through all the boxes one more time." she told herself.
Paper lay all around her on the floor of the attic. She unwrapped box after box - item after item - no iron. Candlesticks, books, old CD's - no iron. Then she found the small cedar box. Carefully inscribed on the top were the words "Adel Rose Hayward". Rebecca's hands trembled as she ran them over the top of the box. For a while she just sat with the box in her lap. The last time this box was opened... she remembered it had been a clear, crisp spring morning. Tulips bloomed in the flower beds of the condo and birds sang. Beautiful... but not as beautiful as the small perfect baby who slept on her shoulder. There was something about this child - she was so sweet tempered with beautiful blue laughing eyes. When she slept on Rebecca's shoulder Adel brought a kind of peace to her that she never thought possible. Rebecca opened the cedar box and carefully dressed her daughter in the christening gown sent by Rick's parents who were on business in Italy. It was a beautiful gown - long and lacey - arduous to put on an infant. Such a happy day. They had been so proud, she and Rick. They were a family. Everything felt shiny and new and full of promise. Who would have guessed they would only have six more months?
Rebecca opened the box and carefully took out the gown. So small - so pretty. She held it tight to her chest rocking back and forth. That last day... cold and rainy, wind aggressively blowing leaves from the trees, not ideal conditions for travel. Why did she HAVE to go that day? Why not wait for a clearer day? Was it so important t return a movie on time? Couldn't it have been late? No - no it couldn't. Rick would never have liked a movie being returned late. She blamed him a little, but she knew that she decided to return the movie because she was sick of being stuck in the confines of their condo. She wanted to get out just for a little - returning the movie seemed like a good idea at the time.
In the end, it hadn't been her fault. She was turning on a green light. The guy in the Suburban ran the light. The police report spelled it all out. He was looking at his GPS. He admitted it. Wasn't her fault. The car slid into a pole - wasn't her fault. The weather... It wasn't her fault... Rebecca was curled up in a ball on the floor sobbing. Tears and sweat streamed down her face. She continued to hold tight to the gown - crying until she fell into a fitful sleep.