I take a long walk around the park, before sitting down on an empty bench on the quiet west side. The sun is shining bright, though my sunglasses shade it all out. I pull out the letter I had received in the mail, addressed to me in my name, Clarisse.
There is no returning address, only my information. ‘It can’t be my family… no one knows where I am.’
I start intently at the letter, not ready to unfold the paper and read its contents. I sigh and pull open the first flap. The writing is neat, nothing I’ve ever seen before, nor familiar. At all.
I sigh. The suspense is killing me. I pull open the flap to see a ticket. A plane ticket—“To New York?” I shake my head. I wasn’t going back. Not ever again. Not after… I try to force my feelings at arm’s length and hold the paper to read the letter.
This is your aunt, Auntie Ellie, writing to you. I have no phone number for me to reach you at with this information, so I am using my last resort to get this to you.
Your father, Clyde Jones, has died. The smoking has now caught up with him after many years The funeral is Saturday coming, the sixth of July. All of your siblings have also been notified. Hopefully, you will decide to show your face after so many years of hiding. You may also bring your spouse/family.
I shake my head at her closing sentences. “The dirty bastard is finally dead,” I mutter, walking home, thinking. ‘Marissa will be there with her family… probably Marcus and Antonio, and probably Kathleen… Is Kay going to show up?’
I sigh, shaking my head. ‘That will be too much to hope for.’ I unlock my front door and step in. ‘Spouse or family? I’m a bitter widow!’ I walk through the den to my kitchen and grab a water bottle from the fridge.
‘None of them know why I had left. Dad wouldn’t have told anyone. And by then Kay and Kathleen were… twelve. Mom left him. Wait… Maybe… He could’ve told the whole family… He might have told them. It is something he would do…
‘He already disowned me and taken me out of the will. He said he would—could never forgive me…’
I lower my head, remembering… I was his favorite. ‘Was…’ I shake my head. “His prized possession,” I say, bitterly.
I shake my head, throwing the past memories out of my window. “Fine, I’ll go to the funeral… to celebrate his death,” I say in a low murderous voice. I grab my cell phone and call the airlines to set up a flight to New York.
As soon as this is over… I will never go back again… Ever…
I take a deep breath and look through my things. I don’t want to go! I’ve been thinking the same thing for three hours now. I had called work to notify them. They had quickly gave me two weeks off, instead of just the one that I’ll need.
I shake my head and look through my clothes. The contents of my closet was spilled over my king sized bed. I look at everything on display. I shake my head, “I really don’t want to go.”
I groan and grab random pieces of clothing and stuff them in the two suitcases I have opened waiting.
“Orlando, you know that this is wrong,” I say trying to hide the smile and my pleasure at all once. My stern voice and smile cracks him up easily. ”Seriously Orlando.”
He smiles, “Alright… how about you ask for his permission then?”
“But you know that he’ll say no,” I say sadly.
“Exactly,” he says slowly. “I love you Clarisse… and I don’t care if I have your Dad’s permission or not. If you want me, then we can do this.” He pauses, looking at me, “I just want you to know just how much I love you, Clarisse. He doesn’t have to know… though it’s clear to everyone else, it should be clear to him too. No one will ever get between us, promise?”
“Promise,” I smile softly.
I shake my head, “You should never promise anyone anything Clarisse… hopefully you’ve learned your lesson.”