I had asked Em last night before bed if we could go to the bank after my shift today. Tomorrow was her big day in court, and Thursday was the will reading. So unless I wanted to go alone it would have to be today.
I was nervous about what I would found in that safety deposit box. Where there pictures, or something that would lead me to my dad? Did she have pictures with Jim and I posing together? All this kind of made me see why Jim was the way he was, but that doesn't excuse his behavior. The hard cold fact was he is family by blood, maybe the only family I have left.
Work seemed to drag today, perhaps because I was worried about going to the bank. Part of me didn't want to open it, but the other part of me needed to know the truth. When my shift was over Em was already waiting for me in the parking lot.
"How was work?' she asked when I dropped myself in the seat next to her.
"It was slow today," I complained.
"Are you ready?" Em asked.
By that she meant was I ready to go to the bank and get it over with, ease my curiosity and maybe some pain.
I took a deep breath,"Yeah lets go."
My stomach was in knots when the bank building came into my line of sight. I took a deep breath and got out of the car. Em must have seen the anxiety in my body language, so she took my arm and walked me inside.
"Look Jess , whatever is in this box won't change who you are," Em tried to console me.
I nodded and set for the front desk where a curly haired woman sat. I handed her the key and my ID, then she waived for us to follow her. We walked into the vault and we used both our keys to unlock the box. She set it on the table and left me an Em to ourselves.
Em stood next to me while I opened up the metal box and looked inside. There was another letter addressed to me in a large vanilla folder. I pulled out the letter and three black and white photos fell onto the table.
Picture one contained my mother at the hospital, holding me they day I was born. In the same picture was a little boy I assumed to be Jim and a dark haired man standing next to him. They all looked so happy in the photo, and it actually made me smile.
In picture two the dark haired man was holding me in his arms, and was kissing my forehead.
The final picture was not at the hospital, in fact it was a different man all together. He stood against a large oak tree outside of a small battered house. I can only guess my mother was the phone taking the photo.
I was eager to open the letter and find out about the photos, so I handed it to Em to read out loud.
My sweet baby girl,
If you are reading this it is because I am no longer with you in this world. If you have read the journal you have already figured out the little boy in the photo, and the man next to him is his father but not yours. I passed you off as his child, because well your birth father was not someone I was meant to be with. This is why I left the father slot blank on your birth certificate all these years. So I assume you can figure out the man against the tree is the man who gave birth to you. You deserve a picture, and actually you deserved it a long time ago. Your father doesn't even know that he has a daughter, I thought it would be best. I met your father one rainy weekend when I was on a business trip, and well you know the rest. That picture was taken in front of his mother's house, he gave it to me for a keep sake. We had agreed to not stay in touch, as I was a married women. It was one of the best nights of my life, but I already had one child to think about. I knew Jim's dad would be a good provider for us, well until I learned the truth about him. He was an abusive man and I made him leave, but he insisted on taking Jim. So you got to stay with me, and Jim with him. They moved away a short time after, but I heard Jim had moved back when he was older. Find him honey, he needs you in his life. I tired to find your father years later, but it was a dead end. Maybe you will have better luck with Em's help. His name is Jonathan Michael Williams.
My heart sank when I finally heard his name, I finally saw what he looked like in a younger version. I thought my reaction would be different, but I just stood there speechless.
I returned the box to it's slot and exited the vault with Em not far behind me.
I was silent the whole way home, and I felt Em staring at me hopelessly. We pulled into the drive and went into the house, still with out a word.
"I will help you find him," Em finally said.
I went into the living room without answering her and turned on the television. I felt like a zombie and I had no emotions. I wanted to cry, yell, scream or something but I couldn't. Em sat next to me on the couch and took the hint I wasn't ready to talk about it.
"Anything good on," Em asked changing the subject.
"Hmm lets see," I replied glad she had changed the subject.
I decided on I know what you did last summer, and lay my head on Em's shoulder. I wasn't sure I wanted to read the journal now, I knew about Jason already and now I had my dad's name. I should just let the past be the past. I would still keep in in a safe place though, in case I changed my mind one day. As for making contact with Jim, that was still up in the air.
I guess maybe Norma Jean had a harder life then I knew, and maybe I should forgive her. I looked down at her silver heart charm necklace that I had put on, and smiled.
Things were finally calming down for me, and I was looking forward to this weekend with Tyler, even if Em didn't spend the whole weekend with David. Maybe I can at least talk her into diner Friday night.
I exhaled, " I wish you and David would at least have diner with us Friday."