I pulled into one of Boston's quieter neighborhoods and found a out of the way side street, far from any flow of traffic. I parked just past an old Victorian house, the home of some retired physician, I imagined. There beneath an elm tree, I untied the fancy pink ribbon that enclosed Mollie's Memory Box.
Nothing all that surprising within it; child's artwork, achievement certificates, photographs of birthday parties and graduations, swatches of cloth, snips of ribbon, even a lock of air preserved in glass.
But my search was not in vain. Scattered here and there in the box were a few letters and notes. I was expecting more, but a few would prove to be enough.
I selected one that had the look of being rather recent, a note from Mollie asking her mother for some money for the holidays. I pulled from my pocket Mollie's last note to Benji and compared the handwriting with the note to Mrs. O'Hara.
"I knew it!" The handwriting was not the same. Oh, both letters were written with an elegant feminine hand, but clearly, most definitely written by different people. "D*mn, I knew it!"
With my mission accomplished, I began tidying up my mess but then my hand found a photograph of three teenage girls all dressed up for what appeared to the high school prom. There was Molly clowning around with who appeared to be her best friends. I had the strangest thought in that moment. There was young Mollie, so full of life and future, and now she was dead. The other two girls, i wondered, "Whatever became of them?"
I'm not sure why, but I lingered there awhile, beneath that sprawling elm tree, staring at that photograph, almost crying. Let me take that back ... I know why I cried.