Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DIARY (05/16/19)
- TITLE: More Than One Secret
By Lollie Hofer
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“I’m sorry for your loss.” How many times did she hear that phrase in the past two hours? She knew folks were sincere in their condolences. Her parents were loved and respected by all these people. The car accident which took their lives left them grappling with deep grief and unanswered questions.
“Thank you for coming. It means so much to me,” Kathy replied to each person. Exhaustion took hold. She leaned against the piano. One more hour to go. Lord, give me strength.
It shocked her to realize she actually missed her sister, wishing her here to help carry the heavy burden. However, three years ago Julie died on her twenty-fifth birthday from a drug overdose.
It’s not fair. She’s not here when I need her the most.
Life with Julie had always been challenging. The sisters were two years apart and rivals from a young age. They knew how to push each other’s buttons but her older sister always got the upper hand. That all changed on Julie’s fourteenth birthday when her parents revealed she had been adopted. The news delighted Kathy giving her leverage against her sister.
Greeting people became rote as her thoughts drifted to one particular incident…
…Kathy rubbed the back of her blonde ponytail. The missing strands were worth it because she enjoyed watching her sister and mother argue. The key word was her. Her mother, not Julie’s. Ever since the girls learned about Julie’s adoption, Kathy made sure Julie never forgot it. She loved baiting sister and mother for the pure satisfaction of watching them spar.
“But mom, she called me fat. Said no one else has hips like mine. She said all the females in our family are pretty. Not ugly like me.”
“I know what she said, Julie. It still doesn’t give you the right to yank her hair out.”
Julie looked down at the wad of hair in her hand. A smile spread across her face.
“Look at her smirk, Mom. She’s not sorry one bit.” For dramatic emphasis, Kathy conjured up one tear allowing it to roll down her face. “A-a-a real sister wouldn’t be so mean.” She bent over sobbing.
Hey girl, you probably just earned yourself an Oscar.
“Julie, go to your room. Stay there until you’re ready to apologize to your sister. Talk to God about your attitude while you’re at it.”
“She started it.”
“Not another word, young lady. Go. To. Your. Room.”
“Please mom, you’re not listening…”
“Julie Renae Young, I’ve had it with you. Don’t make me regret the day you were…” Their mother stopped talking. Her hands flew to her mouth.
“Go ahead and finish the sentence, mother dearest. Since we’re being honest, I regret it too.”
Kathy recalled it being a turning point as Julie went downhill into alcoholism and drug addiction. She never quite understood her own cold-hearted reaction to Julie’s adoption played a part in her demise.
If she really was a Young in the first place, she never would have done that. Young’s are Christians, after all.
“Kathy, are you alright, dear?” Her mother’s best friend brought her back to the present.
“Please forgive me, Mrs. Arnold. It’s been a long day and I’m a little tired.”
“Totally understandable.” Mrs. Arnold gave her a long hug. She placed a small book into her hands.
“Your mother told me to give this to you, if anything happened to her.” She also handed her a thin key. “She said not to read it until you were alone. Said to turn to the day you were born. You would understand. I’m sorry for your loss.”
She laid the book and key on the piano. During the last hour, Kathy glanced at them several times. After everyone left, she sat down in the front pew. She stared at the book in her lap. The white cover had turned yellowish. She didn’t understand why her hands shook. She tried several times before the key opened the heart-shaped lock.
She found the date of her birth and began reading.
“Thank you, Lord! We just received word Katherine Rae was born this morning. The adoption papers will be ready to sign in…” Tears prevented Kathy from being able to read further.
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