Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Secrets Held Within, Chapter 21

Chapter 21, The Voice(s)
“Oh, Sweetie…”
I started at the familiar voice. It was love and acceptance wrapped in regret.
“Ivy, I am so sorry you have to go through all of this.”
I looked up, noticing my cheeks were wet. My vision, blurry at first, focused to bring out the details of a woman before me. She was wearing a long skirt, short sleeved blouse, and her hair was pulled back in a high bun. Clasping her hands together before her, she smiled at me: a knowing smile.
“Yes, Ivy…You have more than you know. All you need to do is open the door.”
“What door? I already opened a door…how am I seeing you? Why are you here?” I am aware that I still sit on my old bed, letters in my hand, the locked room a vivid memory.
“Sweetie, you know I love you?” Such a pained expression on her features, begging for forgiveness, pulls at my heart.
“Of course! I love you too…what is this all about?” My brain was fumbling to make sense of the words she spoke and the vision before me. This has to be a dream, I told myself.

“The secrets are bound within… You carry the weight of our sins…” Tears streamed down Lillian’s face. In her pause she began to flutter in and out of focus. With measured effort, she continued her song.
“Break the curse bestowed upon us… Our lies you are to confess…” As she spoke, her voice became haunted, as if pulled further from her, fighting the effort to take her back home.
“Open the door to your mind… All you look for, you will find…” She stumbled forward, eager to close the distance between us. Reaching out her arm, her hand grasped for mine. The touch was cold and warm, stiff and soft. What was real, and what was memory, I will never know. But I savored this treasure. I helped bring her to me, gently pulling with my mind. I willed her to sit on the bed, and then she was.
 “The key above one’s slumber; behind an even number; gilded frame aglow; once you see you will know.”
As these last words escaped her mouth – though, did her mouth really move? – her hand caressed my cheek, catching my tears. As they hit her hand, sparks of light emanated from her fingers. Be still, my dear. Be still. Hear The One who knows all. Ask Him and you shall receive.”
“Grandma, I am trying to lean on God, but it’s hard to know when He speaks sometimes. And sometimes it’s hard to be sure I am doing what He wants of me.”
“Remember, ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’”
“So, I have to believe I’ll learn the truth?  Is that the door you’re talking about?”
“Don’t make my mistakes. Relinquish control. Place your life in His hands, for through Christ, all things are possible.”
With her last words, Lillian faded to a mist, glistening in a light that brightened as she spoke. I blinked back tears, disappointed to find she was no longer next to me on the bed. I collapsed into the softness of quilted spring, sobs wrenching my body in convulsions until I wore myself to sleep.
Purple lilies, white pansies, yellow tulips…crisp air, glistening sun, birds in song…laughter, skipping, holding hands…
“I must find the rainbow,” I said, determination thick in my blood. Unfamiliar, yet welcomed.
“What for?” Todd asked. Amusement riddled throughout his voice. I peaked at his face, frustrated he was questioning me, but my disdain quickly melted upon taking in his expression: smile wide, eyes twinkling. He was teasing me. He knows about the rainbow. But I answer anyway, “To find the promise, silly.”
“Well, if you follow me, I will show you where.” In old fashioned form, he bent at the waist in a bow, extending his right hand out to me; all the while keeping his left behind his back. I giggled like a little school girl at the chivalry. In that instant, he was dressed in mid sixteenth century peasant clothing, looking quite dapper in an untied, thick collared, V-neck blouse, loosely tucked into his dark blue trousers, snug in areas that would make a woman blush, capped off at the knee. He even had white tights and black buckle shoes.
I was vaguely aware that this would be considered incomplete in public during this time: he needed a vest.
As I except his hand, I feel the change in my attire as well: a long burgundy skirt, white blouse scandalously slipping off my shoulders, with ruching at the waist. I too, am missing an important article of an outer garment.
He twirled me, dipped me, and wrapped me in his arms. We danced! I felt joy and happiness as I never had. I loved being in his strong arms. I wanted this to go on forever…
The wind picked up, the sky darkened, the grass whipped to and fro.
“The rainbow! You must take me to the rainbow! I must find the promise!” Fear began engulfing every part of me. Todd began running, pulling me behind him. Not once did he let go, his grip like a vice. The dark clouds billowed behind us, rushing toward us in a persistent manner.
Todd yelled to me, “Why do you need to see the promise? If you know what it is, it should reside within your heart!”
I knew what he said was truth. If I believed the promise, I shouldn’t need proof. But is it proof I need? I asked myself. Or am I trying to protect what the promise represents?
A voice erupted through the ominous sky:
“Behold! My word is truth. My promise is unwavering. Trust in ME.”
The words basked in light.
It was deep, yet comforting as it reverberated through my bones. It was stern, yet loving, wrapping me up in protection. It was my Maker’s voice. A reminder…spoken directly to my soul…
A loud scraping, followed by a crash ripped me from my slumber. Slumber…the word stung. Flashes of dreams blinded me, none of the images visiting long. Fear tried crippling me, tendrils climbing up my legs in an effort to keep me planted. I ignored them, forcing my feet to the floor. Without thinking, my body moved toward the door of my old bedroom. The moment I exited my room, my body went right, hand grabbed knob, turned, and pushed.
I was in Rosemarie’s room.
Dusty purples, sophisticated grays, bright crisp whites.
My breath caught in my throat. Above the head board, two frames stacked – once two frames, now only one was hanging. The second frame: on the floor; a dent on the bed where it first fell. On the nail was a long silver chain holding a pendent.
“The key above one’s slumber; behind an even number; gilded frame aglow; once you see you will know.”
Is the necklace the key? Before I knew what happened, I was sitting on my mother’s bed holding the necklace in my left hand. The pendent was a heart shaped locket, the hinge a dead give-away. The heart was rounded, bulging in the center; the face of the pendant no more than an inch wide. There was an embossed key decorating the front and back of the heart. The patina was great, accentuating the craftsmanship of the embossing. I opened it to see two pictures: a young man on the left, and a baby girl on the right.
It glistened.
I stared.
Could the man in this locket be my father? Am I the little baby?
As I searched the locket for answers, I noticed the picture on the right had more ‘pendant’ behind it than the picture on the left. Could there be another picture? Is this a double locket? I struggle to separate the picture of the baby from the back of the locket. My fingers became sweaty and the pendant kept slipping. Finally, I got my nail under the thinnest line between the little baby picture and the back of the locket, pulling the two pieces apart. The small frame holding my photo was so incredibly thin, I wondered how there was room for it.
Revealed in the back of the locket, was what appeared to be teeth to a key.
How odd?
I gingerly placed my nail beneath the stem, lifting it until it rotated 180 degrees, extending it beyond the bottom of the heart locket.
A key? The words echo in my mind: The key above one’s slumber.   

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                                      Chapter 22 right here!      

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