Chapter 24, Revelation Of The Heart
“I actually think I can work with that, if you would like me to do some digging around?” Todd didn’t miss a beat.
“Isn’t Chet a nickname though? For some reason, I feel that Chet is not his full name. Maybe it was for protection in anonymity?” Though, I couldn’t figure out why my father needed to hide his identity from…From whom? My mind was a blank.
“It could be. I’ll do a search of names associated with the nickname Chet.”
I nodded, becoming restless in my thoughts. My mind began traveling back to what Ava and Todd had said about the boarder, how that woman arrived after my mother left. “Did you search what school my mom went to?” I snuck a look at him. “Maybe my mother met my father in college? Is the timing right for that?”
“Yeah, I searched.” Todd seemed to suck in his breath. Time suspended. “There is no record she enrolled in college.”
“Huh.” I stood. My body needed to move while my wheels turned. The thought of my body oiling the machine of my mind made me smile to myself. “Todd, what else did you learn? You look as if to have more to say.” I stopped at the window facing the pergola, not that I could see anything outside my reflection, the sky black onyx. Stepping closer, I cupped my hands around my eyes, pressing against the cool glass. The moon, somewhere within the sky, created the effect of metallic striations found in the stone, by illuminating a few wisps of clouds. I have no idea what time it is, but it is certainly late.
“I actually began a search on the various members of your family days ago. I have learned a lot that goes against what has been gleaned from memories and stories.”
“Okay…” My stomach jumped with abandon, an odd sensation, this. It always amazed me how the body reacted to the unknown: a strange awareness coursing through the body, percolated by adrenaline. For what is the purpose? My body wasting valuable energy in preparing for the worst, body and mind programmed to react to fear, before fear is even realized…
“I’m not sure where to start…Your mother never went to college, though I already disclosed that. It appears she just disappeared. Ava also learned from her mother, that according to Lillian, Carter went overseas to collect antique books to send back to the store. However, I have come across no record of him leaving the country after his return from serving in active duty.”
“Is it possible they had trouble in their marriage and Carter left my grandmother?”
“And traveling overseas is an elaborate cover up?” Todd considered this.
I shrugged. To me it’s possible.
“I don’t know. In the Reticence Unlocked records, Carter’s name is on some–”
At that, I turned around, folding my arms into themselves. “What files at Reticence Unlocked? Ava said you returned here after seeing I was ok.”
Todd’s facial expression was apologetic, a weird juxtaposition to the resolve in his posture. He was still sitting, holding his ground. I know exactly what this says: I am sorry for not telling you, but what I did was right and beneficial; therefore, I am not sorry for my actions. “After our first trip to the bookstore, I went back and talked to the owners.”
I nodded, feeling embarrassed, as I recalled my memory play out. Todd dipped his head with a sigh, “I explained what was going on and they were more than helpful in sharing the back files. They discussed some oddities in the receipts for a few of the antique books that were sold. They even found some interesting equipment in the restoration room.”
As I thought about this, it made sense now why they had been so willing to let me tool around. “Thank you,” I whispered. Todd just looked at me quizzically. Was he expecting me to be mad? “You opened the door, so to speak, for me to get back into that building and see the apartment. I wondered why they would just let me look around. I have to admit that, while I do not always see or know everything in this journey, God is certainly orchestrating this scavenger hunt of sorts. I may not understand His ways, but He is answering my prayers.”
Todd stood at that moment. He was before me wrapping his arms around my shoulders, before I even knew he had taken one step. I crumpled into him as tears crept down my face: tears of thanksgiving. Our foreheads touched, our breaths heavy. We stood like this for a time I can not discern. After a quiet moment of just being held, he placed one hand around my waist, the other around my neck. As my heart fluttered, I placed one hand around his waist, the other took residence upon his bicep. Silence endured.
This moment led to a profound kiss…not a sexual kiss, but an interlacing of Ivy and Todd, bringing to mind two becomes one...and I finally understand what that means: the coming together not of body, but of mind and spirit. A binding so intense, one doesn’t feel complete without the other. Our lips touched, soft, but firm. We stood still, feeling ourselves drift into the other. In this moment, I came to believe in the concept of what Eternal Present could be: joy and peace and hope, time nonexistent. There was warmth enveloping my very soul, chills of the good kind tickling up my spine, then down my limbs. I felt the hand of God on my heart, whispering His truth about the meaning of this man in my life: Todd was the man God had chosen for me. I no longer feared what would become of us after this mystery was solved – God answered that question.
Our moment was shattered by Stella’s call up the stairs, informing that dinner is ready. Hesitantly, we separate ourselves, each taking a step back, but never letting go. Holding hands, we climbed back to the others, secret smiles upon our lips. I felt lighter than I had in days. Confirmation that all things will work out: I have God.
During dinner, we talk nothing of the mystery that surrounds my history, instead choosing laughter and sharing stories of a different kind. We are all happy, filling our stomachs and our spirits with food and silliness: fellowship. Upon completion of ingestion, we work together cleaning up. I looked at the clock, surprised to find it is well after midnight. Clearly, I am not the only one to notice, as Ava asks Todd to take her home.
After seeing them off, I hug Stella, thankful for her support. I excused myself, opting for a shower prior to laying my head down for some much needed rest. Feeling refreshed, I entered the bedroom, startled to find Stella waiting for me, sitting cross legged with a book in hand at the foot of the bed. I fully expected her to be curled up under the covers.
Towel drying my hair, I ask, “Hey, everything alright?’
She was slow to answer, smiling as she took me in. “I was going to ask how you were holding up, but I’d say you are just fine.”
I looked at her with mock incredulity, as if saying, What, me? But I know she knows. There is no hiding this stuff from Stella. She is my best friend after all. So eager to spill all the details (not really all of the details, but enough to satisfy her, and not so much I betray what is mine), I giggled, jumping on the bed and grabbing her around the shoulders, knocking her down. We erupted into laughter. What a wonderful sensation!
“I interrupted a moment when I called for dinner, didn’t I?” I was decent enough to look sheepish as she continued, “You were both looking like two high schoolers that got caught making out behind the bleachers at the football game.” Her smile wide, she winked.
“We did not!" I exclaimed, tossing a pillow at her; which she artfully caught. "And we did not make out...we kissed.”
And I told her how I had found the one.
And Stella respected my need to keep what was sacred, secret.
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Chapter 25 here
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Chapter 25 here