Chapter 25 Facts and Finds
The next morning, I awake to a note from Stella taped to a full coffee pot. She’s out running. Coffee made, Stella out on a run, I choose to take my cup-o-Joe to the sun porch. A good sit sounded perfect this late morning. I need to set myself straight before I start a long day hunting down answers. As I pursue that secret place with God, it dawns on me that I should read the bible more…
Oh, Lord…here I am, so thankful to You for all You have shown me, all You have done for me…And yet, I find that I want more. Do I need more? You have all of the answers. You have shared some of them with me. How do I keep peace with where I am, while striving for the rest of what is meant for me to have? How do I find that balance?
My dear child, seek My rest and you shall find peace there. Waiting won’t feel such a heavy burden if you lean upon Me. Read the word and you will yet be closer to Me, still.
I sigh. Whether relief, contentment, or resignation I know not – Probably all of the above. Resting my head back, I close my eyes taking a deep slow breath. I feel better than I have in days, having accepted much that is out of my control. I am in that place with God that is secret and sacred. Sorry, can’t share more than that. Most likely because there are no words that exist in this physical world of ours that can possible do justice in explaining what God does with me in this sacred place.
And I don’t want to share. It’s mine…and His alone. A wonderful God that is capable of having a secret sacred spiritual relationship with each and every one of His children, independent of each other, is truly awesome. We can all have it if we are willing to see Truth, including our own.
I sense that I am drifting, happily. A blanket of tranquility drapes over me and I settle into this feeling of calm and cool. I envision myself with a lazy smile upon my face, muscles relaxed. I involuntarily take another deep slow breath, feeling the oxygen within my blood coursing down my limbs, bringing life to my extremities…for one moment I feel the sensation that is best described as “Aaahhhhh”…
Something crashing to the floor woke me from my nap. Startled, my body tensed, breathing halted, as I waited in anticipation of any more noise to come. Hearing a shuffling sound in the lavender room next door, I whipped my blankets off and jumped out of bed in one quick motion. Grandma is back!
I hurried into the room, expecting to see my grandmother’s warm face, “Grandma–”
I skid to a halt, brought up short at seeing a man…
“Uncle Oliver?” I asked, perplexed. He was kneeling before the drawers in the built in, a couple of drawers on the floor. That must have been the sound that woke me.
“Ivy…I, um…” He scrambled to shuffle papers back into a pile, clearly searching for words before turning his attention back to me. “I, um, Ivy, I was just looking for something. I, uh…well, I want to surprise grandma and I needed to check something out. So, if you could keep this to yourself? I don’t want to ruin the present.”
Was he asking me a question? I wasn’t sure.
I came to still sitting in the sun porch, feeling refreshed, relaxed and rearing to go. I hop up to my feet, stopping first at the coffee pot for a refill, then make my way upstairs to the lavender room. My goal: search the built-ins – Oliver was there for a reason.
Starting with the drawers, I begin pulling them out one at a time noticing something curious.
“I think there might be a secret compartment behind these drawers.” Now I’m speaking out loud to myself, ha!
The drawers are only six inches deep, where the shelves on either side of it are a full foot deep. It didn’t take me long to remove all of the drawers. What I found most interesting about the carpentry of this built in was how the drawers were engineered. Typically, there is a frame in which the drawer sits with a track in the frame and along the bottom of the drawer. This is to ensure a proper fit and allowance for ease in pulling and pushing the drawer in and out. Before me, however, was something reminiscent of ‘tongue and groove’. There are no partitions within the frame filling the center of where the drawers go. In fact, it was a huge open hole that appeared to be waiting for shelves to be slid in.
As I looked at the drawers themselves, I noticed two ‘tongues’ running from front to back on the sides, one on top and one on the bottom. These fit into the ‘grooves’ running along the sides of the open space of the built-ins. Feeling the front of the solid piece of wood covering the back of the drawers – “Ow!” – my finger caught on metal. Upon closer inspection, I notice it is a key hole! I am so excited! Practically sprinting, I run down the stairs to retrieve the key necklace from my mother’s apartment bedroom.
Before I make it back upstairs, Stella breezes through the door out of breath and sweaty.
“Hey, how was your run?”
“Great! I just need water, a shower and then coffee…Lots of coffee!” She grinned, leaning against the shut door.
“Well, once you are done with all of that, come upstairs to the lavender room. You are going to love this!” And I was off.
In no time at all, Stella had her cup of coffee, startling me with her presence, “Hey, are you all right? You look horrified at something you found.”
I didn’t respond.
“What are you looking at?”
I still couldn’t speak, so I shoved the note in Stella’s hands. She gasps before revealing that this note is verbatim of the one in a novel she read: A novel written by none other than Lillian Sanders.
Stella quickly leaves the room, returning with an armful of Lillian Sanders novels.
“Is that what I think it is?” I paused waiting to hear Stella’s response. When there is none, I continue talking, feeling the need to fill the air with something. “My grandfather, Carter Sanders, committed suicide??? Is that really his suicide note?”
Plopping herself in an armchair, Stella shares her thoughts (finally!), “What I find incredibly interesting – and exciting, even if it is a bit morbid – is that this note written by Carter is the exact same suicide note as one of Lillian’s fictional characters from her novels. I am looking for it right now.”
As Stella began her search for the note in a book, I figured I might as well continue searching the files. Who knows what other gold may be in here.
“Maybe there is more here in this room that also makes an appearance in her novels.”
“Maybe her novels are more truth than fiction, a form of therapy for your grandmother.”
Little did I know.
After about an hour Stella speaks, having noticed I haven’t moved in some time, “Ivy, what is it?”
“It’s, uh, it’s my…my birth certificate…” That is right, I found my birth certificate. I should be happy, joyful, shouting from the roof tops I know who my dad is! But, I can’t. I am in shock. I guess a part of me actually believed this day may never come, and I had found peace in that. Barely above a whisper, I squeak out, “My father is Chester Abbott.”
“Chester Abbott. Chet for short.”
“Why does that sound familiar?”
“I don’t know...But at least now Todd has a name to search.” I heard, saw, felt nothing else in this moment. I had a name to the question, who is my father? I closed my eyes, pressing the birth certificate against my chest, muttering one last time, “Chester Abbott is my father.”
“But that’s my father,” said an incredulous Ava.
Timing certainly is everything.