The Lost Son (Part 2)

Here is Part 2 of this year’s Christmas Story! (You can find Part 1 here.)
       After dinner, and with the kids playing a game with John at the kitchen table, Abby went back to her desk and picked up the first letter and stared at it for a few moments. Picking up the cell phone that lay on her desk, she clicked on her mom’s number.
       “Hey, Mom. How are you this evening?”
       “Just fine, dear. Grandma and I were just sitting here talking. Dad is out doing something in the garage. Hanging some new rack or other. You know how important it is that he stay organized,” she laughed.
       Abby looked at her watch. It was only 7pm. Should she or shouldn’t she?
       She took a deep breath and dove right in, “Mom, can I come by to talk to you and Grandma for a few moments? Won’t take long.”
       Her parents lived a short ten minutes away. She could easily be home before the kids’ bedtime routine.
       “Sure, honey. Should I be worried?” Her mom sounded a bit unnerved by the solemnity in Abby’s voice, which she tried, in vain, to hide.
       “Oh, no,” Abby nervously laughed, “I’ll be there shortly.”
       She clicked to end the conversation and sat there for a brief moment, praying that the Lord would give her wisdom. She then went to John and asked to talk to him. They left the kids playing the game without him for just a moment while she explained what she had found earlier that day.
       He whistled through his lips and then exclaimed, “Whoah!”
       “I know, right?”
       “I can understand that you want to know what’s going on, but do you really want to bring this up as we head into the holiday season? Maybe we should wait until the new year?” John rubbed his left ear, as he had a habit of doing in uncertain situations.
       “You are rubbing your ear,” Abby smiled at him, breaking the tension of the moment. He grinned as she continued on in a more serious tone, “you might be right. But it’s too late now. I know about Charlie and the new year feels like an eternity away at this moment,” she paused briefly and then said, “Why don’t I go over and just see how it goes? Ask a couple of questions and see where they lead? I won’t bring it up if it just doesn’t seem like the right time.”
       John agreed and soon Abby was on her way.
       As she pulled into the driveway, she saw both her mom and grandma waving cheerily from the living room window, heads together and smiling broadly. She hoped they would still be smiling when she left.
       Pulling her coat tightly around her, she walked briskly to the door in the nippy night air which was reminding her that winter was only a few weeks away.
       Gathering around her with warm hugs and questions about her day and her life and John and the kids consumed much of the first half hour. Both her mom and her grandma loved exuberantly and without condition. She wasn’t scared to have the upcoming conversation with them but she was reluctant.
       As the conversation about current happenings wound down, the room grew awkwardly quiet.
       “Are you okay, dear?” It was Grandma who finally broke the silence, “you don’t seem quite yourself.”
       “I was just thinking that, as well.” Both sets of inquiring and concerned eyes fixed themselves on her.
       Squirming a bit, Abby tried to decide how to handle this. It wasn’t going anything like she had hoped. Oh, why couldn’t she hide her feelings better? Frustrated and never being one to “beat about the bush”, she made the impromptu decision to just say what what was on her mind.
       “Grandma, do you remember when we had that conversation about me helping to sort through all of the stuff left in your house?”
       “I sure do. And I am so blessed that you would help me with that. It is such a huge and overwhelming task. I could never do it all by myself,” Grandma Belinda smiled with gratitude.
       “Well, there was a wooden box of letters in the attic that I brought home to read through…”
       When Abby mentioned the wooden box, Grandma’s face grew white as a ghost.
       “Mom! Are you okay?” cried Janet, running to her mother’s side.
       “I am fine, dear. Please sit back in your chair,” the pallor of her face belied her faint words.
       Janet walked back to her chair, her mind in a whirl.
       “I cannot believe that I forgot about that box,” Grandma Belinda said the words casually but her breath was raspy, revealing the magnitude of this moment.
       “So you know what I found then,” Abby said this in a low, gentle voice.
       Tear started to form in her grandmother’s eyes as the secret that had been hidden in her heart for over fifty years came to light.
       “You learned about Charlie, then?” She said.
       “Charlie? Who is Charlie?” Janet was beside herself with curiosity by now and wanted to understand what was happening between her daughter and her mother.
       “I guess that is what I am here to find out,” said Abby.
       Grandma Belinda put her face in her hands as she started quietly weeping, her shoulders shaking.
       Janet handed her mother a box of tissues as she asked, “Abby, what is going on?”
       Abby pulled the two letters out of her purse and handed them to her mom. Janet took them, her eyes growing wide in unbelief as she read them.
       “I have a brother? Is that what this means?”
       Grandma Belinda sighed, “a half-brother, yes.” She said the words with defeat and perhaps just a touch of relief. The secret was finally out.
       Abby and Janet quietly waited for her to continue.
       “I will tell you the story. I should have told you a long time ago,” said Grandma, as she started to reveal the decades-old secret that had haunted her for her most of her life.

2 thoughts on “The Lost Son (Part 2)”

  1. After my mom died, my sister discovered a secret Mom kept. (Not a half-sibling, but something she really should have told us.) I’m feeling like Janet again. I pray your story will warn readers that family secrets are devastating! Thanks for your courage to write this story.

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