*SPOILER ALERT!!!!* This post contains information about my short story Next Year. If you haven’t read this story, click here before reading on.
Elaina’s cheeks redden as she greets me at the door. “Katherine had a bit of an episode so I’ve talked her into resting.” Her gaze lowers. “This whole thing seems to be upsetting her.” She steps aside and allows me entrance as a scream meets me from the back of the house. Elaina excuses herself.
Settling into the living room, I am left alone for an hour as Elaina runs back and forth tending to Katherine.
“Miss?” Elaina says, “I’ve told Katherine you’re here and she wants to speak with you.” Seeing the confusion on my face she smiles. “I think she’ll be fine. Her mind is clearing, but I won’t be far if she gets upset.”
I take a seat beside her bed and shake her hand as she blinks at me, waiting for my first question.
“Thank you for speaking with me. My readers were very touched by your story. How have you been handling Elaina’s revelation?”
She wrings her hands as she thinks. “I,” her gaze shakes as she tries to untangle her thoughts, “have to take my emotions moment by moment. Sometimes I’m overjoyed, and others I’m deeply ashamed.” Tears gather in her eyes.
“One reader asked, ‘How did you feel knowing your daughter had been taking care of you, while you had no knowledge of who she is?”
She shakes her head. “I have more questions than I do feelings about that. I wonder why I didn’t see the similarities to—” she licks her lips, “She’s a lot like him, you know.”
“That brings me to another reader question. Who was her father?”
“He was an older man.” She rubs the back of her hand as she looks past me. “I was young and wanted to save the planet one person at a time. He seemed so alone, so lost, and he pulled me into his world. He told me I was the queen of everything I saw.”
“The same reader asks, ‘Why is her father a shaky topic?’”
“We were married for a little over a month before he—” she swallows, squeezing her eyes shut and then opening them wide. “I still see the noose he made when I close my eyes sometimes. I learned I was pregnant the day after his funeral. She came into the world cloaked in sadness and confusion. Everyday for months I asked myself what I could have done differently to let him know he didn’t have to—” she purses her lips, shaking her head. “He was scared and selfish. I didn’t want her to know that’s in her blood.”
“One reader asked, ‘Why did you give Elaina up?’”
“Because when I looked into her eyes, I felt more love for her than I had ever felt for anyone. I couldn’t even feed myself enough to produce a drop of milk, let alone a whole bottle.”
“One reader asked, ‘Did your grandchildren being born make you sad and make you think of your daughter?’”
“I thought of her every day since I gave her up. Seeing my daughter give birth to her first tore that wound open more, but it had never healed.”
“Do your other children know about Elaina?”
She shakes her head. “I won’t tell them until I know how I feel. That isn’t fair to them. Not with every other pain they’ve faced and I want to wait until Elaina is ready too. Her husband and children know nothing of her adoption.”
“How does that make you feel?”
“I have no right to feel any way about that, but if I did, I would be sad for her. I know what walls do to the heart and it’s never a good thing.”
“Do you want to meet your other grandchildren?”
She takes a deep breath. “Right now, on this side of the unknown, that thought scares me. I don’t want to see her father’s face on her son. It’s taken a lot of work for me to distance myself from those memories.”
“Final question, if you could change anything about all of this, would you?”
“Yes.” She studies my face. “I would never have gone to the store when her father told me he needed some rope, or I would have at least asked why.”
Thank you for reading, and a HUGE thank you to everyone who asked a question. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without each of you. As we start this new year I want to be certain I’m providing the content you’re all interested in. As such, I have provided a one question poll below. If you would be so kind as to take a look at it, I would greatly appreciate it.