As I walked home, I wondered which one of Katy’s notes I should give to Miss Mabel. Quite frankly, I didn’t think she would be too picky. “Shoot,” I thought. “I forgot to ask her which house had belonged to Katy’s granny.” Oh well, I would ask her tomorrow.
I decided to settle in for the night and start reading some more of the notes. I had never been one to believe in the supernatural or Karma or bounce-back universe retribution, but I wondered if I could feel Katy’s presence if concentrated hard enough.
I had heard and laughed at the notion that when we go away, whether in death or just physically moving, we always leave something of ourselves behind. I considered it to be an old wives’ tale.
The cleansing idea came back to mind but I still wasn’t sure about it. I knew if that old wives’ tale was true, there would be something left of Katy and there would be something left of that horrible father as well. It was a double-edged sword. If I got rid of him, I would have to get rid of her..that is if I believed in that sort of thing.
I knew one thing and that was that despite what we all like to hope, justice doesn’t always visit the wicked.
I opened the first note and it almost broke my heart. It said “Dear God. Please don’t let him kill me.” It was dated 1962. That night I didn’t think I could bear to read any more of the prayers that tortured little girl wrote. I wasn’t sure I ever could read the rest of them.
I decided to give Miss Mabel the note saying “Dear God. Please make me a horse so I can fly away.” The next day, I went to her house and gave her the note. She held it for a minute and all she said was “sweet child.” Then she rolled over to the coffee table and put it inside her Bible.
I told her I had found a Bible with scriptures inside and also found a note inside the cover that I was sure had been written by Katy. “She bought that Bible for her father,” I said “but why on this earth would she do that?” I told Miss Mabel that the note wasn’t dated but it said that she was 13 years old when she bought it.
“Katy didn’t talk about her life much, but she told me about that Bible,” Miss Mabel said. “She really believed her father would change if she bought him a Bible and prayed for him. Her granny told her that you must pray for the wicked and if you do, God will make them righteous.” She shook her head and said “I think Katy thought that she didn’t pray hard enough.”
I knew it was difficult for Miss Mabel to talk about Katy and it was getting more and more difficult for me as well. I changed course and asked Miss Mabel where her granny’s house was. After she told me, I cut the visit short and told her we would talk again tomorrow.
I walked down the street and found the house. I rang the doorbell and a man answered. I introduced myself and told him that I bought the house where a little girl lived and her granny once lived in his house. His answer was an abrupt “yeah.” I asked him if there had been a painting or mural anywhere when he bought the house. “Yeah,” he said.
I asked him if he remembered what it was. Again, the answer was “yeah.” I was beginning to wonder if his vocabulary extended beyond that one word. Impatiently, I said “okay, could you tell me?”
My heart sank when he said “it’s not there no more. I painted over it.” I wasn’t sure which offended me the most…his grammar, his rudeness or the fact that he had destroyed one of Katy’s paintings.
I persisted and asked him if he could tell me what was in the painting. He said “it was some old woman and a little girl.” I asked him if it had been signed or dated. He said “lady, I didn’t pay no attention.”
It was hard for me to be civil but I begrudgingly thanked him…basically for nothing and went back home.
I didn’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before, but I decided to try to talk to Katy’s mother. I knew that she had gone to an old folks home and there were only two in the area. I called both of them, asking for her. With things like those pesky Hippa laws, it wasn’t easy to get information. I found out that she was in the Green Acres Retirement Home.
The duty clerk could only tell me that she was in fact a resident but nothing more. I left my name and number and asked that they pass it along to her. I told them that I had bought her house and used the excuse of wanting to return some things I thought she might like to have.
For weeks, I called Green Acres and asked if the message had been delivered. The clerk said “all we can do is pass along the information. We can’t compel them to respond.”
I never did get a call from her.
To be continued__________________