When I got home, I made a cup of tea, sat down and thought about which note I would give to Miss Mabel. I didn’t think she would be too disappointed with any of them.
While trying to choose, the cleansing idea came back to mind, but I still wasn’t sure about it. I had heard, and laughed about the old wives’ tale that said when we go away, whether in death or from an actual physical move, we always leave something of ourselves behind.
I believed there was something about this house that kept thoughts and stories and memories trapped. Had some of the actions of Katys’ heinous father remain embedded in the house? After such a tragic young life, had Katys’ agonizing trauma left a psychic imprint which created an energy that would forever remain?
I just didn’t know. I never believed in the supernatural, or Karma, or bounce-back universe retribution, so it was a double-edged sword. Echoes from the past became dichotomous. If there was anything left of Katy, I wanted it to stay. If there was anything left of her dreadful father, I wanted it gone. If I had the house cleansed to get rid of him, I feared that I would get rid of Katy as well. But I questioned. Would a cleansing really get rid of Katy? Maybe. Maybe not. Some grief I think, just weighs too much.
I admit that my fondest wish was that somehow, justice had visited that wicked father of hers, and exacted a price that would be paid not in years, but in eons.
The next morning, getting ready for my visit with Miss Mabel, I decided to give her the note Katy wrote, asking God to make her a horse so that she could fly away.
I went to her house and handed her the note. She looked at it for a moment and said, “sweet child.” Then she rolled her chair over to the coffee table and put it inside her Bible.
I wondered if I should have given her the picture of the horse that Katy drew but I only had that, the drawing of the beautiful man, and the Mysterious Blue Forest painting. Besides, Miss Mabel had that exquisite mural that I admit, I regularly broke one of Gods’ Commandments by unashamedly coveting.
I told Miss Mabel that I found a Bible with scriptures used as sort of bookmarks, and also found a note inside the cover that I was sure had been written by Katy.
“I think she bought that Bible for her father,” I said. “But why on Earth would she do that? It wasn’t dated, but the note said that she was 13 years old when she bought it.”
Miss Mabel said, “Katy didn’t speak much about her life, but she did tell me about that. She really believed that her father would change if she bought him a Bible and prayed for him. She said her granny told her that you must pray for the wicked and if you did, God would make them righteous.” She shook her head and said, “I think Katy thought she just 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 asked Miss Mabel where Katys’ grandmother used to live. After she told me, I cut the visit short and told her that we would talk again tomorrow. Miss Mabel looked at me with her knowing eyes and said, “be careful and don’t expect too much.”
I thought that was such an odd thing to say to me, but I walked down the street and found the house. I was anxious and excited as I rang the doorbell. A man answered and I cheerfully introduced myself and told him that I had bought the house up the street. He looked at me like I had two heads and said, “yeah?”
When he said nothing else, I said, “a little girl used to live there and her grandmother used to live here.” His answer was abrupt and borderline rude when he said, “yeah, so?”
“Well,” I said. “I wondered if there was there a painting or a mural anywhere in the house when you bought it.” A quick “yeah,” was his only response. It was like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers and I wanted to ask if his vocabulary possibly extended beyond two words, but I managed a smile when I asked if I could see it.
My heart sank when he said, “it ain’t there no more. I painted over it.”
I asked if he remembered what the painting was and he said, “if I recollect, it was some old woman and a little girl.” I asked if it had been signed or dated and he said, “lady I didn’t pay no attention, and I got things to do.”
He was such an odious man. It was hard to be civil but I begrudgingly thanked him and went back home.
The next day, when I visited Miss Mabel, I told her about my experience and how angry that man made me. “Well,” Miss Mabel said. “Let’s have a Coca-Cola and a slice of lemon pie. That’ll make us feel better.”
I asked Miss Mabel if Katys’ parents were still alive. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to ask before. Miss Mabel said she thought Katys’ mother might still be around, because she was pretty young when Katy was born, but she wasn’t sure. She said “I heard that she had been taken to an old folks’ home.”
I had butterflies in my stomach when I asked if she knew which one. She said, “there’s only two around here, so it would likely be one of those.” She didn’t mention Katys’ father and I didn’t really care. I was hoping he was somewhere, six feet under and waiting in anguish, for hell.
When I got home, I looked up the numbers for the two nursing homes. I called both, asking for information about her. With things like those pesky Hippa laws, it wasn’t easy to get information, but I did find that she was in the Green Acres Retirement Home.
The duty nurse could only tell me that she was in fact a resident, but nothing more. I asked if I could visit, and was told that only family members were allowed. I asked if I left my name and number, would she pass it along. I lied as I told her the reason was that I had bought her house and had found some things I thought she might like to have.
For weeks, I called Green Acres and asked if the message had been delivered. The nurse, probably tiring of my constant calling, finally said, “all we can do is pass on the information, ma’am. We can’t compel anyone to respond.”
I never did get a response from her.
I told Miss Mabel that I had tried to contact Katys’ mother and never got a response. I emphasized my disappointment, and yes, my outrage. Miss Mabel said, “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.” I knew what she meant, I just couldn’t understand some of those “purposes.” I think she knew that I wouldn’t be successful, and she just didn’t want to discourage me.
After all, hope is the last emotion to die.
To be continued_______________