She knew that a small crack in the box would be better than never knowing what was in it. She knew it had to be important.
Searching for Home
by Chelle & Nikki
Brianna opened her eyes slowly and began to realize she’d fallen asleep. She started to stretch and was surprised to find herself laying down. As she raised up, her mind and eyes focused. She was in a motel room. It was somewhat dark and quiet. After a moment, she heard the door open and turned to see who was coming in.
“Hey, you’re awake.” Taylor said as he shut the door with his foot. He was holding two plastic cups and a small bag of sugar packages, plus two spoons.
“Mmm hmm.” Brianna replied. “How did I get in here? The last thing I remember is we were sitting in the car.”
Taylor smiled as he sat one of the cups, the sugar and spoons on the small table and turned on the lamp. “Uh huh. You fell asleep. I waited for a little while but then I knew you’d need to lay down or you wouldn’t be able to move when you woke up. You were twisted like a pretzel in the car.”
Brianna laughed a little. She sat up and rubbed her face. “So you just carried me in here?” She asked Taylor as he sat on the bed.
His eyebrows raised and he nodded. “Well, ya know. After I manged to get out of the car, check us in and get back in the car and drive around to the room without waking you up.”
They laughed and Brianna said, “Guess I was really asleep.” Taylor smiled. “Taylor, that wasn’t all a bad dream was it?” Brianna asked.
“No.” Taylor said with a sigh. “I wish I could say it was but it wasn’t.”
“So, all of this has really happened?”
“Yeah,” Taylor replied. “It’s all really happened.”
Taylor pushed a piece of stray hair out of Brianna’s face. He handed her the cup of coffee in his hand and she took a sip. She started to cough slightly and said, “Taylor! Goodness, you want some coffee with that sugar?” She put the back of her hand to her mouth and blinked to focus her eyes again.
Taylor laughed and said “Sorry. I guess you and I have two different ideas about what sweet means.” Brianna smiled and Taylor handed her the other cup and a few packets of sugar, then a plastic spoon. Brianna put in some of the sugar and stirred. “Want me to get some cold water for it?” Taylor asked.
Brianna shook her head and took a few sips. After a few moments of silence and another sigh, Brianna glanced at Taylor. “I didn’t dream about Gary giving me that box did I?”
“No. The box is right here.” Taylor reached over and took the small box from the bedside table.
Brianna took it and looked at it closely. “Can you open it?” She looked at Taylor.
He took the box and examined the lock. “Maybe.” He put his coffee down after another sip and stood up. He picked up his bag off of the floor and began to dig around until he found a small pocket knife. He tossed the bag on the floor and pulled out the blade.
“Why do you have that?” Brianna asked.
“Never know when it’ll come in handy.” Taylor smiled and then picked up the box. “It might crack. Is that okay?” Taylor asked.
Brianna nodded. She knew that a small crack in the box would be better than never knowing what was in it. She knew it had to be important.
Taylor carefully began to pick at the lock with the tip of the blade. It took a little while but it finally broke the small lock. “Bingo.” He smiled and handed the box to Brianna. He folded the knife back and said “All right. You want to open it alone or can I stay and have my intense curiosity satisfied?” Taylor smiled when Brianna giggled.
“No you can stay.” She said as she adjusted herself on the bed and put the box down between them. She took another drink of coffee and sat the cup down on the table. After a deep breath trying to prepare for whatever it was that Pam wanted her to have so bad, she opened the box. Inside was Brianna’s birth certificate.
“Oh wow.” Brianna said holding it up.
“Your birth certificate?” Taylor asked as he took the paper.
Brianna picked up the next thing in the box. A photo. On the back was written “Julie at the house in Georgia.” Brianna slowly turned it over as it had been face down in the box. She gasped when she saw it.
Taylor looked up from reading the certificate and asked, “Bri? What’s wrong?”
Brianna shook her head as tears filled her eyes. She whispered, “My mother.” She showed the photo to Taylor.
It was just a snapshot. A beautiful lady, sitting on a porch swing. She was young, smiling in the picture. Her hair dark and long. She had a slight tan to her skin and her eyes were a blue that looked like sapphires.
“Oh Bri. She’s so beautiful.” Taylor said quietly. Brianna’s hands trembled as she took the picture. Taylor picked up the birth certificate and said, “Let’s see. Your name on here is Georgia Rain Alden-Bryson. Says your mom was Julie Diane Alden, and you dad is listed as James Bryson.”
Brianna smiled and said, “Lynn said momma didn’t have a name for me and just always called me Georgia. But maybe that was the name she had picked out. Lynn said my mother loved Georgia so maybe she had that name for me for a long time.”
Taylor smiled. “Georgia is a pretty name. What’s your middle name? I mean, the middle name you grew up with.”
“Rayne. It spelled different. With a Y instead of an I and with an E on the end. I think Anna and Ray wanted their names in mine but not really name me after them. I didn’t know that was my middle name when I was born. I guess they changed it so that Ray would be in it.”
Taylor and Brianna both smiled and then Brianna took out another picture. Julie and Georgia, it said on the back. Brianna’s heart raced as she turned it over. A tear fell from her eyes as she stared at it. She handed it to Taylor with a smile.
“Oh my goodness.” He said. “You looked just like her even when you were a tiny baby.”
The picture was taken in the hospital. It was a close up snap shot of Julie, her hair pulled back and smiling so big that her eyes were small, shining slits on her face. She was holding Brianna. Her small amount of dark hair and skin tone matched that of Julie’s. She was laying asleep in her mother’s arms.
Brianna’s heart felt like it’d beat right out of her chest. Her stomach knotted tightly as she stared at her mother’s face. Although she was smiling, anyone could have seen the sadness and worry there. She held the photo as she again pulled out another one.
It was one of her mother and Pam. They were standing outside and both in overalls. Julie was pregnant and from the dirt on their hands and knees it looked like they had been gardening. That made Brianna smile. Gardening was something that she’d loved ever since she could remember. Anna had told her things like that were inherited.
Taylor grinned when he saw the picture. “I just can’t believe how much you and your mother look alike.” He said shaking his head.
As Taylor looked through the photos, Brianna took more things out of the box. First a small piece of paper that seemed to be a note to her mother. It just said: Dear Julie, We wish the best for you and your new baby girl. Love, Carl, Mary and Anita Emerson.
“Maybe it was with a gift.” Taylor said after Brianna had read the note to him.
“Maybe” Brianna said as she pulled another small piece of paper out of the box. It was worn and old. Brianna unfolded it and read the note out loud.
“Dear Julie, I want you to know that what you done took so much courage and love. You have given Georgia a chance to live a great life. You are a wonderful mother. Nothing can ever be compared to a mother’s love and the sacrifices she makes unselfishly for her children. Please take care of yourself and know that you have done the right thing. I will always love you and be here for you. Your friend, Pam. Wow. She was really a great friend to my mother.” Brianna said.
“Sounds like it. It also sounds like they both had high hopes for you.” Taylor said. Brianna bit her bottom lip and nodded as she slowly folded the paper back up.
Next, she pulled out a picture that confused her. She didn’t know the man and had never seen any photos of him.
“Who’s that?” Taylor asked, leaning over to see the picture.
“I don’t know.” Brianna answered.
“You’ve never seen him?” Taylor asked.
Brianna shook her head and stared at the photo. The man was young, with sandy colored hair and hazel eyes. He was smiling and his eyes sparkled. It was a clear picture, not blurred or faded. Brianna thought he was quite handsome and turned the picture over to see if any name was written on it. “James at our house in Georgia before shipping to Hawaii.” Brianna read out loud. “Taylor, I… I think this might be my father.” Brianna said.
“Really?” Taylor replied.
“That letter that my mother wrote to me said that after she told my dad she was pregnant, he wouldn’t have anything to do with her and then he was shipped to Hawaii. He was in the army.” Brianna said.
“Wow. You kind of look like him a little bit.” Taylor said as he studied the picture.
The next photo was confirmation of Brianna’s guess that James was her father. It was a picture of her mother and James. Her mother was in a large shirt, clearly too big, and a skirt that also looked to be a size too large to fit the slim lady in the other picture. She was smiling. James had his arm around her and he too had a broad smile on his face. He was in an army uniform. On the back was written: Julie and James Bryson before he left for Hawaii.
“This is my dad.” Brianna said quietly.
“Well, do you know anything about him? Maybe we could find him.” Taylor said.
Brianna replied, “No.”
“Are you saying no you don’t know anything about him or are you saying no you don’t want to find him?” Taylor asked
“I’m saying no to both.”
“But Brianna, wouldn’t it be nice to meet your dad?”
“No. He didn’t want anything to do with my mother after she told him about me. She said she never heard anything from him again after he left. So I don’t want to hear from him now.” Brianna stated, sternly.
Taylor sighed and said, “All right. If that’s what you want. Do you want the pictures?”
“Yes, these were from a happier time when they were still in love and besides, I’d like to have them just to have some image of the man.” Brianna said. Taylor laid the picture in the pile with the others as Brianna pulled out a small brown paper sack. “I wonder what’s in here.” She said, starting to open it. She pulled out a small, white, lace lined dress and bonnet.
“Oh my gosh.” Taylor whispered with a smile.
Brianna smiled as well. The dress was pure white and so tiny. In the sack were two other pictures. One was of Julie, sitting on the couch with the dress laid over her large stomach. The other one was of Brianna on her mother’s lap, leaning against her stomach, wearing the white dress and bonnet.
“You look adorable.” Taylor said with a snicker.
“Look at my mom, she’s beautiful.” Brianna said.
After laying the dress and pictures on the bed, there was a one more picture in the bottom of the box. When Brianna took it out and turned it over, she nearly fainted. It was a picture of her mother. She was standing outside. Her dark hair hung down and the picture had caught the wind blowing stray pieces across her face. Her blue eyes were shinning and she was wearing a long blue dress. Brianna gasped.
“Bri?” Taylor looked up from the photo he’d been holding. Brianna’s eyes were wide with surprise and her hands were trembling slightly. “What’s the matter?” Taylor asked concerned.
Brianna couldn’t speak. She slowly handed the picture to Taylor. She couldn’t believe that it was a picture of her mother. She’d suspected that the lady in her dreams was her mother but seeing that picture just gave her chills.
Taylor held in his emotions as he stared at the photo. He still hadn’t told her everything about seeing that same lady in a dream and he didn’t want to react in a way that would alarm Brianna. With his stomach in knots and finding it hard to swallow, Taylor tried to act as calm and natural as possible.
“That’s um… that’s a great photo of her. I… I like the… the dress is pretty.” He quickly handed the picture back to Brianna. “Is that it?” He asked.
Brianna nodded and said “Yes, that’s it. There’s nothing else.”
Taylor helped Brianna pack up everything back into the box. Taylor sighed and asked, “Well, now what?”
Brianna put the small box on the bedside table and wiped her face with her hands. She shrugged and answered, “I need to find out where that cemetery is.”
Taylor nodded and suddenly his beeper went off. Taylor picked it up off of the bed and looked at the screen. “It’s mom. Just let me call her back and then we’ll start looking through the phone book.” he said.
Brianna nodded and said, “I’m going to wash my face.” She stood and walked toward the bathroom. She could hear Taylor’s voice but she couldn’t understand what he was saying. Although she’d heard him say “Are you kidding?” really loud and then laugh.
As she walked out Taylor said, “Yeah we’re going to try and find the cemetery. I’ll call you tomorrow… All right. Congratulations man that’s awesome… Uh-huh… Okay bye…me too. bye.” He hung the phone up and stood up.
“Everything all right?” Brianna asked.
Taylor glanced at her and smiled. “Yes, everything is fine. Um…” He began to smile bigger and run his fingers through his hair.
“What? What’s going on?” Brianna asked with a giggle.
Taylor sat back down and said “Stacy is pregnant.”
Brianna blinked and replied “Zac’s wife?”
Taylor nodded and said “Yes. They called from mom’s phone. Ike and Lisa are over there. She found out this morning at the doctor’s office.”
“Oh Taylor that’s great.”
“Yeah, Zac is so happy and he said all the girls are crying and dad and mom are having a debate about him buying Zac some cigars.” Brianna and Taylor both laughed. “Well, let’s see if we can find that place huh?” Taylor said picking up the phone book. “What cemetery did Lynn say it was?” he asked.
“Here, I have it written down.” Brianna said picking up her purse and unzipping it. She pulled out a folded piece of paper and read, “Chapel Hill.”
Taylor scanned the names in the book and asked “On Rockwood and Chapel?”
“Yes.” Brianna replied.
Taylor wrote down the address and asked, “What about Pam?”
Brianna took out another small piece of paper and said “Taylor. It’s Chapel Hill.”
Taylor looked up and said “The same cemetery.” He and Brianna smiled.
“I guess so. I wrote it down after Gary told me. He said it was on Rockwood and Chapel.” Pam and Julie had been buried in the same place. Brianna took a moment to enjoy the idea and then said, “Let’s go tomorrow okay? Before we head back to Tulsa.”
“Tulsa? You want to go back now? I thought you were going to go see your foster parents, and you mentioned wanting to see if you could find the preacher that your mom left you with.”
“I know Taylor but, this is enough. I mean, finding out that Pam is gone and everything. I just want to go visit their graves for a minute and then get back home. I want to start work again get some more things for my apartment, and just back back to my new life in Tulsa. I’m just… I’m ready to go home.”
Taylor sighed heavily. He knew that Brianna had taken all she could. She had a little more information and the stuff in the box had seemed to satisfy her. She was tired and stressed out and just simply didn’t want to deal with it anymore. She wanted to get back to her life.
“All right, I understand.” He said. Brianna smiled, thankful that he didn’t push her. “Well, how about something to eat?” Taylor asked.
Brianna nodded. “That would be nice.”
“You wait here. I’ll go grab some junk. Sound good?” He asked with a smile.
“Yes, that’s fine with me.” Brianna laughed.
After Taylor left, Brianna decided to take a shower. She washed her hair and allowed time to just stand under the water hoping it would wash everything away but knowing it wouldn’t. After she got out, she put on a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt that had been Ray’s. She dried her hair and pulled it back into a ponytail. She rubbed some lotion on and then packed up her things. She planned to go to the cemetery later the next morning and be on her way back to Tulsa by that afternoon.
She’d just had enough of the whole trip. All the disappointments had started catching up to her and wasn’t willing to risk having anymore. She just wanted to say a quick goodbye and thank you to her mother and Pam, leave them some flowers and go back home. Why she’d planned it out didn’t make sense though. After all, she should know better than anyone, especially by now, that nothing ever goes according to the way you plan it.
This fictional story is hosted
at The Gifted Ones with permission from Chelle.