Thursday, May 14, 2009
The Letter, ...Continued, Part 8 THE END!
Sherry doesn't even feel nervous ringing the bell. A woman in her mid-fifties opens the door.
"Can I help you?"
"You are Mrs. Susan Ruthe?" The woman nods. "This is not easy for me to do. I'm sorry about your mother Agnes's passing."
"Um, I don't recognize you. How did you know mom?" The woman looks painfully confused.
"I run an antique shop. My son bought a lot box at your estate sale. There was a confession letter from your mother in the box, admitting to the murder of ...your father. I have to tell you. I threw out the letter, but I have to tell you for her."
The woman's expression turns angry. "Are you a reporter? My father committed suicide a very long time ago. My mother raised me by herself. The story is old and done. Go away!"
Sherry catches the door as the woman attempts to slam it.
"Wait, I know the password is Shirley Temple." It's Shirley Temple! Please listen to me."
The woman bursts into tears and steps outside to face Sherry on the porch.
"How do you know that?"
"Your mother is coming to me while I sleep. She told me to say it."
"When I was a little girl mom used to say that if any stranger ever wanted to pass on a message from her, the stranger would know the password: Shirley Temple. It was our little secret. Mom always feared for my safety. Why are you saying she killed my dad?"
"She put a letter in a Bible. I sold the book and threw the letter in the garbage. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Agnes regrets her actions and wants you to know the truth about your dad."
Susan stares at Sherry, stiffening. "You need to leave now."
Sherry walks to her car and drives away, unsure if she did any good by delivering the horrible news.
Agnes's daughter watches the car leave, finally understanding what her mom meant by her last words:
"Pray for me."
Sherry arrives home and climbs the stairs to her bedroom to change her clothes. Tom is standing in the upstairs bathroom doorway, waiting for her.
"I've done something horrible to you." He announces, expressionless.
"What?" Sherry's voice cracks.
Tom frowns, and for the first time, says something true.
"I have needs, Sherry. You're just not meeting them. Let's just get this over with."
Sherry is staring at the floor, stunned by the irony of still loving a man even when he announces he wants to end their marriage. "I know there's more to this life. There's a heaven, I'm sure now. Whatever you've done, I'm sure we can work it out."
"Don't you want to know what I've done?"
No. Whatever it is...I forgive you." Sherry looks up at Tom, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Let's try to work it out."
Tom moves toward his wife and embraces her as she cries. Covering her mouth with his hand, he fires one shot through the side of her head.
Sherry watches her husband lay the gun beside her body. He takes a shower like nothing unusual has happened, stripping off his bloodstained clothing and burying it in the woods behind the shop. As Sherry stands over her own body, an old woman approaches her, smiling.
"Agnes?" Sherry mutters, sobbing at the sight of herself on the floor.
Agnes takes her by the hand. "Thank you, dear, for praying for me. Let's go now. We have a banquet to attend."
Sherry is gone, but Tom can't forget her last words..."I forgive you." They follow him to the jail cell he finds himself sitting in when he is convicted of premeditated, first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Darcy testifies against him at trial. Fr. Robert finds Tom in his cell, muttering to himself.
Father, she forgave me. Father, she forgave me."
Fr. Robert takes out a prayer card and hands it to Tom. Hunched over, Tom reads the Act of Contrition aloud, sobbing, as his tears hit Fr. Robert's shoes. The light shifts in through the window, colors dancing across the floor. It's not the first time in his life that Fr. Robert sees the power of God's loving mercy in action.
Dear Internet Traveler,
Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.