Written by Beth Meyer
The birds were singing outside my window. I paused with my fingers posed over the keys and listened to the cheerful tunes. Do birds have bad days? I mused. Do they have mornings where they wake up and decide they aren’t going to fly around and flit from branch to branch? Or is there something in bird DNA that makes them impervious to emotions and feelings?
A weeping cherry tree outside my office window was filled with a variety of birds. It was as if the tree served as a meeting spot for the birds. They hopped around in an orchestrated dance moving from one side to the other or up or down. None of them interfered with another and no one was knocked from their place on the branch. If only people were so capable of maneuvering with each other.
My deadline for my next article was looming on the horizon. Rather than being concerned I was looking forward to being released from the pressure. I was only going through the motions of writing and I knew there would be no way I would meet that deadline. It would be so easy to just email the publisher and confess that I didn’t intend on turning in this next article. I didn’t intend to turn in any future articles. I didn’t intend on claiming I was a legitimate writer who had any talent and any hopes of ever being published again.
Now my intentions were very different. The letter I had received last week had changed my focus and my plans. It had opened my eyes to the world’s darkness and evil. My secret which I had buried deep inside my soul had been resurrected. A stranger who I did not know had exposed it and now I had to find a way of burying it all over again. That was my intention, my sole intention was not to write an article but find a way of hiding the truth, the truth about me.
After years of burying my past and creating a new life for myself, I had to start all over. The comfortable world I had built for myself was being threatened by an outside force for some unknown reason. The envelope with the letter and the assortment of newspaper clippings lay on my desk, silently taunting me to take action.
Reluctantly, I picked up the envelope and with shaking hands, pulled out the contents. I looked at letter trying to read the words with my tear-filled eyes. HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF AFTER WHAT YOU DID? The sentence jumped off the page. Sobbing I slowly looked at the clippings, hands shaking as I picked up each one and read them reliving a time in my life that I had tried so hard to forget.
The long-buried pain in my heart came back. Waves of guilt washed over me as I gathered up the clippings and the letter and stuffed them back into the envelope. The postmark on the envelope was local so someone in my world had discovered who I am and knew what I had done in my past life. But who could it be? I spent some time trying to figure out who I knew who would be cruel enough to do this to me. No one came to mind, but I was sure that who ever it was, this wouldn’t be their last attempt.
Two hours later, after a quick shower I was in my car driving back to my past life. The closer I got the more determined I was about my plan. Exiting the highway, I sat at the traffic light I briefly hesitated before turning right.
Ten miles down the road, I slowed down and turned into a driveway. The driveway wound through a landscape defined by towering trees, flowering bushes, majestic marble statues, impressive monuments and hillsides dotted with simple white markers. I took a deep breath as I stopped my car and opened the door. My footsteps crunched on the gravel path as I climbed up the small green hill, shaded by century old trees. At the top of the hill, a gleaming white angel beckoned to me. She was smiling and her smile gave me a sense of comfort and peace.
In that moment, I knew what I needed to do.
It was time to reveal the secret.