When she lost it or where, I do not know. She simply lost memory of her secret life. Where she hid it, I definitely know. She kept it in a big overstuffed red book that she tied shut with two long white laces. She would walk over to talk to me about my weed and grass salads I was making and the orange tree root I was trying desperately every single day for three whole days to dig up. I thought it was a huge carrot and I wanted it for my “salad”. She wore a big bag purse on her shoulder and inside was this diary of sorts. While we talked, she seem so interested in what I was doing.
Maybe she wrote about me and how she could look me right in the eye and slip that red book right in that slit in the tree without worrying that I was noticing. How it was so perfect that I was so small, that maybe I would not realize this was her hiding place. She wrote in pencil. She looked so confident,peaceful when she was writing. Her left hand so twisted around that a lot of times I still picture just her elbow staring pointedly at me.
Her hair would cover her eye and she would tuck it behind her ear at first,but once she finally got into that other world’, her hair was forgotten. She would talk out loud and laugh and have little conversations with someone invisible in the sky or in front of her. She would turn her head sideways and smile and be looking at nothing. She would look happy and clasp her hands together and press her lips shut. She would sigh and grab the sides of her hair and kind of growl. She would write so fast that I couldn’t believe someone could have so much to say. She would get upset and stomp the grass, around and around in a circle, looking both happy and sad at the same time. She would cry,sometimes even sob, and press her hand to her mouth, or rub her eyes until the tears were gone. Her nose would be red and swollen and that is when she would go in her little home and bake.
We lived in our large farm house that sat close to a lane that lead in to town,but almost surrounded with trees and out back was her little home. I could look out my bedroom window and see the path that lead to her front patio. If I went up to the attic I could see the tops of all the trees and a small opening that showed her front door and her window nicely where she sat to write. We knew when anyone would visit her since it was so quiet and our dog would begin to bark or if she had a nice smelling meal in the kitchen, or maybe let’s say, sit up all hours of the night writing by her open window. I would read by candle and glance at her window every page or so.
I became attached to her schedule. She stayed up quite late. Turned off her light and woke up to our rooster. She would leave for our house when it was still dark, and go home right after I got home during the school year. She spent days at our home cleaning,cooking,and baking. I loved having her in the house because she would laugh and my parents would be so happy. Sometimes she would look so tired, that my daddy would insist she rest. He would so gently lead her to a chair,crouch down in front of her,push her hair gently to the side and look her in the eyes. I was young,but I still noticed these times of affection.
Daddy and Momma told me Aunt Ray was in need of some rest and much needed time alone. But she still wrote and was always out rain or shine to check on her little covered porch. She looked as plump as Momma had become with the baby on the way. But she still took care of her ivy plants,tomato plants in buckets and little jars of herbs. For awhile,she stayed at her little home but after Momma had the twins,she stayed in the big house day and night for about a year. She shared a room with my new sisters,feeding them and changing them while Momma slept.
Every week a delivery man would walk down the side of our home,and through the woods to bring her a bouquet of fresh flowers and she would reach for the card before the flowers left the man’s hands. She would smile so big and press them to her face. One time she had yellow all over her eyebrows and nose. She looked so happy and so beautiful. I wanted to know what the card said to make her sing that day.
How to find her lost memory, do I go back to start? What I want most though is not her lost memory but her last memory. What was it? Her last memory seems to have triggered a mystery life I only knew she had. The ad in the paper read simply-Help me. I have lost something very dear to me. My memory. It is in a red, stuffed with thousands of papers,notebook,tied with a couple of shoelaces. I don’t remember it. I just dream about that damn notebook and the life of a secret love story between 3 people. On those cried on, crinkled folded pages, are poems of arms and legs entwined,bluebirds he sent me so I would sing. A love song that I sang into his ear as his arms wrapped around me and pulled me close. I really want to remember what that song was. I want the tears to flow as I find that page that held the words that he wrote just for me. Just me.
This was her journey. Their journey. One no other person needs to understand or criticize because they have not found that path in life. Their path.
Now Ray’s mind was a jumble of letters. Letters big,letters small. If she only had some paper, she was sure,so sure,she could make out the order they were suppose to be in. Why was her mind so fuzzy? They were all neighbors in Tennessee. She was in a small home in the woods. A lovely little home with a path of trees and flowers that lead to the large home. The first time she saw him was at an outside vegetable stand in this little downtown area and she knew she had to get closer to him . He was sweet and kind and anyone could tell how he loved and adored his wife. He looked at her with such adoration in his eyes. She couldn’t take her eyes away from that look on his face. She knew without a doubt,she desired that look from him. She was so amazed how they met later in the park.
Her name was Ray Seene and she was one of my dearest friends and confidantes. The first time we saw her was in the park as my husband John and I were passing through to place flowers at the cemetery. She was all alone, sitting under a tree writing in a notebook. She had her legs to the side of her and at one point,looked up through the tree,shutting her eyes and smiled. John looked also,and paused,tightening the hold on my hand just slightly. Sunlight was shining down on her and she was quite the attraction. I guess she felt us staring. She smiled this beautiful smile and we were both hooked. John said hello to her and she said something we could not hear. This only caused us to walk over to her. And that is when we fell in love. The attraction was so strong at first none of us could make complete sentences. We kept tripping over words,finally all laughing together. Introductions were made and we shook hands,John pulling her to her feet as her hand met his. The flowers I held were pink carnations. They were no small bundle. Are you spreading these beauties through your home,she asked. I’m placing them on our daughters’ graves, I responded so quietly. She gently placed a hand on the flowers and took a part of them from me. John said he had expected me to get angry. I was the only one to touch them and the one who arranged them on the graves. I told him that I just felt how right everything was when her fingers brushed over mine.
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