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The Journal

by Elsie Clark 2 months ago in feature

It all started with a little black book...

The Journal
Photo by Fang-Wei Lin on Unsplash

Eliza was a creature of habit and as such, she would wake do her yoga and then proceed to go down to the nearby cafe for her bagel and coffee. That was the plan on this day but something happened the moment that she opened the front door to her house. She looked down seeing a plain yellow manila envelope with her name written in elegant script. She looked around her before bending down and grabbing the envelope. The weight of the envelope surprised her and she nearly dropped it. She carefully opened the envelope then peered inside. Her eyes widened and she quickly walked back into her house closing the door behind her, her bagel and coffee forgotten for now.

She quickly laid out the contents of the envelope on her kitchen table and stared at it. Inside the envelope contained multiple stacks of one-hundred-dollar bills and a small black leather-bound notebook. She stacked the money off to the side then pulled out one of the kitchen chairs and sat down in it. She then pulled the notebook toward her and flipped to the first page. In the same elegant script that was on the front of the envelope, Eliza saw what looked to be a journal entry.

June 16, 1991

My darling girl, you were born today and though I can't bear the thought of not seeing you grow up, I have placed you in the arms of a loving mother and father that will raise you to become the smart woman that I have failed to become. Please my darling child, do not hate me when you're older for all in due time you will understand why I did what I did.

The notebook fell out of Eliza’s hand and onto the table. What, but how? She shook her head, then picked back up the notebook. She continued reading, her brows drawn together.

May 25, 1991

My darling girl, over a month has passed and I wonder how you are. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. Your big blue eyes and how you smile. My girl, know that you are loved and greatly missed.

Eliza ready for hours trying to figure out who this woman was and why she waited till now to send the notebook. She didn’t care about the money, she just wanted to know who the woman was. She didn’t set the notebook down until half past six in the evening. Her neck and back were stiff from sitting for so long. She shook her head, realizing she hadn’t eaten at all today either. She got up and stood stretching for a moment, before moving around in the kitchen finding something to eat. Eliza finally settled on some ramen, and sat down at the table. Her eyes shifted between gazing at the notebook and then to the money. After she finished eating, she washed the few dishes she had used, then sat back down at the table and continued reading.

By two in the morning, she was two-thirds of the way through the journal. Tired as she was, she continued reading.

June 16, 2009

My darling girl, today you are eighteen. Eighteen years since I have last seen you, eighteen years since I last held you. I miss you every day of my life and I hope that you know that you are loved beyond your greatest imagination.

Eliza wiped some tears from her eyes, then made some coffee. She let out a soft sigh, watching the coffee slowly drip into the awaiting pot. So many thoughts were going through her mind. She knew she was adopted from an early age, and knew that her birth mother was young. Anything else, she nor her parents knew anything more about her birth mother. She poured herself a cup of coffee, added some sugar, stirred the sugar into her coffee, and sat back down. She opened the journal and stared at the date puzzled a bit.

“That can’t be right,” she said, flipping from the previous page back to the page she was on. She checked the binding in the journal, making sure there weren’t any pages torn or missing.

August 31, 2011

My darling girl, I know it has been some time since I have written but I have been sick. The doctors have reassured me all is well, though I am not sure. This hospital bed is so stiff and I miss my bed. But I miss you and hope you are well my dear.

January 1, 2012

My darling girl, the doctors are looking grim, and though this pen is steadily growing heavier I must write this. My cancer is back, and the doctors have no idea how long I have. I love you my daughter and I always will.

Eliza set the journal down, sipping her coffee a moment, then proceeded to get up from the table and walked around her house. She tried to calm herself down, taking slow deep breathes. She saw how close she was coming to the end of the journal, and she wasn’t ready for it to be over. She walked back to the table and opened the journal again.

March 17, 2012

My darling girl, I fear this is it. Try as I might, I cannot rest without the hope that someday, you may read this and know just how much you were loved. The heaviness in my heart that I feel right now is lightened by the knowledge that you have grown into a good, strong woman. I hope that you look more like me and I hope that you dream big and accomplish all the goals you set in life. I love you my darling girl, to the ends of the earth.

Eliza flipped to the next page, and saw a picture tucked into the binding. She stared at it for a long while. She saw a young woman holding an infant in a rocking chair. She knew instantly that this was her birth mother. She saw that she could almost pass as her mother’s twin. She flipped to another page, and saw a newspaper clipping, a single line highlighted on the paper.

Elizabeth Walker, 39, passed away in her sleep at her home. She is survived by her daughter Eliza.

The date on the newspaper article was March 20, 2012.

Eliza flipped to the last page, and it contained a small envelope. In it contained a cope of what looked like a will.

Ms. Walker, you do not know me, but your mother searched for you. She did manage to find you, but by then she was far too weak to see you. She begged me before she passed to give you this journal along with the money that she had saved from over the years for you. The sum is totaling $20,000, there is also a small key to a safe deposit box. The contents of the box I do not know. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call me.

Eliza picked up the envelope and shook it a small key falling out. Along with it, there was a business card. She quickly grabbed her phone and dialed the number. A rather groggy voice answered, and Eliza found out it was the attorney himself that had left the envelope on her doorstep. The conversation was brief and once she had hung up the phone it was almost eight o’ clock. Though Eliza was tired, she quickly gathered her things and met with the attorney.

They entered the bank together, and after they went all the necessary paperwork, she was led to the security box. She opened it slowly, and gasped. Inside was a deed to a house and the keys to a car. The last two items brought tears to her eyes. She gently touched the pink blanket and small booties. Under the blanket was an envelope, and she pulled it out and started to read it slowly.

My daring Eliza-girl, if you are reading this then I am dead. Do not mourn for me, my child. Instead, rejoice in knowing that I am here as your guardian angel looking down and smiling at you.


Elsie Clark
Elsie Clark
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