Friday, May 1, 2009

Stinky Is Good In A Garden Of Lies

“Where are my manners?” Genevieve led Karen into the smaller dining room. “You must be starving. Lunch will be served shortly. In the meantime, I’ve put together a little memento I hope you’ll like.”
She sat next to Karen and placed the photo album on the table. “I hope you don’t mind, but I put a picture of Patience in here, just in case you get stuck and need inspiration. It often helps me.”
“Not at all. Thank you. In fact, I’m glad you did. She’s beautiful.”
“When we bought the house for her, she was so happy.” Genevieve’s fingers ran along her daughter’s photo.
The food arrived, and so did the gang. Everyone broke with protocol and piled their plates with sandwiches and sides.
“The house was so beautiful.” Karen popped a cherry tomato into her mouth. “Not like it is now. Did you have to do many repairs when you bought it?”
“Only to make it the way Patience wanted it. She’d made so many plans. You girls remember,” she smiled at Agnes and Dayna. “She put herself on a two year plan to be married and a mother by twenty, and the house was set up accordingly. It wasn’t what we wanted, of course, but Patience knew what she wanted.”
“Well,” Karen wiped the corner of her mouth with her napkin. “What if her husband didn’t want to live in that house?”
No one around the table said a word. Karen wondered if anyone heard her. Donnie cleared his throat. A snort came from Agnes. Giggles escaped from Gracie and Dayna. And a throaty laugh came from Genevieve.
“You really have no idea how headstrong Patience is.” Genevieve wiped her eyes.
“So,” Donnie had been quiet up to that point. “Do you like the house at all? The last time I drove by it, I barely recognized it.”
“We absolutely love the house. It’s a lot of work, but we love it. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get it to look like this again.” She flipped the page. “The other day, we found a license plate buried in the backyard, and hey, this is the room we found a large key in one of the floorboards this morning. Benny’s convinced there’s a hidden treasure somewhere in the house.”
“A key?” Genevieve placed her fork beside her plate.
“Yeah. It’s one of those big whimsical, fairytale keys. It’s covered with years of crud, and I don’t know how we’ll ever get it off.”
Genevieve didn’t know if she was having a heart attack, a stroke, or both; maybe she just wasn’t used to that level of excitement. She had prayed for clues, prayed that Patience had been smart enough to leave something to help her confront the monsters that sent her away. She had given Patience a large keepsake box with a key for her sixteenth birthday, and now she knew that somewhere in that house, there was a hidden treasure.

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