The next day came, and with it gloom filled Dahlia’s heart. It was the day of the funeral, a
day where she was going to face her own demons, that she had well hidden for years, so she thought.
She sat on her bed, not wanting to get dressed, but instead, crawling back under her covers, bringing them up over her head and burying herself until the new dawn met her. She knew though, that she needed to go, and how disappointed Rachel and Ralph would be in her by not doing the proper thing.
She got up out of bed and making it behind her, she went to her closet and chose a dress that had no frills or lace on it. Something so drab and plain, just like her thoughts were today. She got dressed in silence, tuning all noises out around her and then took her basket and went across the hall to brush her teeth, splash cold water on her face, and run a comb through her hair. Today, she would not fuss with her hair as she usually did, today, she would leave it down, to show her own personality.
She then followed the common path to the kitchen, and only had toast and orange juice for her breakfast. No one else was in the kitchen today, she thought, but over in the corner on a stool, sat Drew. He was watching her ever so quietly, as she finished her breakfast and got up to pour herself a cup of hot coffee.
When she sat down to enjoy this one moment of the day, she heard a stirring in the kitchen and asked who was in here with her. The voice of Drew came to her and her body became stiff and rigid with fear, and she started to get up and leave, but he asked her to stay seated, that he wanted to talk to her.
His voice sounded soft and her fear let up a little, and she heard him walk over to her and set across from her at the table. He began by apologizing for his past actions with her. He explained that he did not know why he had done this at the time, for he had no interest in her in that way, and he knew that she was promised to another. He went on to explain that now he knew why he had done as he had done, and she needed to know, that he was ill. That he had discovered yesterday, that he had brain cancer. He wanted her to know how truly sorry he was, and he was moving closer to her in his seat, begging for her forgiveness. He needed to know that she forgave him before his time was up on this earth. He could not rest easy until she understood.
Stirrings moved in her heart, and she knew from the tone of his voice that he was sincere. She stood and moved closer to him, and lying her arm over his, she said that although the memories are still fresh in her mind, and she was still struggling at putting it behind her, she understood, and she forgave him. She told him that she was so sorry to hear of this illness and she was willing to lay things to rest between him and her.
He cried, and the sobbing was hard, and he was taking her hands in his and thanking her for being so kind. He told her that she was a nice woman and that Drake was so lucky to have found her, and that he hoped they truly had a good life together. He promised her that nothing like this would ever happen again. With this conversation having nothing more to be added, they both parted the kitchen together.
What Drew had told Dahlia brought comfort to her, and she prayed to her God, that this would soon be a past never to be remembered. She found Rachel and Ralph coming out of their bedroom, and they saw her and asked her if she was ready to go. It was time, and no one wanted to enter late. Dahlia nodded in affirmation, and the three of them left to go the funeral.
Dahlia’s mind drifted to her past,and she thought of her parents and wondered if they had ever loved her. Had they ever wished that this child had never been brought to this earth. How did her mother feel about her on her dying bed. Thoughts drifted in and out as they drove to the church.
Once arriving, Ralph turned the car off, and came over to Dahlia and Rachel’s side and opening the doors for each of them, helped them to get out. The three of them walked into the church, where soft organ music was playing. Dahlia stayed close to Ralph and Rachel as she was not familiar with where she was and didn’t want to collide into anything.
The door greeter met them, and after asking their names, walked them into the main area, where her mother laid. Ralph and Rachel stood by her side as they found themselves standing in front of the open casket. Silence was surrounding them, and Dahlia found it odd, to have her mother not speaking to her. Soon they made their way to their special seats and others had come in and viewed and then had walked over to Dahlia and told her how sorry they were.
Dahlia thought this was never going to end. She didn’t recognize most of the people who had introduced themselves to her, but why would she? She was always left behind to do some type of cleaning. She was not allowed to intervene with her parents.
Soon the minister began to speak, and he was telling of things that Dahlia had never known. He was speaking about what a rough life her mother had when she was a young child herself. The rape that had occurred when she was a teenager, was a terrible incident, but her mother had fought hard to over come this, but never quite made it to total healing. He spoke of the marriage between the two and the child that was born, Dahlia.
He went on to say that he hoped that she felt peace now, and he said that he had spoken to her on her death-bed, letting her know that God had forgiven her of her errors in life. Dahlia sat and listened, not knowing who this person was, that the minster spoke of. This was surely not the mother that she, herself knew.
The service ended, and people shook hands and said their goodbyes and well wishes. When all had left the church, all that remained was Dahlia, Ralph, Rachel, and the minister. There was a stranger standing off to the side, as if he was waiting for approval to move. The minister went to him, and brought him along with her own father, and the two men asked Dahlia to please sit, that there was information that needed to be told.
The entire time of the funeral, her father had never made his presence known to her. She had wondered if he was even here, as even Ralph and Rachel never mentioned seeing him, and now here he was, sitting beside her.
He placed his hand on Dahlia’s hand, and commented on how beautiful she looked all grown up. He said how sorry he was for the bad treatment of his wife, her mother, and even himself. He explained that he was always trying to hide his feelings from the world, knowing he had a wife that lived in hell in her mind from the damages that had been done to her. She had never been able to get passed it, and when you, Dahlia, were born, she loved you so much. I can still see the glow in her eyes, as she held you close to her heart, showing you off to all those who paid a visit, but somewhere in the middle of all of this, nightmares would reappear, and she would hide within herself, sometimes not even speaking to him, her own husband.
Her father went on to say, that he knew of one person in her life that she loved more than even him, and this was Dahlia, but she could not get close to you, as she was so afraid that her fears and depression would enter your soul and destroy your chance of a good life.
Dahlia sat there trying to take in the new picture of who her mother really was. This was not the woman that she had grown up with, and now she was being told that her mother really loved her, so much love she felt, that she stayed away from her. She had practiced hatred so hard she had convinced her own child that she was not worthy of living.
This was a lot to digest, but before she could think farther, the strange man who no one seemed to recognize, brought forth a long envelope and opening Dahlia’s hands, he placed it in her hands, and said that this is from your mother, she wanted you to have this. It is her way of telling you how much she loved you, and also asking for your forgiveness.
Dahlia sat there with the envelope in her hands not knowing or wanting to open it. Was it a letter that she herself could not read? Perhaps a card with her own apology written inside. Rachel asked her if she would care to open it, since this man had made a point to come here in person to give it to her. Dahlia handed it to Rachel, who handed it back to the stranger, and he opened it, and inside was a letter.
There was a letter stating that her mother hoped she forgave her, and that nothing from her own sadness had ever entered her heart. She wanted to let Dahlia know that she cried every night before she went to sleep over not being able to hug her own daughter, and tell her how much she loved her. The only way she could show this now, was to let her know that in the bank downtown, was key to a special box and inside of it was money that she had been saving every day since her child had been delivered into her arms. The amount of money that her mother had left her, was $50,000.
Dahlia sat in shock, then started to sob heavily. Her mother had loved her, all these years, and had never been able to show it in order to protect this child from the same fears she had carried herself. Tears came to everyone’s eyes, as the story that was poured out, began to make sense, and people were understanding. Her father moved closer and told her that he could not expose his wife’s wishes, and that he had also loved her ever since she was born. He produced from his pocket a big envelope that was filled with pages of a journal he had been keeping for her. His thoughts for her were inside, and as he handed Dahlia the envelope, he said that maybe one day Rachel could read these to her, and as the words left his lips, he broke down and wept, letting her know how much he has always loved her and still does. He explained that he was getting old, and if he could prove to her how important she was to him, then he could be content to die in the old house.