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Jenna strummed the final chord of her song. She had written it years ago and it was still her favorite. She nodded at the polite clapping, then leaned her guitar against the couch.

"Thanks to everyone for coming to bid farewell to my mother. she is in a better place now I believe."

She wove her way around a few mourners into the kitchen. She took a small sandwich from the tray set out and went to her room.

It was a beautiful autumn day. The trees were vibrant in the fall foliage and there was a pleasant chill in the air.

Outside her window on the grassy patio below, she could hear her two aunts arguing loudly. They were both claiming that their deceased sister had promised to leave them her fur coat. One fur coat, but two sisters.

Jenna closed the window softly. It was just like her mom to leave unpleasantness in her wake. Even in death, she could cause trouble.

Jenna had spent the past twenty years of her life taking care of her mother. She had always believed that her mother exaggerated her illness to keep Jenna in her grip. Any thought of a country music career or romance were dashed by her mother's constant demands through the years.

Jenna wrote her own country songs and had played guitar since she was twelve. Her father, rest his soul, had taken her to the big music store in town and waited patiently while she looked at every guitar. He was her biggest fan.

pShe had been interviewed at the best music school in her state and once played on the local tv station.

After two interviews at the music school, she had never heard back from them. Her mom seemed happy how that had turned out.. Telling Jenna she was "just not talented enough" kept her around to take care of her mom.

The sisters were still arguing outside about the stupid coat, without a thought for their sister buried just that morning.

She walked up the narrow stairs to the attic. She had seen the coat hanging in the attic for years. Instead of passing it on to keep one of her sisters warm, her mother had just kept it hanging, keeping no body warm.

Bright shards of sunlight warmed the small room. It cast everything in golden yellow.

Jenna pushed some boxes aside and stacked some old frames. May as well clear out this attic next week. She spied the fur coat draped over antique hatboxes. My aunts can flip for the coat she decided.

The dented boxes were stacked, leaning against the wall.. Jenna took the coat causing the boxes to fall. One cardboard lid rolled across the room as envelopes and papers spilled across the wooden floor.

Jenna saw her name on one and picked it up. It was a handwritten letter from a young girl. She didn't recognize the name but soon realized it was a thank you/fan letter. Jenna often played at charity events and school functions. Reading the postmark she knew it was from a girl's school where she had played years ago. The girl thanked her for the performance then asked if they could meet one day. The girl wrote that she had written a few songs and she wanted Jenna to hear. Jenna had never seen this letter.

Her heart began to beat quickly as she picked up another letter. This was was from the music school. She read the first line and gasped.

The Stanford School of Music is pleased to accept your application....

Jenna began to flip through the letters frantically, some bound in bunches with string.

Her hands shook as she reached out for a thick bundle of letters. The writing was familiar to Jenna. It was her last boyfriend that had travelled to the Bahamas years ago. There were a few postcards among the letters. Ocean and sky in beautiful shades of blue. Sparkling beaches. Each one read the same.

Wish you were here..write me back..love you.

For so many years Jenna had sadly believed that he had met someone new and forgotten about her. She had checked the mail every day.

God, she felt sick.

She shuffled to the last letter, written in a woman's hand.

Dear Jenna,

We have never met, but my brother spoke highly of you and your talent. It is with regret I write to tell you of Jame's death. He died last night from malaria.

Jenna checked the date. It was almost five years ago.

Oh, James.

She sat cross legged in the attic as dust swirled and settled around her.

Jenna began to weep.

She realized that her mother never encouraged her in her life dream, but she never suspected that she would go this far.

She now thought of all the times she had come home from work and noticed that the television was warm and the curtains open when she had left them closed.

Her mother had always complained that she was too weak to go downstairs and spent her days (sigh) in her room while Jenna was at work.

Jenna could just imagine her mother. Making her way down the stairs to the mailbox. Going through the mail every day and plucking any letter that might validate Jenna's dreams.

She looked at all the letters strewn across the floor and thought of the opportunities lost. Friendships and the chance to study music dissolved by one wicked woman's vendetta against her own daughter.

Jenna felt a fury rise. She could sense her life force surge within her. Starting from this minute she was going to live her life for herself.

She took the furcoat and went through the pockets. Her fingers found a cold metal object. She took it out and remembered her father giving her this gift. It was a small guitar pin with pretty jewels. She had been heartbroken when it went missing. Her mother told her it was probably lost when they moved houses. Jenna now knew her mother had hidden it from her. She held it tight and recalled how her father had encouraged to make music. He loved to hear her play as her mother slammed pots and pans in the kitchen.

Jenna grabbed the coat and made her way downstairs to begin her new, unfettered life.

December 02, 2019 11:52

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1 comment

Irina Vishnina
21:17 Dec 11, 2019

Hi Judy, I love your story! Jenna was so real and I felt for her!


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