I am Lydia Davis. I am the founder-editor of 'Lush'- the Holy Bible of modern women. No one calls my weekly that, they ought to… as the 'Lush' guides the modern women to the heights of enlightenment. I detest when people call my magazine a 'fashion weekly', informing women of the latest trends in fashion and style but I am more forgiving of those who refer to it as a lifestyle magazine. 'Lush' transcends gender and class and is for all. My daughter who is peeking over my shoulder tells me that I am contradicting my earlier statement that Lush is the bible of modern women. I tell her off for being nosy and that this was only my first draft. I want 'Lush' to empower women and aid the rest to understand women and their need to succeed is justified like any man's. It must be clear to you that 'Lush' is my world and I have hardly any time for anything else. Now it is all grown up into a progressive and inclusive magazine and I have never been prouder. My daughter who has no business her pinches me and tells me she feels insulted. I tell her that all her success was her own and untouched by me; although 'Lush' is my pride, she is my joy. She looks somehow satisfied with my reply. I hope I can account for the recent incredible events of my life without any more detours.
The beginning of the incredible events was when I received a call from some lawyer in Little Haven saying my uncle Charlie passed away and he had left me an inheritance. It is my fault that I had did not pay much attention at that time and just nodded and rushed through the call. Papers had piled up on my table and I was behind schedule. Later I felt guilty for not paying attention for I had no idea who Uncle Charlie was. But I couldn't get the lawyers after that for some reason. To my credit, I did ask my last surviving aunt about any Charlies in the family. Supposedly all we have are Uncle Charlies and all my searches for a Charlie in Little Haven came with no results. I had dropped the matter when a letter came to my house from attorneys Joy and Joy.
Apart from the boring stuff from the lawyers asking me to come to Little Haven as soon as possible was a letter from the late Charleston Cooper. It read as follows:
I hope I find you in good health, I for one have not been doing very well. I know this letter would come as a surprise to you- a delightful surprise nonetheless, I hope. We have been without touch for a very long time. You were a kid then so it would be more of fault than yours for our reunion to be delayed. I am afraid there will be no reunion as I would be dead when you receive this letter. I do not want you to see me in this pitiful state. I have left my house and my belongings to you. I do have some money in the bank too. I know you aren't interested in money but I believe that every penny counts and should never be wasted. I want to put my money to use. I also believe that every penny should be earned. For you to inherit after me I want you to do something difficult for me. I want you to make amends with your step-dad. It broke your poor mother's heart that the two of you couldn't get along. I know he is a piece of work but it would be wonderful if you could be the bigger person and extend a peaceful hand.
I would love to talk more but my caretaker who is writing the letter hates to write. I will leave you with this, there is no pressure on you to fulfill my conditions, the money belongs to you anyway.
To any intrusive person who happened to get hold of Uncle Charlie's letter, the step-dad in question would be confusing. My mother had married thrice after my father. The first one cheated on her, the second one was cheated on by her, and then there was Lance Kidd. Lance was closer to my age than my mother's. As progressive as I am today, I couldn't say the same about myself then. I couldn't believe two people with as wide an age gap as them, could fall in love. Most of my assumption was due to my distrust in Lance. To me, he was a gold digger fooling my mom and I couldn't have it. I held him responsible for the distance that grew between my mom and myself once they got married and Lance moved into our house followed by my moving out. My mother died three years after their marriage and Lance did not want any money. Lance and I were glad to be out of each other's lives and we went our separate ways without a word.
At first, I thought Uncle Charlie's letter was sweet. I assumed he must be on my mother's side of the family and they must have reconnected during the three years I lost touch with mom. All sweet feeling, I had for Uncle Charlie was lost quickly and I felt a wave of stubbornness through my body. The same stubbornness that caused me a relationship with my mother in her last years. I did not realize that fact until a few days after and I decided to find my step-dad.
I think I was mostly curious about his whereabouts and maybe a small part of me wanted to see the last person who remembered my mom as fondly as me. Lance wasn't as difficult a person to find as I imagined. After mom's death, he had returned to his city and stayed there all these years.
I rang the bell of the house I thought was his. I was sure about that: perfectly conditioned lawn and not a leaf on the yard, just like him. Mr. Goody-two-shoes. That is exactly what I called him when he opened the door. In the next part, I will try to write down our conversation. It helps that we did not speak much and a part of me thinks that was for the better.
Lance quickly recovered from his shock, "It is Mademoiselle Spoiled-too-much", he said stepping aside for me to enter his abode.
"How are you, Lance?" Hunted any cougar, I was about to add but I couldn't disrespect my mother and Lance would be happy to throw me out.
"I am good. Married again. Father of two."
"My wedding invitation got lost in the mail?"
"Nice house you got here," I walk around his kitchen peeping into all the rooms. I know it was rude but I couldn't help myself. Once I was done with my snooping, I settled on a chair at his dining table.
"I was about to have my lunch."
"You have lunch this early. You are not quite old yet." I said, rising from the table slightly offended.
"I make a great tomato soup and I made enough for two. My wife is away for the weekend."
I grabbed a bowl and we had our lunch in silence followed by more silence till I nodded goodbye.
Outside in the privacy of my car, I bawled my eyes out while I was still in Lance's driveway. I did not turn to see if Lance was looking out of his window. I was not ready to give him any break for whatever face he was to make on seeing my face, sympathetic or otherwise.
The next day I woke up cheerful and had the most peaceful day of my life all thanks to Uncle Charlie. I was obliged to return the favor by ensuring that Uncle Charlie's money was put to good use. So, I drove to Little Haven the next week. This time, accompanied by my daughter who searched voraciously on the internet for Charleston Cooper. She did her searching for the first thirty minutes of the journey and the rest still on her phone but on her social media rather than the old man who seemed internet elusive which was expected of a man of his age. I skipped the calls of the lawyers once again. I had informed them of my coming to collect my inheritance and they are eager to get me to their office and wash their hands off with the will. I was tenacious to make them wait a bit longer.
After many stops at local curiosities and must-sees which could appear in one of my next issues, we finally arrived at the attorneys.
"You, thief…how dare you steal from my uncle?" yells a woman who runs at me, furious.
A couple of attorneys, I think, pulled her away. They took us to an office and sat us down and introductions were made.
"Lydia Davis, Lydia Davis," the man said pointing at me the first time and at the other woman after the second time he says Lydia Davis.
He continues to me, "Miss Lydia here brings proof of her relationship to Charles. she was a resident of Bridgeton recently like you still are. It is likely we send the letter to the wrong address. Could you furnish any proof of your kinship to Charles?"
I felt silly for being there and putting myself in that awkward position. I said I had never heard of a Charleston Cooper and Lydia Davis cried bloody murder and took a swing at me. I dodged it and fell off my chair. As I sat on the floor, observing the room's chaos, half the lawyers resisting Lydia Dais and the other half getting me off the floor, I couldn't control my laughter. This provoked Lydia Davis more who swung again and did not miss this time. My bleeding lip put an end to the chaos and silence prevailed in that office at last except for my muffled laughter.
"I don't know your uncle, Lydia," I held Lydia's hesitant hand, "But I owe him for the past few days of my life after his letter. It brought me to a path of peace. I thought he must be a long-lost uncle of mine who meant the best for me. I do not want any part of the inheritance but I would love to know more about Uncle Charlie."
Lydia Davis was a tough nut. She would not believe me until I told my story twice and double checked everything with my daughter, interrogation style in separate rooms, I should add. When my story checked, she asked for the letter.
"I am glad that I talked to my step-dad though it did not go too well. It's what mama wanted and so did Uncle Charlie", she sniffled but continued, "I would have been heartbroken if I did not and that was my uncle's last wish."
"You had better sense to do that without anyone pushing you but I needed Uncle Charlie to initiate peace talks with my step-dad."
"Uncle Charlie had some great stories. Let me buy you two coffee and we will talk all about it." I followed Lydia Davis out for coffee with my daughter hoping her stories would make a more favorable impression than her than her punches.