Treasured Memories

Submitted into Contest #140 in response to: Write a story that involves a flashback.... view prompt

0 comments

Contemporary Happy

Rachel was sitting on her front porch. It was late afternoon, around 4 pm. It had been hot all day and finally, it seemed the heat was letting up a bit. A fine breeze was blowing through the trees and Rachel wanted to take advantage of it. She had just spent the better part of the day cleaning out her attic, and it had been stifling up there. She needed just a few minutes to cool off before she tackled the rest of the job.

Rachel and Marc were downsizing. They had raised their family in this home, and spent well over forty years here, but now it was time to move. The children had grown and gotten married. They were the proud grandparents of 4 little girls. Marc had retired from his practice and felt it was time to get a smaller house, or an apartment, and start to travel a bit. They were still quite young, in their sixties, and both of them were healthy.   Rachel was looking forward to some travel time with Marc, but before she could do that, she had to go through everything that was stored up in her attic. She had already thrown out old toys from the kids, and old clothing of theirs that they had stopped wearing a long time ago. There were other treasures upstairs that she would have kept for sentimental reasons, but they would certainly not fit in Marc and Rachel’s new home. It was a far cry from this one in size, but it was cozy. And Rachel had really liked it on sight. It was near the beach. Rachel loved that you could smell the ocean when you got up in the morning.   The kitchen was small but relatively new. It had bright white cabinets and a light floor. The sun came shining in through the windows. It was a happy place. The house had three bedrooms unlike the seven she had here. But Marc and Rachel didn’t plan on hosting too many sleep over guests, except for the kids when they would fly in from either California or Florida. One master bedroom, one guest room and one office which could become a guest room if necessary. There was a small living room which opened into a dining area that could accommodate Rachel’s old table. She loved to entertain so it was important for her to have the space. The house had a lot of windows, which made it very bright. It was the perfect home for them to downsize into.   

     Rachel and Marc would be moving in another two weeks, which is why Rachel was busy up in the attic today, trying to clean out everything that had been collected, stored, or tossed up there over the last forty years.

Rachel got up and went back into the house. She had been sitting outside longer than she had anticipated. Marc was not home right now. He would be back soon. Instead of going back up to the attic, Rachel decided to make dinner. The attic would keep for right now. Maybe she would get back to it later. It would be cooler up there by then.

****

A few hours later, as Marc decided to watch the ball game, Rachel climbed the stairs to the attic. It was a clear night and the light from the moon was pouring in gently. As Rachel moved, the attic dust swirled around her. It seemed almost mystical. She liked that everything was illuminated with just moonlight. Rachel decided not to turn on the bulb hanging in the middle of the room. It was light enough. She sat down in the old rocking chair positioned next to a large trunk marked “Children’s Clothes”. 

When the kids had grown out of their baby clothes, instead of giving the items away, Rachel had saved them. She didn’t know why, since she gave away many of the other out grown clothes accumulated through the years. There was just something special about baby clothes. Maybe it was the sweet memories of cuddling the children, or the softness and the baby smells imbedded in the clothes. Who knew? But she kept everything.

Rachel sat in the rocker for a few moments. The attic was silent. She couldn’t even hear the sounds of the television downstairs. It was peaceful up here so she kept rocking.

Rachel wasn’t quite ready to go through the trunk yet. She had so many beautiful memories of her babies. She wanted to sit on those memories for a bit more before she opened the trunk and started sorting the clothes. What would she end up giving away? Rachel just kept rocking.

**** 

The dust continued to swirl in the attic. Rachel had fallen asleep in the rocker. Memories were starting to flood back about the day, thirty four years ago, that Rachel and Marc met their firstborn son. Suddenly, Rachel felt as if she was no longer in her attic but downstairs in her kitchen all those decades ago, as the phone began to ring. 

The call was from Susan who told Rachel, “you can see your feet now!”

   Rachel and Susan had first spoken when Susan was seven months pregnant. They had been in constant touch throughout the last months of the pregnancy. Susan had decided, for her own personal reasons, that she couldn’t keep the baby and she and Rachel connected on a spiritual and emotional level, making Rachel the perfect mother for this child.

Rachel never understood why Susan gave up her child. She was warm and loving. Susan told Rachel that she was G-d’s vessel meant to carry the baby for her. She only wished that Rachel would give the baby a good life. 

Marc and Rachel lived in New York. As soon as Rachel got the call letting them know of the baby’s birth, the couple hopped on the next plane out to San Antonio. They spent the night in a motel, before meeting their new son. Rachel remembers telling Marc that they both should really get a good night’s sleep, as this would probably be the last time they would be sleeping through the night, for quite some time. Truer words were never spoken!

The following morning, before they left for the agency to pick up their new son, Susan called. She just wanted to make sure that Rachel would let her know when she had the baby. Sure enough, as soon as Rachel and Marc had their new son, Rachel called Susan. Susan and Rachel talked for a few minutes and both hung up in tears. After that call, the two women never spoke again.

A few days later Rachel, Marc and baby Alex took off from San Antonio, Texas and arrived at JFK in New York to start their new life as a family.

****

“Rachel, aren’t you coming down? It’s late. I’m going to bed.”

Rachel was still sitting in her rocker. She had fallen asleep, losing herself in her memories of Alex’s adoption. Those were precious memories. But, now she had returned to the present, realizing that she had accomplished nothing up here tonight. Well, maybe tomorrow, bright and early.

I’m coming!” Rachel yelled down to Marc.

Rachel left the attic, shut the door and went down the stairs to the bedroom. She would tackle the trunk tomorrow morning. 

****

Bright sunshine poured into the kitchen as Rachel had her first cup of coffee. All night long she kept thinking about Alex’s adoption and what a wonderful experience it had been. She couldn’t believe it was so long ago. Alex was a married man now with children of his own.

Well, dawdling wasn’t going to get the attic emptied. Rachel poured what was left of her coffee down the drain and put the cup in the dishwasher. She was eager to go back upstairs and tackle the contents of the trunk. This time she was going to make sure that she got the job done.

****

Rachel made her way upstairs and opened the door to the attic. Sunshine came pouring in through the windows. And again, there was a swirl of dust, which was only emphasized by the sunlight. No matter. Rachel decided she would sit on the floor and work on the trunk. The top creaked as she opened it slowly. She stood up and bent into the trunk, her eyes lighting up when she saw one of her daughter’s baby outfits. Ribbons and lace. It was an outfit that Rachel had bought to bring her baby home from the hospital. Alex had been left home with the babysitter and Marc and Rachel had gone to the hospital to pick up their new daughter.... 

So many memories. Suddenly, Rachel was taken back to the hospital, where she and Marc became parents for the second time. 

Rachel had had minimal contact with Paige’s birth mother, who had been sixteen at the time. Rachel became acquainted with Eleanor through her own mother-in-law. Rachel’s mother- in-law had been told about Eleanor by the receptionist at the salon that she frequented on a weekly basis. Apparently, Eleanor had become pregnant by her boyfriend and really didn’t want the responsibility of a baby. She wanted to give the child up for adoption.

Rachel had seen Eleanor through the better part of her pregnancy. And now, she had given birth to a little girl. Marc and Rachel were both excited and nervous. 

Eleanor had left the hospital as soon as she had given birth, without saying anything to anyone in charge. The hospital was concerned and put a deadline of noon, for the reappearance of the birth mother. If she didn’t show by then, they would consider the child abandoned. Should that happen, the adoption would not go forward. Rachel and Marc were beside themselves. 

Fortunately, Eleanor managed to show up with her mother and the birth father. Documents were signed, and Rachel and Marc were waiting outside the hospital for the baby.

Rachel was really caught up in that day. When a nurse came out of the hospital carrying baby Paige in her arms, tears of joy were streaming from Rachel’s eyes. The nurse handed the baby over to her new mom. Rachel looked down at her daughter, with Marc by her side. She was in love with this precious angel and didn’t want to ever let her go. Paige is now married with two kids of her own.

****

Rachel returned from her journey to the past and took another look into the trunk. Next to Paige’s outfit was a tiny black velvet suit worn by Rachel’s youngest, to a family wedding. That must have been at least twenty five years ago. Again, Rachel’s thoughts flashed back to the day she met her youngest son, Daniel, for the first time.

****

Rachel had put Alex and Paige on the school bus one morning. After waving goodbye to the kids, she quickly made her way back to the house. She was in desperate need of her morning cup of coffee. As soon as the coffee was brewed, the phone rang. 

“Hello,” said a stranger’s voice. “Are you still interested in adopting a baby? My daughter gave birth two days ago and she is unable to keep the little boy, and I can’t afford to raise another child. Are you interested?”

Rachel almost dropped the phone. She and Marc had just about given up on having a third child. There had been so many situations that had not worked out, and the last one, several months earlier, had been the most traumatic.

After making a few calls and finding out that this was a legitimate situation, Rachel called the woman back and told her they were very interested. 

Rachel placed a call to her lawyer, giving him the woman’s contact information. The birth mother’s name was Christina and she was sixteen. She did not want this child.

Rachel and Marc received a call from their lawyer, setting up a place and time to meet with Christina and hopefully, their new son. The meeting was to take place in a diner somewhere near Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was happening the following day.

****

It was an unusually warm day, and Rachel had packed a diaper bag with clothes and supplies for the baby. She was hoping that this would happen and they would be coming home with a new sibling for Alex and Paige. 

The diner was right off the highway, in the middle of nowhere. Marc parked the car. Rachel was extremely nervous. What if Christina didn’t like them? What if she didn’t want to give them the baby. Rachel knew that she and Marc were great parents, but Christina knew nothing about them. Everything had been arranged so quickly!

They entered the diner. Rachel immediately saw Christina sitting in a booth with the baby in her arms. Alongside her was a middle aged woman and a young man. Rachel felt as though she was going to burst. She was so desperate to hold the baby. The little boy was so cute with his red hair and chubby cheeks.

“Hi, I’m Joan with the state adoption services. Very nice to meet you both.”

“We’re Rachel and Marc,” Rachel said as she began to sit down with Marc beside her.

“At this point, all of the paperwork has been signed. We just need your signature, and we’re good to go!” Joan smiled warmly.

“Can I hold the baby?” Rachel asked Christina.

“No problem. Here,” Christina responded as she handed over the little bundle of baby she was holding. 

As soon as she touched him, Rachel excused herself, grabbed the diaper bag and the baby and went to the bathroom. The little boy was sopping wet. And, when Rachel opened his diaper she was shocked to find that he must have been in the wet diaper for hours. The diaper was heavier than the baby! Rachel wiped the baby down as much as she could and changed his diaper and his wet clothes. She threw both out since she wanted her new son in the new clothes she had purchased for him.

****

By the time Rachel and Marc arrived home with little Daniel, they were exhausted but excited. As soon as the car pulled up to the house, the front door burst open and Alex and Paige came running out to meet their little brother. Both children were so excited and they couldn’t get enough of him.

“Can I at least take him out of the carseat and bring him inside?” Rachel laughed.

It was a joyous family that entered the house that evening.

****

Rachel was brought back to the present by a loud slamming door from somewhere downstairs. Going down memory lane put a smile on Rachel’s face. The years had passed quickly and Rachel couldn’t believe that her kids were adults, married with kids of their own. What an adventure raising them had been!

Rachel looked into the trunk, with all of the children’s clothes and all of the wonderful memories attached to those clothes.

****

Two weeks later Rachel and Marc moved into their new home, along with the trunk and all of its memories.  

April 08, 2022 00:32

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

0 comments

RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.