“Janie! Janie!” Angela yelled upstairs, “You got a letter from someone named Mr. Wallington. Is he from one of the colleges?”
“No Mom! Geez! I told you—I haven’t sent them out yet. It’s probably junk mail for Christ’s sake! I’ll get it when I come down. Get off my back and stop being such a pain!” She tossed the iPad she got for her birthday on the floor and it slid across the room face down. “Piece of crap!” The Angry Birds got the best of her. “You’re always bothering me! Can I have some privacy once in a while?”
“Sorry honey! I’m just trying to help.” Angela touched the picture by the stairs. Janie was eight then. It was Easter Sunday and they were cheek to cheek, grinning underneath their Easter hats. They’d spent the entire Saturday looking for just the right hat to compliment each other’s. They always used to spend time together, now Angela was lucky if Janie even talked to her. And by talking, she meant conversation that didn’t involve screaming. Where had she gone wrong with Janie? She used to be such a sweet, thoughtful child. Letting go of the picture she yelled, “Honey, I’m running to the store. I’m coming down with a cold and we’re out of cough medicine. You want to come with?”
“Okay then sweetie, I’ll be back in an hour,” she yelled up before leaving.
“Whatever. Maybe now I’ll get some privacy,” she said to herself on her way down the stairs. It was one o’clock and she hadn’t eaten all day. She was famished! Time to raid the fridge now that the nag was gone.
She grabbed the last piece of cake from the fridge and sat down at the center island. Fishing a fork out of the drawer, she noticed the letter from Mr. Wallington. Mr. Wallington? Where was that name from?
She snatched the letter up and tore it out of the envelope. It read:
It’s been quiet a few years since you’ve last seen me. I know you don’t remember when you tossed me away, but I’ll never forget. We were inseparable, you and I. There wasn’t a fallen ice cream cone or scrapped knee that I couldn’t make you forget all about with just one tight squeeze.
I never cared about all the mishaps. I didn’t mind the time you dropped me in the toilet or even the time you left me at the store. Aunt Ora had to rush down and get me before they closed. I didn’t mind, not at all. I didn’t mind, because I knew you cared.
Things have changed now; you’re all grown up. But being a grown up comes with a whole new set of challenges to face. And I just want to tell you that you don’t have to face them alone. When you’re ready, you know where to find me.
P.S. “You mother isn’t coming down with a cold.”