Ileen left her father’s car door open and took off running through the front yard. She rushed up the steps of her childhood home and did not stop until she reached the top of the stairs.
She pushed open the attic door with both her trembling hands. Tears still stained her face. She had not been prepared to see her mother’s name carved into cold hard stone.
Why had she ran up here she wondered. It was as if she hoped there were some vague hidden answers among all the stacks of boxes and dusty heirlooms.
Answers to questions like… Why she had felt such a need to rebel and get away from here when she was only fifteen.
Or… Why the man in the nice car had singled her out for a “better deal” in the city. Complete with her own place, her own money, and a “job”.
Why had she waited so long to come back home? Why did her mom die of cancer. Why hadn’t she called them to find out?
Looking around, allowing her eyes to adjust to the dim attic, she tried to quiet all the “could have’s” and “should have’s” racing though her mind. Why had she ran away?
It seemed fitting somehow that she was alone in the attic, grieving with all the other memories of things lost. Realizing her mother had died never knowing that her only daughter had been found.
Ileen saw the old trunk, a hope chest passed from her grandmother to her mother. She blew the dust off the top and gently lifted it open, thinking this must be the true reason she was drawn up to the attic.
She knew she would find the white laced wedding dress folded sweetly as if with a life of it's own. It awed her still, just as it had when she was a little girl. Not just the wedding dress, remarkably preserved, belonging first to her great-great grandmother, but also the stories of the women who wore them.
In the stillness she recalled all the times her mother had let her “dress-up” in the white lace while she told her of Issac and Rebecca, Ruth and Boaz. Then, her own legacy of Godly men and women who's romances became beautiful true stories of life-long love and faithfulness.
Ileen held the veil up to her face and looked into a dust covered, gold guilded mirror. Astonished by the vivid contrast her crimson lips had against the white lace, the only resemblance left of her jaded past.
An even greater awareness of redemption flooded her soul. In this dirty reflection she saw the color of Christ’s blood against the white of her new spirit.
"Because of His sacrifice, I can wear this dress too." She spoke out loud, if only to the girl in the mirror. Thinking of Derrick, her own future husband and life-long love.
"Father, please let my mom watch me as I wear this dress," She prayed. "And let her know I'm finally home. I'm not a run-away any more."
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