As she moved cautiously up the rickety, dilapidated staircase, Sarah Anne’s heart palpitated at a fast-paced crescendo. Anticipation building with each creaky step, she triumphantly made it into the cobweb strewn attic—the place that might hold the answers to vague memories left dangling in her mind. To reconcile with these memories that now haunted her thoughts, Sarah Anne had to reacquaint herself with the mother who had left abruptly years before.
“Sarah Anne!! Are you up there?” Startled out of her revelry by her father’s booming voice, Sarah Anne jumped. “Yes, dad, I’m up in the attic. I’ve never been up here before and I guess I felt adventurous.” She immediately heard his determined footsteps ascending the very staircase she had crept up just minutes before. “What are you looking to find up here, sweetheart? There’s nothing up here but old boxes of paperwork and enough cobwebs to fill the Empire State Building!” he nervously chuckled. With that, he left quickly and Sarah Anne thought his manners strange and unnerving. Brushing off those thoughts, she made her way to a curious looking, water-stained box in the far corner of the room.
Peering around the attic to ensure her privacy, Sarah Anne reached the desired box. With only herself and a room full of dust bunnies, she carefully lifted the top off and gasped at the contents of the container. On the top of the stack of yellowed papers was a cover page that read “‘Where the Wind Blows’ by Lisabeth Sanders Warren.” Dumbfounded by this treasure, Sarah Anne whispered, “My mother was a writer like me.” Vision clouded by stinging tears, Sarah Anne poured through her mother’s writings, drinking them in like a tall, cool glass of water. She continued to devour each page until she came upon a particularly personal passage:
“...she filled a void no person or object had ever been able to fill. My once worthless life now had purpose because of her. Who would have believed that a tiny, wrinkly, pink-skinned baby girl could catapult me back into reality? Glory to God for blessing me with my sweet Sarah Anne…”
Awestruck, Sarah Anne clutched the tattered manuscript close to her heart as if it were her long lost mother. “You loved me, mom. You really did love me.” Overwhelming emotion flooded her heart and drenched her face with salty tears. Taking a deep breath, she slowly stood up and made her way back down the staircase to prepare for dinner with her father.
Fidgeting with his cufflinks, Jefferson Warren’s thoughts drifted to his former wife. Divorce wouldn’t have been an option had she not insisted it would be best for Sarah Anne. “No ties,” she protested. She didn’t want Sarah Anne to see her institutionalized. Reminders of Lisabeth were everywhere for Jefferson—most prominently in the looks and talents of their only child, Sarah Anne. With fine, wavy auburn hair and deep, penetrating eyes, the women were surely mother and daughter.
“Keeping Lisabeth’s manuscripts was a good move,” he told himself. Then he grabbed the wrapped package on the dining room table and headed to the restaurant, full of anticipation.
Sarah Anne felt inside her bag and gently stroked the manuscript—heartfelt words penned by the mother she barely knew—and found a renewed sense of purpose. Moments later, her father arrived and sat in the seat across from her, a present in hand.
Sarah Anne peered at the delicately-wrapped gift and began to open it. The leather-bound book she found appeared ordinary at first glance, but when she opened it, familiar tears again filled her almond-shaped eyes. Sarah Anne read aloud “‘Where the Wind Blows’ by Lisabeth Sanders Warren, dedicated to my sweet Sarah Anne.” Immediately Sarah Anne leapt out of her seat—the restaurant a blur around her—as she made her way into the loving arms of her father. “You knew about the manuscripts?” she gasped between heavy sobs. His tear-soaked face confirmed her suspicions. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why did I have to find them on my own?” Dabbing his eyes, her father replied, “I knew that finding out your mother was a writer—and that she loved you above all else in this world—would only be believable coming from her words. And finding those words for yourself was a part of that journey.”
Hugging the leather-bound copy of her mother’s words close to her heart, Sarah Anne knew he was right—and she finally believed she was loved.
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