Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SLANDER (09/07/17)
- TITLE: The Baby Journal
By LeslieJean Anderson
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â€œSure, Baby.â€ A minute later Bob appeared behind her, whispering loudly, â€œKara, you need to come. Now.â€
Sensing urgency in his voice, Kara hurried to the door and blinked in the bright summer sunlight. As her eyes adjusted, she could see a young woman in her thirties standing there with her arms folded. Behind her was a car and driver parked by the curb.
Something about the scene was surreal, making it hard for Kara to comprehend what the girl was saying. Something about a mother.
â€œCould you repeat that, dear? Sometimes my hearing is not so good.â€
The woman put her hands on her hips and said loudly, â€œI am looking for my mother, Kara Bernhart. Are you Kara Bernhart?â€
Kara stared at her in shock. Mother? Nobody had called her mother for thirty years. She didnâ€™t realize that sheâ€™d stopped breathing until she swayed and Bob caught her, pulling her away from the door. Sitting her down carefully on the couch, he stomped to the door.
Glaring at the woman, he barked, â€œWho are you, and what right do you have to upset a sick woman like that?â€
â€œWell, I had no idea she was sick. But I want to know if she is Kara Bernhart.â€
â€œMaybe you should identify yourself first. Come back tomorrow at 1:00 with official identification. Be ready to explain yourself. Maybe we will talk then.â€
Kara heard Bob slam the door and bolt it. He brought Kara some iced tea and sat down beside her. â€œAre you feeling better, Sweetheart?â€
Kara nodded and took a sip of tea. Then she shook her head, and her arms went out to her husband. She buried her head in his shoulder. As her sobs grew louder, Bob gently stroked her hair and murmured, â€œI love you Kara. Itâ€™s all right. Whatever it is, weâ€™ll face it together.â€
The next day they were ready at 1:00. Bob was standing outside the front door. Kara sat calmly in the living room in her best dress. Across the room sat her sister, Mary.
They heard a car approach, and then Bobâ€™s voice talking. A few minutes later, Bob ushered in the young woman, now holding a folder in her arms.
â€œKara, this is Samantha Bernhart. Sheâ€™s identified herself as the daughter of a man named Sergio Bernhart, recently deceased. But minutes before he died he revealed that heâ€™d lied about her early childhood. So, after his death she hired a detective who compiled the information in that folder, and then she set out to find you. She is nervous but not hostile. And sheâ€™s sorry she upset you yesterday.â€
There was a long silence as Kara and Samantha gazed at each other. Finally, Kara nodded. â€œSit down, Samantha,â€ she said. â€œTell me - when and where were you born according to the official birth certificate?â€
â€œSeptember 12, 1952, at Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Tampa Florida.â€
â€œAnd the names of your parents?â€
â€œSergio Bernhart and Kara Cook Bernhart.â€ They could hear the clock ticking as silence hung over the room.
Finally, Kara asked to see the birth certificate. After another long silence, she passed it to Mary and said, â€œSamantha, this is my younger sister Mary, who was present at your birth. She was a witness then, and Iâ€™ve asked her to be a witness today. She knows every detail of your first two years, because she lived with us and cared for you while I worked.â€
Samantha blinked and looked at them in confusion. â€œBut Dad claimed youâ€™d disappeared from the hospital with another man, leaving him alone with a brand-new baby.â€
Kara sighed. â€œThat doesnâ€™t surprise me. But it was never true."
Bob stood up then, and handed Kara a journal, which Kara then handed to Samantha.
â€œThis journal contains prayers, letters and poems that I began writing for you when you were a baby. I continued it for many years after you were kidnapped in 1954. I only stopped it when the police proved that you were with Sergio and the trail went cold in Bolivia. That was when I knew you were lost to me.â€
Kara smiled sadly and continued, â€œBut when you learn the truth, dear, you will know that love and prayers have followed you your entire life.â€
Samantha gasped and clutched the journal to her chest as years of unshed tears began their long-awaited release.
750 words This is a work of fiction.
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