Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RED (02/01/18)
TITLE: The Mystery Woman In Red
By Leola Ogle
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There weren’t many pictures – eight, I think. In every picture, she wore something red. Really beautiful lady – dark hair, dark skin, beautiful blue eyes.
The pictures told a story. The story was my wonderful grandfather had a mistress. Hard to believe, right? I mean, like everyone always said Grandma and Grandpa had the perfect marriage.
In some pictures, the woman was alone, smiling, dressed really nice. Then, there were pictures of Grandpa with her. His arm around her, both smiling and looking happy. In one, she’s holding a dozen red roses, obviously from Grandpa, while he’s kissing her cheek, and she was puppy-dog-eyed.
I didn’t like her. Except, maybe I liked that she liked red. I can’t wear red. Mom can’t either.
Mom! Yikes – her dad. Grandma’s husband. I decided to find out who the lady was. And protect Mom and Grandma, of course.
If you wondered how I found the pictures, it was an accident. I was going on a mission trip with the youth group at my church and needed to raise funds.
Did you know it costs lots of money to do God’s work?
Anyway, Grandma and Grandpa agreed to donate several hundred dollars if I did some deep cleaning at their house. Exactly what did deep cleaning mean? Mom and Grandma said it meant closets, shelves, refrigerator, stove, toilets, and bathtubs.
The box with the pictures was on the top closet shelf in Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom. I wasn’t being nosy. Okay, maybe I was. But, I got so nervous looking at the pictures, I shoved the box back on the shelf and rushed to scrub the toilets and bathtubs. For old people, those things were pretty clean already.
The next day I went back with the excuse I needed to clean some more. Mom beamed like I'd won the State Championship Cleaner Award. Not that there’s such a thing. At least, I don’t think so. I think the whole cleaning thing was just Grandma and Grandpa’s way of making me responsible and not just giving me money. But, Grandma was pleased, making me feel horrible for knowing such a secret as Grandpa being a cheater when she didn’t know.
While they sat outside on the patio, I got the box down. I almost fainted. It was worse than I thought. There were several letters from Emily – that’s her name, Emily – to Grandpa.
I’m so happy you found me, Frank.
Thank you for loving and accepting me.
I wish we would’ve found each other sooner.
I was so focused on the letters, I didn’t hear Grandpa come in the room. I jumped when he said, “Oh, you found the things about Emily.”
Then, to my horror, Grandma walked in behind him. She didn’t notice what was in my hands. She noticed my face.
“Mariah, honey, are you sick? Your face is flushed. Her face is red, isn’t it, Frank?”
Of course I was flushed. I tried to shove everything into the box, then Grandpa said, “I’ve been meaning to frame some of those pictures and put them in the living room.”
I gasped and looked at Grandma. Was Grandpa crazy? Pictures of his mistress in the living room? Grandma glanced at the box and her face turned sad. “It was so hard for him at first,” she said. “He couldn’t bear to look at any of it.”
Well, good. It should’ve been hard for Grandpa. How could Grandma be that understanding? “You know about Emily?” My voice was squeaky.
“Yes. So sad. It broke my heart for him.” Grandma looked tearfully at Grandpa.
“Uh, I don’t get it.”
“You know, that Christmas gift? The one where your grandpa spit into a tube and sent it off to find out his family history. He’s mostly Irish. Then he got a notice that someone in the database was a close relative. Probably a half-sister. Tell her, Frank.”
“Emily was a sister. Apparently my father and her mother…well, no need to explain. I met Emily twice, then she was killed in a car accident.”
Sister? Grandpa wasn’t a cheater. I was so relieved, I hugged and kissed them both. Later, I went with Grandma to buy picture frames.
It became a family joke how I thought Grandpa was a cheater. Ugh, so annoying.
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