Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 2- Marshmallow World Installment Eleven (Posted on January 14)

“Hi,” The little girl said.

“What’s your name, honey?” Momma asked helping the little girl out of the box

“Megan. You my mommy,” The little girl said pointing at Momma. Momma got a shocked look on her face.

“Natalie!” Megan cried pointing to me. “You hold me.”

“I’m sorry but I can’t I have a broken foot,” I said. Ok that was a little bit of a lie. If I was in the right chair and she sat on my lap I could hold her but I had no interest in holding this strange toddler.

“Oh,” Megan said. I don’t think she understood what a broken foot meant. She turned back to Momma.

“Mommy, me thirsty,” Megan said. “Me want water.”

“Of course, honey,” Momma said. Ms. Donna quickly came back with a cup of water.

“Thanks,” Megan said taking the water.

“All done,” Megan said a couple seconds later.

“Megan, how long have you been in that box?” Momma asked.

“I don’t know, Mommy,” Megan said. She hugged Momma. “I love you.”

Momma looked like she had no idea what to say.

“I love you too, honey,” Momma said brushing her hair back.

**

A thunderstorm started soon after Momma got some food into Megan. Everyone in the restaurant was whispering about this strange little child. Where could she have come from? Why would anyone ship a baby in a wooden box? And why would they ship it to Riley ‘Walters’?”

I looked out the window and saw a short girl in a flowy beautiful pale pink dress walking in the rain. I had never seen her before so she wasn’t somebody that lived in Florida. She was pulling a black suitcase. I assumed it wasn’t heavy cause she was pulling it with ease and she was smiling while she was doing it.

“Who’s that?” Momma asked looking out the window.

“I have no clue,” I said.

The girl walked towards the driveway to the restaurant. Relief seemed to overcome her when she saw the sign. She ran the rest of the way up the driveway and burst into the restaurant.

“This is the Sunshine B&B right?” The girl cried. “I’m in Florida, Massachusetts?”

“Um, yes,” Ms. Donna said staring at the wet girl. The girl’s face lit up.

“Halleluiah!” The girl shouted. “I’ve made it!”

“You must be cold and wet from walking in the rain. Please let me get you some towels,” Ms. Donna said not taking her eyes off this strange girl.

“Oh that won’t be necessary,” The girl said. “I have my own towels.”

The girl closed to restaurant door and unzipped her suitcase. She pulled out a fluffy looking blue towel.

“Would you like something to eat?” Ms. Donna asked. “I have Beef Carrot Stew and Seafood Salad.” The girl got a puzzled look on her face.

“Why in the world would you go to a restaurant for Beef Carrot Stew and a Salad? Those are things that can be easily made at home,” The girl said. “Oh, I’ll have the Beef Stew.”

She looked around the room and got a hurt look on her face. Her eyes lit up when she saw Megan.

“Hi,” She said to her.

“Hello. My name is Megan,” Megan said. I felt a little hurt. She freely told this stranger her name and was hesitant to tell her ‘mommy’ her name.

“Your baby is so cute,” The girl said to Momma as she sat at the table across from our booth. “How old is she.”

“Me two!” Megan giggled. “Your age?”

“Eighteen,” The girl smiled. Megan giggled again.”

“Thank you,” Momma smiled. I could tell it was a struggle to say that.

“Ma’am, I’ve traveled all the way from Charlotte, Maine looking for a Steve David Matthews of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Do you know him?” The girl asked.

“I’m Steve David Matthews,” Mr. Steve said standing up. The girl’s eyes filled with delight.

“You’re everything I’ve ever imagined about you! Expect you’re taller then I imagined,” The girl said also standing up.

“And who might you be?” Mr. Steve asked.

“I’m Jaci Ireland Matthews. I’m from Charlotte, Maine and I was born on Christmas Eve. I just turned eighteen,” The girl said. “I can’t believe I’ve finally found you.”

Abby looked at the girl strangely. Mr. Steve looked warily at the girl. Momma did too. I looked at the girl with wonder. I had a feeling this was about to get interesting.

“And may I ask why you have been looking for me?” Mr. Steve asked. The look on his face told me that he really didn’t want to know.

“I’m your daughter,” Jaci smiled.

If this night wasn’t already interesting enough, it sure got interesting then. The restaurant got all quite. Mr. Steve fell back into the booth. Abby got a look of utter disbelief on her face. Momma looked like she wanted to faint. I don’t know how I looked but I sure felt surprised. I actually felt like laughing. Ms. Donna nearly dropped Jaci’s Beef Carrot Stew.

“Excuse me but I think you’ve got the wrong Steve Matthews. I’m his only child and daughter,” Abby said. Jaci’s face fell a little bit.

“You must be Abby. I have a letter for you from Mother,” Jaci said. She unzipped her suitcase and pulled out a folder.

“I keep all important documents in this waterproof and fireproof folder. Mother thought it was better than buying a safe,” Jaci said. She pulled out two letters.

“I believe this one is for you, father and the other one is for you Abby,” Jaci said. She handed their letters to them. Mr. Steve opened his. Abby did not.

“I don’t believe you,” Mr. Steve said putting the letter back in the envelope and handing it back to Jaci. Jaci’s face fell completely. She looked like she was about to cry.

“Um, here’s my birth certificate and a DNA test that was done at birth,” Jaci said pulling those out of her folder and handing them to Mr. Steve.

Mr. Steve looked at the certificate and folded it.

“Jaci, your mother ran away from Pittsfield when Abby wasn’t even a year old. She told me that the stress of raising a child was too much for her. I tried to find her but I never came up with anything. I always assumed she left the country,” Mr. Steve said.

“Charlotte, Maine is not a large town. There are less than four hundred people living there. Mother was careful to cover her tracks. I knew she wanted to come back and see you and Abby but she couldn’t even mail you a letter about my birth,” Jaci said.

“Does your mother know that you’ve come to see me?” Mr. Steve asked. A sad look went across Jaci’s face.

“Mother has gone home to be with the Lord,” Jaci said. “It was night time and I told mother to take the car but she insisted on walking. A drunk driver hit her. May she rest in peace.”

“So what you mean to tell me is that my ex-wife Karen is dead and that you’re my daughter,” Mr. Steve said crossing his arms.

“Yes, sir. I know this is all very hard to believe and take in but…,” Jaci said. She looked around the room. Everyone was looking at her. Some were giving her a wary look. Some were looking at her with disgust. Jaci sensed that and stood up.

“Mother warned me about this. Mother didn’t want me to feel this kind of hurt. It’s the worse hurt imaginable to hear your father deny you. It’s even worse when people are giving you judging looks. Do you think I asked to be born? Do you think I asked to grow up without a father? No, I didn’t! So don’t judge me! Judge not, that ye be not judged!” Jaci shouted. She quickly zipped up her suitcase and walked off towards the door but Mr. Steve touched her arm.

She looked at him. Her eyes were filled with tears that wouldn’t be able to stay in much longer. She did look like Mr. Steve. She had his eyes, his head shape, and his nose. If they didn’t think that Jaci was Mr. Steve’s daughter they had to believe it now. The resemblance was uncanny.

“The bible also says,” Mr. Steve said. His voice was very unstable. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

Jaci nodded her head.

“It also says to love your enemies. I’ve struggled with that. It’s too late now thou,” Mr. Steve sighed.

“It’s never too late to forgive,” Jaci cried slowly. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” She let a few tears escape her eyes.

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony,” Mr. Steve said quoting the next verse. Jaci burst into tears and flew into her father’s arms.

I looked at Abby. She looked angry. She looked upset. She looked like she wished Jaci had never been born.

I looked at Momma who had a now sleeping Megan in her arms. Momma’s eyes were sad but the look on her face was compassionate. She knew what it was like not to have her father in her life for twenty years.

I looked Jaci. I looked at Megan. I never thought a day could change my life more than the day we left Miami and came to Florida. But this night had done it and it was going to be pretty hard to top it.