Smog, fog, rain—Ellen thought of it as her cozy blanket for years. It kept her delightfully secluded even when surrounded by people. “Alone together.” That’s how she’d described city life in one of her calls home. After she finally broke away from her childhood town, it never occurred to Ellen that there was any place else for her. Why would she leave the comforting urban canopy of carcinogens and clouds?
Apparently, “Because I said so,” still worked. When Ellen’s mother called to tell her that Pops passed, she preemptively refused all invitation home. Ellen found herself on a jet, a puddle jumper, and then a bus back Snoreville anyway. The bus stopped in front of the law office where Ellen was destined. The corner where the office and the pharmacy met the main road was the only bus stop. No special treatment.
The welcome from her family was stiff and forced.
As her family filed out of the office, the lawyer grabbed Ellen’s shoulder. “The will instructed me to give you this envelope privately. Go to his old place and open it somewhere peaceful.”
“Oh, Ok.” She stuffed it into her purse.
The bewildered look on her face must have been severe because the lawyer went out in a hurry.
In the breeze and sunshine of her grandfather’s land, she opened the envelope and read:
The address to my safety deposit box is on the back of this page with the password you’ll need to access it. Go. Get the money. It’s yours. You’ve got the courage and love the rest of this family is missing. That part of you always stays the same. Use the money for the rest of your surgeries. Ignore what the family says. It’s your body. I love you, Alvin. Ellen.