Chapter 1

Chapter 1

A Chapter by Trista Sue
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Sara's car and a brief introduction to Myla and her best friend, Ellie.

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Ice cold water poured out of every opening in the car as they pulled it from the depths of the ocean. Her mom’s blue Rav4 was demolished. The windows"including the sunroof"had all been smashed in by the pressure of the ocean depths, the doors were sucked inward, and the hood and trunk were permanently stuck open. The sun was just coming up over the water and Myla could feel her best friend, Ellie, take her hand as they watched the car rest on the cliff several hundred feet away. Myla involuntarily took a step forward as the workers unhooked the cable from the car, as if she expected her mom to come running out of it and embrace her the way she used to. But that was impossible. Her mom had been missing for 3 months"to the day, in fact. By the looks of it, that’s about how long her car had been in the ocean. For her to think her mom could be alive was absurd. She shook the thought from her head and turned to look at her dad. But his emerald eyes remained fixed on the sight in front of them, reflecting the horror she felt in her heart.

Finally, her dad went over to talk to the workers about the car. Myla saw no point in staying, so her and Ellie got in Ellie’s little Saturn and left. Although they had only gotten up less than two hours ago, Myla felt like she had been up all day. She was tired. Her dad had come in suddenly when it was still dark with his phone in his hand. “They found her car…” was all he had said. As she rode in the passenger seat, she couldn’t shake the image of her mom’s destroyed car reflected in her dad’s eyes. He had been so optimistic until now. He still believed her mother was out there, lost"maybe kidnapped. But she knew that this was it. He was finally giving up hope. She made a decision at that moment"to be strong for her dad. She knew he was going to need her to lean on and she was going to be as supportive and optimistic as she possibly could. She would never let him see her fall apart. At the realization that she may never have another chance to let it all out, she began to sob right there in Ellie’s car. Ellie simply kept driving and Myla was thankful for that. She just wanted to let it out and get it over with. After this, she could be strong.

The drive home seemed to take forever, but they eventually pulled into Myla’s driveway. They quietly walked into the house as Myla dried her eyes and prepared for Ellie’s attempt to comfort her. Ellie motioned for Myla to sit down at the kitchen table while she made them some hot cocoa. Silence. Finally, after sitting down and loading their cocoa with mini marshmallows, Ellie spoke.

“I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you, to finally know. But I want you to know that I’m here. Nothing I can say or do will make this better, but you just tell me what you want and we’ll figure it out together.” Myla looked at Ellie. Her wavy blonde hair was still disheveled from rushing out the door so early this morning, but she looked so strong and reassuring. It was comforting to Myla, knowing she could always count on Ellie.

“I have to be strong for my dad.” Myla whispered.

“That’s why you cried in the car. You didn’t want him to see you fall apart.” Ellie said knowingly. Myla nodded. “I understand. Hey, why don’t we head over to The Birds Café and get some breakfast?”

Myla didn’t feel like eating, but she went, if for no other reason than to assure Ellie that she was okay. Myla ate her waffles in silence while Ellie talked. She knew that Ellie was just trying to keep her mind off of her mom, so she let her talk until the waffles were gone.

“Did you get that Algebra assignment done for this week?” Ellie asked. Myla nodded her head and kept pretending like she was interested in the little bit of syrup left on her plate. “I haven’t yet. I’m horrible at Algebra. When did you finish it?”

“Yesterday morning.” Myla pushed the syrup around with her spoon. Ellie pretended not to notice her short answers and kept talking.

“Oh yeah, I forgot you have study hall first period. You’re lucky. I always get stuck with study hall right in the middle of the day, like before lunch or something.” Ellie continued to ramble.

Myla was getting impatient. In fact, she was getting a little angry.

“Ellie, stop!” Myla didn’t realize how loud her voice was until Ellie jumped and everyone around them turned to look.

“What’s wrong?” Ellie whispered.

“You! You can’t just act like this is normal. My mother is DEAD and what am I doing? I’m eating waffles!” Her voice was still louder than she intended.

“Shh…let’s go talk somewhere else.” Ellie said as her eyes darted around the café apologetically.

“I don’t want to talk, Ellie.” Myla said as she stood and turned toward the door. “I just want to leave.”

Ellie stood and followed her, but they were intercepted before they got to the door. “Is everything ok here?” asked a young man as he stood between them and the door. Myla looked up at him but said nothing. He looked about her age"17, maybe 18. He was quite handsome with thick, chocolate brown hair and a muscular build. His sky blue eyes showed a bit of worry through his friendly smile.

“We’re fine.” Ellie said, stepping in front of Myla and breaking their gaze, then pushing past him and out the door. Myla followed without looking back at the handsome stranger. But as they got into the car, she looked back at the café and saw him standing at the door, watching them leave.

“That was creepy…” Ellie said as they pulled away.

“He was just making sure we were ok.” Ellie gave her a look and Myla quickly changed the subject. “Take me to Watson.”

“Myla, don’t do this to yourself.” Ellie begged.

“Do what? I just want to think for a bit.” Myla said as Ellie let out a long sigh. Ellie knew better than to argue with her about going to Watson.

About 15 minutes later, they pulled up to the gates of the historical park Myla’s mom had single-handedly restored 12 years ago. It shut down shortly after she went missing and none of her employees felt it would be right to take it over without word from her, so it’d been closed ever since. They went in the usual way, under the fence. Myla used to help her mom in the gift shop located in Watson School at the historical park, so she had a key, but she never had it with her. A couple times, her and Ellie had the cops called on them when they had been there after dark. But, Bodega Bay being such a small town, the officers knew Myla and her parents and let them go.

After they slid under the fence, they went their separate ways. Myla walked toward the schoolhouse and Ellie walked the other direction, toward a bench by the pond. She knew Myla would want to be alone in the schoolhouse for a while. As she walked into the schoolhouse, Myla was overcome with emotion and collapsed to the floor, the beautiful mahogany wood still shone when the morning sun streamed through the windows. She leaned down and ran her fingers over the smooth surface. “Why?” was all she could mutter, over and over again as tears gathered in a puddle by her hand. Her hair fell over her shoulders and onto the floor. Her mom was right. Her hair was the same color as the wood"mahogany. She remembered the conversation as if it was yesterday.

All the doors and windows were open wide, letting in the warm Spring breeze and keeping the fumes to a minimum as Sara waxed the floors for the third time this week.

“What are you doing, Mommy?” eight-year old Myla asked, skipping into the schoolhouse.

“I’m making these floors shiny so they will be beautiful when people finally come to see it.” Her mom explained.

Myla looked around, eyes wide. “The floor is very pretty, Mommy. You did a good job.”

Sara stopped waxing and stood up. “Come here, beautiful.” She motioned to her daughter as she sat down in one of the old school desks. Myla hopped into her lap. “Do you know why I’ve worked so hard on this floor?” she asked as she ran her fingers through Myla’s hair.

“Yeah, to make it look pretty.” She grinned.

“Well, you see, originally, I was going to cover this floor with carpet. But I decided to strip it first to see if any of the wood floor could be saved. That’s when I saw the color.”

Myla looked at her quizzically “Brown?”

“Mahogany.” Her mom corrected. “The same color as your beautiful hair.”

Myla jumped off her mom’s lap and leaned down toward the floor, letting her hair fall forward. Her face lit up and she beamed at her mom. “It matches!” she said excitedly.

Her mom smiled back at her proudly, then returned to work, waxing the floor.

Myla’s tears slowed as she remembered her mom’s smile. She had a beautiful smile"a smile that could light up any room and brighten even the darkest of days.

She leaned back on her heels and glanced around the schoolhouse. Aside from a little dust, it was just the way her mom left it. A chalkboard covered the entire front wall with a teacher’s desk centered perfectly in front of it. Twelve school desks, arranged in three rows of four, sat facing the front. From Myla’s view, one could easily visualize a class being taught here"a teacher pacing back and forth betwixt the desks, students scribbling notes as she taught, assignments posted on the chalkboard. It wasn’t until now that Myla could see the beauty in this old building"the same beauty her mom must’ve seen when she decided to purchase the land and restore it to it’s former glory.

After regaining her composure and standing, Myla turned and walked toward the door. Just as her hand touched the doorknob, she remembered something. She walked to the bookshelves lining the back corner of the room and opened her bag, removing two ragged looking books and placing them gently on a shelf just above her eye level. As she closed her bag, she scanned the many faded spines on the shelves, grazing them with her index finger. She remembered shopping for hours at antique stores to find what her mom had referred to as “literary treasures”. Once, they drove over three hours to an old library that was closing down so that her mom could dig through the books they planned to throw out. After just glancing through the boxes, her mom had decided they were all beautiful and proceeded to fill her trunk to the brim with torn and tattered books. Driving home that day, Myla had never seen such a look of pride and accomplishment on her mom’s face. After the mahogany floor, those old books were what her mom was most proud of in the schoolhouse. And, even though her mom was gone, Myla couldn’t help but pick up old books wherever she saw them and bring them to put on the shelves. It was something she did at least once a week. She didn’t quite know why she still bought them. Maybe she felt as if it somehow connected her with her mom. All she knew was that it had become a habit and it helped her through this mess of a life that she had been left with. These books defined her sanity, gave her a sort of purpose.

Myla chuckled a bit, realizing she had never even attempted to read one of them. She probably never would. To Myla, they were decorative. They matched the theme of the room"added to it’s ambiance"but they weren’t really what she considered reading material. A few times, she remembered people browsing through the books and purchasing them from her mom. She remembered one time in particular though when her mom had refused to sell a certain book. She didn’t know the title, but it was extremely large and extremely old. She scanned the shelves, subconsciously searching for that book, but didn’t see it anywhere.

Myla dismissed the thought and continued back to the door. As she reached for the handle again, it turned and Ellie almost knocked her out as she swung the door open and barged in. Without saying a word, she quickly closed the door behind her, crossed to a window and peeked out.

“What are you doing?” Myla asked.

Ellie shushed her, then waved her over to the window. Myla obliged and looked past Ellie, out the window. At first, she only saw the landscape of the park"the path leading to the pond, the trees, the bushes, the benches"but then she saw why Ellie had come in. There was someone else walking through the park, toward the school. A man. He was tall and athletic. He looked like he was in his late thirties/early forties. In the sunlight, Myla could see speckles of gray in his thick dark hair. He was carrying a bouquet of flowers, though Myla couldn’t tell what kind from this distance. She and Ellie watched silently as he crossed to a bench by the lake. He sat down, still holding the flowers. He looked around at the trees, the flowers, the pond. At one point, Myla could swear she saw his lips moving, as if he was talking to someone. After several minutes, he stood, placed the flowers on the bench, and walked back to his car.

Myla and Ellie stood there, unsure if it was safe to go out yet. When they heard his car driving off, they ventured out of the schoolhouse and over to the bench where the man had set the flowers. Ellie picked up the bouquet and read the card attached.

“Umm…Myla?” Ellie handed her the card hesitantly. Myla read it.

Sara, today is the anniversary of our first kiss. It happened right here on this bench. I can still feel your lips on mine as if it was just seconds ago. I’ll always love you.

“Surely he’s not referring to your mom, right?” Ellie was trying to sound doubtful, but she knew what Myla did"that this strange man knew her mother.

Myla looked at the flowers again and realized they were blue azaleas and white lilies. No one on earth could possibly know that her mom specifically loved that combination of flowers. Only her closest friends and family knew that. Such an unusual combination, yet so wonderfully beautiful.

Myla snapped her head up and looked at Ellie.

“Did you see what he was driving?” she asked.

Ellie looked confused. “No, I didn’t.”

Myla stared toward the road as if willing him to come back. Why hadn’t she come out and talked to him? What were they so afraid of? This was her mom’s property. They weren’t breaking any laws. Yet they had hidden from a complete stranger. Myla searched her brain for an explanation. Who was this man? Was he an old boyfriend or did her mom have an affair? Myla shook her head vigorously, removing the thought from her. Her mom would never have cheated on her dad.



© 2014 Trista Sue


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Added on January 19, 2014
Last Updated on January 19, 2014
Tags: Car, Ocean, Cliff, Officer, Mahogany


Author

Trista Sue
Trista Sue

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About
I am 27 years old and live in a small town. I am happily married and have a beautiful 3 year old little girl. We don't have a lot of money, but we live a happy life. :) I've always been a writer and .. more..

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