Can of Worms

Chapter 4

Realization

Brianna was tired, but she didn't want to go to bed yet. A single note separated her from the knowledge of how her mother's relationship ended. This note was in the form of a sealed letter. The letter, to Brianna's surprise, wasn't addressed to her mother. It was addressed from Elaine, to a man whose name Brianna had never heard before. It had obviously never been sent, though, as there was no stamp in the right-hand corner.

When Brianna carefully opened the letter, hoping that she wouldn't rip it, something fell out. She picked up the tiny object and looked at it. It was a tiny bracelet, a hospital identification bracelet. Scrutinizing it more closely, she saw a familiar name and date. Brianna realized that the tiny bracelet was her own.

"Oh," Brianna muttered in surprise. "Why would she want to send him my baby bracelet? Shouldn't this be on a frame somewhere in the living room?"

Hoping to find an answer to her question, Brianna opened the letter. Maybe the mystery man had asked her mother how she was doing, and, as old friends, she wanted to let him know what was going on in her life. Maybe she wanted him to know that she had a baby with another man, so he could move on in his own life. Nothing, however, prepared Brianna for what the letter would read.

Brian,

I met someone in college about two years ago, and got pregnant right away. My husband, John, and I immediately got married. When the baby came at only eight months, I wasn't concerned. After all, my doctor told me that she could be a few weeks early or late, and it wasn't anything to be worried about. I didn't think anything of it. But now, I need to tell you something. My daughter's hair is coming in, and it is dark. Her eyes are a sea green. Since both my husband and I are blondes with blue eyes, and she looks like you, it is obvious that you are her father. I know I will never mail this letter. I have a happy marriage and a beautiful daughter, and don't want to destroy either. I would just like you to know, though, that your name will live on with her. I have named my daughter Brianna, after you, Brian. If I have another daughter, I will name her Hope. This is because my biggest hope in life is that everything works out, and that both of our lives are not destroyed by this truth. -Elaine


Brianna sat on her bed, red-faced and brimming with tears. The coffee can lay upturned beside her, devoid of all its secrets. Brianna managed to stand up, and look in the mirror. She saw what she had seen for years. Her father's dimples, the serious set to his eyes, and the expression he makes when he's upset were present on her face. She realized that she wanted no other father than her own.

Brianna quickly gathered up the contents of the coffee can, shoved them back in, and went downstairs to the basement. With a final glance at the can of worms, she put it back behind the wall, where it belonged.

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