When is that moment when we decide to cross the bridge?
|Ogilvy met me at the door of the mansion. He was wearing the same black coat, with tails even, and starched white shirt.
He led me into the drawing room. Grandmother was sitting stiffly in the wing chair by the window, the only place I’d seen her since the accident, veined hands folded in her lap, the sapphire ring on her finger. I stared at the ring. I could never take my eyes off it. But finally I raised my head to greet Grandmother face to face. She was staring at me. “Good afternoon, Grandmother,” I said.
“Elizabeth,” she replied with a slight nod. I was Lizzie to everyone else, and sometimes I wanted to remind Grandmother that my parents had called me Lizzie. I remember Mom brushing my hair the morning of the accident, and singing the Lizzie song. The last song Grandmother’s daughter ever sang. “Why are you here?” Grandmother asked. Not unkindly, not warm. Just direct.
“To wish you happy birthday, Grandmother,” I said. I handed her a small, wrapped box.
“You needn’t have,” Grandmother said. “But thank you.” A pause. “You know, your mother’s birthday would have been tomorrow.”
“I know, “I answered.
“We’d be celebrating if she hadn’t taken you to that recital on a day when the roads were wet.”
“I know,” I replied.
“My Julianna,” she said softly. A long pause while she stared at me. I felt she was searching for something in my eyes. Then she said, “Well, thank you for coming, Elizabeth. Ogilvy will serve you tea in a moment.” She rose and moved slowly from the room.
After tea, Ogilvy escorted me to the door. From the foyer table, he lifted a silver tray. In the center was the sapphire ring. Ogilvy said, “She wants you to have it.”
(Word count: 300)