..Victoria Barkley..

Message from Mom

Mother's Day was the perfect, sunny, Sunday morning. Kate was briskly walking toward the park with her Westie, Angus. They were heading for doggie run, the fenced in area reserved just for dogs to dart and dash about unrestrained, while their owners socialized.

She spotted a friend, Laura, at a distance, playing fetch with her shepherd, Max. Newly freed, Angus ran after Max's old tennis ball with a vengeance and pounced on it before the bigger dog could claim his toy.

Laura said her children were busy at home, preparing a Mother's Day breakfast special, with their dad, while she was out walking the dog. It was all very hush-hush and she expected to be fully surprised even if she did know exactly what they were up to.

"Last year, they bought me a turtle with rhinestones spelling out MOM glued on his back," she shared proudly. "The year before that, my husband made pancakes on which they painted smiley faces with icing. That was before I went on a low-carb diet. I'm still waiting to lose that extra five pounds" she smiled, pinching her side. What about you?"
"He is the only son I've got," said Kate nodding in the direction of her small, white fuzzy beast.
"Well, they are certainly easier to handle," Laura laughed and tactfully changed the subject. Kate did not mention that her mom died the year before, so this day was not exactly the happiest she was looking forward to.

Toward the end of their friendly chat while watching the dogs play together, Kate called to Angus to begin their walk back home through the park. She was feeling sad and jealous of Laura's apparent domestic bliss. Still single, in her late thirties, she had no romantic future in sight. The on-again-off-again affair she was involved in was nothing more than a casual friendship with benefits.

Kate's parents divorced while she was still in college. Her mom moved to the West Coast and although they talked almost daily, personal visits were limited to a few times a year. Her mother, a busy career woman, was traveling so much that they did not get to spend too much time together.

Mom was good at staying in touch however, so they remained emotionally close and very much a part of each other's lives in spite of the physical distance. She'd send lots of cards, and pictures from her trips around the world. There were long phone conversations as well but mom's preferred way of communicating was always by old-fashioned mail. Kate always looked forward to her wonderful letters and photos.

It was such a gorgeous, bright, warm day with lots of trees in full bloom; Kate would have loved to be able to reconnect with her mom. "If only I could share all this beauty and silly old Angus with mom today, I'd be perfectly happy," she almost said out loud.

Then, to make herself feel better, she decided: "I could pretend, for the rest of today that she's on the road again and I could expect an old fashioned letter from her, just as if she were still alive." That thought lifted her mood and she began imagining what kind of letters her mom would write if she could only send them from where she was now.

Angus ran ahead, wagging his tail happily on the trail. All of a sudden, he grabbed something. He could spot any small squeaky toy a mile away and hide it in his mouth until he got home. Once he'd find something he liked there was no way of getting him to give it up. He had a basket full of toys he had found that way during his daily walks in the park. Kate knew there was a danger of him swallowing whatever he'd just picked up, rather than relinquish it, so she did not force him to spit it out.

By the time they got home, she forgot all about it. As she leaned down to unsnap the lead, Angus jerked his muzzle to the side, jumped, and something metallic fell out of his mouth. Kate picked it up and carried it to the window to take a better look at it in the sunlight. It was a mangled golden earring, in the shape of two intertwined envelopes, with the engraved words: LOVE Letters.