The Stupid Boy and the Outsider Chapter 13
Joe brought me to my biological parents old work sites! I can't believe it. No offense to Joe, but I didn't think he was this... thoughtful.
We just left the diner my mom used to work at. One of her old co-workers gave me her lyric book. I've had the sheet music that went with them in my box for years. Now I finally have the words to go with them.
Before that was dad's old bookstore. I was able to see a place I've only seen in a picture that I thought was gone forever. I don't know how I'll ever repay Joe, first my life, now this? I'm forever in his debt.
"I think you know what this place is," Joe said bringing me out of my reverie. He was finally slowing down.
I looked at the building in front of us before turning back to Joe. "What else did you ask my mom?"
"You're not happy about this?" He asked.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude. It's just that..." I trailed off and shrugged. "This is just... a lot, I guess. I just want to be a little more prepared."
"Just one more after this." He looked to the building then back to me. "Well, are you going in?"
I walked up the steps to the front door. I looked to the right of the door to see the familiar plaque, "Warner Manor" in read. I took a deep breath before ringing the door bell. A few seconds later the door opened to a familiar face.
"Hello." She sounded a little confused.
"Miss Maggie?" I asked.
"No one's called me that in years," she said. She seemed to be scrutinizing me."You look familiar, but I just can't place you."
"My name's Jaclyn." Her face lit up a little at my words. "I was here 10 years ago."
"Jaclyn?" I just nodded. "What are you doing here? Is everything alright?" She sounded a little more nervous than surprised or excited.
"Why do you think there's something wrong?" I said with a light laugh.
"Well, usually when old boarders show up... without their parents," she said throwing a glance toward Joe, "it's usually because something happened and they've ran away."
I chuckled a little and looked at Joe. "Well, my friend here, Joe, is taking me on a little outing to see the old neighborhood. Our parents are waiting for us."
"Oh," she heaved a sigh of relief. "That's a nice thing to do. I'm Mrs. Hoffmann now. Well, how much time do you have? Come in, come in."
"We actually have a few minutes, we're ahead of schedule," Joe said.
"All the kids are in the study room." Ahh... the study room I remember it well. Mrs. Hoffmann took us on a tour of the house starting with the bedrooms upstairs.
"This was my old room," I told Joe. "I slept here by the closet."
"Who slept in the other bed?" Joe asked.
"Ilana, she was the only person I really talked to while I was here. She was ayear older I think."
We continued with the tour ending with the study room. Everything pretty much looked the same.
"Mrs. Abner," Mrs. Hoffmann said as we entered. "We have a visitor."
Mrs. Abner looked up at us with a smile and sighed. Her naturally dirty blond hair was graying and she had a little more wrinkles than I remembered. "Well, well, well, if it isn't little Jaclyn." She didn't even need to think about who I was. She walked over to give me a hug. "So who's your friend?"
"This is my friend Joe," I told her. She gave him a nod her smile never leaving her face. "Do you really remember me?"
"Of course I do!" She exclaimed. "I may be getting older, but my memory is at its strongest, not to mention you look so much like your mom."
"Mrs. Abner!" A little girl called. "Henry took my crayon!"
Mrs. Abner sighted and said, "I'm sorry I have to attend to the kids, but stay as long as you like."
"Okay," I said as she walked away.
Mrs. Hoffmann was also helping other kids around the room. Joe and I just stood there watching everything. There was another worker there. She was about our age. When she settled a fight between two boys she quickly walked over to us.
"Are you really Jaclyn?" She asked me.
"Umm..." I looked over at Joe who had an I-don't-know expression on his face."Yeah that's me, but I usually go by Jackie now."
"Oh my gosh!" She said. "I'm Ilana, your old roommate."
"Oh hi," I said as she gave me a hug.
"Are you still..." Joe motioned toward the room.
"Joe," I scolded. He can be so dense sometimes.
Ilana laughed. "Am I still an orphan?" She finished Joe's question. "No, I was adopted a year or two after Jackie. They don't live far from here so I've been over to visit a lot since I was adopted and this summer I'm working as a helper since I'm over so much anyway."
"I wish we lived closer, it would be nice to come here whenever I wanted."
The three of us spent a few minutes chatting.
"It's so nice of your boyfriend to plan to take you here," Ilana said.
"He's not my boyfriend, he's my best friend," I corrected her.
"Oh, sorry. Well my boyfriend would never do something like this. If he at least open a door for me I'd be happy," she said causing us to laugh.
Ilana and I exchanged addresses and she gave me her e-mail addresses even though I told her that the only internet access I had was at school or the library and I didn't have an e-mail address. She told me to take it "just in case." I was more than happy knowing I now had someone I could talk to about being adopted.
We were walking around the town now. For once Joe wasn't pulling me, practically dislocating my arm toward our next destination. We were heading for Tory's Diner and Joe was about to walk through the door.
"Wait," I said causing Joe to turn around to look at me. "I though you said there was one more place?"
"There is, but we're all going to this one." He then walked into the diner and I followed behind him.
"How was it?" Mom asked when we reached everyone still in the same booth as when we left them.
"It was great," I said as I hugged her.
Dad and Pastor Jonas got everyone into their respective vehicles as we drove off. I still didn't know where we were going.
"Did my parents tell you guys anything while we were gone?" I asked Berna.
"Just about what Joe planned," she said. "Who knew he was so nice. Wait... nice isn't the right word."
"Thoughtful?" I suggested.
"Yeah! That's it. Who thought Joe was so thoughtful."
"So do you know where we're headed?" I was really curious now.
"No, your dad just said that we were coming along to help, whatever that means." Okay if I wasn't curious before I was definitely curious now. What else is there? My biological parents' old house?
Five minutes passed and we were turning onto a winding road surrounded by trees. If it weren't daytime I would have been a little freaked out. I could see a large iron rod gate up ahead. As we got closer I saw a plaque on the brick wall connected to the gate. It read Woodrest Cemetery. We couldn't be doing what I think we are... are we? The iron gate opened automatically for our cars like the automatic doors at grocery stores and such. Dad stopped the car after driving around for a bit and we all stepped out.
"I made a few calls yesterday and the person I talked to said that both of your parents were buried next to each other somewhere here," dad said.
"With all of us we should be able to find them faster," Joe said. I just nodded and looked out toward all the tombstones.
"Well," Pastor Jonas said as he placed a hand on my shoulder. "Should we start looking?"
I nodded again and said, "Yeah, ummm, their names were Richard and Elisabeth Anderson." Everyone split up to search for my parents.
Berna and I walked with our arms linked as we searched. "Are you okay doing this?" She asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I could feel the tears start already.
"What were their names again?" Joe called looking a little confused. Berna and I laughed at his airheadedness. I have to admit he has pretty good comedic timing, even if he doesn't know he's being funny.
"I found it!" I heard Kevin yell. He was a little ways ahead of where we were."Richard Anderson 1966-1993, Elisabeth Anderson 1970-1994," Kevin read off the tombstones. They were simple, but they wouldn't be able to afford elaborate one's now would they?
Mrs. Jonas walked up to me and handed me two bouquets of flowers. I guess Joe and our parents planned everything. I placed the bouquets on each grave.
"Paul, could you lead us in a prayer please?" Mom asked. I stayed on my knees as everyone stood while Pastor Jonas said a little prayer.
"Maybe we should take a few pictures so that you have something to remember this day," Mrs. Jonas suggested when the prayer was over.
"That sounds like a great idea," mom said encouragingly. I agreed and took pictures with everyone next to my parents' grave. "How about one of just you and Joseph since this was his idea?"
Joe walked up to me and I gave him a big hug which he returned. We didn't let go until the picture was taken. I then took dad's camera and took a picture of the tombstones. If I couldn't visit them whenever I wanted I should be able to at least see these.
Mom walked up to me and said, "We'll give you time alone sweetie. We'll all be waiting in the car, just take your time."
"Okay," I said still staring at my parent's graves. "Wow," I said out loud when I thought everyone was out of hearing range. I felt like a fool for talking to a couple of tombstones, but it felt right at the same time. "I'm not sure how to feel right now. There's just so much going on emotionally, first the bookstore, then the lyric book, then the orphanage, and now this." I wiped away a stray tear. I didn't even notice that there were tears streaming down my face. "I'm sure you both have watched me grow up so there's no need to talk about what's happened in my life. I kind of wish you both were still here, that way I would have something to say. I mean I guess I could tell you some things like I miss you, which I do, a lot." I was rambling now. "But tombstones don't talk back."
I looked back toward the others. They were all talking amongst themselves. I do wish that my biological parents were still alive, but I do love the ones I have now. I turned back the tombstones and said, "I guess the one thing that Ishould tell you is I'm happy. It might not seem like it a lot of the time, but I am. I love my parents just as much as I love you guys and I know that the four of you love me the same too. Things are going pretty good... and I think it's gonna get better." I was smiling now. I brushed some dirt off of their tombstones and moved the bouquets so they looked nicer. I got up brushing the grass off of my pants. "I'll come back again, I promise," I said and walked back to everyone else.
"So," Joe said when I got closer.
"So," I said back. "Let's go camping."
We all got in our respective cars and headed to the camp grounds.
Author's Note: Tombstones don't talk back is a quote I got from Leland Chapman. Please don't hate me for enjoying the show Dog the Bounty Hunter.