All the pictures of Claire’s children were blurry and grainy from being taken in an artificial light. Sandi had forgotten how many times she had clicked through them, her face inching so close she left patterns of breath on the screen. She tried to pick out facial characteristics she might recognize. Even a smile would have encouraged her. But there were no smiles, only glassy-eyed children in pajamas. Did Claire’s children own anything except pajamas?
Sandi drew her favorite robe with its threadbare satin more tightly about her.
“All right,” she said out loud to the empty house. “It’s time. I’ve waited long enough.” She brought her flat palm down on the desk, so the laptop rattled.
It wasn’t easy to find Claire. Not that Sandi was well-versed in tracking people. She’d tried a Google search, but it turned up nothing. Probably because Claire’s last name wasn’t what she said it was. Maybe even the location she had listed on her page wasn’t true.
Sandi wasn’t sure if Claire would know the truth if it wrapped around her neck and strangled her.
But she had to try.
She pulled up a different screen, slowly, methodically. The laptop had been a gift from her lawyer son. She was still working out how to use it.
Dear Claire, she typed.
Even with these new-fangled social networking systems, she believed in writing a letter properly. She would have preferred a real letter, written on some of her floral note paper with her own fountain pen, but she didn’t have an address.
Send me your address, or a phone number. I wonder about you every day. I see you’re living somewhere else with a new family, a new life.
She typed Please let me in, then erased it.
She finished cordially—
And sat back with a puff of pent-up breath to await a reply.
Thank you to Sandi for the three inspirational words she left for me on facebook: puff, artificial and satin. If you're wondering why I'm writing short stories, click here.