Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 39

slow, deep breath. One at a time, she eased off the backs of the other two picture frames and unfolded the papers that were hidden in each. Three identical bonds. Sixty thousand dollars.

She felt a little light-headed. She could imagine it all – back in the days when money flowed in, back when a staff of seven cared for the rambling house and grounds. Mr. Dempsey was always writing his wife little notes, and she could picture him smiling as this time he included the bonds as well. She could imagine Mrs. Dempsey with the bonds in her hands, her eyes lighting by chance on the silver frames. It was exactly like her, to slip them safely inside to keep them nearby.

Mary Elizabeth wondered what it was like to glance at your bedside table each night and know all that money was there. She ran her fingers slowly over the drawing of the canyon – the lines raised up on the thick paper so she could feel each tiny ridge. Sixty thousand dollars. She thought for a moment of the new roof her mother’s house needed, of her ancient Chevy, which shook and shimmied whenever she hit high gear. She was tempted. Definitely tempted. But she took hold of herself after a moment and slid the certificates and letter into a neat pile as she heard Patsy returning down the hallway.

‘Miss Patsy, these photographs . . . ’ she began, but that’s as far as she got.

‘Patricia. Patricia, not Patsy. Patricia. How many times do I have to remind you?’

‘Miss Patricia. The photographs. I’ve taken them out, but . . . ’

Patsy paid no attention. ‘Aren’t you done yet? Hurry up – just toss