It was a beautiful afternoon and I found myself enjoying the flight to Seattle. Since Jack was piloting the airplane, there was no opportunity to have the conversation I had hoped for. I tried to gather my own thoughts, but I only came up with more questions. I needed some answers soon, or I was going to explode.
As was promised, when we landed in Seattle, there was a car waiting for us. The driver said it would be a two hour drive to our destination.
Once we were settled in for the ride, Jack tried the small talk route, but he knew I wasn’t having it.
“I know you’re hoping I will give you the answers to all of your questions, Kat, but I would rather give Claire the opportunity to explain everything. We’ll soon know if she’s capable of doing that.”
“That’s fine, Jack, but don’t worry. My mother wouldn’t dare die on me now that she has dragged me back into her life after deserting me for thirty years. I would like you to answer one question. Why would she come all the way to Seattle when there are plenty of great hospitals and doctors in Boston?”
“Claire lived in Seattle most of those thirty years you didn’t see her. All of her doctors are here. She still owns a home in the area. In fact, it looks like that could be where the driver is taking us.”
It seemed like forever before the driver finally pulled up to a beautiful country home.
Two very friendly dogs came running to greet us. An older woman wearing a house dress and apron, opened the door.
“Hello, Jack. It’s so good to see you…and you must be Kathleen. Please come in. The doctor is with Claire, so you’ll have a few minutes to freshen up before you see her. Can I offer you something to drink? Dinner will be served at eight.”
“Kat, this is Doris. She’s a dear friend of your mother’s.”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Doris,” I said as I offered her my hand. “And please do call me, Kat.”
“In addition to taking care of things around here, Doris has been a good friend to your mother for years.” (I wonder how Stella feels about that, I thought.)
Doris showed us to our rooms and later brought me some tea.
“I’ll be back in thirty minutes to take you to your mother,” she said.
I was too anxious to wait in my room and drink tea, so I asked Doris if I could wait in the living room.
“I have a better idea, she said. “Why don’t you come with me to the kitchen?” Doris was such a pleasant lady. I immediately felt comfortable with her.
Soon the doctor, followed by Jack, came into the kitchen. The doctor said it was okay for us to go see my mother, but that she would tire easily. “The nurse is with her, so she’ll keep and eye on her,” he said. “It was very nice to meet you both. Now… I must be on my way.”
“Jack,” Doris said . “You go ahead and take Kat up to Claire’s room. I’ll see Dr. Miller out.”
When we first walked into the room, I was struck by how small my mother looked lying there. “Hello Mother,” I said. “I hope you’re up to talking with us.”
“Thank you dear, but there is a lot I need to tell you. Please allow me to do that. It will answer so many of your questions.”
When I nodded, Mother began to tell me about her life, her struggles, and how Project Truth or Consequences came to be. It was a concept that developed over many years, but the seed was sewn when on a trip to London, my mother was brutally attacked and left for dead in a London hotel parking garage.
“The last thing I remembered was getting into a cab at the airport,” she said. “I didn’t and still don’t know why I was left in the parking garage. The assailant, or assailants, left everything but my passport and all other forms of identity. Thankfully, several hours later, an amazing couple, you know as the Phins, discovered me and called an ambulance. I was unconscious for four days and they never left my side.
When I came out of the coma, I couldn’t remember anything… including my own name. I was in the hospital for three weeks before I was released in the care of the Phins. I lived with them for two years. It was during that time that, even though I had no idea who I was, I discovered my passion.”
“Kathleen,” she said as she took my hand in hers. “It was two years later, after working with a very talented therapist, that I began to remember my past. By then, you were settled with my parents, and I was involved in an operation that saved good people from being set up to take the fall for monsters.