Steve took the envelope Steph had given him and tried to find a quiet place to read what he assumed was a letter from Dina. He finally settled on Alice’s flower garden
The garden was a thing of beauty. He found a little, out of the way, bench to sit on.
He turned the envelope over in his hands and looked at it. Did this envelope hold all the answers? Would it tell him why the woman who had been the love of his life, left him and their baby girl? A little thing they had been told had contracted polio and would never walk? What could this letter say that would possibly make a difference?
Steve took a deep breath and tore open the envelope. To his surprise, inside was what looked like some form of legal document. In addition to that, there was a small sealed envelope addressed to Steph. He didn’t know if he was supposed to read it, but he didn’t care. Steph had given it to him. He hoped as he read through it, everything would begin to make sense.
I’m so sorry to put this on you, but unfortunately, I feel I have to. I’ll get right to the point. Shortly before Katie was born, I discovered I had a rare blood disease. Unfortunately, it was only going to be a matter of months until I could only be kept alive through constant blood transfusions. As that was the only treatment, I knew I most likely didn’t have long to live. As you know, we had no insurance. Then Katie was diagnosed with polio. I just couldn’t burden Steve any more. I found a county run hospice in another city. I lied to get in, but nevertheless they took me. That was a year ago. The doctors think I’m in remission, but it could come back at any time.
I have stayed on to help others and I love what I do. I’m begging you not to tell Steve or even Mother. Katie must never know…Steph, I’m not coming back.
Before I left, I had an attorney prepare the enclosed document. It gives Steve full custody of Katie. Please Steph, give Steve the document, but do not give him this letter and don’t let Mother or Katie ever know you received anything from me. Believe me. This is for the best.
“This letter was written over six years ago,” Steve said to himself. “So much could have changed since then. I wonder why Steph didn’t give me the custody document before now.”
“This is so unfair, Dina. I don’t even know if you are still alive. How could you do this to all of us. How could you do this to Katie?”
“Do what?” Miss Bessie said. “My goodness Steve, you look so distraught. Can I be of any help?”
***I was following Miss Bessie and she was right. Steve looked like he forgot where he buried his best bone or where he left his new frisbee. It seems like humans just take turns being upset around here. I went over and licked his hand. That’s twice today I forgot I’m not supposed to lick. Steve patted my head, so I guess he didn’t mind. Hey…he was holding that letter the pretty girl gave him. I thought that made him happy. UhOh, I gave Jamie a whole bunch of letters. What if they didn’t make her happy. I think I’ll go hide.
“I”m sure I will want to talk with you, Miss Bessie,” Steve said. “But not right now. Right now I’ve got some thinking to do and decisions to make. I think I’ll go saddle up one of the horses and go for a ride.”
“You might see Brad. He left for a ride about thirty minutes ago,”