Reconnecting the Past and the Present: Chapter 11

Sarah had spent almost 20 years trying to forget her painful and difficult past. She had overcome so much and had built a successful life, then one day her past comes knocking on her door.

Reconnecting the Past and the Present
Chapter 11

By Rebecca Jane
Copyright© 2017 Rebecca Jane
All Rights Reserved.

Author's Note:I apologize in my delay on this one, we’ve been super busy at work. That and this chapter was extremely hard to write, and also to get it how I wanted it. Beware the caution in the tag, this chapter covers one of the worst experiences in Sarah’s life. Thank you all again for reading, and all your comments. They really do make it worth it. ~Rebecca

Chapter 11

Sarah stared at the papers in Dana’s outstretched hand, knowing what they meant. She knew that Dana wasn’t lying now, but if she took the letter and it confirmed everything that had just been said, that meant everything that she had known and felt had been a complete lie. It would also mean that all the anger that she had felt towards her parents, most of it at least, was misplaced. Yes, her parents had kicked her out, but she had thought that it had been permanent. All this time she had thought they hadn’t wanted anything to do with her, but that seems to have not been the case. She just continued to stare at the letter, frozen and unable to do anything.

Dana finally shook the letter at Sarah trying to snap her out of her daze, and said, “Here take it, she wanted you to read it…”

Sarah shook her head, “I don’t want it… Why? Why did she do it Dana?”

Dana smiled sadly, “Because she loved you… She thought she was making the best decision… It’s all in the letter… Here take it…” Dana then took Sarah’s hand in hers and placed the letter directly in her palm, and then squeezed her hand slightly so her hand would close on the letter.

After a moment Sarah gently opened up the letter, she immediately recognized her sisters handwriting, plus the date she had put on the top. Seeing it was the same date as the one on both her and her parent’s letters, she knew it was written the same day as theirs. Quickly she closed the letter back, and looked up at Dana, “How long have you known? How long have you had this?” She asked accusingly.

Those questions caused Dana to wince slightly, “It was postmarked a couple of days after she died…”

Sarah blurted out, “You’ve had it for three months?! So you decide to let me know AFTER they show up?!”

Dana whimpered, “I wanted to tell you, but I didn’t know if they’d ever come... I kept thinking that if I told you, and they didn’t want to reconnect, how that would affect you… What if you got your hopes up and they didn’t want to connect after all this time… It would also change what you thought about April, like it did for me… I didn’t want any of that to happen… Not unless I had to…”

Sarah sat there fuming for a few seconds before she said, “That should have been left up to me Dana, they are almost as much a victim in this as I am… You know what? I wish you’d all quit trying to protect me, I’m not that fragile, broken teenage anymore, and I haven’t been in a long damn time!!! How dare all of you keep deciding what’s best for me?!?”

Dana fully broke down in tears trying to apologize, Steve put his arm around her protectively. He looked at Sarah and she could tell that he was pissed, he exclaimed, “That’s it Sarah, ENOUGH! Dana doesn’t deserve that shit from you, so how dare YOU treat her like that!”

That caught Sarah completely off guard, while Steve had been angry at her before he had never raised his voice to her like that. Unfortunately her anger had worked up too much momentum for her to stop, “How dare I? You’re actually going to go there Steve?! I’ve been thrown out, lied to, not only by my sister, but my supposedly best friend, and you… You… YOU decide to tell my parents about the girls without even asking me what I thought about it first! Every one keeps telling me how they’re protecting me but all I feel like is that I’ve been played like a fiddle my entire life, so you can get off your damn high horse right now!!!”, she yelled out, almost screaming at him.

Steve stood up facing her, but she refused to back down and stood up to her full 5’8” height to his 6’0 stature. He was about to yell back, but then Dana doubled over clutching her belly, pain etched on her face. The stress and the tension of the evening, coupled with an already difficult pregnancy, had overwhelmed her and the baby. She whimpered out, “Oh god that hurts!!!”

The anger that had been fueling Sarah’s rage was quickly overcome by concern for her friend, that and the realization that whatever was happening to her pregnant friend was directly the result of all the stress and tension of the moment. Sarah quickly moved to Dana, “What’s wrong? Dana I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…”

Steve was already by her side with his arm around her shoulder trying to console her the best he could. Looking at Sarah he told her, “Just give her some space okay…”

Distraught Sarah feebly asked, “What’s wrong?”

After a few tense moments passed, Dana visibly relaxed enough to answer, “Being almost 40 and pregnant is most of it…” Dana paused as a momentary look of sadness passed over her face, she quickly recovered and gave Sarah a pained smile, “That and she isn’t a fan of all this excitement…”

Sarah covered her mouth with one hand in surprise, “She?!?! You found out it’s a girl?!? I thought you didn’t want to know…”

Dana replied softly, “We didn’t at first… Things changed though, but yes it’s a girl.”

Sarah wanted to go and hug her, and place her hand to see if she could feel her newest goddaughter moving, but she was afraid. With everything that had happened, the last thing she wanted was to cause her anymore pain. “Dana I’m so sorry… Are you going to be okay?”, she asked.

Steve was gently rubbing Dana’s back, he suddenly looked really tired when he looked back to Sarah, “Yeah she’ll be fine, she’s just really tired… Today was just too much… Look why don’t you just go home and get some rest, I’ll get her upstairs to bed and let her rest.”

Sarah nodded, “Steve… I’m sorry for what I said…”

He stood up and placed his hand on her shoulder and gently told her, “Look its just been a long day for all of us, more-so for you… Just go home okay, we’ll see you tomorrow.”

She was actually a bit surprised, “You still want me to come over? Even after all this?” She looked at Dana, who was still obviously in discomfort. With a tear starting to run down her cheek, she repeated, “I’m sorry…”

Steve gently pulled her into a hug, where she started weeping on his shoulder. He softly whispered to her, “Hey friends fight, it’s fine… I’m sorry too…”

When she finally broke from the hug, she did feel more relieved that things were actually going to be okay between them. After saying her goodbyes, and triple checking that Dana was going to be okay, she finally climbed into her truck for the drive home. She was about half way there when she realized she was still clutching April’s letter to Dana. She quickly threw it into the passenger floorboard, wanting nothing to do with whatever April had written.

Once home and cleaned up, Sarah climbed into bed. The more she tried to forget the letter, the more she kept focusing on it. She didn’t want to read, in April’s own handwriting, how her sister had deceived her for all those years. After half an hour of tossing and turning, the question she couldn’t answer and that she had to know was why… Why did she do it? So she threw on a tee shirt and shorts and went back to get the letter out of the truck. Fifteen minutes later she was back in her bed with the letter in hand. After taking a few deep breaths she started to read…

Dana, I hope and pray this gets to you and if you’re reading it, that means my crazy plan has a chance of working… I need to come clean to you, and to Sarah and Mom and Dad… I had hinted to you the last few months that I had been struggling with something and that I was going to need your help with… Then they found the cyst that has led me to being bedridden waiting for whatever fate has in store for me… I have been wanting to do this for a few years, but I’ve just been too afraid. I’m afraid though my time has run out, and this is my last ditch effort to atone for what I’ve done to Sara and our parents… And you as well…

It all started the day that she was kicked out and called me, then her phone and bus problems which led to us not knowing where she was, till she showed up on our doorstep. I was so angry at Mom and Dad for what they did, but I had every intention of trying to get them to reconsider what they did, well right up until Sarah came out to us… For the first time in my life I had seen such a sense of happiness in her that I had never seen in ‘Brian’, and I knew I couldn’t let her go back until I got our parents to accept her… There was no way I was going to make her go back to being him, I couldn’t do that to her. It broke my heart to finally know why she had struggled so hard when we were younger. All I ever wanted was to keep seeing that smile on her face that she had sitting with us at the Theta house that night.

I did actually call them that night after she had fallen asleep, I know I had always told you that we had quit talking after that night… I’m sorry for lying to you… I just thought that you would have tried to make her go back, and I couldn’t risk that until I was sure they would accept her. So I told you and Sarah that I had cut them out of our life, I had also told them that Sarah didn’t want to talk to them either, and would only relay messages through me… I was so angry at them, I wanted them to feel the pain that Sarah was feeling. I thought that dealing with that they might start to listen and realize that Brian had never truly been their son…

To my surprise it started actually working though, while they were still upset and not happy with the idea, they had agreed to meet and talk with me. They wanted ‘Brian’ to come, but I refused, keeping up the ruse that any messages were to come through me. I was half way to Lake City to meet them the night you found her and called me… I immediately turned around and when I walked in and saw her so broken in your arms… Something changed in me, I thought that they had caused her to feel that that was her only choice… I decided then my job was to protect her, totally and completely… That night I shut our parents out of both of our lives, I occasionally would talk to them, maybe 3-4 times a year, but I kept up the lie that ‘Brian’ wanted nothing to do with them, and likewise with Sarah… That lie was easier I thought for everyone… I never even told them her name…

Dana, I swear to you that I thought I was doing the right thing… My entire life up to that point I had appointed myself as my siblings protector, and I got so mixed up… I want to make excuses because I wasn’t even nineteen yet and blame it on youth, but I can’t. I know now just how wrong I was, and I can’t blame that night solely on my parents… Had she known that they wanted her to come home, even if they weren’t open to her being Sarah, it might have changed everything… She might not have attempted what she did. I don’t know. They say that your life flashes before your eyes in the end, and it might be right. I know my end is close, and these last few months that’s all that has crossed my mind. I started to see so many things differently, like my eyes were finally opened…

I’m too sick to get everyone together at once, so this is my last hurrah, so to speak. I’m writing Mom and Dad a letter, and one to Sarah, explaining some things… I don’t know if Mom and Dad will get the letter or since its been so long if they will try, but I’m hoping they will. They have to… If they do, I need you to tell Sarah all this… This is another reason I’m writing, I know shes going to be hurt, but she needs to understand that its all my fault and not yours. Show her this letter if you have to. I hate to ask you to do this, but ultimately its for Sarah… She needs Mom and Dad, and they need her… They just don’t realize it yet.

I’m getting tired, and I have two more letters to write, so I’m going to say one last thing before I end this. Dana, I’ve had everything so wrong for so long, I’m thankful that I got sick so I could finally see things clearly. My entire life I had thought I was the strong one, and it was my job to protect Sarah. I know now, that I was never the strong one, Sarah is the one that had always been there when I needed her, and for you as well. She has always been the bravest of us all. I can’t believe that I ever thought she was weak, especially when she came out to our parents at 15 years old. I’m 38 and on my deathbed, and I’m terrified to tell them why I never found ‘Mr Right’. Sarah never needed us, at least not near as much as we needed her.

I love you, my sister from a different mister, I always have. Dana, I hope one day I’ll see you again. Until we do, please keep an eye on the squirt for me.

April Leanne Richardson

Sara read and reread the letter several times, unaware that she was crying the whole time. When she couldn’t read it anymore, she sat there clutching it to her chest thinking about all the things that had happened since that night when she told her parents her secret. Even though she had read the words, and even heard them from Dana, she was still struggling to understand why she lied. Why she kept it a secret for so long. Then she thought about how everyone kept referring to that one night that she had tried so hard to forget. It was the one night in her life she had been at her absolute lowest and weakest. She didn’t even like to acknowledge that it ever happened, so her memories over the years had grown hazy. She put the letter on her nightstand and turned the lights off hopefully to get some sleep for the busy day tomorrow she had planned. As she lied there trying to go to sleep, her mind kept drifting back to that one night…

The last few weeks since she had arrived and been taken in by the Theta’s had been her dream come true, sort of. She was finally free to be herself, but the cost had been too great. She had lost her parents, the look of disappointment on their face haunted her memories. The first week at the sorority, the girls had been so nice and protective of her, it had felt amazing. Then all her self doubts started kicking in.

Even with the niceties the girls all had been showing, Sarah had started feeling self conscious and started to doubt their motives. Feeling like their own life size Barbie had been fun at first, then she started mistaking their enthusiasm for something darker. She started to feel like each time they complimented her that they were just teasing her, after all when she looked in the mirror all she saw was Brian in a skirt. She didn’t think that it would ever be possible for her to fully transition and she’d be stuck, looking like a guy in a dress…

Then there was April, she had been so great and protective of Sarah, but Sarah being here was jeopardizing April’s school and possible future. Sarah didn’t want to risk hurting April’s life by being here. She had even offered to sacrifice her school so it wouldn’t impact April, that had caused one of their biggest fights that they had ever had.

Between her self doubts and misconceptions of everyones motives, Sarah had sunk into a really bad depression for the last week. The girls had been occupying so much of her time she hadn’t had time to think, and constantly putting on her happy face was draining her more quickly than she could have imagined.

She had been in the sorority now for just over two weeks and it had been the first time since she had arrived that she was by herself. April had ended up going on a date, and with it being Saturday night all the girls were out for the night. That left Sarah time to think. Unfortunately with the fatigue and depression her mind could only focus solely on the negatives. She felt lost, and empty, and that she was a burden to anyone around her. Those were the thoughts that permeated her mind for the next few hours, until she couldn’t take it anymore.

Since she had been doing some of the handyman duties for the house, she knew where some rope and a small stepladder was, and in her darkened state she was convinced that this was the best thing for everyone. So she quickly set out to collect what she needed, and went outside to the back yard to the only tree out there.

It took her almost thirty minutes to get everything in place, with the stepladder she had, she couldn’t reach the lowest limb so it took several throws and knot attempts to get it secure. Then trying to get the noose high enough took her several attempts at tying it. Finally she had everything just how she thought she needed. She wrapped the noose around her neck, and praying that it would hopefully be quick, she stepped off the ladder and immediately felt the noose swing and tighten around her neck.

Then to her horror, her feet drug the ground for a split second, then she was pulled back into the air, it was at that moment she realized that the limb wasn’t as rigid as she had thought. As she started bouncing, she started to panic and realized seconds too late, that she truly didn’t want to die. She managed to get one hand worked under the noose on one of the bounces which allowed to to get a tiny breath each time her toes touched the ground. She started trying to get the limb to break by pushing up with her toes each time she touched the ground to try to get the limb to bend more with each decent. Each jump though she started feeling weaker and weaker, at the thought of her sister and friends finding her hanging from the tree, she renewed her efforts even though her vision was starting to blur.

It was when she knew she had only a few bounces left in her, she heard what sounded like someone yelling from the bottom of a well. Her vision was blurred enough she could only see light and dark shapes, her body was feeling numb so she didn’t feel the arms wrapping around her legs. She did feel that she had quit bouncing, and when she started to move upwards, she had just enough conscious thought left to rip the noose from around her neck before everything when dark…

She had only been surrounded in darkness for what felt like a split second before she heard a voice, it was indistinct and she couldn’t place who it was or what it was saying. It was something for her to focus on though, and the more she focused on it the clearer it became until she realized it was Dana’s voice calling to her in the dark. She focused even more trying to understand what Dana was trying to tell her, and why was Dana even here. She knew that she had died when everything went dark, so why was she hearing Dana? She concentrated on her voice, and then the words starting coming into focus.

“Don’t you dare die on me, don’t you fucking die…”

She tried to call out to Dana, but no sounds came out.

“She’s breathing… She’s making sounds… Please hurry… C’mon Sarah stay with me, don’t you fucking die… Please God don’t let her die!”

Sarah tried again to call out, but again nothing… She noticed that she started feeling warmth around her, now that she could understand Dana’s words she started focusing on the warmth she felt.

“Get your ass here now, call everyone else… She fucking tried to hang herself… I’m calling her sister… Get everyone here NOW!!! Dammit stay with me Sarah… Please!!!”

She again tried to call out, this time she heard herself moan, the warmth she was feeling she could tell that it was wrapped around her shoulders and chest. Focusing on that she reached out and tried to touch it.

“That’s it Sarah, stay with me… I’m here…”

As feeling started returning she realized the warmth was coming from arms wrapped around her, she tried to reach and touch them again and then felt a hand clasp hers.

“That’s it squeeze my hand Sarah, I’m not letting you go anywhere!!!”

As her senses started returning to her she noticed light colored blobs in her vision, then she started hearing other voices, some familiar and one that wasn’t.

“Dana relax, let me check her out… It’s okay… She’s breathing on her own.” Then a bright flash appeared in her vision which made her try to turn her head but she was too weak right now to move it. “Pupils have a good reaction. She’s moving her limbs on her own… Dana, I think shes going to be okay. Lets get her inside, everyone help lift her”

Sarah felt many hands on her arms and legs, then a feeling of floating. A few moments later she found herself sinking down onto the couch she had been sleeping on. As her vision started returning, everything else had returned to almost normal. As she looked around she saw Dana who was only sitting a foot away from her and refused to let go, and she was surrounded by other Theta’s with more coming in with each passing moment. All of them were crying and staring at Sarah, they all kept coming up and hugging her.

The strange voice she had heard, was coming from an older woman, who had a stethoscope and a penlight in her hand, and she was checking all of Sarah’s vitals. She looked at Dana and said, “All her vitals are good, If you had been a minute later… It was a miracle you found her when you did… You need to get her to see someone tomorrow, here is a friends number, she’s also an alumni. I guarantee you that she will take her in. Whatever you do though, do NOT leave her alone...”

Dana nodded, “Yes ma’am, thank you so much… I don’t know what I would have done… Had I not…” Her voice caught, and she broke down sobbing. Some of the other girls started to console her.

The older lady continued to observe and check on Sarah, and other than her voice being raspy she soon had most of her faculties back. The older woman had just finished packing up her things when the door burst open, and Aprils voice filled the house.

“Is she okay?!?! Where is she?!?” Sarah heard April exclaim, and before anyone could answer, Sarah felt her sister wrap her arms around her tightly. “Sarah what were you thinking?!? I’d never be able to live with myself if something had happened…”

Sarah apologized the best she could, but held on to her sister with everything she had. They held on to each other while the Dr. woman observed her a bit longer before she finally left. All the girls had gone and gotten blankets and had filled the floor with pallets so they could all stay down there with Sarah.

It wasn’t long before the fatigue from the stress of the night impacted Sarah and she started to fall asleep. April and Dana had been talking, but Sarah hadn’t really been paying much attention to their conversation. Right before she passed out she distinctly remembered hearing April tell Dana, “I swear to God and everything holy, they will NEVER get a chance to hurt her ever again.”

To be continued.

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