For the Christmas Scarf Parts 1-3 click below
Molly woke early the next morning, Saturday morning, to the sound of ploughs and sand trucks. The road crews were clearing the streets and Molly was clearing her head. She needed to go out again. She need more yarn, different colored yarn to finish the project Rebecca had started. Amazingly, serendipitously, maybe even miraculously the blue yarn picked by Gracia matched perfectly what Rebecca had started. Now all she needed was the red, the gold, the silver and the purple. The semi -charged cell phone in hand she went off to the same store as yesterday hoping to run into Gracia, my friends call me Grace, again. She didn’t know that it would be sooner than she could have anticipated.
As she made the turn out of her complex she was greeted with a sight that had become so familiar she had no longer noticed it. For some reason today was different. Right in front of her were the huge Red letters L O V E outside the Hilton Hotel. The word reminded her of Rebecca’s last words to her in the unsent text on her damaged red phone. It gave her the chills. Two spine tingling events in two days. This was a bit much for her.
As she began her drive she was again slowed by the traffic even though it was early. Having stopped at a red light she looked to her right and was surprised, no, shocked to see Gracia -my friends call me Grace – standing at the bus stop in a bright gold coat and hat. Molly pulled over, rolled down her window and shouted across through the passenger’s side window, “Jump in, I’m going your way.” Gracia, once she recognized Molly, complied, quickly jumping in the passenger side. Off Molly went to Hobby Lobby with Gracia – or was it Grace – in tow.
The two strangers had an expected moment of awkwardness before Gracia broke the ice. “Fancy meeting you here this morning” she said with a smile. “Do you have time for a quick stop before going to Hobby Lobby?” Molly was suddenly all in with her new friend Grace. “Point the way” she heard herself say almost enthusiastically. “Over there” said Grace pointing to one of the toughest housing projects in the city seen just to their right down a main drag.
As she turned at the next intersection, Molly could not resist asking Grace, where they were going. Grace replied with a smirk, “Well of course, I mentor a young girl there and I need to drop off her Christmas gift,” Molly now had a few more questions to ask Grace like “How old are you?” and “Why are you, a seventy five year oldish woman going to the projects alone to mentor someone?” and “How long have you been doing this?” Regretfully, that would all have to wait because they were pulling into the projects and Grace was already about to jump out of the car and find her beloved mentee. “You can stay in the car or follow me” she said back into the car after jumping out as it barely had come to a halt. “This will only be a minute, I can’t be late for work” she added.
A little overwhelmed already, Molly chose to sit this one out. “Maybe next time” were the words she whispered to herself. She was a bit apprehensive. She had never actually been here before. Safe in her parked car, she saw Grace approach a skinny dark-skinned girl who looked about 12 years of age and hand her a wrapped box. They exchanged what seemed to be pleasantries, hugged and just like that Grace was back in the car and they were on their way to Grace’s employment and Molly’s shopping destination.
After a second pause of awkward silence Molly asked Grace “So, how long have you been a mentor?” “Since my church made me aware of the opportunity” she replied. “These young girls need a steady influence in their lives. They need a good foundation. I’m trying to make a difference in one life at a time, but truth be told I do it as much for me as for them.” “How’s that?” Molly managed to choke out afraid of the answer she might hear. Grace’s demeanor changed as she said in a quiet tone, “After I lost my granddaughter Jenny three years ago I was a basket case. I was helping her mother raise her and then….” Her voice trailed off. “I got so depressed I moved away, I just wanted to be alone.” Molly thought she needed to pull the car over because she couldn’t see the road for the tears in her own eyes. Grace continued, “But last year near Christmas I stopped moping and started hoping again and that’s when this opportunity came.” “Maybe I don’t have Jenny to laugh and cry with or to mentor, but with the good Lord’s help I can use my time to help others. You understand, right? I had to make my peace with it and with God, You understand, right?” she repeated.
Molly was so glad they had reached the store by then and that she didn’t have to answer. She and Grace got out of the car and with a quick “thank you” and “your welcome” headed for their prospective stations, Grace to clock in and Molly to buy yarn. Taking out the battered red cell phone with the picture, Molly tried discreetly to match the colors and then went to check out. Grace’s words “Made my peace with God” seem to hang overhead like a cloud of smoke. How does one ever do that?” she thought, “How did Grace do that?” In yet another twist of fate her cashier was Grace. Grace could see Molly wasn’t right. Right there in line Molly found herself agreeing to meet Grace for dinner on none other than Christmas Day since neither of them had any other place to be. As quickly as she could, Molly was out the door to head to the safety of her apartment and to her project and to feeling close to Rebecca again. It might take awhile though, it was starting to snow.
The Christmas Scarf – part 1
The Christmas Scarf – part 2
The ride home was quicker than Molly had expected. The snow storm had turned into snow flurries and the traffic had eased a bit. She was still a bit taken back by the “coincidences” in her shopping bag but was now chalking them up to indeed just that, or maybe just the miracles of the season whatever that meant. Either way she was ready to settle into a quiet weekend alone in her apartment working on the project to connect with Rebecca, whatever it was supposed to be.
Arriving at her front door she was greeted by a small brown box. “Strange” she thought. She didn’t remember ordering anything and she wasn’t expecting anything from anyone.. Picking up the box as she opened the door she was struck by how light it was, as if it contained nothing at all. Closing her door she placed the package on the kitchen table, set down her shopping bag and hung up her coat. Attentively she began to examine the package like she was from CSI. It was clearly addressed to her and had a strange return address. It read “Properties Division, NJST, Ocean County, New Jersey”. The more she looked at the little brown package the more it baffled her. Who? What? Where? When? These all ran together in her mind like one long run-on sentence.
The small package opened so easily it surprised Molly. Fully opened, its contents stared up at her. Wrapped in notebook paper was a metal object which when picked up was revealed to be a badly beaten up red cell phone. Molly was stunned, because even in its trashed state, she recognized it immediately to be Rebecca’s cell phone. The phone had been missing since ……. the accident. Molly gripped it oh so tight, first fighting back and then, giving in to the tears.
The questions – who, what, where, and when were answered for her in a simple note written on the paper that the red phone was wrapped in. It read, “Recently, this phone was turned in to our division. It was found near the accident site that took your daughter’s life. I remembered you from your visit with us to pick up your daughter’s belongings. I did a little research using serial numbers and connected this phone to your daughter’s case. I thought you might like to have it. With deepest sympathy; Officer Jill Johnson; Properties Division; New Jersey State Troopers.”
Molly wasn’t surprised when she pressed the power button and the phone didn’t light up. She expected that. What surprised her was when she plugged it into a charger for a few moments and hit the power button, it did light up. In just few seconds, with no password needed, Molly was staring at a screen filled with Rebecca’s android apps.
Molly was unsure what to do next. She felt like she was invading Rebecca’s privacy but she wasn’t really because Rebecca was….not here anymore. She wanted so badly to connect with her daughter. Was this coincidence at the time of her deepest grief orchestrated by someone to help her do just that?
She began with the text message app. Touching the keyboard on the screen where Rebecca’s fingers had typed made her feel close to her beloved child. Scrolling through the texts, she found herself grinning through her tears. The conversations with friends were so sweet, so funny and so Rebecca. For a moment it was as if she wasn’t gone at all.
One string of texts with a guy friend of hers whose name Molly recognized had a strange picture attached. It was a selfie of someone wearing a scarf. Wait. That someone was Rebecca in the selfie and that scarf was green and blue and red and gold and silver and purple with white separating the colors. The project Molly had found in the closet looked amazingly like the beginnings of this scarf. The words in the last text on the string right after the picture brought everything together. It read “Love the scarf I made, making a second for mom for Christmas, we’ll be twins and BFFs.” Pulling herself out of the phone for a second, Molly sighed with relief. At least she knew now what she was supposed to be knitting. It was a scarf, a Christmas scarf at that.
Looking back at the red phone, Molly pulled up her name in the log of texts to review her and her daughter’s conversations. As painful as this was, it was a gift to her, grace if you will, to make it through the season. Touching her name Molly saw an unfamiliar text. She had viewed and reviewed over and over the messages her and her daughter had exchanged in the last summer days before the accident. She didn’t remember this one. Rebecca hadn’t had a chance to send it. It read “Thanks mom for raising me to be who I am, loving me with all my craziness and always being my best friend. God sure gave me the best mom a girl could ask for. I love u.” Clutching the red battered phone, Molly ran to her bedroom and cried her battered heart to sleep.