by Aerin Rose
“No, it’s me, Kate.” She pulled the lavender nightgown over the old woman’s head.
“Yes, remember? That I’m going back to college?”
“What about my violets?”
“Don’t you worry, I wrote everything down. I marked the watering can at just the right amount.”
“A walk in the gardens at 2PM, the new girl knows that, too.”
“Yes, I’ll tell her to close the blinds at bedtime.”
“Audrey. The necklace.”
“No, ma’am, I’m Kate.” She ran a brush gently through the sparse hair. “Which necklace?”
“I wore white to the ball, of course. Debutantes. Virginal my ass. But to Casino Night, I wore emerald silk, cut low. I had the bosoms for it then. A dyed ostrich feather in my hair. Daddy wanted a deal with the Carruthers. Bought me a 23 carat green tourmaline surrounded with diamonds. Believe you me, Jack Carruthers noticed. I’m pretty sure your mother was conceived that night. She had Jack’s eyes.”
Kate said quietly, “I’m not Audrey.”
“Your mother burns through money like marijuana.”
“She’s not my—What’s this?” Kate frowned at the little envelope that the older woman pushed into her hand.
“The key. For the safe deposit box. I put the necklace away, oh, years ago. Figure it’s worth ninety, a hundred thousand.”
“Mrs. Carruthers, I’m not…”
“She stuck me in this nursing home. Where they don’t even serve Rocky Road. Sell the necklace, dear. To pay for school.”