I met Marty. He was a nice, easy-going guy who fell head over heels in love me. I never understood why he did, but he did. I let myself be swept away in his love, secretly hoping that I’d feel something more for him than fondness. When he asked me to marry him, I said yes. He was sweet and safe and I really did care for him, though I wouldn’t call what I felt love. I never told him about Casie. He knew there was some secret in my past, but Marty wasn’t the kind to probe, and I didn’t offer up any information.
Casie’s mother and mine were friends, so every once in awhile I heard things about her. I heard when Casie moved to the east coast and when she was admitted to rehab for drugs and alcohol. I heard about her miscarriages and failed relationships, even the one with a woman that my mother found so scandalous. “I’m so glad you didn’t turn out like that, Linda. That girl has caused her mother so much grief.”
That night I went home and cried. I couldn’t tell Marty why. I didn’t know myself whether my mom’s comments were bringing up relief or sadness, or both, or some emotion I couldn’t get a hold of.
Kate was two years old when mom told me Casie had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “You two used to be such good friends. I swear I don’t know what happened, but it would probably mean a lot to her if you wrote. Especially now. You never know if she’ll pull out of this one or not.”
I didn’t know what I’d say, but something made me agree to write Casie. I bought special paper and a new pen, thinking that might help, but all I could think to write was, “I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. If you need anything, let me know. Best regards, Linda.” Casie didn’t respond. Several months later mom told me she’d died. Casie had been forty two.
I didn’t go to the funeral. A month or so afterwards, the package arrived, forwarded from her mom. I buried it in a dresser drawer where it stayed, with all its memories, until now.