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I See You

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up where we write for 5 minutes on a one-word without heavy editing and see what happens. Read all of today’s post here.

Like any typical American parents, we were armed with our video camera (this was in the days before cell phones with cameras) and waiting expectantly for our sweet tow-headed 4-year-old boy to appear on the stage for his end-of-year performance for Mom’s Day Out.

When he came out with his classmates, dressed in his green collared shirt and cute khaki pants, I looked through the viewfinder of the camera to make sure I could get him in focus before things began.

 

What I noticed as I watched him through that lens was that he was looking all around the crowded church sanctuary, searching for us. I could read his little lips saying, “Where ARE they?” as his gaze grew concerned. David and I waved our arms and halfway stood trying to get his attention, but the lights were too bright on the stage, and there were too many bodies in the auditorium.

MDO program

He couldn’t see us.

Once the music started, he was happy singing along and doing the hand motions as he’d been taught, and I recorded him and clapped when it was done. But my heart was a little sad. I so wanted him to know that we were watching him. That we were there. That we cared.

Now, 18 years later, that little 4-year-old is 22 and searching for who he is. During a crisis time just a few months ago, I wrote him a letter reminding him of that night all those years ago and asking him, “Do you see us now? Do you know that we see you, that we’re here for you, that we love you?”

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Hagar gave God the name El Roi in Genesis 16:13, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

 

 

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Chapter 18—Search

We’re coming down to the wire with this 31-day challenge! I hope you have enjoyed following along on this journey. If you’re new around here, you can start chapter 1 here. Also, I’ve made a few little changes to the story. I felt it worked better for Scott to be just slightly older and a detective instead of a rookie cop fresh out of the Academy, so you’ll see some of those changes reflected from here on. Let me know what you think!

 

Chapter 18

Search

 

As Erin followed Scott down the wide carpeted stairs leading to the lower level, she couldn’t help but wonder what they had been missing all these years. From Hazel’s outward appearance and persona, she was pretty certain no one would have guessed that she lived like this. Everyone in the Village thought the accident that took her family had caused a mental breakdown. She always wore the same clothes no matter the weather. She did not speak much to anyone, but when she did it was very polite and quiet, and she never opened herself up to deep conversations with anyone. She never let anyone come and help repair or keep up the outside of the house, that was obvious from its run-down state. Erin wanted nothing more than to find her and then sit with her and learn what was going on behind the façade. She was absolutely certain at this point that it was a façade.

Entering the downstairs living area solidified that belief. As the staircase took a turn to the right, the typical laundry room appeared. Nothing unusual there. Top-loading washer sat alongside a front-loading dryer. Nothing high end or fancy, but good quality, looked like it had been around for a long time. Ironing board with an iron waiting to be used hung in a special nook in the wall above a wooden dryer rack. An empty laundry basket stood on the tile floor next to the dryer. Out of curiosity, Erin opened the washer and then the dryer. Both were empty.

To the right of the laundry room, through an arched doorway was a playroom that would have been heaven for any small kid. Surrounded by a plastic removable gate was a ball pit filled with colorful balls about three inches in diameter each. There was a large TV and a VCR with stacks of kids movies underneath. Low white shelves lined the far wall filled with books to be read and games just waiting to be played. Like Bryan’s room, this one didn’t look like it had been touched in twenty years.

Giving it just a cursory glance for the moment, Erin turned toward the opposite side of the laundry room where Scott had flipped on an overhead light and was now standing and staring. Erin moved to his side and saw why. A modern office that would be the envy of any tech geek stood out as an anachronism to the untouched 90s of the rest of the house. State of the art computer equipment sat on a glossy black desk. At least three monitors, none of which were currently on, faced a high-back black chair. Shelves lined the wall behind the desk with neatly labeled file folders and books in immaculate order covering every inch.

“I’m ceasing to be surprised by anything I see,” Scott said as he moved to turn on the computer and begin a search of what he might find.

While he did that, Erin walked over to the wine bar in a corner by a plywood-covered picture window. She walked behind the bar and, unlike Scott, was again stunned by what she found. Every bottle of the hundreds she found in every cubby of that bar was from one place: Green Glass Vineyard and Winery.

The plywood all around the house began to make sense. Hazel didn’t want anyone to see what was going on inside her house, just like she didn’t want anyone to see what was going on in her head.