The Lysander made a washboard landing in the field beside an old farmhouse.
“Thank you for this, George,” Jill yelled over the drone of the plane’s engine as he brought it to a stop. She stretched over and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“That’s payment enough. Let’s hope…”
She had known George since…well…she couldn’t recollect when she didn’t know him.
“Me too,” she interjected, sighing. “Nasty storm brewing…Are you sure you shouldn’t wait this out?”
“Git girl! I’ll be back in Portland before it breaks.”
Disembarking with her suitcase, she shut the door and, rounding the plane on the propeller side, headed to the fence-line to watch the plane disappear into the low hanging, foreboding clouds.
The moment she laid eyes on her brother, Allan, standing at the door, she knew and she began to sob uncontrollably as sheets of rain played out its empathetic gesture.
“I tried you know…I really did…” she said between waves of sobbing.
“I know sis…I know.” Placing his arm around her shoulders, he guided her into the kitchen and sat her down at the table. “Here, let me take your suitcase. You just sit here.”
The ghosts of her mom and dad danced in the kitchen to the intermittent beat of rain smashing against the windows and Jill smiled at the thought.
Allan sat down beside her and handed her a wad of Kleenex and watched as she wiped away her tears and blew her nose. “Jill, it was a massive heart attack. He was dead before he hit the ground.”
“Damn it, Allan! I’m a cardiologist! I should have seen the signs the last time I was here.” Jill bent over and kissed the top of her brother’s head and gave it a little hug. “I’ll be okay, Allan…Really…I will. I just need time to myself.” She stood up and started down the hallway to her bedroom.
“Wait! There’s an envelope from dad. It’s in your room. And, no, I don’t know what’s in it.”
Alone, she sat on her bed for a long time before finally opening the envelope and reading the letter.
Clutching the letter in her hand, Jill ran down the hall, through the kitchen and outside into the rain to the side of the house where she flung open the cellar door and rushed down the stairs to the basement. Allan found the light-switch and turned it on while she pulled the trunk to the middle of the room and opened it. Inside were neatly stacked letters tied off with string with a different year marked on each. Arranging them on the floor in sequence, she set about reading them while Allan looked on.
Rain droplets splashing into the rain-barrel outside counted out the three hours that passed.
Tears streaming down her face, she put down the last letter. “George is my father.”
The radio crackled in the house: “News Bulletin: A pilot is dead after his plane crashed outside of Portland…”