She arrived early that morning to help her sister move. After 15 years in the same house, Deb wad headed out to work in the big city 2 hours away.
Although Michelle was much younger, she always thought of Deb as her sister. Deb, on the other hand, treated her as only half a sister and often a pest at that.
Deb and Michelle shared the same mom, but Michelle came along much later after their mom had gotten remarried.
Deb did not like the idea of sharing the attention with a young competitor and did what she could to make her younger siblings life miserable.
Now, they were both grown up and had families of their own, but Deb still treated Michelle as a pesky young child in the way except for days like today.
Deb’s house had sold, and she only had a few more days to get everything moved. Deb was more than happy to assign the task of clearing out the storage building to Michelle.
Michelle was to load the largest and heaviest boxes into her SUV. The rest of the helpers were all working inside the house together. Michelle could hear their chatter and laughter. It seemed moving was more fun for them, not at all like the hot, sweaty experience she was having all alone in the storage building.
Michelle loaded box after box. Moving them and loading the heavy boxes from the bottom in first and then the lighter ones on top. She secured each unit as she went and progressed in spite of the 100 plus degree temperatures inside the shed.
There were only three boxes left and if she maneuvered then just right, they could fit in the passenger seat, giving her just enough room and line of sight to handle the drive down carefully.
She took the top box off and put it to the side. Then moved the middle one closer to the door. The last heavy box was now within reach.
This last box was heavier than the rest. Michelle had to move around into the dark corner to get a better grip. She finally ally found the handholds and heaved up the box into her arms. The motion made her lose her balance. As she lunged to the side, trying to remain upright, her foot broke through a rotten plank.
She and the contents of the box flung across the floor. She hollered out as the back of her leg was impelled with a large chunk of wood.
Her hands felt bruised, and her nose was bleeding.
“Anyone out there?” She yelled again and again. After several attempts to obtain help, she simply gave up and started accessing the damage to her leg. She was bleeding profusely, but the wooden splinter had not stayed in her leg.
She wiped her nose on the back of her sleeve for nothing else was handy. Then, she sat there on the floor of the shed and began picking up all if the scattered memories.
There were yearbooks from her sister’s days in high school. There were trophies and ribbons her kids had won. There were a few pictures. Michelle put the items back in the box one by one, inspecting them for damage.
The name Doug stood out on the final items, some documents that scattered during the fall. Why would Deb have papers with my father’s name all over them? Michelle wandered.
She noticed it was a life insurance policy and death certificate. Michelle’s father had died two years ago. She stared at the documents in utter disbelief. Had her father owned life insurance? And why would it mention Deb as if she were his daughter?
Deb hollered, “Aren’t you done yet?”
“Almost,” Michelle answered as her sister’s voice brought her back to the present. “I fell through a board when I was getting this box.”
“Did you hurt the shed? I don’t want the buyers to have a reason to back out of the deal. You may have really screwed things up for me you know. I can’t believe you would do something so stupid and what about my stuff?”
Michelle stood slowly cringing from the pain of putting weight on her injured leg. I think everything is ok.
Deb spotted the paperwork her hand.
“Oh, I see. You were being nosy and fell. Serves you right!” Deb yelled as she yanked the documents from Michelle’s hand.
The rest of the family had gathered around to investigate all the commotion.
“Michelle here got hurt being nosy and going through my things,” Deb yelled to the others. “Just grab these last few boxes and let’s go.”
“Are you through in the house?” Michelle asked.
“Of course we are.” Deb snapped. “It’s locked, you’re not getting in there to snoop around now.”
“Let’s go, everyone,” Deb ordered. “Mom, you can drive Michelle’s car.”
“Where am I riding?” Michelle questioned. Confused as to how she suddenly lost driving privilege to her vehicle.
“You’re not. Find your own way home. You little nosy Nelly.” Deb said and turned her back, walking away.
Michelle looked at her mom with pleading eyes. Her mom simply shrugged and replied, “You shouldn’t have been snooping in her stuff.”
“It wasn’t like that.” Michelle retaliated. “I fell and the box dumped. Can’t you see that I’m hurt? How am supposed to go to her new house and help unload?”
“You’re not!” Deb screamed from a distance as she got into the other vehicle with three other family members. Somehow, the four of them had managed to load five boxes in Deb’s van while Michelle had loaded 15 in the SUV.
“How am I supposed to get home?” Michelle begged her mom.
“I’ll call Roger when we get to Deb’s house,” She replied as she shut the door and drove off.
“But that’s two hours away,” Michelle cried as they disappeared down the road and out of sight.
There was no way she could walk the 10 miles back to her house with her injured leg. She collapsed to the wooden floor that held a board as broken as she felt and cried.
Today had brought her pain, grief, and unanswered questions. Today had also shown her the truth. She wished she could go back to believing she was loved.