I held the open letter in my hand, wondering what it could possibly entail. The message was just so… unrealistic. An inheritance? A house? Sisters? None of it made sense; No, not a bit.
I laid the letter on my lap, my legs dangling off the top bunk of my bed. My bunk was the first in a row of five, each bed occupied by former pick pockets, thieves, and over-all unwanted gangster girls. We’re the girls who smile and say “my pleasure” at Pickin’ Chicken. How we got here? That’s another story.
I sighed heavily, listening as the girls swarmed around Miss Catherine in the room I just left. Tir Nan Og… How could that old building possibly be mine?
My weird green-blue eyes stared into space while I searched for a logical answer. My red hair isn’t two long, and most of my pony tail is white. Eh, I like the way it looks, and Miss Catherine hasn’t fired me for my unruly hair yet. Outside the uniform, I wear a yellow undershirt, a black hoodie, and jeans. I’ve got a smathering of freckles on my face, which is pretty tan, and a scar over my left eye. I honestly don’t remember where that came from, but at this point, I don’t really care. Emily’s makeup magic hides it from the guests well enough.
“What do ya think, Kay?” asked a warm, familiar voice.
I glanced up to see Miss Catherine standing next to my bunk. Her astoundingly freckled face beamed at me with the same maternal goodness that keeps us girls here. Every inch of her, from her head to her toes, is completely covered by freckles. Her green eyes shine with laughter throughout the day and her hair, which she keeps up in a bun, is about the same color as gold, just not light-reflective.
She wore her usual work clothes - white sleeves rolled up to her elbows, stained apron, and jeans - as she stood below my bed. To be honest, I’ve never seen her wearing anything else, not even pajamas.
“I don’t know what to think,” I admitted, leaping from my bunk to land in front of my long-suffering mentor and friend, “It’s all so…”
“Dream-like perhaps?” she offered in her sweet, Southern accent.
“Exactly!” I exclaimed, throwing my hands in the air, “I should be waking up any moment now and wondering what would give me such a crazy dream!”
“Well I can tell ya for sure, it wouldn’t be lyin’ on yer mattress now if the postmen had their way, hun.” Miss Catherine smiled.
I paused, cocking my head at my friend, “You stole it?” I asked in a low voice.
“Saved it from the dumpster more like,” she beamed, crossing her arms, “Didn’t ya see the envelope ain’t got a sendin’ address?”
I scrambled back up the ladder to examine the letter; Sure enough, the only writing on it was the return address and a stamp.
“A nice-lookin’ feller brought it to the post office and left it on the front desk.” Miss Catherine began as I stared at the letter with a curious expression, “He dropped it on the desk, slid the thing to the lady behind the coun’er, and flat left it there without sayin’ a word. I was next in line after him, and had the joy of watching the office workers bustle over it before the manager told em to toss it. Since I ain’t much for wasting things myself, I pinched it from certain doom and split it open to read.”
I listened intently from my bunk, clutching the letter in my hands.
“That’s when I found it was yours, hun.” she finished, watching me carefully.
We said nothing for a minute while I processed everything she had said.
“How soon do ya plan to move out?” Miss Catherine asked, reading me like an open book.
I refolded the letter and tucked it back into the envelope, “Well… I guess I’ll go tomorrow… see what there is to see… find out who these people are.” I rubbed my eyes violently, erasing the threatening tears.
“And if there ain’t much out there,” Miss Catherine whispered, climbing up to join me in my bunk, “you’re always welcome to stay here again.”
The dam burst as I hugged the only family I had and soaked her work-worn shoulder.
“Tir Nan Og ain’t far from here anyhow,” she assured me, “You can still keep yer job while livin’ with family.”
I was already living with my family, I thought passively, but let’s find out what relatives are like.