Later that evening, I drove to the Stern mansion to see Catherine. She’s wasn’t at her best which left it even more appealing for me to want to forgive her. She went over what would be my new life. She laid it all out, but then at the end she hit me with the fact that it would all be mine in time. Once I passed through probation.
I remember that day so clearly, it’s almost like I’m reliving it.
Catherine instantly sees my rage and tries to calm me, tries giving me guarantees but then she halts her speech and asks me one simple question,“What is it that will make you happy?”
Looking at her baffled, she repeats herself, “Shane, what is it that will truly make you happy? You need to figure it out because this life is not made for everyone and you missed a lot by not being raised in it. If you think that me giving you everything you always wished for will make you happy, it won’t. And with everything I’ve put you through, I want that for you. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness…”
Interrupting her, I say, “I never said you had my forgiveness and the way things are going, it doesn’t look like I will be giving you a reprieve from your guilt any time soon.”
She nods her head and quietly says, “I deserve that. I do, but I’m not putting you on probation to hurt you.”
“Really? Care to explain? Because it seems like you’re not finished torturing me.”
“I will give you it all, but you need to know how to handle it. You weren’t at the age of training when your father was taken from you.”
“And you took everything else.” I practically yell at her.
“Yes, I did. I will not make any more mistakes with you. When I give you your father’s territory, I will make sure you won’t lose it. You’ll never have to worry about someone trying to take it from you because they will fear you.”
“I’m already feared.”
“Not my kind of fear.” She smiles and says, “This life can eat you up, Shane.”
“Are you worried I will become my father? Is this what all this is about?”
“No, Shane. You are not your father, just like my sons are not theirs. I’m done with the past. All of it. Having cancer has taught me what is really important in life. I can see it clear as day; you think that when I hand you back everything it will make you happy, that it will solve all your problems? It won’t.”
Before she could go on, I stand without another word and leave. I know what comes next, and I can’t believe the nerve of her to want to question my life choices.
Pulling myself out of the flashback, I turn my attention back to the envelope. Turning it upside down, the single dried up wildflower of years gone by, falls onto my desk. Slowly and carefully I pick it up. The once simplistic wildflower is so fragile now and the vibrant yellow coloring it once had is long gone. But still it holds a special meaning to me. More than just the small crush I had for Catherine.
It brings back another memory, one of a girl, innocent and beautiful with hair as golden as the sun. With curls that surrounded her delicate features. She was my wildflower. Images remain of her lying beside me in an open field under the light of day. Laughing so sweetly as I slipped wildflowers like this one through her curls making a crown around her head as she looked upon me like she needed me for her next breath.
Catherine wants to know what would make me happy. How do I tell her that I had it once and the very person that gave it to me is the same one who robbed me of it?
I slip the flower back into the envelope and stick it back into its place in my drawer. Yesterday is gone, my wildflower girl took with her everything I ever cared about. Leaving me with a void I’ve never been able to fill.
All I know is things are about to change. I will seek out my new future. I might never be truly happy again, but I’m done paying retribution for someone else’s crime and Catherine damn well better deliver on her promises.