The Darkness Behind A Shadow

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Chapter 3: Shattering

12 Years Ago:

The sun was roasting the Earth on this humid, excruciating summer day. It felt as if everyone who was walking down the streets in San Francisco were melting like ice. No amount of water or cold drinks could suffice the thirst of these sweating citizens. However, in the residence of Sadie Jones, the air conditioning was serving its duty and she and her grandson could not feel the humidity and the heat the outdoors had to offer.

Sitting on the rocking chair in the living room of her cozy cottage, Mrs. Jones knits a sweater with indigo yarn. As much as she loved the natural light coming in from her large main window, she finds much more joy when she visits her daughter in New York during the winter season. Although her daughter finds the weather to be depressing and colder than her heart, Mrs. Jones enjoys sitting on the couch with a warm, sweet cup of hot chocolate as she gazes out the window and watches the snow fall.

But, at the moment, she was still in California, knitting and watching her grandson play on the carpet beside her chair. It was a sleek, black carpet to contrast the oyster white walls, 2 white couches, and her rocking chair. In divergence, the side tables beside both couches mirrors the carpet. Honestly, this was her least favorite room and she felt gloomy in her heart whenever she spent time there. But, it was her now deceased husband’s favorite room, so, at the same time, she felt more attached to the room. She was brought out of her thoughts when she heard her grandson’s voice.

“Grandma!” Exclaims her grandson.

“Yes, Spencer.”

“When will mommy and daddy come back,” Spencer innocently questions.

“Soon, honey. Soon”

“Grandma, you said that last week. When are they gonna come? Do they not love me anymore,” Spencer questions as his shoulders start to quiver as tears fall from his adorable eyes.

“No, no sweetheart. This has nothing to do with you. Mommy and Daddy are just trying to settle down before you return. Then, you can visit them both. Now, Mommy and Daddy have their own houses,” Sadie tries to softly explain as she pulls Spencer onto her lap and wipes his tears.

She sets her yarn and needles aside as she rocks back and forth on her rocking chair. She hugs Spencer to her chest as his tears subside. She pitied him greatly because no one, especially her grandson, deserved to go through a parental divorce at such a young age.

“So we are not going to be one big, happy family anymore grandma?” Spencer questions as he tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Well that never was the case, thought the grandmother. Spencer’s father was a cheating bastard anyway. From a glance, the relationship between Lydia Jones, Spencer’s mother, and Christopher Lent seemed quite typical. They both met each other in college, spent a couple years together, and then Christopher proposed.

But, when Lydia introduced Christopher to Sadie, she felt that there was something off about him. From his intimidating demeanor to minimal attention span, Sadie felt that he was not the best man Lydia should settle down with.

But, blinded in love, Lydia refused.

Shortly after their marriage, Spencer came into their lives, and Sadie visited more often because there was something about Christopher that she could not stand. He was rude, not to her, but everyone except her and Lydia. So, she spent countless times with Spencer, hoping that his father wouldn’t taint him. But, Lydia was content with her life, so Sadie decided to tolerate Christopher.

However, a month ago, Lydia came to find that Christopher has mistresses. Not a mistress. Mistresses. Three to be exact. It was right under her nose for seven years, from Christopher late night phone calls to his countless days spent out of the house on ‘business trips.’ Sadie scoffed just thinking about it. She knew her daughter was naive and trusted her husband, but her trust was blind. Blind enough that she looked over all of his lies. It took her six years to find out. Her face had paled when she walked into her bedroom to see her husband’s true face. Sadie’s grip tightens on Spencer as her anger boils. But, it subsides as she stares into the orbs of her young boy.

“You don’t need a big, happy family Spencer. Now, there will be no more fighting. And, you will get more toys!” Sadie attempts to convince Spencer.

But, Spencer was not nearly as enthusiastic.

“Do Mommy and Daddy not love each other anymore?” Spencer probes.

“No honey, I don’t think they ever loved each other enough.”

“Will the same thing happen to me when I get older?”

“No my sweet boy! Trust me, when you will find your wife, you will know she’s your world. She will be the main reason you smile, you’ll go insane for each other.”

Present Day:

Spencer stares at the picture of him and his grandmother from twelve years ago. If only life could be that carefree and enjoyable. If only.

Spencer hadn’t been up in the attic in weeks, but since he was feeling alone today, he decided that now would be the perfect time to reminisce over old but vivid memories. The attic in his mother’s house was gigantic, with the majority of it collecting dust. In the far right corner, there were large boxes upon boxes of pictures before his parents’ divorce. He looked through photo albums of his first birthday, first day of school, first time on the bus. It seemed as if all of his firsts had been with both of his parents by his side. Well, except for his first day of college. Due to his father’s business meeting, he was unable to even call Spencer on his first day of college. It was his first day of one of the most impactful chapters of his life, and he just didn’t seem to care.

After a couple more minutes of glancing through dust-filled photo albums, Spencer couldn’t take the heartache anymore, so he gathered all the albums and photos and sorted them into their appropriate boxes. Just as he finished, his phone rang. It was an incoming call from his grandmother.

“Hello,” Spencer croaks due to the dryness of his throat.

“Hello? That’s all I get? After your amazing first year at NYU, I was expecting a couple ‘heys’ and ‘kumbayas’ to be thrown my way. I thought you were going to be ecstatic because it’s summer, your favorite time of year. You have to go back to college in a month, right?” His grandmother asks in confusion.

“Yep, you’re right,” states Spencer monotonously.

“You don’t sound like yourself sweetheart. What’s the matter? Your mother practically disintegrated my eardrums worrying about your foul mood these past few days. You can tell me,” says grandma, hoping that he will speak the truth.

No one but Spencer knew about the matrimony he was forced into a week ago. Whenever his mother would ask, he would tell her that he’s tired and rapidly moved the conversation into another direction because she already had a lot on her plate. She would probably go unconscious if he lets her in on this experience. But, his grandmother was different. She would certainly find a solution and even hide it from his mother for a while. Moreover, these thoughts were constantly on his mind, drowning him. He needs to let it out. With these thoughts in mind, Spencer utters his next words.

“Something is wrong grandma, and I can’t find a solution. In fact, I don’t even know where to start. We need to talk, but in person. Can I fly over?”

“Oh, honey. You don’t even have to ask, of course you can! But-”

“Okay, I’ll see you in a couple hours. Tomorrow morning at the latest,” declares Spencer as he hangs up.

Spencer rushes down the steps of the attic while frantically running his shaky fingers through his hair. He needs to quickly book a flight, pack a suitcase, and come up with a random excuse for his spontaneous trip to his mother. All while wondering who Elena Henry is and why she is so desperate for him to stay off her path.

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