Chamber of Secrets
With her short interviews now out of the way, Amy had plans to spend the rest of the day cleaning out her room. After leaving Ruben's office, she had made pit stops at a few of the local big box stores and asked if they had any cardboard boxes they were going to recycle that she could have or buy from them. She managed to get quite a haul of flattened boxes, all for free, and lugged them up to her bedroom as soon as she got home. Amy made herself some lunch and sat down to think about what she had uncovered so far while she ate. She had learned that Lauren's mom had simply over reacted and was in fact an ally, not an enemy. Jason, on the other hand was definitely an enemy. Not simply because he had played a major role in news of her pregnancy getting around school but because Amy knew Lauren well enough to know she had only confided in her older brother in order to try and find a way to help her best friend; she didn't expect her brother would betray her trust and spill the beans. She learned that Mr. Boykewich, like Dr. Treacy, had simply been trying to help his child. He believed he was helping Ben deal with the reality of teen parenthood and his own jealousy. He didn't know Ben would make the decision to cheat on her and he hadn't anticipated it. Mr. Boykewich was definitely an ally as well. As for Ruben, he was so focused on being the father he should've been all of Adrian's life that he forgot to consider the feelings of those connected to or entangled with his family in any way so he was best fit into the enemy group. It wasn't that he had set out specifically to hurt her in any way but by being so narrow-mindedly focused on an issue at hand without considering the big picture, Amy couldn't be sure that her life wouldn't or couldn't be disrupted by any more of his 'helpful assistance'. After finishing her lunch Amy decided to turn on her phone, since she had no more interviews scheduled for the day. She noticed four new voicemails. The first was from Ben.
"Hi, Amy. I just heard you were home and just wanted to see if you were okay and wanted to meet up today and talk. Talk to you later. I love you, bye." She rolled her eyes and deleted the message. She had a ways to go before she got around to talking to Ben. He would just have to wait. The second was from Ricky.
"Hey, Amy. Look I know you'll tell me what's going on when you're ready but I heard you make that doctor's appointment this morning and I just need to know. Whatever's going on isn't life threatening is it? Call me back. Please." That took her by surprise. Why would he think I was having some kind of medical emergency? She thought back to this morning. That's right! Ricky doesn't know Lauren's mom, Dr. Treacy, is a psychologist too. She looked at her watch and saw that Ricky should be on his lunch break about now so she decided to call him before listening to the other two messages. He picked up on the first ring.
"Hi Amy," he said a little too quickly. He didn't want her to know that he'd been starring at his phone ever since he'd gone on his lunch break and that the sight of her name on his caller ID had made his heart race.
"I just turned on my phone and listened to your message. I'm not having any kind of medical emergency." She couldn't see the relief on his face or the way his entire body had magically relaxed at those words.
"That's good. So you're okay then?" He just had to be sure. She chuckled. Why is he so concerned all of the sudden she wondered.
"Yes, Ricky. Clean bill of health."
"So are we gonna talk about last night sometime in the near future?"
"It's not time to."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means we'll talk when it's time to talk."
"And when exactly is it gonna be time to talk?"
"I'll let you know. Bye." And just like that she hung up on him, leaving more questions than answers. Ricky was tempted to call her right back but he knew that if he pushed her she'd push back and they'd end up nowhere. So for now he'd sit where he was, finish his lunch, go back to work, and let his mind come up with explanations for Amy's weird behavior. The next two messages were from Lauren and Madison respectively.
"Amy, Madison and I are coming over after work to talk to you. I don't know what you needed to talk to my mom about but we're your best friends and we're always here for you. See you soon."
"Amy, Lauren and I are coming over right after work! She said you were back in town and something's up. Why didn't you tell us you were coming home early? Oh, my boss is giving me the evil eye, gotta get back to work. Bye" Amy rolled her eyes. She wasn't talking to anyone tonight; they just didn't know it yet.
First order of business: set up the boxes. Heading up to her room, Amy got to work reassembling and taping up five of the larger boxes and labeled them with letters: "T" for trash, "D" for donate, "R" for recycle, "K" for keep, and "P" for project. Amy planned to trash, donate or recycle a lot of the things she no longer needed, wanted, or fit; keep a few things to put in her little 'chamber of secrets'; and use some things to finish up or create artistic projects. The boxes all finished, she looked around her room, trying to decide where to start. As she sat on the couch earlier that morning she realized that some of the drama she needed to remove from her life was centered on dreams and fantasies that weren't going to come true. She realized while in New York that Julliard and the Philharmonic weren't where her heart was anymore. Having realized she had also been unlucky in love she decided that she would put a moratorium on love and romance until John was at least in college, and sex was out of the question. I'll just use some 'Just Say Me' time while John's with Ricky for that.
Deciding the closet would be a good place to start, she began removing all of her maternity clothes and tossing them into the D box. Next she pulled our anything she hadn't worn in a while or that no longer fit. Having made quick work of her closet she moved on to her dresser drawers to repeat the process. She tossed all of her maternity underwear and nursing bras in the T box. Who wants used underwear? Gross. Clothing done, she moved onto her night stand and shelves. All romance and pregnancy books went into the D box. She wasn't going to be having another baby anytime soon and after her experiences with love and sex, she had no interest in her small collection of romance books, even though they were all strictly PG-rated. She went through the toys and books that she kept in her room for John and likewise picked out all the ones he no used or had outgrown, adding them to the D box. Her shelves now half empty, Amy moved onto her desk. She tossed out old school papers, flyers, pamphlets, and other odds and ends that she no longer needed, including all of the information she'd accumulated about Julliard over the years. She even went through all of her pens and pencils to throw out the ones without ink or eraser ends, respectively. She went through her drawer of important paperwork: her insurance paperwork, John's birth certificate, her bank statements, etc. and made sure everything was organized and filed away where it should be.
Jetlag was starting to catch up with her so Amy looked at her watch. It was 2:45. She considered taking a nap but decided she'd rather finish cleaning out her room before picking up John. She began sorting through her various boxes. Starting with the D box, she dumped everything out on her bed and made three piles. She would donate her items to the church nursery, the local library, and Goodwill. The local library would be getting all of her books. The church nursery would be getting all of John's old books and toys. Everything else was going to Goodwill. She taped up three smaller boxes from her stash and placed the appropriate items in each. Next Amy tackled the R box. She sorted the various items inside into paper, plastic and cardboard piles; put each pile into a smaller box; and then carried them downstairs to the recycle bins outside and dumped them into the respective bins. She returned to her room for the T box and promptly carried it outside to empty its contents into the trash bin. Being a single mother, Amy had plenty of pictures she'd been meaning to organize and put into photo albums or frames; she just hadn't gotten around to it. Returning to her room, she dumped out the P box and spent the next hour writing names, dates, and ages of the people in the photos on the backs and putting them into albums or photo frames. That finished, she got to work dusting and vacuuming her room. By the time she was done changing her bed sheets, it was a little after 4:00. She stepped back and proudly surveyed how less cluttered her room was. Plenty of room now for new memories and dreams.
Taking some of her filled photo albums, Amy took a small locket out of her jewelry box and made her way upstairs to the attic, to her 'chamber of secrets.' When she had turned eight, Mimsy and her mom had given her a hope chest for her birthday and it was where Amy kept all of her secrets. She smiled when she spotted the chest in the far corner and made her way over to it. Taking the locket, she carefully pressed it into a small depression on the side of the chest and gave it a 360 degree turn. One of Amy's favorite things about her hope chest was this interesting lock mechanism. The chest was hand carved out of wood and had Irish symbols all around the edge carved in as depressions, symbols of her maternal heritage. All of the depressed symbols were identical but only she, Mimsy and her mom, and the person who made the chest she guessed, knew which depression her locket actually fit into in order to open the chest.
Opening the chest Amy couldn't help but smile at the "treasures" inside. At the moment, her chest contained handmade quilts, linens, and several baby blankets her mom and Mimsy had made. The chest also held a set of china and a necklace that had been passed down for generations from mother to eldest daughter to be worn on the daughter's wedding day. When Amy had been given her hope chest, her mother had given it to her and Mimsy had watched with tears in her eyes. Over the years Amy had placed of few of her own little treasures inside: her journals. When she received her hope chest, Mimsy had also given her a blank journal. Amy smiled as a memory of receiving that gift came back to her.
"Now Amy," Mimsy had said, "every woman needs a journal and a diary. A diary is good for writing down what's on your mind or heart at the moment. A journal is where you write down your story." Mimsy could tell from Amy's expression that she didn't understand so she smiled and continued explaining.
"There will be times in your life when you have thoughts and emotions swirling around inside you that you just wanna write down in order to get them off your mind. There will also be times in your life when you feel the need to sit and think about what has happened to you during the past week or month. As you think about what has happened to you, a journal is a companion that will listen as you write your story and then keep it a secret, so long as it's locked away somewhere safe, like a hope chest." She said the last line with a wink and Amy smiled.
Amy hadn't fully understood then why she would need or want to keep a journal a secret, not until she decided to play the French Horn. It was only when she decided to face her fear of the wolf that she began using her journal, and she continued writing in journals after her first one had filled up. Smiling fondly at her secrets, sitting safely stacked and tied together in her hope chest, she quickly added her photo albums of pictures of John to it and closed it, locking it securely. She returned her locket to her jewelry box and unpacked her luggage. I'll do the actual laundry tomorrow she thought as she dropped off her dirty clothes in the laundry room. After placing the gifts she'd brought for her family on the kitchen table, she fixed herself a quick snack before heading out to pick up John.