Between the pages of Exodus and Leviticus, Georgia encounters a spell. Not a Hocus Pocus Spell, like in the Wacky Cartoons, but a cult-like chant. At the end of the chant is a reference to a post office box.
Georgia flips the handwritten note over in her hands.
“Where’s the key to this box?”
On the back side of the sheet, in the lower right-hand corner, it says…Look underneath the tennis bench at Bailey’s.
Georgia wonders. Did Jeremiah leave me this key? Did he know something was about to happen?
“What’s in the lock box?”
The spell lacks Jeremiah’s personal touch, as well as any reference to Bailey’s. The mysterious written communication eats away at her. Georgia calls into work SICK. She knows she will go to Bailey’s, because she grows anxious to know the contents of the box, grows anxious to discover the truth as well as to delve into something beyond her comprehension.
Why Exodus? Is someone leaving? She doesn’t know whether she likes the sound of that. All Georgia has is KC and Tawny. They are all the family she cares to have. And Jeremiah had already been taken from her, like Romeo from Juliet.
Georgia pictures some force preventing her mechanical car from reaching the intended bank, or a fellow employee driving by and seeing her while she waits for help. Her car runs fine. It traverses Lincoln Viaduct and then turns left on Mulberry. It is a beautiful day. The type of day where everyone will question whether she is playing hooky. Tunes from the car stereo can’t soothe her troubled nerves. She turns the stereo off—for the first time she had in years. She hears Tawny laugh and play, the pavement underneath the four wheels, and even swears she hears her own heartbeat. Large buildings appear to her right. The young mother thinks they are majestic, architectural wonders, and man’s attempt to worship concrete and mortar.
Georgia sees a dot of a man up on a scaffold, oblivious to the height or a woman in a car observing his work, and she sighs.
“I don’t do windows,” Georgia says.
“Eooooo,” Tawny answers, then chuckles, happily to herself.
The struts of the car make it sound as if car parts are falling off it. A smell wafts forward; the mother can only think of Tawny. Georgia cracks her window and gets the smell of exhaust—instead. Tawny enters a coughing spell, causing Georgia to wonder if her only child suffers from Asthma? I will have her tested. First…I must get the key.
Georgia pulls the Dodge Wraithfire into Bailey’s parking lot. An eerie feeling falls upon her in returning to the place where Jeremiah was shot. She pensively returns to the scene of the crime, while wondering: What if someone already inspected the bench and walked off with the key?
Her legs are wobbly as she traverses the hill in the direction of the footbridge. A couple of ducks swim down below the bridge, just as they had on that day—two and a half years past. Flashbacks come rushing back to flood her mind. The times she wore a short tennis skirt, swung her pink tennis racket, or saw Jeremiah side-step the net. Oh…How handsome he looked in a muscle shirt and sweats!
Georgia reaches the court and stands for several minutes, just inside the chain-fence doorway. Her lungs find relief in a large burst of fresh mountain air, while her skin absorbs a slight breeze that flows over her warm and awaiting body.
She floats, dramatically, onto the clay court. She drops down to her knees and feels underneath the bench for a key. And feels nothing. A sense of disappointment floods her panicked mind. What if the key is gone?
Her soft hands run up underneath the bench, search, and finally discover the desired object—taped securely to the bottom side of the bench. Prepared, Georgia extracts a pocket-knife and cuts away the tape with a swift stroke. She pulls tape away from metal as she walks back to the open doorway. The number on the key perfectly matches the number given on the chant sheet.
As Georgia clenches her hand around the key, a reflective awareness enters her mind’s eye and makes her stop on the footbridge. In seconds she sees Jeremiah stand with the gun, fire, and the ripple effect of a time storm. Georgia has no way of comprehending this afterthought perception. She has no frame of reference for a time anomaly, never having seen or read about a jump in time and its linear articulation. It is something her mind had long reserved for lost episodes of Star Trek.
Her breath comes in short spurts, as the old gunfighter steps through an invisible curtain, and moves over her beloved—to instinctively look for better cover.
“Oh…My God!” The woman proclaims, while she grabs a railing and squeezes it tight.
“It was you!”
The man and the image reveal no recognition of her observance. Both slowly fade away. Ducks begin to create a water V.
The stunned woman heads back to check on Tawny, still strapped in her child safety seat. As she approaches the car, Georgia pictures Tawny absent—as well. But her child sits and playfully gazes at her mother from behind tempered glass.
Georgia opens the door, jumps inside the car, and buckles her seat belt. A mountain formulated from plate tectonics looms over them, as if it waits to consume them both; its mere shadow bathes the woman in a cold sweat.
Once the engine of the Wraithfire turns over, Georgia doesn’t hesitate in driving away. Tears streak and zigzag their way down her rosy cheeks, as she fights to point the car in the direction of the associated bank. I will take Tawny to the sitter, as I planned.
Jeremiah’s bank appears like a pearl among family restaurants and office buildings. Georgia holds the key, tightly, in her palm. The young mother swears the object sends slight shock waves up through her, every time she touches its well-tooled surface. She pats the pocket of her purse to check for Jeremiah’s old ID, while sincerely hoping she doesn’t have to pull it out.
She recalls the time Jeremiah took her to the bank and added her name to his lock box. She had long forgotten she had scribbled her name on the safe deposit signature card. As she opens a heavy glass entry door, Georgia also remembers walking back to the secure area and signing the card to the box.
Bank personnel lead her through the electronic gate and to the internal boxes, without even checking to see if her fiancée’s driver’s license expired.
A woman with wide spectacles gives her a sudden wink. “Return to the front desk when you’re finished. Also, there is a viewing room underneath that arrow, if you wish to take your box there.”
“Thanks. I believe I will do that.”
Georgia pulls the heavy box out and walks it over to the viewing room. Georgia’s hands tremble as she places the large box on top of a desk. She stops, abruptly. The woman waits, in anticipation, to reveal the hidden contents lurking inside. In fact, she half expects some sort of Jeanie to pop out the lid and grant her three wishes. If so, the prophetess thinks she will bring her soulmate back to life.
Inside of the box is a set of instructions written in a familiar anal scrawl. Georgia can’t believe she may very well possess instructions to form a recipe to bring Jeremiah Walters back from the dead.
Now…Exodus makes more sense to me. The list of items mentioned in the note inspire her: the bible, the old heirloom gun, and Jeremiah’s Prince Tennis Racket. Georgia Alexandre wipes her young forehead off, and she sighs. The gate is so far away. Its is going to be sheer torture waiting eons for any sort of convergence.
“It is a good thing I kept the objects, though.”
The woman remembers she had gotten Jeremiah an electronic tennis game; she still has it—as well. She sometimes imagines Jeremiah’s voice, as the object says, “Lob, forehand, change servers.” She also pictures her beloved, as he serves the electronic ball over an imaginary net. Georgia had even placed a starter racket into Tawny’s little hand. At first, the child treated the object like it was a human flyswatter. But her child quickly learned to connect the racket to a Penn4 fuzzy ball. Tawny started to repeat the word love—over and over, and over again—thus mimicking the term Forty Love.
Mother and daughter begin to fill their days with things, events, people and places. Georgia finds enough adult worries to fill in the rest of the gaps in physical time. After all, the woman realizes she must cover for the greatest human gap of them all, foretelling it will be near a decade before she can truly bring Jeremiah back into their fold.