The third day at sea, exhaustion overcomes Joseph while he is walking the promenade. Several deckchairs beckon. If I just lie here for a few moments, I ’ll be fine.
I fall fast asleep. When I awake, Lura Myer is sitting beside me. She stares as I mumble something and attempt to leave. Picking up my coat, my hat tumbles to the deck. I’ll never forget, “Oh, my God, you’re the man, the stranger.”
Never a good liar, I attempt to leave. That doesn’t work. She is not to be dissuaded. She demands that I explain or she will scream for help. Trapped I agree to explain all. She is angry. My God, I didn’t realize how beautiful she is.
After apologizing for any discomfort I may have caused her and the girls, I agree to tell her who I’m. “It is a long story.”
“Why don’t you begin?”
“My name is Joseph Myer.”
She asks if I’m related to Walter.
“Yes, I’m his illegitimate half-brother.”
“Walter never mentioned you.”
I explain to her that Walter never knew about me.
Mrs. Myer asks, “Why should I believe you?”
“Mrs. Myer, there is no reason for you to believe me. If you choose not to, that will be your decision. You are the only living relative I have, and that’s tenuous at best.” I don’t know why, but I’m positive that she believes me.
After I explain who I am, she wants to know, “Why have you been following me?”
“My mother died two years ago. Before she died, she gave me this picture.”
I hand her a faded photograph. It is a grainy and timeworn image of my mother and Major Myer.
Mrs. Myer tells me she must return to the girls. She also asks me to call for them at six for dinner. This is fast becoming one of the best days of my life.