The following morning, John had left early to go to town. He had several deliveries to make from his furniture orders. As he arrived, he decided he’d pick up his letter first. It would be easier to do it now and not have to double back after his deliveries.
“Morning Mr. Olsen, I’m here to pick up that letter.”
“Yes, it’s here somewhere. Ah, here you go.”
As John looked at the envelope, it was not from the University as he had thought, but from the County Hospital. He tore it open and began to read.
He quickly stuffed the letter into his pocket and ran out the door.
“What is it John?” Mr. Olsen shouted, but John had already raced through the door.
Jessie had finished her breakfast and dressed. She was walking out to the barn to feed the animals when she heard a wagon at a distance. As she turned, she could see it was John. And he still had his furniture in the back, and he was going much too fast!
“Jessie! Oh Jessie, the letter, it was not from the University, but from your Aunt at the Hospital.”
“Yes, it’s time Jessie, and she wants to see you. Only damn! I waited for two days ow to pick up this letter and it must have taken a few more to even get here and . . . I don’t know Jessie,” he said sadly.
“What do you mean it’s time? And you don’t know what?”
“She’s dying Jessie.”
“Dying, no! She can’t be!”
Tears filled Jessie’s eyes.
“But I never got to write her and tell her I’m not angry with her anymore and that her decision was right and . . .”
“I know Jessie, let’s go to the train station and see if we can leave today.”
They hurried to the house. Jessie ran up the stairs, grabbed her suitcase and stuffed a few items into it. Then she ran to John’s room.
“John wait. You can’t come with me. You can’t leave here now, and so fast. There’s way too much to do for just your father to take care of. And besides, I’m sure the train is very expensive. I should go alone.
“Alone! No Jessie. I’ll work something out.”
“There’s no time.”
John hesitated, he knew she was right, but hated the thought of her going alone.
“Do you promise to send me a telegram and let me know what’s happening right away?”
He walked over to her and held her tight.
“I hate for you to have to go through this alone.”
“I’ll be fine. We’d better go.”
As they rode to town, John could see how worried Jessie was. “John let me see her letter.”
As she read the words her heart dropped and tears poured from her eyes. It was addressed to John and not Jessie. Aunt Betsy said the time had finally come for her to go, and she wanted to see Jessie one last time. And that his money would be sent from her attorney soon.
“I don’t understand this letter. Why does it seem like you knew she was ill? And what money is to be sent to you?”
Her voice was no longer sad, but angry.
“Jessie, I don’t have time to explain it all, but . . .”
“You knew! You knew Aunt Betsy was dying, and you never told me! And she . . . she paid you to take me!”
John stopped the wagon at the station.
“Jessie, it wasn’t exactly like that.”
“Did you know she was ill? Yes or no!”
“Well, yes, but . . .”
“Did you take money? Yes or no!”
“Yes, but it was used on you and . . .”
Jessie stormed off of the wagon, grabbed her bag and went up to the window.
“Jessie, please let me explain.” He called as he ran after her.
“Can I help you miss?” said the man behind the window.
“Yes, I need to know when the next train is leaving for the city.”
“Jessie, look at me,” John said as he grabbed her arm. “You can’t leave this way. . .”
“Excuse me,” interrupted the man behind the window. “The train is boarding now, if you want to leave today, you’d better hurry.”
Jessie turned to John, with tears in her eyes she said, “Let go of me, you have no rights to me any longer.”
“Jessie listen to me. It was your Aunt’s wish. She didn’t want you to know she was ill.”
“I will make sure you get your money . . . all of it! And I’ll never forgive you for not telling me! Do you hear me? Never!”
She turned away from him and ran to board the train.
The whistle blew and the tirain left. John stood alone watching as the train carried Jessie away.
He rode back home, without even bothering to deliver his furniture. It would have to wait. He had never seen Jessie so angry before, all he could think of were her last words to him; “I’ll never forgive you.”
As John pulled into the driveway, he noticed another wagon. It was his mother. He had forgotten she was coming to discuss plans with Jessie for the children’s group.
“John! Hello. Well, where’s Jessie? I’ve looked in the barn, and the house is locked. I was just about to leave.”
“Oh, well, she’s not here. She had to go out to the city for . . . for a while.”
“Why would she just take off to the city like this? I spoke to her just yesterday and she said nothing.”
“Well it came up suddenly.”
He tried to hide his emotions. He couldn’t tell his mother that Betsy had died, his parents believed that was why Jessie had come in the first place.
“I don’t understand dear is everything alright?”
“I’m not sure.”
“And why do you look as though your heart has been broken? Come, we’ll go inside and you can explain it all to me.”
John sat with his mother for a long time talking. He told her the truth about everything. He needed someone to share his frustration with. He was afraid he’d lost Jessie for good.
“Well, I’m really surprised at you John. Bringing a girl here under those circumstances, and keeping the truth from her like that. It’s no wonder she’s so angry!”
John slumped his head down, feeling like a fool.
“I know you, and I know you had good intentions, and that you’re hurting right now. Have you fallen in love with her?”
“Does she know?”
“I guess she should. But I’m not sure. I never actually told her so.”
“Jessie must be hurting an awful lot right now. I think you should give her some time. And if she doesn’t contact you soon, you’ll need to find her and tell her you love her. Then she can make her own decisions from there.”
“What do you think she’ll do?
“I think she loves you as well. She may forgive you. Sometimes love is stronger than any mistakes we can make.”
As John heard his mothers’ words, he thought to himself, Jessie must love him. But would it be strong enough to make her forgive him? She must know he loved her, almost from the beginning. And after last night in the barn, he surely showed her that he loved her.
He would give her a few days, as his mother suggested. Until then, he’d have to wait for her to contact him.