I shoved the box under my bed, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even though she was dead, Ma still managed to get under my skin. I didn’t want anything from her. I didn’t care what was in her stupid box.
Dusk turned to dark outside the window, and I lay on the bed, trying not to think about the box. The fireflies put on their evening show. Watching their dance calmed my nerves and made me think more clearly.
What if Ma was sorry, and the box was her way of saying that? But she could have just told me. I’d have preferred living words to a dead box.
Dawn came, and I could bear it no longer. I reached under the bed and pulled out the box. I flipped the catch, opened the lid, and stared inside, not comprehending what I saw.
Letters. Myriads of letters, brown ink on the envelopes. I picked one up and slit it open.
“Dear Adrienne, it’s your birthday again …”
They were addressed to me. I flicked through them feverishly, heart thumping. One for every year of my life. Written, but never sent.
Proof that she had cared. I thought she’d forgotten the baby she had to give up, but now I knew the truth, and clutched the faded letters to my heart.