So until then, enjoy.
As I searched through various drawers, my foot kicked against something solid. A black metal-rimmed trunk sat wedged between several pieces of luggage. It was heavy, and as I eased it out layers of dust made me sneeze. That was good, as it meant the previous housekeeper, whose name I couldn’t bring myself to say, hadn’t been snooping into it. She’d taken my mother’s clothes before so I wouldn’t have put it past her to have pried into all of my mother’s things.
The trunk was locked.
What was in there? What was my mother hiding that needed to be kept in a locked trunk?
I glanced around in case the key was lying somewhere close, or maybe hanging from a hook.
Dumb idea anyway, Laura. If you want something hidden you don’t leave the key where everyone can find it! I’d carry it with me, with my set of house and car keys where they’d blend in with the rest.
The house keys I was in possession of now, didn’t contain any extra keys – Kari and I had tested each one. That left only her handbag.
Judy had always kept it in the middle drawer of her bedside table. It was still there when I pulled it open. I hugged the black leather bag to me and inhaled its sweet leather scent as image after image paraded through my memory.
No more tears, Laura.
I began my search, shunting aside the thought that I was intruding.
For a relatively small bag, it contained so many compartments and pockets, but finally, in a side pocket, my fingers grazed a small key-shaped object.
That had to be it.
Attached was a black velvet ribbon, frayed at the edges. Traces of my mother’s perfume clung to it. Again I inhaled and let the memories assail me – if only for a little while.
Back in the closet, I knelt next to the trunk and inserted the key.
It fit.With a click, the lid flew open.