Fiona Wright’s children gathered at her home to celebrate their mother’s 75th birthday, but the woman suddenly disappeared. They looked everywhere in the house and were confused when Fiona reappeared right from her room. But the older woman died suddenly that night, and her children finally discovered why she vanished.
“It’s time to sing happy birthday! Viola, go find Mom. I think she was looking for something in her room,” Viola’s brother, Noah, requested as their other sister, Clementine, brought out the cake covered in candles. She placed it on the dining room table and started to light it.
All three of them, their spouses, and children had gathered for their mother’s 75th birthday at their childhood home in Thornton, Colorado. There was a lot of noise in the house, but they all had a good time. However, it was getting late, and their mother would probably want them to leave soon, so Viola went to find her.
But when she returned, she shrugged and said, “She’s not in her room. Is she outside?”
“No, she’s not,” Noah’s wife, Karina, replied in confusion. “I could’ve sworn we just saw her going into her room.”
“Yeesh, let’s all look for her. Her mind has not been that great lately. I hope she didn’t go outside,” Clementine chimed in.
All the adults searched the property for Mrs. Wright to no avail. They asked their kids, who were playing in the backyard, but no one had seen her. After a few minutes of nothing, all Fiona’s children started to get worried.
“The neighbors haven’t seen her either. Should we call the police?” Noah wondered, grabbing his phone from his pocket and unlocking it.
“No! It hasn’t been that long. Let’s divide up and search by car this time. She likes going to the café two blocks away, and there’s a Walmart where everyone knows her. Let’s see. Where else could she go?” Clementine started planning. She used her fingers to list all the places where Fiona might be, but then the older woman reappeared.
“Hey, why are you all huddled here?” Fiona asked, her hands on her waist as she looked around at her family gathered at her home.
Everyone rushed to Fiona, demanding to know where she had been because they’d been searching for her for at least 30 minutes. However, the older woman was completely confused by this.
“What are you talking about? I was just in my room doing my makeup,” Fiona explained, using her hand to mimic putting on lipstick. Everyone turned towards Viola in confusion, but she only shook her head, as their mother had not been in the room when she went to find her. No one knew what to say or how to explain this.
“Anyway…,” Clementine’s husband, Matthew, began, leading his mother-in-law towards a chair at the dining table. “How about we sing happy birthday and get out of Mrs. Wright’s hair. She’s clearly tired.”
The rest of the clan agreed, so they lit the candles and sang for the older woman, although she looked confused. Suddenly, she whispered. “It’s my birthday? We should wait for Robert to come out of the bedroom.”
Once again, her three children looked at each other worriedly because Robert was their late father who passed away over ten years ago.
However, they couldn’t dwell on that for too long because at that moment, Mrs. Wright fell from her chair and collapsed on the floor, and she never woke up again.
The following week went by in a blur for the entire family, as they hosted a funeral and a special reception afterward for their extended relatives who flew out of state to pay their respects.
When all that was over, Noah, Viola, and Clementine started sorting Mrs. Wright’s things at her home. They planned to sell the house, so they had to pack her belongings and clean up. Then the topic of their mother’s disappearance during her birthday came up. “I just hate that we we’ll never know what happened that day. I swear she wasn’t here,” Viola said, folding one of Fiona’s old dresses into a box.
Their childhood home didn’t come with built-in closets like most homes do now, but Fiona bought an antique wardrobe to use as such, and she treasured that piece of furniture. Her siblings agreed that it was weird, but they couldn’t do anything about it.
As Viola finished packing her mother’s clothes, she started cleaning around. That’s when she noticed an old photograph behind the wardrobe. She couldn’t pull it out, so Noah came to help her. He heaved at the effort but moved it enough to get the picture. However, Viola had already lost interest in the image because moving her mom’s antique furniture had uncovered a secret door. “What is this?” she asked, looking at her siblings with wide eyes.
“It’s like the movies. It’s a door. Noah, let me help you move this thing some more,” Clementine suggested, rushing towards the wardrobe. After the siblings pulled it entirely to the side, Viola tried the rusty door, which opened easily. They all gasped as it revealed a staircase leading down.
“Oh my. This is not exciting, as you just put it, Clementine. It’s more like a scary movie we just saw,” Viola added, twisting her lips. But in the end, they decided to go downstairs and were shocked by what they discovered. The room was clean for a basement, but there was a life-size sculpture of their father.
“Now I understand why Mom talked about Dad being in the bedroom that day. She must have been hiding in here looking at this thing when you went to her room, Viola,” Noah muttered, shaking his head and crossing his arms. “This is so weird. Where did she get this?”
“I don’t know, but it’s nice. It’s well-made. I think it might be marble too. I think Mom missed Dad so much that she probably came down here every day and for about everything else,” Viola chimed in, inspecting the artwork. “Should we keep it?”
“I know Mom and Dad were into art and stuff. But this is a little too weird for us to keep it. I mean, they never told us about it, so clearly, it was an intimate secret. I don’t think we were ever meant to find it,” Clementine contemplated as the three siblings circled the sculpture, not knowing what to do with it.
A few days later, Viola decided to get it appraised. The curator at Amber Braxton Fine Arts confirmed that it was made out of marble, and therefore, it was an expensive piece. He offered to show it at their gallery, and eventually, a wealthy art collector bought it.
What can we learn from this story?
- Some loved ones are never forgotten. Mental capabilities deteriorate with old age, but Mrs. Wright never forgot her husband.
- Art is subjective. Mr. and Mrs. Wright had that sculpture at home for a reason, although their children couldn’t see its real value. But a stranger did and bought it.
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