(Letter to Eleanor continued)
Well, you’ll know by now that Laura got the part. Was there ever any question? How that enormous voice comes out of that tiny girl I’ll never know. No one hearing her on stage would ever believe there once was a question about whether or not the child would have a normal lung capacity. That’s one of the things I did right with my life is help out Dottie when she needed help with those babies. She always thought I was doing her a favor, but you and I know it was the other way around. I loved mothering those kids. But they’re all older now and they’ll b e fine on their own. My work there is done and I rarely see or hear from them now that they’ve been launched into lives of their own.
I know you can’t imagine what it’s even like to be alone every day. You have Jim and the kids and your house is always bursting at the seams with visitors from all over the world taking advantage of your wonderful hospitality.
You’ve been a good friend, Eleanor; a lasting friend who has always been there for me. I thank you for that. I feel badly leaving you this last difficult task to handle for me.
Meredith heard someone knocking on her apartment door. It must be Carlos, her doorman, because no one else could have gotten by him and up to her floor without being announced. He knew she was in her apartment so she’d better answer. She didn’t want him worrying what was wrong and using his key.
Carlos knocked on Ms. Meredith’s door. He wouldn’t do this for the other tenants, he thought to himself, but Ms. Meredith wasn’t just any tenant. She treated all of the staff like real people, always asking him about his wife and family, remembering him on holidays and special occasions, not acting as if he was less because of his job. He had just signed for an international special delivery for her. The protocol would be to phone and let her know it was there and then leave it on the desk for her to sign for it when she had time to pick it up. That’s exactly how he’d handle it for anyone else in the building but he thought international special delivery might be really important and Ms. Meredith looked like she needed something to cheer her up when she came in tonight.
“Hello Carlos. What are you doing up here?”
“Hi Ms. Meredith. This came in for you just moments ago. I thought it might be important and I wanted to get it to you.”
“Thanks Carlos. You know you didn’t have to do that. I would have gotten it next time I was down.”
“I wanted to. You’re always good to all of us and I thought you deserved special treatment for a special delivery.”
“Thanks Carlos. You have a good evening. Tell Maria I left her some bulbs for the roof garden in the back office.
“Okay, Ms. Meredith. I’ll let her know. You have a blessed evening.”
Meredith opened the Express envelope and immediately knew who it was from simply by the beautiful handwriting on the interior envelope. It was obviously an invitation from Martina and Joaquin. Martina’s hand writing was exquisite, always had been, even though she’d had no formal education.
Please join us to celebrate the publication
of Joaquin Aguirre’s first novel:
Evenings in the Vineyard
Saturday, November 13, 2010, 7pm
San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina
Inside the invitation was a hand written letter.
You know how upset I was when Joaquin decided to turn over management of the vineyard to Benjamin to spend his time entirely on his creative pursuits. I was angry at you for a long time for advising him to follow his heart. I was worried that Benjamin would fail, that Joaquin would fail, and that we’d end up with nothing. Now here it is two years later and both have been successful in their pursuits and none of us have ever been happier.
You must join us for the celebration. Joaquin listened to you when you told him to do what would feed his soul and the rest would take care of itself. It’s because of you that he gave himself the time to write the most beautiful and provocative work I have ever read. (Okay, I admit to being a bit prejudiced.) It’s a wonderful book. I know you will love it. I will let you in on a little secret. It’s dedicated to you!
So come visit us, my friend. We love you and can’t wait to celebrate with you.
Meredith had met Martina and Joaquin over ten years ago on a trip to Argentina and they had hit it off immediately. Two years ago during a visit Joaquin had admitted to her how unhappy he had become. He told her that the Vineyard, although a part of his family for generations, was not really what made him happy. They had sat up long after Martina had gone to bed and talked about art and writing and the things that made their hearts swell. She had told him to feed his soul and the rest would work out. Thinking about it now, where did she get off telling anyone that? Had her life worked itself out?
To be continued…