I nearly did not answer the door, for I did not recognize the man.
But my peek hole is pretty good. As he turned to leave I spotted Peggy’s suitcase.
I ran out there screaming for him to stop.
He had no idea what he was holding. Apologized for bothering me.
Asked if Peggy Whitmire lived here.
She used to, I told him.
Was he a grandson of a murderer? He was not old enough to have done it himself.
She had been gone since the early seventies, my daughter.
I invited him in for tea. I wanted to hear everything.
He had purchased a house from auction in Wallesby, a burb two towns over.
When renovating the attic, they had found Peggy’s suitcase in the wall.
“You mean next to a wall?”
He shook his head. His green eyes were kind. “They told me in a wall, Ma’am.”
I offered him lemonade. He told me the names of the couple who had lived in the home.
I had never heard of them.
My daughter was never found; no body, but I had a feeling she was long dead.
Had she been abducted? Raped? Killed? I never thought she had run off.
She was nineteen at the time. She had the widest most genuine smile.
Peggy had disappeared in February of 1971. My only daughter.
He stopped smiling and got really serious then. I felt sad as I talked.
Tears began to flow. I thanked him over and over for bringing her suitcase home.
He told me there was not much in it.
I nodded. Asked him to stay for a second.
Fear nearly would not let me open it.
He showed me how to wiggle the latch a bit.
It was a difficult open. I had to use a screwdriver.
Peggy’s name in her handwriting appeared with my address inside the cover.
I was fascinated, recognizing her penmanship instantly. There were few items.
But a little tiny yellow midriff top she used to wear with red rickrack.
I took it out and put it to my nose, smelling my Peggy once again.
It was heaven. I began to cry. The man looked sad.
“I wish you knew,” he said. He left quietly.
I wish I did too.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2021
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