You Are Who You Believe You Are

 In Boot Hill, Today's Feed

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Boot Hill

Ugg, I forgot to go to the market, so that means there’s no food and no coffee!

The sun shines in through the window. It is a beautiful day. This means I can enjoy my coffee at the corner cafe.

Ah, fresh morning air and sunshine, I enjoy how peaceful the mornings are during the week. I spy the corner cafe. It is unusually crowded. Doesn’t anyone work anymore?

I grab my coffee and some fresh fruits. My favorite corner table outside in the sun is open.

I close my eyes and look up toward the sun. I feel the warmth on my face.

“Can I join you?”

I pop open my eyes to see an elderly man before me, “Yes, of course.”

He sits in the chair. His coffee rattles from his shaking hands. Once seated, he looks me in the eyes and smiles. He has a softness in his eyes; a difficult life, but a kind soul.

We sit in silence. I begin my usual tradition of people watching. The world is full of lovely characters. I gently sip my coffee.

“You still have the painting of the valley your grandma gifted to you?”

I instantly froze. My coffee rattled in my hand, “What?”

“You heard me.”

“How do you know about my painting?”

“I know all about you. I kept putting this off, but I had a scare a few days ago. I then realized it was now or never.”

I couldn’t speak. My mind was racing. I could feel the anxiety squeezing at my chest.

He must have read my mind.

“Relax my dear; you are who you believe you are.”

Oh, thank goodness, I thought my mother might have been a secret love child.

He rose from his seat. “You need to take the painting apart.”

He turned to leave.

“Wait, what?”

“You heard me my dear. The time has come.”

He walked away. I had no one to call. My relaxing morning was gone. The sounds of the city filled the air. I glanced up and he was nowhere in sight.

I quickly grabbed my bag. I ran my fingers through my hair. I had to get home. Since my flat was a few steps away I had no time to clear my head.

I opened my door and looked straight ahead. There she was, shining in the sunlight. Her gilded frame and the valley painting were married together in 1889. This painting was a wedding gift for my great-grandparents.

I took it off the wall. This would require tools. I grabbed my hammer and a chisel. I held the tools and began to pace. I can’t break the painting. I love this painting, it fills me with peace.

I banged on the wood slats…nothing. I put the chisel between the first pieces of wood. It slowly came off. I did the same to the second piece of wood. Finally the back was off.

I removed the old paper from around the painting. I separated the glass from the painting. Wow, this painting really needs to be cleaned.

Written on the back of the painting was a series of numbers and an address. I knew the numbers were for a Swiss Bank Account. My grandma used to have one.

What was the address for? Maybe Google earth could help me.

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