Tara Lynn Marta is a local NEPA writer who has read her works locally, including the Writers’ Showcase. Tara Lynn writes about herself in the following:
Tara Lynn Marta is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been published by Aaduna, Inc., The Humor Times, PoertySoup, The Gorge, and Heartaches to Healing. Tara is a graduate of Wilkes University where she earned an M.A. in Creative Writing.
Tara Lynn Marta’s short story is titled, “The Diary.”
Inside the red Oldsmobile Cutlass was a secret hidden beneath the layers of clothes that were strewn over the backseat – a secret that Rebecca and Charlene inadvertently learned after agreeing to clean out their grandmother’s house. Grandma Jean had been dead nearly a month and the girls decided to relieve their grief-stricken mother from the task of having to clear away all of Jean’s personal belongings.
Rebecca rummaged through closets and dresser drawers, while Charlene battled cobwebs in the basement. Then it was on to the attic where both girls needed flashlights to light the way through the dusty upper level. Boxes were scattered across the attic floor, some piled one on top of the other. The girls patiently emptied the contents of each box and sifted through their grandmother’s things.
“Can you believe she kept all this junk,” Charlene said, amusingly.
“It obviously meant something to her,” Rebecca shot back.
Charlene reached into a large cedar chest and pulled out a metal box marked “personal.” She couldn’t resist opening it now that her grandmother was no longer around to stop the intrusion. “Wonder what’s inside?” she said, as she used a small screwdriver to pry open the locked box.
Inside was an embroidered brown leather diary with a tie wrapped around it. “Grandma kept a diary?”
“Don’t read it, Charlene. It’s private.”
“Grandma’s dead, Becky. She had to expect someone would read it after she died or else she would have gotten rid of it.”
Charlene untied the diary and sat on the floor leafing through her grandmother’s private thoughts. There were entries about birthdays and anniversaries, and notes about her children and grandchildren. But there was one entry Charlene did not expect to stumble upon. Charlene read with fervor before letting out a gasp.
“What?” Rebecca yelled.
Charlene read her grandmother’s words aloud:
Monday, March 1, 1947
“The baby is due in seven months. Joe has been good about the whole ordeal. Oh, I do care for him. But I have much guilt that he has agreed to raise a child that isn’t his. Joe always was a dear friend. He didn’t judge me the way others would if they knew the truth. He wanted to marry me in a hurry after I confided in him that I was pregnant. I know he will be good to this child and love it as his own. And the baby must never learn that Joe isn’t her father.”
Silence enveloped as both girls remained in dismay. “Grandpa wasn’t Mom’s real father! We have to tell Mom,” Charlene announced.
“We certainly do not. It’s not our business, Char. Let it lie.”
“She deserves to know, Becky.”
With that Rebecca charged at Charlene, grabbing the diary and heading for her car. She threw the tattered book on the backseat, then piled clothes on top of it.
“We’re not telling Mom,” Rebecca said. “Nothing good will come of it after all this time. Nothing good at all.”
Just then, Charlene’s phone rang. “Hi, Mom,” she answered, giving Rebecca a sudden look of angst.
“How’s the packing going?” her mother said on the other end.
“It’s going,” Charlene replied. “Mom, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”
Rebecca waved her hands in the air, cautioning her sister not to reveal their grandmother’s secret.
“It’s like this, Mom,” Charlene continued before being interrupted by her mother.
“Oh, sweetie, guess what I found in my jewelry box? The locket that Grandpa Joe gave me for my fifth birthday. Oh, how it takes me back. So many wonderful memories. He was the kindest father any girl could have asked for.”
Charlene removed the phone away from her ear and closed her eyes. Her mother’s words echoed in her mind. Her grandfather had been good to her mother and always regarded her as his daughter, not with words, but love.
“What is it you wanted to say, honey?” asked her mother.
Charlene brought the phone back to her ear. “It’s not important.”
And it wasn’t. Charlene realized that it wasn’t the blood running through one’s veins that brought people together. It was the love between them.