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February 15, 1989
Clara woke up to the sound of someone pounding on the front door. She looked around the room and tried to remember what day it was. The last thing she remembered was the crying baby in the kitchen. At least the crying had stopped and if she could just get rid of whoever was knocking on the door she could go back to sleep.
Slowly Clara sat up in bed and reached for the vodka bottle that was sitting on the night stand. The bottle was empty so Clara cursed under her breath and threw it onto the bed behind her before standing. Slowly and unsteadily Clara walked from the room, down the hall and toward the front door. “Stop knocking already. I’m coming. If that baby is still here and you wake it up there’s going to be hell to pay.” Clara shouted as she held her head.
“Clara, it’s Pat from next door. I just wanted to see if everything was ok here and if I could help.”
Clara opened the door and was momentarily blinded by the sudden burst of early morning sunlight in her eyes. “Holy hell, what time is it and what do you mean is everything ok. Nothing around here has changed. Leave me alone. I was sleeping.” Clara went to close the door, but Pat put her hands up and stopped that from happening.
“I was just worried about Harmony. I heard her crying all night and then about fifteen minutes ago the crying stopped very suddenly. I had five kids of my own and I worked as a nurses assistant when I was younger. If she’s sick or hurt maybe I can help.” Pat explained quickly. Hoping that Clara would open the door and allow her to enter the house.
“Who the hell is Harmony? You’ve got the wrong house. Go away.” Clara tried to close the door once again and once again Pat stopped that from happening.
“Harmony is your granddaughter.” Pat declared as she pushed herself past a still drunk Clara and entered the house.
Clara stood in place still holding onto the open door. “When did I get a granddaughter?”
Pat moved quickly toward the kitchen table and the silent baby that was still sitting in the car seat. She picked up the baby and was relieved to see that she was still breathing. The breaths were slow and shallow, but they were breaths.
Turning to Clara, she let her anger fly. “This is your granddaughter. She’s cold and hungry and probably hasn’t had a diaper change in days. What is wrong with you?”
Pat turned to put the baby back into the seat and that’s when she saw the note pinned to the blanket. After reading the note she quickly tore it from the blanket and stuffed it into her pocket as she fought back tears of anger and heartbreak.
“That’s not my granddaughter. Lily just watches it for some couple that lives down the street. Where is Lily anyway? She should be the one changing that things diapers not me.”
Pat picked up the car seat and walked toward the door. “Clara, I have been your neighbor for a long time now and I have stood by silently watching as you drank yourself into an early grave and ignored your own daughter. I will not watch you ruin another live. This baby is coming with me now. After you shower and sober up enough to walk, you come next door and we’ll talk about what is going to happen next.”
Pat stormed out of the house and walked to her home next door without looking back as she listened to Clara cursing her for the whole neighborhood to hear.
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