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This is the end of Clara's story. Next week, we'll begin learning of Harmony's life with Pat.
December 31, 1989
Pat entered the house quietly. The baby was sleeping and she wanted to put her down for a nap before checking in on Clara,
Poor Clara. She hadn’t started drinking again, but she had withdrawn back into herself. Most days Clara didn’t bother to get out of bed. Mortimer’s death had hurt Clara deeply. She had loved two men in her lifetime and both of those men had been murdered.
Pat had indulged Clara’s moods for long enough. Today she had refused to get out of bed for Mortimer’s funeral. Pat attended the service with Harmony and watched the church door hoping Clara would enter to say her good byes, but she never did and that made Pat angry. Clara had to get over herself. She had to deal with the pain and move on. There was a baby to take care of and raise. Staying in bed all day was no longer an option and Pat intended to make sure Clara understood that.
The baby was sleeping safely in her crib as Pat tiptoed across the hall and knocked on Clara's door. She waited for the usual “Go away!” that Clara screamed on a regular basis, but it never came. Pat knocked again as she opened the door expecting to see Clara in the bed that had been her home for the last week, but the bed was empty. At first Pat was relieved, thinking Clara was finally coming around. Then she noticed the open closet and the empty hangers that were inside.
Pat moved into the room for a closer look. Clara didn’t own many clothes, but the ones she did own were no longer in this room. Pat tried to remain calm as she moved on to the bathroom and saw that Clara’s few toiletries had been removed from there also.
Clara was gone. She had waited for Pat to leave the house with Harmony and then she left. Pat was in shock. She checked in on the sleeping baby before going into the kitchen. Pat sat at the table and cried. She cried for Mortimer who had died too soon. She cried for Clara whom she had grown to love and prayed that the woman would return home safely. She cried for Harmony, the small baby that had now been abandoned by two different people in her short lifetime.
Pat cried quietly because she did not want to wake the baby. When Pat had no more tears to cry she reminded herself of the hard but loving advice she had planned to give Clara. Get over yourself. Deal with the pain and move on.
Pat stood and started preparing dinner for herself and the baby.
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