Here’s the thing…
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
I’m leaving town and not looking back
Three days later, after Nadia had disappeared, I was cleared to leave the hospital, almost fully restored.
It had been a strange three days, time enough to consider what happened to Nadia, and in the end, I had to conclude that she needed to get away from everyone and everything.
I wanted to believe she was back in Italy; among people she could trust. That notion of living a simple life in the vineyard that she proposed was now more appealing than going back to my old life working for the Benderby’s. There was no doubt in my mind that I would never be going back to that warehouse, or anything else to do with the Benderby’s.
Three days to finally come to the painful conclusion that I had done nothing with my life, and staying in town, it would just be more of the same, only lonelier now that Boggs had gone. Not even the prospect of seeing Nadia made it any better, not that was going to stay longer than she had to.
Boggs’s mother finally came to visit me, and, when I saw her, I had the awful feeling she was going to blame me. Perhaps I had already blamed myself because it was me who took him there, and if I had not, he would still be alive.
Nor did I believe he died in a fall, he was too good a climber for that to happen. Alex or Vince must have found him, and silenced him the only way they knew. He hadn’t deserved that, but, then, neither had we, but I guess when you try to keep a secret, it was the only way to ensure silence.
I knew the secret, and it was a question of how long I would survive before I was next on the list. Alex would never believe I could keep it to myself, and I had been safe in the hospital, but now I was leaving, it was only a matter of time before he made a move.
That gave me the impetus to make a decision that was in my best interests, to leave and never come back. That meant leaving my mother too, as hard as it would be, and for reasons she would never understand.
I told her that the day before.
She visited twice a day, and each time I tried to find the courage to tell her of my decision, and each time it was not possible. She was too happy that I was alive, and was making plans for the future, coming to the conclusion that life was too short, and putting things off until another day might mean they may never happen.
It was the same conclusion I’d come to, but with different ideas as to what it was I should not put off.
It took until the day before my discharge, and made easier with her news of a proposal from Benderby. Both had been cool to the idea of taking their relationship to the next level, but now it seemed he had a change of heart.
My devious mind found another reason, and it was not because he cared about her. It was more to do with silencing me, and her, putting us under his ‘protection’. It told me he knew about his son’s involvement, and it would be interesting to see what he did about Alex. My guess: nothing.
And was it wrong of me to hope Nadia would drive a stake into Alex’s heart?
She had just finished telling me about the second piece of news, my promotion, being in charge of the warehouse, rather than just being a clerk, a job I suspected normal people would have to wait years to attain. It cemented my suspicions of his motive.
“That’s Alex’s domain,” I said. “What’s he going to do? The last thing I need is him being resentful.”
“He’s going to be your stepbrother, Sam, and we’re hoping the two of you will play nice.”
“Did Alex get the memo?”
“It doesn’t sound to me like he will be the problem “
It was a recipe for disaster. And surprising that she should take Benderbys side. My mother seemed to have forgotten all those years of angst at school, and the fact Alex was little better than a bully. I guess, after the years of struggling after my father left us, she had to look out for herself.
It was my cue.
“You don’t have to worry about me anymore. I can look after myself.”
“I have no doubt you can. But you have to get along with others, Sam.”
“I will. But it won’t be here. When they finally let me go, I’m leaving town. There are just too many bad memories here now.”
I thought, while she was still wrapped up in the romance with Benderby, she’d just nod and move on.
She was genuinely upset with my decision. “Are you leaving with that dreadful girl?”
“She is not a dreadful girl. If that’s what Benderby is saying, he’s wrong. I got to know her, those days in the cave when hope was fading. That’s where you find the real person. But, no, I’m not. I don’t know where she is. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. By the way, Alex treated her very badly when she was his girlfriend, and back in school.”
“She would say that being a Cossatino.”
“And I’m sure the Benderby’s have nothing nice to say about them. Irrespective of the Benderby’s and the Cossatino’s hatred for each other, they are more the reason to leave rather than stay. But, more importantly, when time was running out in that cave, I realized all the things I hadn’t done, and why. I’ve wasted opportunities and years of my life and lost a very good friend, who, if I’m to be judged one day, let down terribly. That alone makes it impossible to stay here.”
“There’s a lot of good you can do here, Sam. And all of the Boggs’s spent too much of their time having after that non-existent pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You can’t feel sorry for them, father and son alike.”
Given what I knew, her admission was probably parroting the same sentiments as everyone else, and it was a fruitless search only in the fact that the treasure had been removed. I had no doubt it had been there once, and moved, or discovered many years before. Boggs’s father had found the resting place, and would have found the treasure. Ormiston had too. But would I tell anyone the truth, probably not?
But when I should have let it go, I didn’t. “There’s so much you don’t know, that no one knows and probably never will. You are entitled to your own opinion, I’m entitled to mine, and we’ll agree to disagree. All the more reason to leave, because all it’s going to do is upset me every time someone mentions Boggs or the treasure.”
She stood. I could see her ‘I don’t want to hear this’ face, and knew she’d long stopped listening to me. As far as she was concerned, I would come around in the end. There was no point arguing, I was just going to leave and worry about the consequences later.
© Charles Heath 2020-2022