1.5 Lost and Found: Part 1 The Five Stages of Grief

Hey guys! Long time no see! Sorry I kind of disappeared… I really don’t have much of an excuse. Except maybe the fact that when I tried to write this chapter out, I would know what to say, but I wouldn’t know how to say it… And I was only able to write this because I downloaded an inkpad app onto my phone, and miraculously, when I would try to write on my phone, I would be miraculously inspired (seriously… I wrote like 1/2 of this chapter in relatively 1 hour and 10 minutes) I’m so strange. This chapter, which is part 1 in a very small series of chapters that surround a certain topic, will be Conrad going through the 5-stages of grief, also called the ‘Kubler-Ross model’, which are ‘denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance’ in no specific order. I am showing his experience in the form of letters. Be honest with your opinion of this letter writing theme, or anything else you want to share your opinion about. In other news, I am officially a college graduate… Well technically a Technical School Graduate. The only thing left is the graduation ceremony, and actually getting a job. Life here I come!!! Anyway! I hope you enjoy Part 1 of this 2-3 part section thing!

Denial

Dear Dee,

I’ve searched everywhere for you. I even bothered the majority of our neighbors, and called all of our friends in search of you. Everyone was searching as best they could, until I actually showed them what your note said, then the only ones who stayed behind were the Strikers, and Renee and Deidre Littler. They helped me search until it was dark outside, until Renee told me it was time to face the music. Before they left though, Deidre told me that she still doesn’t believe that you left. That she would always be a phone call away if I ever needed help looking. I just nodded my head. But when they left, I couldn’t help but cry. Especially when I heard Lance calling for you in a sing-song voice. This doesn’t make any sense. This can’t be real. I will find you.

Love,

Conny

Anger

Dear selfish, worthless hag,

It’s been three months since you decided that it was all fine and dandy to just check out of Lance’s and my life. People have been coming in bunches lately to “extend their condolences”. As if they freaking understand how I feel. As if they know what its like to have your heart ripped right out of your chest and ground into dust. Deidre just came last week, and her stupid chipper attitude was getting on my freaking nerves. I was about to slap her face. And to make matters worse, guess who decided to be stinking parent of the year all of a sudden. But does he even bother to come in? Of course not. That would just be too much stress to try to fake more emotion than he’s supposed to. He just sat in his car, staring at me with this stupid grin on his face. When Deidre finally left, I couldn’t help but let a curse word slip, and lo and behold, Lance decides that now would be a good time to copy everything daddy says. Ugh! I can’t take this crap anymore. This is all your fault. I bet you weren’t even raped. I bet it was all a little scam you set up with Reuben. And now that you are finally free of the child that didn’t even ask to come out of your vagina, now you can finally escape with your egotistical lover. I hope you’re happy with the havoc you’ve caused. I hope he makes your life a living hell.

Signed,

Your EX-Husband

Bargaining

Dear Odine,

Its been three months since you’ve been gone. This morning when I woke Lance up, he asked me “Daddy, where’d mommy go?” and my heart broke. I may not understand why you told me you loved me, and then left me, stomping on my heart on the way out. But how could you do this to Lance? Please! If you come back. We don’t even have to be married. You don’t even have to say a word to me. Just be here so I don’t have to tell him that his mother didn’t want to be his mother anymore. Please come back. I will even buy separate beds, or call that one company that remodeled our house to build us an extra room so that you don’t have to see my face every night. Just… Please…

Conrad

Depression

Odine,

What’s the point anymore. I’ve been writing these letters for months now, but why do I keep doing this? Sometimes, I think I can understand why you left me. I’m a pathetic excuse for a human being, I’m not even good enough to be a father, or stepfather for that matter. Lance has been taking care of me more than I have been taking care of him. Most afternoons tend to just consist of me sitting on the couch, watching a depressing movie, in the clothes I’d been wearing for the whole week, and when I get too tired, I just fall asleep in a mess of junk that has accumulated around the couch. I don’t shave anymore, and I rarely bathe anymore. Only when Lance sort of forces me to. The kid is four, almost five years old, and yet, he is acting as the parent. He shouldn’t have to do that. I’m not good enough to take care of him, I should just ask the Strikers to adopt him. He gets along pretty well with their son Sebastian. Then, when I’m certain that he is well-adjusted, I would then be able to end it all. Hopefully God will understand.

Signed,

Conrad

Acceptance

Dear Odine,

You’re gone. It finally feels official. Not that it hurts any less, and I would kill to have you right by my side. But there isn’t anything I can do about it. Lance has stopped asking for you. And while part of me is relieved that I don’t have to try to dodge his constant questions, my heart actually dropped when I realized it. He’s gotten so used to life with just us two, and he doesn’t give it a second thought about how he should have both a mother and a father, as opposed to just having me. I do promise that when he is old enough, and when I think he is ready, I will tell him about you. I just hope that he will be able to forgive you, just as I have learned to do. This is going to hurt me to say, but I was advised by pretty much everyone to do this. This is officially goodbye Odine. I wish you the best, and whether or not you decided to keep my child, I hope you find what you are searching for.

Sincerely,

Conrad Lee

Realization

Screenshot-274

It has been a couple of months short of a year since Odine left Lance and I. It really has not been easy. But I must admit, that without Lance here, I don’t know where I would be. It’s surprising how the presence, smile, or laugh of a little kid can make all the difference, and while I may not be his birth father, I’m proud to call him my son nonetheless. Unfortunately, Odine’s abandonment must have affected him more than I thought.

Screenshot-277

Ever since she left, I had been taking him to work with me with the excuse that I couldn’t find anyone to take care of him while I worked, which was only the partial truth. I just didn’t trust myself without him. I have actually had some close calls even with him there, but surprisingly, he knew just the right moment when to distract me. But one afternoon, when I thought maybe I could begin to handle myself, I brought up the possibility of finding him a daycare, just so that he could learn to interact with other people, mainly kids, and I would be able to work uninterrupted and know that he was in good hands.

Screenshot-294

He looked mortified, claiming that I was going to abandon him too, and wouldn’t stop crying until I said that I would forget it. I hope he gets over it soon, before he has to start school.

——————–

Screenshot-295

I had just arrived home from working at Barney’s. Once Lance and I entered the house, he ran off to go use the restroom. Chuckling, I went to organize the stack of papers that I had put on the table early this morning.

Screenshot-296

(A/N: Yes, I know that’s magazines… But the CC I had downloaded wasn’t showing up, so I had to work with what I had… Sorry)

“Bills, bills, more bills, wrong address, letter from Mary-Ann, more…”

I stopped mid-sentence as a small stack fell out of the pile, and landed on my shoes. Crouching to pick it up, I realized that it was all of the letters that I had written to Odine after she left. I didn’t really have anywhere to send them anyway.

Scanning quickly through each letter, I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of them. As obscure as it may sound, in my worst moments, writing them had been very therapeutic. When I finished reading all of them, I noticed there was one left.

Dear Conny,

I’m sorry, I can’t keep up this charade anymore. I don’t love you. I never have, never will. I will have left by the time you read this note. And I hope that you do find someone who actually loves you for who you are, because I can’t. I am leaving Lance behind with you, so please take care of him. I promise that you will never, ever see me again. Goodbye.

Signed,

Odene

Even after all this time, reading that note feels like a stab to the gut. With a sigh, I crumpled up the paper, and tossed it in the trash.

Screenshot-313

——————–

Screenshot-297

It had been a tiring day of work at Barney’s. Everyone has seemed to be a bit on the edge. Even my assistant Lala, who surprisingly always has a sunny attitude, snapped at me when I tried to mention that spots and stripes don’t really go well together.

When I was finally finished making sure that every stupid little hair on Matthew Hamming’s stupid little head was perfectly slicked back, I heard the bell on the top of the door go off, signaling that a new client had walked in. With a sigh, I turned around, and almost collided with Deidre Littler.

Screenshot-298

“Woah Deidre, slow down. You almost knocked my head off of my shoulders. Who are you running from anyway?”

Screenshot-300

“Oh no one. Is there something wrong with coming down to see one of my best buds in the whole world?” She then proceeded to give me the biggest smile she possibly could.

I was not fooled. I crossed my arms, raised my eyebrow, and stared at her until her facade cracked.

Screenshot-302

“Okay, fine.” She said, throwing her arms up. “I convinced mom to let me go to the library to study, but I’m actually here for a makeover. My senior prom is coming up soon, and I have to make a good impression. Mom offered to come shop with me, but have you seen the clothes she picks out for me? I would be ostracized the minute I walked through the door. A girl only has one senior prom. I can pay more money than I would owe.”

I had no doubts that she could pay. Her father Reuben was one of the highest paid actors in Bridgeport, and her mother was the top news anchor on channel 6 news, and while I was pretty sure that the cost wouldn’t even burn a hole in their pockets, I still wasn’t fully convinced.

“You do realize that children under the age of eighteen need their parents’ signature, right?” I asked, my arms still crossed over my chest.

Screenshot-301

“And that is exactly why I asked my dad to sign this check for a recent checkup. Though I actually haven’t been to the doctors in months.” Though she tried to hide it, I could hear the hurt in her voice over the fact that her parents hardly ever give her and her brother Bronson the attention they need or deserve. That was the final straw that pushed me into agreeing to give her the makeover. And I will shamefully admit that I did enjoy the prospect of Reuben Littler losing some money.

Screenshot-303

Screenshot-307

When we were done, she did a quick spin, then a little curtsy. She then gave me the biggest hug a petite seventeen year old could give anyone.

Screenshot-309

“Thank you so much Conrad. I’m going to be the hottest looking girl at prom.” With that, I lead her over to the paperwork that the parent is usually supposed to sign, making sure that my boss wasn’t looking. As she was filling out the form, I couldn’t help but peek over her shoulder as she copied her father’s signature.

Hmm, that handwriting looks awfully familiar. I thought as she finished writing the R at the end of her father’s last name.

Screenshot-310

“Earth to Conrad! Hello?” Deidre waved her hand in front of my eyes. Looking down, she handed me the cash that she owed for the makeover, plus a little extra. She then turned to exit the salon, but before she was gone, she turned back around to face me.

Screenshot-311

“Conrad? I… I just want to say I’m sorry about what happened with Odine. She was always a sweet girl, it’s so unlike her to just ditch. Especially considering how much she talked about you.” With that, she left.

I was only paying a little bit of attention to what she was saying. Honestly, if I didn’t figure out where I had seen Reuben’s  handwriting before, it was going to bug me. I don’t think it was from his clothing line, though it did have his signature. Scratching my head in frustration, I took a quick picture of the signature using my cell phone. I grabbed Lance’s hand, said goodbye to my coworkers, and went to hail a taxi.

Screenshot-312

On the trip home, I really wasn’t paying attention to anything that Lance was saying, I do vaguely remember him saying something about Lala giving him something disgusting for lunch. I was too lost in my own thoughts.

Arriving at home, I sent Lance to his room, and told him to get ready for me to come and give him a bath. When he left, I sat on the couch and thought about the signature. Right before I deleted the photo, the trashcan caught my eye.

Screenshot-314

Getting up, I rushed to it, and pulled out Odine’s final letter to me. I compared the handwriting of the note to the signature, and while I wasn’t an expert, to me they looked like they matched. I also just noticed that in her last note, she misspelled her name, which was completely weird. To double-check, I compared her final note to the handwriting of her earlier notes.

My Dearest Conny,

    Reading the letter that you left for me yesterday was the highlight of my day, between feeding, chasing down, and changing the diaper of my little munchkin, hearing your recollection of our wedding day brought a smile to my face, and tears to my eyes. I love you, and am anxiously waiting for your return home.

With even more love then you have shown me,

Dee.

How could I have been so stupid? The two letters didn’t even match up. But if she didn’t write it, then that could only mean… She didn’t leave because she wanted to. That would also mean… Oh God! “He” has her!

——————–

Screenshot-315

“911, what is your emergency?”

Screenshot-316

“Hi! Yes, I would like to report a kidnapping.”

“Alright sir, how long has your child been missing?”

“Actually, its my wife.”

“Oh, sorry about that. What is her name,  and how long has she been missing?”

“Her name is Odine Lee. She has been missing for about 6 or 7 months.” There was silence on the other line. “Hello?”

“Yes sir, I am here. Why didn’t you call sooner?”

Screenshot-321

They had me there… “Sir?”

“Um… It’s because I had thought that she left me. She left me a note saying she was leaving.”

“And why do you believe now that she has been kidnapped?”

“Well, in the note she left, she had misspelled her name.” Good Lord, I sounded absurd.

I heard a sigh on the other line. “Sir, if that is all you have to go on, then there isn’t much we can do.”

“But I also…”

“Sir, there are a whole lot more serious crimes that need to be taken care of. Perhaps your wife actually did leave you. We will keep an eye out for her.”

“But you don’t even know what she…” I stopped mid-sentence, when I realized that the person had hung up on me. What in the world? I then realized that I had forgotten to mention the difference in handwriting. But I wasn’t going to call that crabby idiot back. If they wouldn’t help me, then I would find another way to find Odine.

——————–

I paced in my livingroom, waiting for the doorbell to ring. Lance was finally down for a nap, so this was the perfect time. Strange, but I never thought I would ever need to do this, but this is the only thing that I could think of, in order to find Odine.

My head snapped to attention when the doorbell finally rang. I rushed over to get the door, and when I opened it, I was surprised to see two girls who looked like they were barely over twenty years old.

Screenshot-325

“Can I help you?” I asked, I really didn’t have time to meet with anybody. I was waiting for the private detectives that I had called to arrive.

Screenshot-327

“Conrad Lee? My name is Bonnie Izbie, and this is my sister Lois, from Cloak & Dagger Inc. Would it be alright if we came in so that we could talk about finding your wife?” I opened the door, a bit shocked about how young they looked.

“Come on in!” I stuttered.

Screenshot-333

“I realize that we look a bit young, but we’ve been at it for years.” Lois stated. “Have you ever heard of the Twinbrook jewel thief?” I nodded my head. “Yeah, we were the ones who caught him.” I raised my eyebrows. Who hadn’t heard of the Twinbrook jewel thief? I couldn’t help but whistle.

“Now, enough about us, tell us everything there is to know about your wife, and what happened when she disappeared.” Bonnie said.

Screenshot-336

So I did. I told them everything that I could remember about her, even gave them our wedding picture. I also told them everything I could remember about the night Odine left, and the next day.

Screenshot-341

“After I searched the house for her, I returned to the living room  and there was this note on the table.” I passed the note to Lois, who gave it further inspection, while Bonnie furiously recorded notes of everything that I said. “I matched it to some of her previous letters, and while I may not be an expert, there was a pretty big difference in the handwriting. I may have accidentally stumbled on a match on the handwriting a couple of days ago while at work.” I hesitated on telling them who I think wrote the note and kidnapped my wife. A man like Reuben has to have a lot of connections. But if this was the information that could save Odine, and maybe put that monster behind bars, then what else could I do?

Screenshot-342

“I think that the man who kidnapped my wife is Reuben Littler.” With that, I definitely had both of their attention.

Screenshot-346

I really had trouble determining whether or not their facial expressions were looks of excitement, or worry. With that, Bonnie walked over, and extended her hand.

Screenshot-347

“Thank you very much for all of the information. We will begin searching for your wife, as well as keep a close watch on Mr. Littler. We will call you if anything happens.” Then they both left. As much as I wanted to help, I didn’t really know what to do. So I did the only thing I could. I waited.

Screenshot-348

And waited.

Screenshot-349

And waited. Until one day, when Lance and I got back from playing outside, I noticed that I had a voice mail on my cellphone. I stared at my phone for a minute, hoping that it was from Lois or Bonnie saying that they found Odine, but I was also a bit worried. Worried that this was going to be a dead end, and that I would lose her forever. Not hearing the message wouldn’t determine to me whether or not she left, right? I could go on believing that she was just missing, not kidnapped. But at the same time, if I waste any time, and she was kidnapped, I could end up letting her get hurt… I took a few deep breaths to relax myself, and dialed voice mail.

Screenshot-350

“Conrad! It’s Lois. We think we’ve found her. We think we’ve found where Odine is. She’s with Reuben.”

Screenshot-351

——————–

Well, there you have it folks. Hope you enjoyed this chapter. And hopefully I will not take too long with the next chapter… But come on… Its me. The detectives Lois and Bonnie are actually from an ISBI blog that is written by my girlfriend. Its called Insanity Doesn’t Compare. You should check it out! And I’m not just saying that because she’s my girlfriend and I’m biased or anything. Anyway! Thanks for reading, and tune in next time!

Advertisements