Opening the Box, part 4


Rachel let the green papers fall onto her lap. She leaned back against the chair. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Many questions flooded her mind.

She certainly saw why her father had called the contents of the old box a feminine legacy. Were these actual people in the story on the green pages? Were any of them? Were the places real? Any of them? And the language? What about it?

She was more curious than ever about the rest of the papers. When she glanced toward the desk she was reminded that she only had opened the huge mysterious book. She still had it to examine in detail as well as more of the contents of the old wooden box.

She chuckled to herself when she thought that she would not answer her questions about the people in the story on . . . not based on her experience so far, at least. No, her research would require something besides family trees and DNA tests. Though probably the family trees were a good starting ground. And maybe the physical places where her actual ancestors had lived held clues as well. Her father had stressed that the box and book had been handed down through the women’s line of his mother.

Besides the green pages, there were other bundles of papers to read or at least review. It was late. She’d been reading for quite a while.

She wished Ptolemy were here to keep her company. As she drifted away from Muriel and Miranda and their story, she felt cool and very much alone in her father’s study. While reading their story, the women had seemed quite real to her and she had enjoyed Leonard’s company almost as much as they did.

How could her father have kept this story from her? Why would he keep this secret in his desk? From his letter to her, it sounded as if he had read at least some of the material in the box. Maybe there was more to discover about what he had learned or knew.

Rachel looked up at the shelves. She had packed many of the books that used to line them. She wished she could keep this space and all of its contents as her father had left it but it was not practical for her. She had not quite decided what to do with all the books. Her mother had given away a couple of the special collections her father had. She had found people who appreciated them as a collection and would make use of them. Rachel did not know anyone who would appreciate the remnants.

Now that she had read the Muriel and Miranda story she wondered if there were solutions or more mysteries in some of these books. It was fine that the fishing book collection was gone. That was unlikely to be of assistance. Sadly, the same was not necessarily true of the art book collection but it was gone. The strange range of remaining books on world religions —could they be important? And what about women writers and scholars? Did he have any particular women writers she didn’t know about? She was seeing that she needed to be careful with what she did about the remaining parts of her father’s library. He had studied other languages, she remembered, but as far as she knew there was nothing exceptional about his choice. She believed they had related in some way or other to his work.

She had to calm her mind and get some sleep.

When she woke the next morning, two things were clear to her. She must not dispose of any more of her father’s books unless she was sure they were not relevant to the box’s mysteries. She must take time to carefully examine and read the rest of the contents of the box and the mysterious book. She needed to maintain all of the material in an accessible form for herself for the time being. And she needed to keep reading and exploring.