A Secret Grave 174: Home Sweet Home, Temporarily


I was beginning to have a worse and worse feeling about Victor and what had become of him. At home I thought constantly of the letter. Who was Eric Schindler? What was ‘the foundation’? Who was Ralph? Why all the fear and secrecy? The whole thing was crazy. I had learned from Janet that the house she lived in, Victor’s old house, was not a rental but had been bought by a company in Toronto years ago. Betsy just continued to manage it, and since it was empty most of the time, she had installed Janet there temporarily. When she learned Donny had moved in too, Betsy just about hit the roof. Forget he was her baby brother she hadn’t seen in years. She wanted him gone.


baby donny

Donny at 6 months (Marcie 6 months – edited, Rozzie Sanders, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)


But Donny refused to budge. I can only imagine the scene between him and Betsy when Betsy walked into the place, using her own key, and discovered him there. He’d been five, sucking his thumb in front of the tv when she’d last seen him, and now he was a man in his mid-thirties with a gold-rimmed tooth and nowhere to go. “Can’t stay here!” she must have shrieked. Ha. Good luck. He was family – the last thing Betsy wanted anyone to know – and if she tried to move him, he’d have no problem telling the truth to her husband, Malcolm, and anyone else who cared to listen. Those Buddha eyes that crinkled up so warmly could turn mean and dangerous, I thought. Janet, of course, had much more connection to her brother. She’d been in touch with him over the years and had some understanding of who he was and what his life was like. If she was in trouble, he’d be there, a big strong guy who wouldn’t let anyone mess with his sister. All the times he must’ve stood up for her: when her ex beat her up and kicked her out of the house, when she was down and out on drugs, when she was at a crossroads and didn’t know what to do. Donny was there, always there, and so now, when he was in trouble and needed someplace to stay, she owed him.  


home sweet home

Janet & Donny (Kiserian and Niara, The Good Doctor, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


They’d settled very nicely into Victor’s old house, rearranging furniture, adding photos and artwork, a few new lamps and rugs, setting up the kitchen just as they liked it. Donny was a butcher by trade, and his knives, razor sharp and deadly, gleamed on the counter. The place smelled of coffee, delicious meats, rich sauces. A vase of flowers cut from the garden sat on the kitchen table. Janet’s dog, Scout, chased squirrels in the backyard. Everything was sweet and homey. And then, in early July, there was a call from Betsy that someone from the law firm in Toronto was coming, and they had to get out.


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ http://bankruptcynb.ca/about-bankruptcy/

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