Those creaky steps. I remembered them as a child. Every step. If anyone was up there, they knew you were coming. And that top step, it had give. As you opened the door the person up there already knew you were coming. Of course, that person was always my dad. He was really the only one allowed up in the attic.
This time as I reached the door there was no one there to great me. My
dad has passed away just recently and I was to go it alone this time. I
felt his presence there, but that was all it was.
As I approached
the attic, cobwebs were everywhere. It had been a year or two since
anyone had been up there. Dad was sick for a couple of years and the
house was basically empty. It was weird being up in the attic by myself.
I hadn't even been up there in 10 or 15 years, and certainly I had
never been up there alone. It was eerie to say the least. Like a visit
back in time, but now I was a grown up with a perspective I'd never had
I was there to search for something. What that was I didn't know. Maybe a
sense of self. Something was always missing. A piece of me, of my
history, of my families history that was never shared by my father.
Nobody ever really talked about it. To even hint at the past was to
stir up fires that my father didn't want lit. I could always see my
mothers face as I started, just knowing that I was going to a place that
no one wanted to go. Dared to go.
My father had told me about my grandfather, although I never knew him.
He died when I just a small child. I have no memories of him whatsoever.
Three months ago my father passed away and I was charged with going
through his belongings. I had no idea what I would find, but I was
certainly curious as my father was always secretive about the male side
of his family. I never knew any of them and he never talked about them. I
was curious. This was my chance to delve into that wonderland I never
The attic had always been a place I rarely went as a child. It wasn't
your normal attic, but large enough that my father had built an office
there. It was his "quiet" place where he went to work and get away from
the hustle and bustle of the house. He had many boxes of stuff stored
there, none of which any of us had ever seen. This would be my first
chance to see any of it. When I was younger, I would be looking at it.
He knew that. It was understood I was never to go near those boxes and
learn what was inside. It was forbidden, and understood, although never
said, that it was for my own good.
Being a journalist now, a budding journalist anyway, I was curious to
see what I would learn about my dad, my grand dad and his family. So
much had been kept secret all these years.
Most of the boxes
contained documents and form letters that were of no interest. My dad
was a pack rat and kept everything. Everything that was meaningless. He
could never throw anything out. Nevertheless, I kept at it. Something
was there. I just knew it. Something that would give me the information
about our past. About our secret past that was never talked about. I had
to know. I wanted to know. I was going to know.
As I searched, I saw a box marked "Haden". Maybe this was one of our
relatives. I certainly had never heard of a Haden. I went to open the
box. As I took of the top, I noticed the first page. It was a cover
letter. A warning to anyone that had opened this box. It read:
"If you have gotten this far and you are reading this letter, take it as
a warning to stop and put the top back on, then seal the box and go
burn it. You don't want to know what is contained in the rest of this
box. It is for your own good that you don't"
Of course, I ignored it and went straight to the next page.