Lisa knelt, crying, to the ground by the graves. Dallas appeared, quietly pressing against her side.
Maggie stood behind, fog swirling around her. “Who are you without your family? No one wants to lose their loved ones. But, sometimes terrible things happen in this world. Do you have the courage to live? Think, Lisa. Are you committed to living your best?” Her soft, earthy voice gently probed Lisa’s heart.
Lisa sat up resting her hand on Dallas, looking at Maggie through tear-stained eyes. “What do you mean?”
“Have you taught your children to love? Did you teach them to want you… but not need you? Have you taught them to be wise, to have courage, in this often harsh world? Being a parent is the only job, if done well, puts oneself out of a job. But, it’s also the only job we’re never able to quit.”
“I suppose not.”
“What about Edison? Does he know you’re proud of him? Committed to him? Always there for him?” Maggie tilted her head and grinned. “Does he know you think he’s sexy?”
“I don’t suppose I’ve told him that in a long time. How do you know these things?”
The sun had long set. A yellow light glowed ahead as fog shrouded the cemetery behind them.
“What’s that?” Lisa peered through the dark at the light.
“The banker,” Maggie replied. “You must go.”
Lisa walked up the hill to stand before a tall, thin man in a dark suit sitting at a large desk. On its corner, a green banker’s lamp cast a yellow light on the papers scattered between them.
Sharp eyes stared over rimless glasses at her. “Madam, are you prepared to settle this debt?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Your husband invested in an energy company. They filed bankruptcy. He used that investment as collateral for other company loans. The bank is calling these loans. Unless you can clear these debts, we will be forced to liquidate his assets.”
“I have no money.” Lisa had nothing to offer the banker. “Wait! Take this… and this.” She emptied her wallet on his desk. Then, added her diamond Rolex. “Take these, too.” She removed her wedding rings, her pearls, her diamond earrings. She laid her fox coat beside them. “That’s all I have.”
The banker frowned. Mere trifles. Insufficient to pay this debt.
Lisa waited with nothing left, destitute. A cold wind began to swirl the dense fog, engulfing the banker as everything with him disappeared.
“Now what? I’ve lost my family. I have no money. What do I do?”
Maggie appeared at her side as the fog sank to a low carpet at their feet. “Can you live without wealth? Can you live without your family?”
Lisa thought hard. “Yes, I suppose so, if I had to. But,” she protested, “I don’t want to.”
“The thing is this,” Maggie said, “if you let this world choose your life, you will miss the real life you’ve been promised. No one wants to lose those they love. Or their money. But, we mustn’t let them rule our life. If you have the courage to let Him rule, you have the key.”
Lisa held up the last key in her hand. Its engraved initials, CC, were even more beautiful than the others. “I didn’t need it to open this gate,” she said returning it to Maggie.
“No, but this is the key to life. It takes courage and commitment to do what is right. That’s not for the timid.”
Lisa studied Maggie’s face. “Who are you?”
To be continued . . .
Until next time. Be sweet.