Title: REINVENTING REBECCA
Genre: Adult/Women's Fiction
Word Count: 90,000
Rebecca won’t say sorry. She won’t cry either. Apologies and tears were a sign of weakness and weakness got you teased and left out. Rebecca had enough of that growing up. She wanted to be popular, adored and envied. As an adult she curated her dream life filled with friends, parties, a glamorous job and a New York apartment. She had it all and she was only 29.
Rebecca’s grandparents lived long enough to know that you can never really have it all. But they lived with a happiness and gratitude that eluded most people. It was remarkable given the hardships put on their path - a world war, betrayal and loss. They weren’t bitter though they certainly had a right to be. They also didn’t hold grudges. That was a blessing for Rebecca.
Rebecca hadn’t seen her grandparents in years. It was her fault of course. Their unconditional love was of little use to her once she embarked on her dream life. So unsurprisingly Rebecca’s Florida vacation plans didn’t include seeing her grandparents. That changed after she discovered they had something she wanted, a secret. Rebecca dismissed the secret, like she did her grandparents, as being of little use to her. She was wrong about both.
As Rebecca’s dream life evaporated piece by piece, not a tear was shed or sorry spoken. Not when her boss fired her or the friends she thought adored her abandoned her. There were no more parties. She couldn’t pay people to return her messages. Her grandparents suddenly became one of the only useful things she had. The time she spent hiding out in their home began one of the most rewarding relationships Rebecca would ever know. Her grandparents’ support and wisdom exposed ugly truths Rebecca had to own if she wanted a truly happy life. Rebecca’s first apology was the hardest. Eventually they came with ease. Crying was another story. That didn’t happen for months until the most difficult day of Rebecca’s life.
Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission. That’s what my grandmother always said. I wish I could say it was her voice in my head that led me to read my grandfather’s old diary. But it wasn’t. I read it because I was nosy and selfish. I read it because I thought it was my right to know everyone’s business. To hell with respecting their privacy. It may have been morally wrong but finding that diary and reading it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The reasons why have changed over time, but it’s the one instance of bad behavior I’ll never regret.
Finding the diary was a happy accident. I was spending a week at my parents’ home in Florida while they were traveling through Italy. Most of my time was spent on a lounge chair by the pool. On a day that was unbearably warm, even for the tropical climate of South Florida, I decided to cool off with my cocktail of choice an electric lemonade. As I walked toward the sliding doors of the lanai, I caught a reflection of myself in the glass. Protruding from my tiniest bikini was a slight pooch belly. I swore then and there to cut carbs for a month. I made my drink and was twisting the vodka cap back on when I saw the note from my mom peeking out from under the telephone:
"Rebecca, please go through your box in the guest room closet. It’s filled with photos, yearbooks, letters and other items from college. Throw out what you don’t want. Love, Mom"