Family Bible

I lift the worn leather cover. It smells musty, and the thin pages crinkle as I turn them. In the front, I find an elegant gilded tree. My name is penned into one of the top most branches.

“I think you should have it.”

The offer makes me tense again. I wait for her to segue into a moral lesson of some sort, but the evangelizing never comes.

“Thank you,” whatever her motives, I am grateful to have this little piece of mima, especially something so steeped in family history. I follow the family tree through the generations: mom’s maiden name “Morgan Abott” and her siblings, mima’s maiden name “Elizabeth Carrol,” and other women with other maiden names. I begin to realize the tree traces our family lineage from mother to daughter, from Ailene Mallory to me. Next to Ailene’s name stands Victoria. Victoria Mallory.

The image of the robed figure walking the maze flashes in my mind. My palms sweat and my heart races. I feel stuck, somewhere between here and there. “Amber,” the voice echoes through my head. I slam the bible shut and suck in air suddenly aware I was holding my breath.

“Amber?” I jump in my seat as mom’s hand touches mine, “are you ok?” She looks concerned.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s just . . . she’s gone, you know?” I cover the truth with the most convenient excuse, as my thoughts spiderweb in every direction. My brain catches on a thought, “Didn’t you inherit this land from grandpa?”

“Yes. Well, mima actually. It was a wedding gift.” She stood and started to make coffee.

“It was mima’s?”

“Yes, she got it as a wedding gift from her mother. I think it’s like a family tradition.”

I touch the soft leather of the bible as I begin to realize how far back the tradition goes.

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