The letter lay untouched on his desk, its creases marked by dust. When Eric’s grandfather passed away a week ago, he had handed him a key on his death bed. The rusted, small, intricate skeleton key felt heavy in his hand as he walked up the winding staircase to the attic of the house. Having tried the key on every drawer and door on every floor, the attic which contained his grandfather’s study was the last resort. Reaching the top of the stairs, he pushed open the slightly cracked door. The light from the singular window flooded the room and illuminated the dust covering; his grandfather hadn’t been up here in months. The walls lined with books seemed more alive than when Eric had been a child. He couldn’t help but smile at the red chair his grandfather would sit in when he read him tales of faraway places. The mahogany desk in the corner caught his eye as all 25 drawers were shut and locked. He began his task. An hour went by with no lock being a match with the key. Feeling frustrated, he sat down on the floor directly under the desk. Looking up, almost as a plea to God or his grandfather, he saw a small lock on the underside of the desk. This had to be the one. The key inserted with a slight click, and the drawer popped out to reveal a letter.
Eric couldn’t bring himself to read the letter or even open it. He knew his grandfather had held one secret his entire life; his wife. His father was raised by his grandfather, a single dad. Eric’s grandfather had returned from World War II with his son. He never told anyone about his wife after he came back. Nobody had seen a photo or known her name. All he told them was that he had gotten married while he was overseas. If this letter contained information about his grandmother, was he supposed to keep it to himself or share the legacy? He took a deep breath and opened to find a bright white paper, obviously not old. He started to read it to himself.
As a young boy you were always a curious one. I could see myself in your eyes. I saw the interest of travel and adventures. I knew you would be the one to complete this mission for me. When I returned to America after World War II, I returned with your father who was only a few months old. I was too hurt and sad to tell the story of my dearest Violet, but the time has come. I met my wife Violet who was a British Army nurse. She had the purest green eyes and dark hair like the night sky. You have looked just like her since the day you were born. I had a cut on my left arm that needed stitches and that’s when I met her. We were in love at first sight. I asked her out for dinner and three months later when I was moving my posts from England to Paris, we eloped. While at base in Paris for eight months, we sent letters back and forth. The last letter I got from Violet was her writing to tell me she was with child a had been for eight months. She hadn’t wanted to stress me out. I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to see her again. I wrote to her about how we could live wherever she liked once the war was over. I told her all the baby names I liked. A month later I got a letter saying that your father, James had been born. She had written to me and told me how he looked just like me and how they couldn’t wait to see me. A month after that, I get a letter from her sister. While her sister Jane was watching James in their apartment, Violet had gone to get groceries and been caught in the middle of a bombing. They found her crushed in the rubble a few days later. Her sister was devastated and promised to take care of James until I returned. When the war was over, everyone celebrated but I was secretly destroyed. I returned to England to meet my son. The day I got there, I couldn’t look at Jane. I blamed her for letting Violet go out to get the groceries. I left with James that day and never spoke to her again. I have regretted that my whole life. I need you to find Violets sister, Jane Doncaster. Find her and show her this letter. Tell her that Thomas Blanken sent you, his grandson, to deliver this message. Ask her to take you to Violets grave (something I couldn’t ever do) and place flowers at the stone. I know you will not fail me.
Eric sprung up with determination in his eyes. He would find Jane Doncaster.