The Watchers 14

If anything ever happened to my granddaughter  

It was like her mind forgot to forget. Every time she remembered a piece of something it left a space, and something opened up just enough for a slip of memory to come through. It just wasn’t happening fast enough. Liza wanted answers and she wanted them now. She’d hoped if it happened enough eventually she would start understanding what had happened to her.

It was just coming so slow. If Liza didn’t know better she’d think she didn’t want to remember, but that was crazy. Then again maybe she was crazy.

Who forgets an entire block of time?  Someone with one too many secrets that’s who. It made her question: was she cracking up? Had all the missions blown a circuit in my brain? If so, telling Central might be the safest thing for everyone.

She was a stranger not only to the Davenport family, but to herself, and the worse part of it she was beginning to wonder if she could or should trust herself.

Beyond the little memory she had which was nothing more than flashes of faces and places, she still didn’t know who she was supposed to be for this assignment. Anger she was used to but not when it was directed at herself. The frustration almost paralyzed her. It made me move differently- slower, and that wasn’t like her. Then just when she gave up on remembering anything a memory would appear.

Liza knew who she was, but what did that mean when she couldn’t remember what she’d been doing for the past six months? A lot can change in six months. Her name was Liza Waters but who was that really now?

Liza needed to talk with someone who knew her, knew about her, but there weren’t that many people. There was Wilson.  The last time she remembered sharing the same zip code was a year ago. That was the last time she remembered, but she couldn’t be for sure.

If she contacted him and he suspected something was wrong she’d put both of them in danger. As a Central agent he’d be required to report all to the Mastermind. Liza couldn’t risk that. There really wasn’t anyone else she knew who wasn’t equally in danger if she told them her truth. Everyone she knew was somehow affiliated with Central.

Mrs. Davenport hadn’t pushed her to prove anything. She’d just accepted her. It was as Trina, but the woman’s protection was solid. Considering what she’d been able to discover about Trina, she would have understood if the woman had kicked her out, but she hadn’t. The woman seemed to have an abundance of forgiveness within her. Even though Liza knew it was for Trina not for her, she appreciated it. It was the most anyone had ever done for her- ever.

Later that evening Mrs. Davenport called Liza in to her room as she was getting ready for bed.

“Put this on the head for me, baby,” Mrs. Davenport said pointing at the Styrofoam bust before removing her wig. Liza was surprised to see the woman’s mostly bald head but looked away. She didn’t want to say something wrong.

Liza caressed the gray curls in my hands and carefully shape it around the mannequin’s head on the dresser so the wig would keep its shape. She tried not to stare at Mrs. Davenport but the sparse tufts of hair on smooth brown skin was hard to ignore.  

“Cancer ain’t nothing to play with,” the older woman said coughing softly. She returned her stare in the vanity’s mirror. Without her wig the woman looked older than her sixty-five years. Liza could now see just how hard the older woman worked to hide her illness during the day.  

“It’s been a rough year,” she said in a manner that could be taken as a question or a statement. Mrs. Davenport turned in her seat to face Liza.

She stared for several seconds.  “Sit down,” she said. Liza immediately sat on the edge of the older woman’s bed directly opposite from Mrs. Davenport.

“Family is important to me,” the older woman said. “There was never many of us. Roger came from a small family, and mine,” she said smiling ruefully, “was even smaller, but each year I’ve watched our family shrink in size.”   

“When your Daddy died two years ago, I wanted to die right with him. Losing a husband, no matter how many years he was sick, is hard,” she said taking a deep breath. “God bless him. No matter how much you think you prepared it ain’t ever easy. Then I had the problem with my lungs and I realized I had my chance to join him. But you know what,” I said smiling softly, “I wasn’t ready to go just yet. Only God can make those choices. When he says it’s your time, then it’s your time. Until then we have to do the best we can with what we got.”

Leaning in her seat she said, “You’re here, now.” Mrs. Davenport said with an intense look on her face. “While you’re here know you have family, you hear me? You understand?” Mrs. Davenport said her eyes locked on mine.

“Yes,” Liza said catching her breath.

“Yes, what?” her soft voice edged with steel.

“Yes, ma’am,” Liza answered. She wasn’t certain but it seemed as if Mrs. Davenport was talking directly to her, Liza, instead of Trina, but she shook the thought away. There was no way, or was it? She said no more, and Liza didn’t push her to. There was no way she was going to mess this up. She needed more time and here she was giving it to her with a big red bow on it.  All she had to do was continue being Trina.

Whatever troubles Trina had given to her mother seemed to have prepared the older woman for just about anything. It was confounding that a woman as accomplished as Mrs. Davenport could have raised two daughters who were so different and so troubled, but she had.  

It didn’t make sense, but it wasn’t Liza’s job to figure that out. She wasn’t there to resolve their family problems. She was there to buy enough time to finish her mission. Then she planned to disappear just like she always had. 

A part of her wanted to know more about the Davenport’s, but the other part said leave it alone. That was the voice that forced Liza to her feet.

“Trina,” Mrs. Davenport’s voice called out. Liza stopped in my tracks. The woman’s voice despite whatever treatment she was going through was still clear and strong. “I haven’t heard you say much since you been back in this house. You got something on your mind?”

“No,” Liza said quickly adding, “ma’am.” She turned in the doorway to smile at the older woman. “Nothing on my mind.”

“Good, good,” the woman said. “Now you go on to bed you got to get up early to take my granddaughter to school in the morning. You up for that?” Liza nodded.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Glad to hear, because that girl is my pride and joy. If anything ever happened to my granddaughter,” the woman paused, “there would be hell to pay.”

The look in the older woman’s eyes spoke volumes, and Liza heard it loud and clear. She could stay, but she’d be expected to manage Trina’s responsibility which meant the little girl who called her “Mama”, but she knew nothing about.

Regardless of what had gotten her there, Liza felt safe with the Davenports. She was willing to deal with Trina’s crazy life, but she wasn’t prepared to let any of it touch Mrs. Davenport who’d done nothing but show her loyalty.

“I need to get online,” Liza said hoping the Davenports had a computer.

“Of course,” Mrs. Davenport said walking to her closet. “We may be country, but we aren’t completely out of touch, dear,” she said walking to her closet. She returned with a laptop and a power cord.

Liza took both thanking Mrs. Davenport before telling her goodnight.

It was already midnight but she still had work to do, and she knew just where she was going to start. Although sleep sounded good, the job couldn’t wait.

Liza took the laptop to her room and locked the door. She logged on to the laptop and pulled up the browser then typed the two words into the search engine: “Trina Davenport”. She just hoped she could get some answers.

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