A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
The next morning Kate woke up in a bad mood. Her friend died. She lost the race and thus gambled away all of her life savings. And as if that wasn’t already enough bad luck, it all happened in one day. It was too much to bear for this young woman, but she decided that she will not give up on life.
Kate dressed up and went downstairs to have some breakfast.
While she was drinking her cup of coffee, the newspaper boy came inside the restaurant and handed one copy of Monte Vista Daily over to Kate. Kate wanted to give him a few coins, but her pockets were empty. She smiled at the boy and gave him a cookie she stole from a big jar sitting on the counter. She was sure that Lia wouldn’t mind. The boy smiled at her, bit into the cookie and left. When Kate ran her eyes over the newspaper she couldn’t miss the big photo of Lia printed on the front page. They wrote an article about her! Kate thought to herself and suddenly felt better. She really must have been an important person…
Kate was finishing her chocolate croissant when her eyes fell on the last line of the article: “May she rest in peace. All the people that came to say the last goodbye yesterday at the sunset are…,” Kate didn’t finish reading the line because she realized that she missed the funeral. She suddenly felt terrible again and dropped the cup on the newspaper which got completely soaked in the leftover coffee. If that didn’t happen, Kate would probably unfold the Sunday paper and find an article speaking about her…
Kate decided to go to the cemetery. She wanted to buy a bouquet of violet flowers because from the few things she knew about Mrs. Rasi, Kate knew one thing for sure – Lia really loved purple. While she was searching for the non-existent coins in her pockets, Kate’s phone rang. It was George. He wanted to inform her about Lia’s funeral, but Kate already knew. He proposed going to the cemetery together. Kate agreed and empty-handed went to meet him at his place.
Kate noticed a gray car parked in front of George’s house. “I didn’t know you had a car,” she smiled. “Can I drive, please?”
“I didn’t know you had a driving license,” George smiled back. “But if you insist, be my guest!”
“Great!” beamed Kate. They got in the car and Kate started the engine. “Would you mind if we stopped by the flower stand first? I wanted to buy the flowers on the way, but I’m completely broke.”
After George bought the bouquet of purple roses Kate chose earlier in the morning, they parked the car near the pizzeria and walked down to the cemetery. There was nobody there, except the dead.
As soon as they entered the cemetery Kate went looking for Lia’s grave. It wasn’t hard to find thanks to all the fresh flowers decorating it.
In the daylight, the cemetery didn’t look spooky at all. It was actually a very pretty place. Kate called at George because she found Lia’s grave first.
When George reached Kate by Lia’s grave, she was already crying.
“Oh, don’t be sad Kate… Lia had a good life. She wasn’t that old, that’s true, but neither that young. Everybody’s candle is getting shorter by day. Even yours. Wouldn’t you feel sad seeing your own children weep?” he asked her.
“Yes, of course…,” she said.
“Come on, let’s make Lia happy, she must be sad if she can see you now…”
“You’re right…,” said Kate and put the flower on Lia’s grave. She tried to smile, while she was talking to her, but tears didn’t stop flowing. “You did so much for me in this past week, and I learned about all the good things you have done for the people of this town from the newspaper. I wish we could have talked more… But now it’s indifferent… I will never get to see you again, will I…”
When George heard Kate speaking, he couldn’t stop his tears either. He remembered when Luis first introduced them. She was so young and so beautiful. And she was also beautiful inside. He has never met a kinder person before. When George moved in town, Lia was coming to his house to do his laundry, because he never needed to learn to iron his shirts. His wife always did everything… Lia came to help out without ever asking. She really was a good, kind woman.
“… I am really happy that I have met you, Mrs. Rasi. I wouldn’t make it without your help. Thank you,” Kate finished her monologue, but then she heard Lia’s voice: “I am happy I met you, too, dear. Let’s have a cup of tea sometime.” Kate was shocked.
“What? What is it? And why are you screaming? We’re at the cemetery.”
“Did you hear it?”
“I thought I heard something. It’s gone now,” she said casually.
Kate has just discovered that she can talk to ghosts. She finally understood why that time at night, when she was coming back home from George, she could hear something or someone talk to her and ask her for help… Kate only didn’t know what kind of help.
“What is it?”
“I have to go now! Bye!” she said and rushed away.
“What? Why?” wondered George, but Kate was already at the gate and didn’t hear him. George remained at the cemetery alone. Actually, that’s what he thought. He wasn’t alone. He never was.
Kate called herself a taxi. “To the public library, hurry!”
However, as soon as she realized she had no money to pay for the taxi, Kate apologized to the driver and got out of the car in the middle of the road. She was passing by the Rags to Riches Consignment Store when her phone suddenly rang.
“Hey, Kate! It’s George. I just came back home from the cemetery and realized that I forgot to tell you something!”
“Well, tell me now.”
“No, not on the phone.”
“Just trust me. Meet me in the park as soon as you can.”
“Okay, which park?”
Fine. I guess it must be the one on the way to George. It’s the closest one to his house, after all, Kate thought to herself and went to meet George who just left his house, sat in the car and arrived in less than one minute.
Kate arrived about the same time as him because she was around that area when he called her.
“I wanted to talk about yesterday’s race,” he said.
“Why would you want to do that? You know I have lost. Why do you want to remind me of it?”
“Actually, you didn’t lose the race, Kate,” George told her. “The winner was disqualified already yesterday and because you placed second, you automatically became the first. Congratulations! You’ve earned it!” George smiled at her from ear to ear.
“Are you kidding me?” Kate couldn’t believe what George just told her.
“No, I am not! I thought you read the article this morning in the newspaper, it was right below the one about Lia.”
“I read the article about her, but then my cup of coffee slipped from my hand and made the rest of the newspaper unreadable.”
“So is this for real? I won?!?!”
“Yes! You are the winner, Kate!”
“Wow!” she exclaimed joyfully and hugged him.
“I am so proud of you, Kate!” told her George. “I will have to leave now because I am meeting with my old friend for the lunch, but we have to meet soon to celebrate!”
Kate didn’t even say bye to him because she was already dreaming about all the things she could do now. With all the money she won, she could do almost anything!
She called herself a taxi. It was the same taxi driver as before. When he saw that it was again her, he wanted to drive away, but Kate ran in front of the car and made him stop.
“Hey, girl, get out of there! I am not taking you anywhere unless you have magically acquired some money to pay for the service,” he said acidly.
“Actually I have!” Kate smiled at him.
“Funny,” he sneered.
She noticed there was today’s newspaper lying on the front seat.
“Yeah, isn’t life funny sometimes? Please, unfold the newspaper and check the front page,” she urged.
“Oh, come on. Everybody knows that Mrs. Rasi died. What about it?” he asked.
“Just do what I said!”
“Calm down, okay? So what, should I start reading?”
“Oh my, are you really so dumb? Look below!”
“Yeah, I see, even I have bet on that stupid cow and she made me lose!”
“And do you know who came to win?”
“… Kate… Love… Lowe…Lo… Loe…,” he couldn’t pronounce Kate’s surname.
“Oh really, and how come… you… just a moment… is it… you?”
“Yeah, it’s me. So, let me get inside your car and take me to the bank.”
“Yes, of course,” he said humbly. Kate sat on the back seat and the driver started the car.
“Drive well, or I will think twice before I give some money to you.”
“It… it.. it’s free of charge this… this time,” he stammered. The driver got pretty nervous when he discovered that the girl he refused to drive somewhere was actually a little rising star… He dropped her in front of the bank and quickly drove away.
Kate took a deep breath and went inside. Since she and George were the only people who have bet on Bella, they would be given all the win. She didn’t understand why the clerk wanted to give her all the money. In fact, she told him that she will leave her friend’s part here and he will come to pick it by himself. The clerk informed her, that the other person called this morning and renounced on the win. Kate smiled to herself and took a little silver suitcase from the man. It contained 20.000 simoleons. Yay!
Kate went back to the pizzeria. She took 500 simoleons from the suitcase and locked up the rest of the treasure in the bathroom. She hid it under the bathtub because she was sure noone would be searching for it there and it was the only room she had the key of anyway.
Kate decided to go to eat something good for the lunch. In the past days she heard people talking about one place where they made delicious vegetable dishes. She decided to walk all the way there because she did not want to risk running into that taxi driver ever again. As she walked across the square, she saw an advertisement for that restaurant. She discovered it was close to the fire station.
When she arrived, it was almost time for dinner. Kate went for the home-made Ratatouille accompanied by a glass of red vine.
After the dinner Kate felt really great.
She had made some good friends during her first week in this new town who have helped her in the beginning… She got to ride a beautiful horse on whose back she won her first equestrian competition… She had plenty of money now, but the more she was thinking about the money, the more she got desperate… She was happy she was not going to die from hunger as it seemed this morning, but she still was missing one thing. Something that cannot be bought with money…
The next day in the afternoon Kate, decided to go shopping for some new clothes. As she walked through the town, she found herself standing in front of the window of some kind of a bazaar-vintage-used stuff-boutique.
She was curious to see what other ”treasures” she could find, so she did not hesitate and entered inside.
Kate asked the shop assistant if she would be so kind to help her find some nice black dress. The shop assistant smiled and said: “I don’t even know if we have any. Just go and dig through.”
Kate noticed one nice black dress on a figurine standing in the corner, but when she came closer she noticed a horrible thing.
There was some cherry pattern printed all over the dress, but Kate anyway gave it a try.
The moment she looked in the mirror…
… certainly not this one, she thought to herself.
Kate didn’t want to give up because she still believed she could find some more decent dress around there. Kate kept on checking all the clothes hanging on the rack until she discovered another black dress.
Fortunately, this one didn’t have any crazy pattern printed on it, so she went in the changing room and tried it on… but then she looked in the mirror once again. She liked this one more than the cherry dress, but the more she was looking at it, the more she didn’t like it.
Kate tried on some more dresses but did not like any of them. She even tried on some crazy colorful costumes. Kate wanted to go away already, but when she passed along one of the racks, a piece of fabric fell down to the floor.
She picked it up and discovered that it wasn’t just a shawl, but a nice little black dress. She has tried it on right away. Kate was almost afraid to look at herself in the mirror…
… but she did well to look…
I absolutely love it, she thought to herself while she was checking the dress in the mirror. She changed into her clothes, picked the dress and went to pay for it.
“Ten simoleons, please,” said the shop assistant.
“Very well then,” Kate smiled and passed the 500 simoleon banknote to the woman.
“Are you kidding me?” said the woman.
“No. I don’t have smaller.”
“Fine,” said the shop assistant.
“… 300… 320… 350…400… 450…”
“Hey, I have just 450 simos here… You cannot buy the dress because I don’t have 490 simoleons to give you back.”
“What? No, no, no… I spent like an hour searching for this dress and I am not leaving without it,” said Kate.
The woman took her handbag and pulled out her purse.
“Here… take it,” she said to Kate and handed 450 simoleons plus 40 from her wallet over to her. “Later I’ll deal with my boss… I think it’s a really nice dress. Your boyfriend will like it,” she smiled.
“Actually I don’t have a boyfriend,” smiled Kate. “You know what? Just keep your 40 simos. It’s okay. Get a nice dress for yourself too, bye!”
The shop assistant remained surprised, but only she knew if it was because of the money or because of Kate’s kind behavior. “Thank you!” she called at Kate, but Kate didn’t pay attention because she was already thinking about the moment when some handsome man will see her in the dress and fall in love with her instantly…