Echoes of the Past
Publication date: September 20th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Anna Wilson is faced with the prospect of starting her first job out of university. She worked hard for this coveted position not for the prestige, but because it paid well, would make her parents proud, and most importantly, the location was close to her grandmother, her only remaining family.
Accepting this job was a seal of fate according to Anna’s grandmother, who grappled with the guilt that Anna planned her life around her.
After graduating from university, Anna’s world gets turned upside down when she receives the devastating news her grandmother passed away, leaving behind an unexpected inheritance, a chest full of old postcards, and tickets for a trip her grandmother planned leaving in a few weeks.
Anna battles the difficult decision – to stay with the job she accepted, or embark on a journey that could uncover truths about herself and the untold stories of her grandmother’s past.
“I didn’t have a choice then, but I do now,” I said, with a mixture of nostalgia and sorrow filling my chest as I sat on the bench across from an old bouquet of crinkled, dried flowers. The soft breeze rustled the autumn leaves, leaving a crisp scent lingering in the wind. The sun dipped over the horizon, casting a warm glow against my face as I sat in this place of quietude.
“Mom, Dad,” I whispered, taking a deep breath, “I miss you so much. I need your help now more than ever before.” I knew that coming here today was necessary – I needed their guidance, I was so confused.
I sat there and looked around the well-tended lawn and the sun’s reflection against the pond nearby. I kneeled down to replace the old bouquet with the new, trying to avert my eyes, but they were anchored on rereading the etched inscription for the millionth time:
“Emily & Liam Wilson, Beloved Parents, May they always rest in peace, Forever in our hearts.”
I could almost hear my father’s voice saying, “There’s no ‘cannot’ in our dictionary at home. I crossed it out, it doesn’t exist!”
Is that really true, Dad? Right then, it felt impossible. I already had a plan in place, a prestigious job lined up, and now this. A completely unexpected option. I felt a tear run down my cheek and brushed it away with my sleeve.
Life hasn’t been the same since you dropped me off at Grandma’s. None of us could have predicted what happened next.
“I think I know what I want to do, but I’m so scared.”
Memories came flooding back, each one flipping through my mind like snippets of a film.
“Anna, my dear,” Charlotte said gently, but heavy with melancholy as she opened the screen door from the back side of her house. Anna was hula-hooping and stopped, sensing that something was off by the sound of her grandmother’s tone, and came over to her.
“There’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is it, Grandma? What’s wrong?”
Anna watched as Charlotte fell to her knees, took her hands in her own, tears streaming down her cheeks, and said, “I just got a phone call. There’s been an accident and your parents…I’m so sorry, they’ve passed away.”
Anna froze. Shock washed over her, as she attempted to grasp her grandmother’s words. Her eyes started to feel puffy and swollen with tears. A whirlwind of thoughts and emotions raced through her mind. How could this happen? It was a vacation.
Charlotte pulled her in closely as they wrapped their arms around each other. Both acknowledged that neither of their lives would ever be the same again.
Ashley Packard was born and raised in the suburbs outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany with her husband Zac and their two cats Emmy and Zelda. They moved to Germany in 2022 as newlyweds after getting married in Iceland. “Echoes of the Past” is her debut novel. She has a passion for traveling, telling stories, and taking photographs. You can find her latest work and updates on http://www.ashleypackard.com.
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