The further he drove the clearer his memory of events. One by one in a very natural and peaceful way they returned.
“That necklace is telling me something,” Billy said to himself. “It has been with me all along, telling me who I am.”
He gave thought to who he believed at one time was his mother. “There was never a moment of tenderness from her only solitude. I think she wanted to love and waited to love, but she got tired of waiting. She fed and clothed me.”
Billy found a motel not far from Vinton. It was a night of staring at the ceiling and tracing his life from Los Angles to the Army.
The next day after breakfast and three hours on the road heading back to Los Angles Billy’s phone rang.
“Hello,” Billy said.
“Hi, Dad,” Drake said. “Where are you now?”
“Taking the fast way back to LA,” Billy said. “I’m south of Sacramento.”
“Did you meet your mother?” Drake said.
“Turns out she’s not my mother,” Billy said.
“Who is she?” Drake said.
“She raised me and I always thought she was my mother,” Billy said, “but after meeting her I’m glad she’s not.”
“Who is your mother and father,” Drake said. “Did you find that out?”
“It turns out that I was purchased by some rich woman. She lost interest quickly in being a parent and she gave a couple thousand to the woman I met yesterday.”
“Are you okay?” Drake said.
“Sure,” Billy said. “I’m better off now than I was a month ago.”
“Why are you heading back towards Los Angeles?” Drake said.
“I’m going to tell the folks who lived across the street from me when I was a kid that their daughter was murdered by the woman I met yesterday,” Billy said. “I’m also going to tell them they had a wonderful daughter.”
“What happened?” Drake said.
And Billy explained the conversation he had with Marcel Simon and what he now remembered. It was good and cathartic for him to relate it.
“How are things in Atlanta?” Billy said.
“Dad,” Drake said. “Do you ever recall having a weapon?”
“Let me think,” Billy said, “No… Wait, I had a 9 millimeter. Kept it for personal protection. It was always in the night stand on my side of the bed. Why do you ask?”
“Do you ever recall it being fired in the home?” Drake said.
“The only time I fired it was out to the range once a year,” Billy said. “I‘m not sure why you‘re asking.”
“Behind the bar in the basement there is picture,” Drake said. “It’s out of place. Yesterday Mom had me over for supper. I was in the basement mixing a drink. I looked behind the picture. There was a nine millimeter bullet buried in a wall stud.”
“Better than my head,” Billy said.
“Why do you say that?” Drake said.
“I don’t know,” Billy said, “just thought it was funny.” Billy paused.
“What’s wrong, Dad?” Drake said.
“Nothing,” Billy said. “I suppose there’s nothing funny about it.”
“You remember something don’t you,” Drake said.
“Yeah,” Billy said, “but I’m not sure what.”
“Maybe I should just let you go,” Drake said.
“Yeah,” Billy said. “I have some thinking to do.”
“Bye, Dad,” Drake said, “be careful.”
“Thanks, son,” Billy said.. “Ill keep my eyes on the road.”
The road was long with scenery not seen. Thoughts and remembrances moved with methodic precision as if orchestrated. Peace came over him. He breathed the air of a free man. His lungs filled with hope, calm, and contentment. Yes, there was that nagging unknown as to who he really was, but now a dark and mysterious string of years was now available for examination and context to other parts of his life. For the first time he felt that the pieces were now at hand to begin to define who he was.