“There is one thing that remains,” Billy said. “I’m going to try and find out who lived next door to Marcel when I was given to her and from that find out where I came from.”
“You have no recollections of that time at all?” Willard said.
“No,” Billy said, “but I don have something and I’m not sure if it holds a secret or not.”
“What is it?” Willard said.
Billy and Willard stood up from the dinning room table.
Billy removed the necklace from around his neck. “It’s a has something on it that I’m not sure what it means, but it’s something I’ve always had with me. I think it is significant. At one time I thought it was just an ID tag from a hospital or orphanage.”
“Let me see it,” Willard said, “and let’s sit on the porch again. As an insurance investigator I’ve had to solve a lot of puzzles in my day. I got pretty good at it.”
As they made their way to the front porch Willard examined the chain and medallion. “A B C,” he said, “and “47, 03, dash, 55, 10, 30. So you don‘t have a clue as to what it means, huh?”
“No idea, whatsoever,” Billy said. “What about you?”
They sat on the front porch and Willard screeched his cheek and drew his mouth to one side as if he knew something. “I’ll tell you what I think it is.”
“What?” Billy said.
“It’s map coordinates,” Willard said. “Find yourself a sailor and he’ll put you within a football field of these coordinates on a map.”
“Are you sure.” Billy said.
“Of course I’m not sure,” Willard said, “but it’s the only way it can be read with some degree of certainty.”
“What about the A B C?” Billy said.
“If it was arranged in any other order or different letters I’d say those are you initials,” Willard said. “I’d say there’s at least a 50/50 chance those are your initials, but I’m certain the numbers are coordinates.”
Willard handed the necklace back to Billy.
Ruth came to the door with a tray. Billy jumped to his feet and held it open for her.
“Some coffee and cookies,” Ruth said.
“Perfect,” Willard said.
They sat and talked until the sun sat below the houses.
“Will you stay with us this evening?” Ruth said.
“Sure,” Billy said.
“It’s Alicia’s old room,” Ruth said. “It’s been a guestroom for years.”
That night Billy dreamed of talking to Alicia, walking on sandy ocean beaches, slow dances, picnics in the woods, and soft kisses. He awoke with eyes full of tears and a heart full of longing. The grief he was unable to expend decades ago was now with him.
Billy was summoned to breakfast by Ruth’s gentle rap on the door.” We are about to eat breakfast.”
He sat at the kitchen table speechless. There was coffee, orange juice, a dish of scrambled eggs, toast and plate of bacon.
“I see you dreamt of Alicia,” Ruth said as she looked into his puffy red eyes.”
Billy nodded and smiled.
“So did we,” Willard said.
“I think we can put it all to rest now,” Ruth said. “But you still have a ways to go. I feel so sorry for you. Your journey had not been so pleasant either.”
“As an old insurance investigator I’ve kept friends,” Willard said. “Even some of the young bucks give me a call for help now and then. You can’t solve all the problems with a computer. It takes some ingenuity. So last night before bed I made a phone call to try and find out where Marcel lived when she acquired you.” Willard handed Billy a piece of paper. “The place was on Mulholland. Here is the address. The folks that lived next door now live on Coldwater Canyon Drive. It is the home of Dean and Claudette Emerson. They were part of the Hollywood in-crowd during the 50s. Claudette had a career, but not talent. Dean was a real estate investor. He did everything he could to make his wife happy and to quit sleepy with every director, producer, and executive in town.”
“Thanks,” Billy said and stuffed the note in his shirt pocket.
“If I were you I’d leave that alone,” Willard said pointing at the note in Billy’s pocket. “The coordinates are what’s going to tell you what you want to know. The Emerson’s will likely have less empathy than Marcel.”
They talked further and finally Willard and Ruth walked Billy to the porch. He gave them each a hug and stepped off the porch.
“You’re going to see the Emerson’s aren’t you?” Willard said.
“Yeah,” Billy said. “I don’t want a puzzle with a couple of missing pieces. I really want to know all there is to know about me.”
“Good luck,” Willard said.
“Be careful,” Ruth said.
“I’ll do that,” Billy said. “And thanks.”