“Better days ahead.”
Her mom had often spoken those words. For two years Carrie had mourned her passing.
Carrie's dad had also tragically died, at the young age of 43. From that day, loneliness and lack of confidence had been her mother's downfall. The biggest downer of all: Cliff, the man she would eventually marry. Carrie had been just 10.
Any semblance of a normal home life died with her mother; when Carrie was 16. John, Carrie's brother was leaving home. He hated Cliff and felt it was "his turn" at 21, to move out. He urged Carrie to do the same. But where would she go; what would she do for money? She had been working for the past year, saving to go back to school.
Cliff's new hobby was hitting the bottle, hard. He returned home late at night, sometimes alone, sometimes not. Carrie lay awake in her locked bedroom. By day often skipping work, he ranted. It was high time she started to pay for her keep.
Nestled in a jewelry case that her mother had given Carrie's on her 16th birthday, an envelope. Carrie had only found it recently; accidentally clicking a tiny latch that opened a secret compartment in the bottom of the large antique box. A letter from her mother asking for understanding and forgiveness. Inside the violet pages: 5, $1000 bills.
Ascending the escalator she looked for Gate A5. An old school friend had offered her a place to stay.
Better days ahead.