A life long Lived

Her once vibrant curly mess of red hair flows behind her, highlighted with tones of faded red and grey to show time passed. It's been years since she saw the building that she called home, hugged the woman who raised her. “Are you sure you want to do this?” asks Ripley as he puts his hand gently on her shoulder. Winnie smiles sweetly at him. “I do Ripley”. He gives her a kiss. Winnie and holds onto his hand, and knocks on the door. Winnie hears the muffled sound of movement coming from the other side of the door. She clenches onto Ripley's hand rather tightly, making him wince but not letting her hand go. Finally, the door opens and a women's head pops out. “Ya need help with somethin'?” asks the woman in a harsh English accent. Winnie's heart sinks at the sight of this woman; she looks familiar, but she is not Mrs. Luella, she's too young. Her hair is only slightly greying, no large lines on her face yet, but prominent bags hang under her eyes. “Oh, I'm sorry, I'm looking for Mrs. Luella, is she here?” Asks Winnie, still half hopeful. “Aye, I'm Mrs. Luella” says the woman. “Oh no, I mean Ruth Luella, is she here, or do I have the wrong house?” The woman shakes her head. “No ma'am, you have the right house I am-ey! ey stop that! Don't you see that I am talking to someone? Now pipe down for five minutes! Sorry, These brats get louder as time goes on, I'm sorry Miss, but Ruth Luella passed away 5 years ago, I'm her daughter”. Winnie's heart falls into her stomach, she clenches tighter onto Ripley's hand. He holds onto her arm and tries to soothe her. “It's okay darling,” He says hoping to calm his panicked wife. She looks over to him, then back to the woman standing in front of her. “Wait…but Mrs. Luella couldn't have kids, her husband died, this is Mrs. Luella's orphanage isn't it?” Says Winnie, confused. The woman nods. “This is the orphanage,” she says. “And you're her daughter?” Asks Ripley. Again the woman nods. “Yes I am, I took over after me mum died…she adopted me when no one else would. I know I wasn't her top choice to adopt, but she gave me love till the day she died”. Winnie could feel the tears building up in her eyes, threatening to break through at any moment, Ripley moves his arm around Winnie's shoulder and holds her tightly. “Okay…I'm sorry to intrude, have a good day” Winnie chokes out. She walks down the steps, leaning on Ripley for support. “It's okay darling”, he whispers. They are about to leave when the woman's voice calls her back “Wait!” She shouts. They both turn and look at the woman still standing in the doorway. “Ya remind me of someone!” She continues. Winnie looks at the woman, her eyes are squinting at Winnie, then suddenly she gestures for her to come back; Winnie walks back up the steps “An old friend of mine used to have hair exactly like that…she ran away from here almost 25 years ago; they never found her. I always hoped she was alive but after a while I had to-‘ey! Stop it what did I tell ye! Winnie! Get over here at once!” Every muscle in Winnie's body tenses up. The pitter patter of small feet running to the door gets louder and louder, then suddenly a small girl runs into the doorframe, clinging onto the woman's skirt, she's young, can't be more than seven years old, her wavy long brown hair flowing just like her Mum's hair did so long ago. “Lulu…” Winnie says. The woman looks up from her daughter, slightly confused. “Aye, that's my name, how did you-“ Her words cut off, eyes growing twice as large. Tears spill out of Winnie's eyes once she is sure Lulu has realized who she is. “W-Winnie?” Winnie nods and the two women immediately throw their arms around one another, sobbing uncontrollably. “You're alive! You're alive I thought you died! They told me you died but you're alive!” Lulu sobs. The two of them stay in this embrace for a while, crying in joy the whole time. “Mommy, why are you crying”. Says the little girl. They both look down and wipe away the tears streaking their faces. Lulu bends down and picks little Winnie up. “Darling, this is the most important person in my whole life, yer named after her, this is your Aunt Winnie”. She looks up shyly at Winnie, still clutching onto her Mum. “…I like your hair”. She says shyly. Winnie bursts out laughing and gives little Winnie a kiss on the forehead. Lulu puts little Winnie back down onto the ground and hugs Winnie once again. Lulu looks over Winnie's shoulder to Ripley standing on the walkway. “This your husband?” She asks. Winnie nods and runs down the steps, grabbing Ripley's hand and pulling him up. “This is Ripley…Ripley this is Lulu, she was my best friend when I was here”. Lulu grabs his hand and pulls him in for a hug, laughing and tears marking her face. “Yer lucky to have her”. She says as she lets go of him. Ripley looks at Winnie and grabs onto her hand. “I know”. Lulu begins to cry once again, pulling Winnie in for another tight hug, bringing Ripley in as well as still holds tightly onto Winnie's hand.


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