As Dr. Hampton dialed the phone, I began to wonder if Miss Emmaline had left any clues behind as to why she had decided to take her own life? Had something happened that cause her to take such drastic action or simply that nothing had happened, and she decided life just wasn't worth the living.
All at once, I was curious to get back inside that room. I knew that my curiosity was sometimes out of bounds, but that is just the way I have always been. I determined to somehow get in before the police came. I would be careful not to leave my fingerprints on any item.
"Er...um... I think I'll head back upstairs for a few minutes. If you'll excuse me."
"Of course, Zeb. I'll see you in a little while." Mrs. Walsh just assumed I needed to get ready to go to church, and I did, of course; just not at that particular moment.
Hurrying up the stairway, I let myself into the room, looking around hurriedly. Miss Emmaline had kept a very neat room, almost hygenic, it seemed. Everything had a place and was in it's place, apparently. I decided to look into the trash can and found a newspaper that had been shredded into bits. Using my handkerchief, I fished it out.
Scanning it quickly, I saw an article whose picture had been almost obliterated. I read underneath the photograph. It was an announcement of an anniversary of a couple, who apparently had been of interest to Miss Emmaline. It hit me then - the realization of their identity. The fellow was the one she was supposed to have married. It told of a party celebrating the birth of their second child just a week earlier.
She must have been thinking that it should have been her in that picture, and that the children should have been hers. Now she had nothing; not even a roof over her head except through the charity of others.
I quickly returned the newspaper to the wastebasket and slipped quietly out of the room, saddened by the terrible waste of the life of the lady in the bed. How much good she could have done, if only...
Reflecting on how different our lives were...she had great wealth in the beginning of her life and wasted it all because of a great disappointment. Apparently, she didn't have faith in God. I came from very humble beginnings and could have turned out the same way, but someone took an interest in me and showed me the way to Salvation.
It proved to me how very important others can be in our lives, and how we should always share our faith. I regretted that I didn't have the opportunity to do so with Miss Emmaline. Perhaps I could have made the difference.
I determined I would write to Glenny and try to persuade her to read a Bible. I would see that I got one into her hands. I had to at least make the attempt.
Going to my room, I sat on my bed for a few minutes, lifting up the people I had seen since coming here in prayer. I know that God always hears what we have to say. He knows our thoughts as well.
I soon heard the heavy steps of the police coming up the stairway and then the opening of Miss Emmaline's door. I came out of my room then, and went downstairs.
Going into the dining room, I saw Mrs. Walsh clearing the table and getting ready to clean the dishes. Helping her carry them into the kitchen, I informed her of what I had discovered.
"So, that's it! It must have been like rubbing salt into her wounds, seeing that announcement, and probably thinking it should have been her. Poor thing! I can only imagine how she must have felt."
"Do you have a copy of yesterday's newspaper?" I inquired.
"Yes, it is probably in the living room, and most likely turned to the funny papers. The kids love to read the comics."
Going into the living room, I looked on the couch, and there was the paper with the comic strips smiling up at me. Picking it up, I turned to the society page. There was the announcement accompanied by the photograph.
Yes, I was right in my surmising. The couple made a beautiful sight to behold. She was holding the baby and the other child stood to the right of her. Her husband was behind her, smiling adoringly down at the three of them. It had been a horrible reminder to Miss Emmaline of the emptiness of her own life.
(To be continued)