A month passes by like a year and suddenly one week happens in an hour.
So much to unwrap, but it looks like it’s all starting up again, in ways bigger than I could’ve imagined. I wish you could’ve been there.
First, the scarf.
It’s a little itchy.
I mean, obviously I’m not wearing it now because it’s insufferably hot, but when I did, a few times last fall, I noticed it was itchy. Not terribly. Just a little. And only if you wrapped it around in certain ways. It’s very wide so I could rewrap it and poof, no itch…
Two nights ago we were lying on the sofa at Cole’s. I was rubbing his feet and he was reading to me after a deliciously gluttonous (and very wine heavy) meal at an Italian place in his neighbourhood. My bag was near the sofa, and I don’t remember when, but and at some point I absently reached down and starting fiddling with the scarf.
Must’ve gone on an hour before I actually noticed that I was running my fingers along the itchy part. There was a line down the middle of the scarf that was rough, unlike the rest of the yarn. I didn’t want to say anything until I’d managed to run the entire scarf through my hand, following the rough thread from one end to the other.
Why was there one course thread running down the middle of the scarf? I bolted up and yanked it out of my bag, investigating through wine-rimmed eyes. I couldn’t see the thread, but I could feel it. I handed it off to Cole. He felt it too. We were giddy at this point. We each grabbed an end, trying to find the source, and then I felt it. The “tail” of the course thread, hidden amid the tassels on my end. Cole found it too. We both pulled at the same time, giggling at how insanely excited we both were. He gave me the honours and the hidden thread slid right out of the middle, separating the scarf into two!
We ran to the kitchen table to study the thread under the light.
It had lines and dots running all down it. Morse code I thought? Cole was already rushing back with a notepad from the coffee table. I “read” the lines to him and he wrote them down. Turns out Cole knows Morse! (he’s very handy.)
I half expected it to not make sense. To be a fluke we were trying to wish into being magic.
It wasn’t a fluke.
It was an address.
In New York City. The upper east side to be precise.
We googled it. It was a hundred-year-old apartment building that at some point had been converted into a boutique hotel.
We figured whatever was in the apartment would be gone now. Right?
We stood in the kitchen in our underpants trying to figure out what to do. Cole went over the code again. He’d gotten it right.
We figured we should definitely wait until morning to go. Daylight, soberness, etc. We agreed to wait.
And we barely slept. We kept checking to see if the other was sleeping and finally got up just before 6am.
I brought the scar(ves)f just in case. We went over and over what we’d say to whoever was managing the front desk of the hotel. Ask if my father had left something behind, maybe lost and found? Who knows, maybe the manager was another of my father’s friends, waiting decades for me to show up?
Nope. The manager looked at us as if we were mad. They weren’t in the habit of keeping things in the lost and found for years and he’d never heard of Sullivan Green.
It wasn’t until Cole mentioned apartment number 7G specifically that the manager perked up. He had Cole repeat it twice, then hurried into a back room to make a whispery phone call.
He came back and told us to take the elevator to the 7th floor. To room 717. The room that used to be 7G. We wondered what would be waiting up there, how we’d get in. The manager shook his head and said we wouldn’t need a key.
We took the elevator up, wondering what were getting ourselves into. Cole wanted me to wait in the lobby, with the scarf. I politely declined.
We stood outside the door for what felt like an hour. I kept telling Cole to knock and then stopping him before he could. I rubbed my eyes as if I were about to see something so incredible I wouldn’t want to blink.
And then Cole finally knocked.
And knocked again.
He tried the knob just as the lock turned.
Someone was already inside.
The door opened and standing on the other side was a tall, handsome man who had to be somewhere north of 90.
His hair was silver but impeccably groomed. He had a light in his eyes and a beautiful smile. All the anxiety, apprehension suddenly melted away. I felt at ease for some strange reason. Was it him or the trail? The man nodded to Cole, then turned to me.
He asked if I was Deirdre Green and smiled when I said yes.
Then he proudly introduced himself.
A name I’d come to think of as myth. But here he was, standing at the head of the trail my father left for me.
M. Grey Ackerly.