BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
Clare Miller returns with Father Thomas in tow and they are both carrying a large box each. Father Thomas and I shake hands as my hope to see some marriage records are discussed, though I do try and give vague answers about my supposed family. I get the feeling that Clare Miller may not completely believe my story, though Father Thomas has the more trusting nature of a member of the clergy, which only makes it all the worse for my guilt.
He's kind when he explains that he can't leave me alone with the documents, and though I don't want to pry into anyone else's life, I know it still isn't right to rifle through Albert Healy's marriage license. But that will not stop me from completing the task I set for myself. I'm relieved I don't have to tell Polly and Jack about this little misdemeanour because I doubt they would be impressed with my lack of morality.
I assume Father Thomas means Clare Miller is going to accompany while I search for the information I'm looking for but she soon gives her farewells, and even hopes for a future reunion, though I doubt it's sincere. It's probably more for show in front of the young and good-humoured Father Thomas, but he is oblivious to the old lady's vanilla infatuation. I feel I've earned the right to call someone my age 'old'. I know I'm old; it's a fact rather than a passing judgement.
'Now that we're alone are you going to tell me the real reason you're looking for Albert Healy and Eugenie Barnet's wedding records?' Father Thomas' voice is soft and inquisitive more than harsh.
I have the good grace to blush, I know when I've been caught out, 'if I told you it was for an investigation, would you believe that?'
'What type of investigation?' he keeps his voice neutral, and I'm impressed.
'It's a private investigation. You're right, or rather Mrs Miller was right, I'm not Albert Healy's sister, but I am working on behalf of his sister. I'm trying to track him down and I don't really know where else to look. You don't happen to know where I might find him, do you?' I surprise myself with my own bluntness sometimes.
He chuckles to himself, 'you're quite straightforward Mrs Davidson. But no, I don't know a Mr Healy. I haven't been working at this parish for very long though. We can check the marriage records and see what they have to reveal, but you know I can't give you any addresses if they are included. It's a breach of confidentiality.'
I've heard that phrase more times than I can count during my career and this time it's my turn to return the smile. 'I understand. The verification will just let me know I'm on the right track.'
He picks up a volume of records date 1945-1946, 'what year are we looking for?'
'1961, the 20th of May.'
'You've done your homework.'
I hesitate but decide to show him the documents I have with me in my handbag. I pull out the newspaper clipping about the wedding, the photograph of Albert Healy as a little boy and the information I had photocopied from the library the day before.
Father Thomas scans through the information I've thrust in front of him, making him pause between the years 1958-1960. 'May I ask why Mr Healy's sister is looking for him?' he asks as he resumes the search for the correct year book.