BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
I had nightmares about by parents abandoning me at a train station. I can understand where the abandonment came from; I'm still overwhelmed by the thought of a nine year old child suffering through the rigmarole of evacuation only to learn your parents are dead, but I have no explanation for the train station. Then again, it was only a dream.
Pouring a bath, I can hear the song of the birds on the tree in the garden. Spring is definitely my favourite season, it gives so much promise of the summer to come and we are not yet disappointed with the continual wind and rain. The water is hot as I raise myself into its depths; I shudder at the sight of my sagging flesh and ignore the varicose veins that send electric blue signals around my thighs. I'm old, I have been aware of this fact ever since my grandchildren were born. Children spare no thought to the unintentionally hurtful observations they make.
I sink under the water and hold my breath as I go through all the information I have collected over the past few days. It really would help if I had someone else to talk to about this; I was never very good at working completely on my own.
The church seems the best place to start considering the school has been closed for over twenty years. Though I'm sure I should be able to find some old records at the more local library where the school used to be. I have the names of both Bernadette's brother and his wife, which I'm hoping will give me a lead to their whereabouts; if they're even still in London.
I know I have to get in touch with Bernadette's lawyers. I have never worked with Summerbees Solicitors, which is no great misfortune, but nor have I ever heard of them. That makes me a little wary. No doubt they'll try and rinse me of everything in the Will by claiming I didn't try hard enough. They'll soon find out that I'm not worth crossing. I'm actually quite looking forward to the challenge.
Although it is sunny outside, the rain from last night having swept the streets of any excess pedestrians, it's far cooler than yesterday. I decide to wear a navy blue trouser suit, it's always been one of my favourites, and a floral floating top that will over a multitude of sins after over indulging in those cakes. I also know I'm old enough to get away with dressing up for church.
I haven't attended a mass in years. I'm not an atheist, and I would argue that I am a Christian, if not particularly devout. But Sunday mornings were the one time that Jonathon and I had together; no work, no children until later in the afternoon, no responsibilities. It was divine, and even though I now normally spend my Sundays alone, I have kept up with the routine. Besides, churches now remind me of funerals, so I don't want to be reminded of all who have left me behind.
Debating whether or not to take all the information and details I have with me to the church, I leave a quick message on Keith's voice mail, telling him that I'll be in the office tomorrow and I want to have a quick chat with him about an investigation I've started. I know he'll be intrigued, he loves a good mystery and there's nothing like whetting someone's appetite.
I find one of my larger handbags and decide to take everything but the actual Last Will and Testament with me. The photographs of the wedding should certainly help, though I doubt this Father Thomas was the same man who wedded Albert Healy and Eugenie Barnet; too many years have passed.
The bus is almost empty as I climb on to it and show my bus pass. I did look to see if there would be parking at St Mary's but it's a busy street and I don't fancy having to manoeuvre through London's streets, even on a Sunday morning. I enjoy the ride to Bermondsey; it isn't somewhere I often go. These days I'm either at home, Polly's, Jack's or the office. Of course I do venture out a little bit, but if I visit the countryside to see friends I usually drive and then I take less notice of my surroundings.
London does look glorious in the sunshine, and I love that the spring flowers have started to blossom and give the grey streets some much needed colour. The bus drops me about fifteen minutes away from the church, but I have forty-five minutes before the mass starts. I walk down the street and take note of the beautiful park. There is a lot of development planned for this area and I do hope that doesn't mean the park will have to suffer. It would be such a shame to lose an oasis of green in the middle of the commercial district.