“I can’t move on unless … ”
“You still worrying yourself over that man?” Alva asked. She had stopped at Kitty’s little office.
“Not anymore,” Kitty said. “But I am worried about your books here. Look at this.” She held up a ledger and pointed to the bottom of the page.
“What’s that?” Alva asked.
“It’s the amount of money you made last year. And this page,” she pointed to another page farther on in the ledger, “this is what you’ve made so far this year.”
“That’s good, ain’t it?” Alva asked.
“Yes and no,” said Kitty. “You’ve made a lot of money. But you didn’t file for taxes. And I’ve only been able to sort through this year and last year. What about all the previous years?”
“Now how’m I supposed to know about all that stuff?” Alva asked, her eyebrows knitting together and a puzzled look on her face. “You going to take care of all that for me and that’s that. You go on and do whatchoo gotta do. I don’t mind none.”
“Well, I may have to take this to an accountant,” Kitty said.
“That’s fine. I cain’t think on this stuff none right now. I gotta heavy burden I’m carryin’ and that’s a fact,” Alva said. “So you go on and do it for me, honey. I ’preciate it. You know that.”
“Alva?” Kitty began.
“What’s that?” she answered.
“Did you divorce any of your husbands?” Kitty asked.
“That watchoo thinkin’ ’bout doing now? Divorcing him?” Alva asked.
“I think I have to. I mean he’ll never find me. And it’s not fair to him to leave everything like it is,” Kitty said. “But I don’t know how to do it. I mean I don’t know where to start.”
“I never been divorced myself,” Alva said. “Don’t see no reason to go on and spend money on some man you consider too ugly to be living with. Anyway, watchoo care if he be inconvenienced?”
“Then what about me? What am I going to do with my life now?” Kitty asked.
“We all got to figure that out, child,” Alva said and finished her tea. She stood up and walked to the sink.
“I can’t move on unless I come to some understanding with him. I just can’t do it,” Kitty stated.
“You already done made the biggest decision,” said Alva.
Kitty stared out the window. She thought about the emptiness of what she had left behind. Now she was facing a different kind of emptiness.
“Alva,” she started, “if I wanted to find my family – I mean my real family – how would I go about it?”
“Oh child, that’s easy. That man McSweeney, he could help you. That man can find anyone, I declare,” Alva said. “Course you don’t always know whatchoo goin’ to find when the lookin’s done with.”
“That would cost a lot of money, wouldn’t it?” Kitty asked.
“No need of you to be worryin’ none ’bout that. I can help you with the money. Look here at all this work you doin’ for me and I ain’t payin’ you nothin’. That ain’t right,” Alva said.
“Oh I couldn’t take any money from you. You’re not charging me rent or anything. I’m glad to do your books. I just wish I could handle the mess you’re in. I’m going to find you an accountant and then you can get yourself all straight with your taxes and everything. At least I can do that much for you,” Kitty said.
“That’s fine. Because I got no use for the government to come after me. Not with everything else I got on my mind. Nossir,” said Alva.