Years after her daughter Irene disappeared, Natalie adopted a little girl, Kate. The mother hoped to be cured, but fate decided to bring her unexpectedly to her missing daughter.
For the first time in years, Natalie opened the windows in her living room and looked at the dust particles flying around.
Even these small particles of dust reminded her of her daughter Irene, who had gone missing four years ago. “It’s like confetti scattered all over the ground,” Irene said, trying to catch a ray of sunlight in her little palms.
The memory of her sweet face was just as fresh and just as painful. For a moment she felt like forgetting everything and flopping back onto the sofa.
No, not today. “There’s another little angel in my life today.” Natalie readjusted the pillows and took another look around the house. She made sure every room was clean and tidy before her newly adopted daughter came home.
After all Natalie had been through over the past four years, she decided that the only way to cope with the loss of her daughter was to give all her accumulated love and affection to another child.
The little girl who was to enter the life of the grief-stricken mother was eleven-year-old Kate. Natalie was introduced to the shy girl through an adoption agency, and unlike the other children she had met, a bond was immediately formed with Kate. It was as if Kate was made for her, and the girl’s gentle heart was meant to mend her heart wounds.
“She will never replace my dear Irene,” Natalie thought, “but I will raise her with all the love I have kept in my heart.”
The doorbell rang. The moment had finally arrived. Natalie’s formally adopted daughter moved in with her.
Kate looked very happy and couldn’t help but hug her new mother.
“Thanks for bringing her, Kevin,” Natalie said, almost forgetting about her ex-husband’s presence. Their marriage may have broken up two years ago, but their friendship was much older and deeper.
“No problem, Natalie. I have to go now. If you need anything, call me,” Kevin said, kissed his ex-wife on the cheek, and went to his car.
“He’s a very good man, isn’t he?” Kate joined Natalie as she watched Kevin leave.
He was the nicest man Natalie had ever known. She would never have had the courage to tell him that. And yet Natalie often felt responsible for the end of their marriage.
Life was perfect: a loving husband and a happy little daughter, but when one day Irene suddenly disappeared from school, it was the beginning of the end for Natalie and Kevin.
Sleepless nights and endless “what ifs”, Irene’s disappearance increasingly affected the husband and wife relationship. They loved each other too much to continue hurting and wounding each other. Grieving over their daughter’s disappearance, Natalie and Kevin became estranged from each other.
“Where should I put the bag, Mum?” Natalie was still surprised to hear the word ‘mother’ from Kate’s lips. “It felt good to be called that again.”
“This is your room. You can unpack here, darling,” Natalie said.
Kate carefully took out one item after another from her bag and placed them on the floor. As she pulled out a small purse, something got tangled and fell to the carpet.
Natalie was stunned. “This can’t be happening! Isn’t it…?”
“What’s wrong, Mother?” Kate was concerned about her adoptive mother’s reaction.
Was this possible? She looked at the beautiful pendant hanging on the end of her necklace. It was the same pendant worn by her missing daughter Irene!
The beautiful pendant was unmistakable, for it was a family heirloom that Natalie’s mother had proudly passed on to little Irene.
“Where did you get that pendant?” Natalie struggled to breathe normally again as she asked Kate.
“It’s… my most precious thing. It was given to me by a friend of mine. Irene.”
Hearing the name, Natalie was even more shocked.
“How do you know Irene, child?”
Kate stopped unpacking, and her cheerful expression turned sombre. “Irene and I were best friends at the orphanage. I was too shy, and the other kids made fun of me all the time. Only Irene would come to me and talk to me. She was the only one who understood my drawings. She was the only one who sat next to me at lunch.”
Natalie cried as she listened and imagined Irene playing and smiling in the lobby.
“We had only been together for two years, but we felt like we had known each other since birth. Then, one day, she left.”
“Why did she leave?” – Natalie asked, feeling a sudden loss of hope.
“A family adopted her. A man and a woman wanted to take in a child for a few years, and they chose Irene. When she left, Irene took the necklace off her neck and put it on me.”
Irene said: “There’s a lot of love in this pendant, Kate. Love from my heart and also from the heart of my mother and grandmother. It will give you strength and will always be with you. With this pendant you will never be alone.”
Kate kissed the pendant and wiped away her tears, remembering her friend.
Then Natalie ran to the bathroom to cry. She gave it some thought and knew exactly who to call first.
Kevin drove to Natalie’s house as fast as he could, his heart racing.
After Natalie told him about finding their daughter’s pendant, he felt a feeling that he had long suppressed in his heart. He felt hope again.
“I can feel it… my Irene is near. This time I will find her. And maybe everything will be all right….,” Kevin thought as he drove up to Natalie’s house.
For the rest of the evening, Natalie and Kevin walked around the lobby of the orphanage, waiting to see where the girl they hadn’t seen in four years was.
Kate was with them too, reconnecting with her old acquaintances and favourite teachers at the orphanage.
The sun had set an hour later when the impatient parents finally got an address. “It’s in Greensville, which is a four-hour drive from here,” Kevin said as he set the address on his GPS.
“It’s getting dark. Maybe we should wait out the dark and leave tomorrow?” – Natalie asked, though she didn’t want to waste a minute.
“No way! It’s Irene! I want to meet my friend… tonight! Let’s go!”
Kevin drove to the address in Greensville, accompanied by Natalie and Kate, who could not hide their excitement.
As they approached the house, Natalie saw Irene in the garden, talking to the flowers, as she usually did.
“You little pink rose, tell me, when am I going to find my mummy and daddy?” She didn’t know that all she had to do was turn around.
After fate returned Irene to her parents, old wounds began to heal. Just as Kevin had hoped, Irene was back, Natalie was beginning to laugh again, and he could see the same love in Natalie’s eyes when she looked at him.
Since that day, the joy in Natalie and Kevin’s hearts has multiplied. Not only because they had found their Irene, but also because they had found their perfect second child and loving sibling for Irene, Kate.