TITLE: Return To Me
Abandoned by her actress mother, then again when her fiance deploys for World War II, eighteen-year-old Sadie Stark vows she would never surrender her own child. But when she discovers her fiancé's bomber has crashed over enemy lines, she must find the courage to persevere and make the right choice for herself and the child she carries.
Sadie watched from the farmhouse as a pick-up truck rambled up their lane. When the tires crunched across gravel near the front porch that sagged like their sway-back mare, she repinned a stubborn wisp of gray hair that had escaped her carelessly twisted bun at the nape of her neck.
The truck puttered to a stop.
Sadie watched as the woman peeled her toned thighs from the sticky vinyl seat and eased down to the ground. She studied a piece of paper and then looked up, catching Sadie's gaze. Then she hoisted a bag of groceries in her arm the way a mother lifts a child.
"May I help you?" Sadie asked curiously. She didn't recognize this woman, although her gait was oddly familiar.
"Yes, I hope so," the woman replied. She took the porch steps slowly, squinting in the sun, her puckered cheeks the color of a ripened peach. "I stopped at the market asking for directions and Ruth Dalton? She directed me here, and asked that I bring your groceries. I hope that was okay."
"Thank you. Please, come in."
A breeze sucked the checkered curtains to the screens and then released them to tinker with the chimes as the women retreated inside. The woman's flip-flops lapped at her heels as she followed Sadie to the kitchen.
"I'm looking for Sadie Stark."
Sadie froze while looking through the window at the pond under the great willow tree. Their tree. The sight of it evoked feelings she'd buried for many years.