by Caryl Barnes

“Ada Fell took several deep breaths and surrounded herself with light. With her psychological and spiritual boundaries protected, Ada’s thoughts turned to Ben Martin. Recently dead, he had signaled Ada for help two weeks earlier in a Sarasota cemetery. Ada, who often performed services for the departed, was clairvoyant. With her inner vision, she saw that Ben was not ready to cross over from the earth plane to the Light. First he had to correct an injustice.

“Ben asked Ada to locate Todd, his estranged son. She must give Todd a bundle of letters in Ben’s office safe. Ben and Janice, his first wife, wrote the letters during the Korean War while they were still very much in love. Because the marriage had ended badly forty years ago when Todd, their only child, was a baby, Ben never told his son that Opal, his second wife, wasn’t his birth mother. As a teenager Todd learned of the truth from a neighbor and demanded information. Ben refused to talk about the past, and Todd left home in a fury. Now in his grave, Ben felt that the letters properly belonged to Todd. They were literally letters of introduction to his mother!

“Ada had not yet found Todd. Where had he been all these years? Had he changed his name? Had he found his birth mother? Could she still be alive? Ada was forever asking herself questions to which she might never know the answers. That’s just as well, she told herself, since I’m almost as interested in the questions as answers.

“She remembered the story about Gertrude Stein. “What’s the answer?” Stein asked on her death bed. Her partner, Alice B. Toklas, and the friends gathered around her were silent. “Then, what is the question?” Stein inquired and died.”

Caryl is one of eight In Print members to have her work featured at the Allegory Project, an art space and exhibition co-sponsored by the Art Matters Artist Coop and the Rockford Area Arts Council. The Allegory Project plans to have a theme that is explored in various art forms: painting and sculpture, photography, repurposed objects, and the spoken and written word. The current theme answers the question, “What makes a story worth telling?”

Caryl’s piece and the others have been framed at the gallery and are available for viewing starting Friday, April 11 from 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm and Saturday, April 12 from 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm. After that, they will be open from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday through the end of May. The show space is on the northwest corner of Madison and Prairie Streets in Rockford

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