In 2016, during summer, in a beautiful place located in London, the life of an ordinary girl started to change. But at the end, that change would turn into the worst nightmare and the best experience at the same time. Catherine Brooke, an 18-year-old girl, brown eyes with a little green, extremely shy, but with a huge heart. Cate, as she liked to be called, lived with her family in a very nice town south of London, called Anerley. Her parents, both workers, high class but humble. Her father, Clay, was a big man, catholic, and strong, but loving, as well. Her mother, Maya, a graceful woman, with piercingly brown eyes, perceptive and dedicated to her family. The young lady had two older siblings, John and Johanna, physically similar to their father with the intelligence of their mother. The girl had a lovely and united family. One day, they received bad news, Maya's dad passed away. In that moment, during funeral, Cate met Sarah, a brunette woman, with green eyes, like the leaves of trees, defined traits, but, very familiar.
"Hello, great pleasure, my name is Sarah, Sarah Taylor" said the woman while extending her hand to Cate
"Hello Sarah, I'm Cate Brooke" said the young woman sympathetically.
"You are Maya's daughter" added the woman staring at her.
"Yes, and because of your last name, I guess you're part of my mother's family," Cate replied.
The woman stared at her for a long time, analyzing her appearance.
"You look like me when I was young" said the woman lost in those memories.
"Beauty must be in our family’s veins", joked Cate.
They both laughed and approached to the girl's family.
"Mom, dad, she's Sarah Taylor" said introducing her.
"Hello sister," said Maya, hugging her.
Cate looked at them in amazement and thousands of confused thoughts in her mind.
"You're my aunt" said Cate ironic and angry for not knowing anything.
"That seems to be a lie, but dad did not accept me completely and we were not that united" she responded with nostalgia looking at the grave.
Tension and sadness seized the moment, until Clay decided to end it.
"Let's go take a little walk in the park" the man proposed with kindness.
The women nodded and went to Crystal Palace Park, where they walked for hours, talking and having a good time. They admired the beauty of the culture and the place where they were, until the night fell.
"I'm really sorry to ask you this, but could I stay here until decorators finish remodeling my old house?" asked the woman embarrassed.
"I do not think there's any problem," Maya said.
"I could stay with Cate, she doesn't like to sleep alone, and me neither to be honest" said Sarah looking at her sister
Maya looked at Cate for approval, and she said yes with her head.
Later, Cate went to sleep, and a while later her aunt came to the room.
"Are you asleep?" the woman asked, reclining on the bed.
"I can’t sleep," Cate replied, standing up.
"I just wanted to thank you for letting me stay with you" said the woman taking her hand
"Nothing to be thankful for, you're my aunt after all you are family" said Cate, watching her aunt's gesture, which made her feel tenderness.
The woman looked at her and asked something unexpected.
"Do you like me?" said Sarah
Cate looked at her a little astonished.
" Why do you ask me that?" Cate answered curiously
"Well, I felt empathy with you since I met you, and I think we have a lot in common,"
she said honestly.
“I felt it too, maybe we are going to be good friends" said Cate lying on the bed
After that night, Cate and Sarah, became closer, went out together and had fun with the whole family. For Cate, her aunt had become her confidant, someone she could trust and be herself.
For Sarah, Cate reflected what she was in her youth, but suddenly, her intentions changed unexpectedly, without considering everything she could lose, or who she was going to hurt, she decided to follow with new intentions. The days flew by, and became months, and Maya noticed her sister's unusual behavior toward her daughter.
"Hey Sarah, have you already talked to someone to find out how long the renovations will last?" Maya questioned with some suspicion
Sarah immediately noticed that her sister had not asked that question in vain.
"I am bothering you with my presence" said the woman trying to victimize herself.
"No sister, I just want to know, it's a simple question" the woman answered trying to smile but, her mind was plenty of concern.
"I think you're asking for something, be honest with me," Sarah insisted.
"Well, I do have a reason," the woman answered thinking how to ask.
Both were silent for a few seconds, and Maya finally managed to articulate some words.
"I've seen that you like Cate, she looks a lot like you when you were little" he said suspiciously
"Yes, she is a good girl, educated, beautiful and intelligent, but she looks like you" replied the smiling woman
"But I do not think you want to talk about your daughter's qualities only, I know what you think" she said seriously
Maya opened her eyes completely, almost jumping out of her face.
"Sister, my niece is wonderful, but she is your daughter, she loves you, I never had children, I know, but I feel good with Cate, I learned about the children's way of thinking and I love her very much, but only that "assured the woman trying to deflect her sister's hunch.
Sarah knew, that Maya suspected her mysterious behavior with her niece and attempted to hide the truth.
"I'm not jealous, you asked me to be honest and I will be, I want to know what you really feel for my daughter, we both know who you are and nobody judges you, but I can see a peculiar look in your eyes when you are near Catherine" Maya said with a bit of anger in his voice, for the simple fact of imagining her daughter with her sister, blood boiled her.
"Not because I'm a lesbian, means I'm in love with your daughter, little sister," the angry woman said.
"I've never discriminated against you for being like that, nor will I, but even though we did not grow up together I know you, just tell me something, are you in love with Cate, yes or no?" Maya demanded
Sarah just looked at her sister, went up stairs to her niece's room, took her things and left the house without saying a word.
Maya only saw the bizarre scene they just have went through, and she sat in the couch to wait for Cate. Once Cate arrived, Maya told her about what happened with her aunt earlier. But the girl decided not to believe it was real.
" Mom you must be wrong, aunt Sarah is not lesbian, and is very nice with me, she never tried to force me to do anything. You're just envious because I spent a lot of time with her" said Cate in tears
Maya opened her mouth to talk but Clay stopped her.
" Come with me, leave Cate alone for a while" Clay said being rational.
After the unfortunate moment, Cate called Sarah, but she didn't answer. The innocent girl, desperate to know the truth, she grabbed the keys of her father's car, and went out to look for her aunt to clear the situation.
Later at night, when Cate surrendered after not finding her, she decided going to a bar. Cate was feeling confused, betrayed and disappointed; therefore, she drank so much. Once that she was drunk, she phoned Sarah again, but she did answer this time.
" Hello" said Sarah in a weak voice
"It's me, I want to see you to talk about something" said Cate almost crying
"What are you doing honey, are you ok?" asked Sarah listening carefully to Cate's voice.
" I'm just having a some fun here at the bar near home" Cate said while laughing
" I'm coming for you but stay right there" said the woman taking her purse.
When Sarah arrived, she saw her niece making out with a stranger in the middle of the street, completely drunk.
" Cate, come with me now" said Sarah with authority, grabbing Cate's arm.
"Oh, you are my lesbian aunt, the one who is in love with me" said the unconscious girl.
" Come on honey, I'll take you home" said the woman with in tears.
Sarah felt deeply the words of the carefree girl, but she loved her so much that was being patient.
Cate look at Sarah's face, and she realized that she hurt her.
"I am really sorry, I didn't mean that, just forget it" said Cate walking away.
Sarah walked next to Cate, and she took her hand.
"Hey, don't apologize, but come with me, please" said almost begging.
Cate accepted, and they went to her house. The way home was quiet. They don't even look at each other.
" Hello, Maya can you come outside for a second?" Sarah asked on the phone when they were in front of the gate.
" Sarah, I don't want to see you, Cate is not here, and it is all your fault" said Maya troubled while she was crying.
" She is safe, actually, I brought her home, so if you can, open the gate and come for your daughter" said the woman defensively.
Upon hearing that Cate was outside, Maya and Clay went quickly to meet their daughter.
"Where were you Catherine?" her mother asked.
"Sorry mom, I just wanted to talk with aunt Sarah" said Cate looking at her parents.
" She called me, and I picked up her from the restaurant where she was" said Sarah.
" So, I'm leaving now. Good night" said the woman walking away.
" Let me take you home" said Maya trying to smile.
" No, I'll go walking, but thank you anyway" said the woman.
Sarah left, Cate got inside the house, and went to her room. Clay and Maya were worried, but they agreed to respect Cate's privacy, so they did prefer going to sleep.
Next morning, Cate escaped from college to go and meet her aunt to talk.
"Hey Cate, I know you would love hearing an answer, but there's not response to give" Sarah said nervously.
" Actually, I only wish to know the truth" respond Cate staring at her.
"Then, ask me anything, and I'll be honest" said Sarah shaking because she knew Cate would ask many things.
" First, I wanna know if you are gay" said the girl with no hesitation.
" Does the response change something?" asked the woman longing the answer.
" Just tell me" said Cate pissed off.
"Yes, I am" she just said.
" Why didn't you tell me since the beginning" claim the girl.
" You cheated on me, you just wanted to have a place to stay, you are a damn liar" said Cate crying.
" You know something, I feel like a fool, everyone knew it, but me" she screamed.
" Cate, I didn't find the way, neither the moment. Can you forgive me?" said Sarah taking away Cate's tears from her face.
" Are you really in love with me?" Cate questioned.
" No, am not" the woman lied.
Sarah said no, but she knew that was not true, she was deeply in love with her niece, but Maya was right, she couldn't even think about it. Cate was a kid, she could have been her daughter.
" Look, I'm gay, that one of the reasons why dad never loved me. Your mother was always the perfect girl, and I was the daughter of the mistress" said Sarah almost crying again.
" I have always been honest about me, but when I met you, you were so innocent, sweet and quiet that I could not find the correct time to tell you, I'm sorry honey" said Cate's aunt with her face between her hands.
"I do not pretend to make you cry, but I am against lying. Promise me, you won’t do it again" she said trying to fix things.
On one hand, Cate felt a little less worried about the situation, but she still felt there was something that Sarah didn't tell her. Also, she was disappointed of everything that was happening.
On the other hand, Sarah was feeling stressed, and destroyed because of being hiding her real feelings. She loved Cate, but it was an impossible and inappropriate love. So, she decided to put distance between them.
"I promise, but if we don't get away from each other, we are going to get hurt, and I don't want you to suffer, my love" said Sarah seriously.
Cate did not understand, but she was sure it was for the best, so she agreed.
" Ok, but we can keep in touch, and hang out sometimes, and if you need something, just call mom or me" said the girl with kindness.
" Thank you honey, I will. So do you, whenever you need to talk, call me, I will always be there for you" Sarah said grateful.
The women said goodbye, and both left far away from the other.
Time passed, and every Wednesday and Friday, they used to meet in a restaurant to talk about their lives. Cate's parents never saw Sarah again, but they knew that Cate has.
One day, Sarah received a call from Cate, and it broke her heart.
" Hey auntie, what do you think if we move our dinner for tomorrow at seven o'clock?" said the girl anxious for a "Yes".
"Something happened, you can tell me if you want and of course, for me there is no problem" said the very understanding woman.
"No, nothing happened. I have a date with Simon, the one I told you about last week" respond Cate excited.
When Sarah heard what Cate said, she felt that someone has stick a knife in her heart, and she could not resist, and started crying. She didn't believe that after all the time they did not spend together, she was still in love.
"Hello?" said Cate on the phone.
Cate heard a sigh, and after that no one spoke again, so she called one more time.
"Sorry honey, I was checking my agenda and I can't tomorrow. But have fun with Simon" said the woman in an ironic tone.
" You're mad, I know your voice" said Cate.
Cate felt something weird, she was wondering why her aunt was angry for that, but she decided to ask one more time.
" Come on, just tell me, what's happening?" insisted
"No, I mean, am not mad, I'm just a little nervous and I really wanted to spend with you my last days here" said Sarah fearing the reaction of the girl.
"What are you talking about, are you leaving?" asked the girl stunned.
"I just find out today, but I'll be back in a few months, but don't worry, go and have fun. Anyway, we will have a lot of time when I come back" said Sarah sad.
" I'll miss you" said Cate crying
"Don't cry sweetheart, I will be back before you notice" said her aunt.
Cate loved her aunt so much that she was shocked, and sad.
Sarah decided to go because she needed to be alone to think and forget Cate, and before she left, wrote a letter for her niece.
"I have to give you something, but promise me to read it after I go, I'm leaving tomorrow, so I am going to leave a box for you in the restaurant, just go and pick it up" said Sarah.
"Be careful, and come back soon, I need my best friend" Cate said laughing.
" Ok honey, take care of yourself, and call if you want to talk. Goodbye" Sarah said thinking about how much time would pass before she come back.
The next day, Cate went to the restaurant for the box, and after she walked to the park. Once she got there, she opened the tiny box, inside of it were many pictures that they have taken together, and at the bottom, there was a letter.
"Dear Cate, a long time ago I wanted to open my soul and tell you many things, and until this day I did not have the courage, but today I leave without knowing when I will return, I prefer to leave my heart prostrated in this letter. First, do not get angry with me honey, I just tried to protect you, and that's why I'm leaving. Cate, from the first day, you seemed like a very special girl, I saw a lot of me in you, your courage, your love for life, your pure heart and your beauty left me stunned. After a while, I realized that love was becoming something more, and I was so afraid that I decided to try to get away, but it was very difficult for me. Your mom was right, I fell in love with you, and I want you to know that love does not ask and it's always unexpected ... Forgive me, because I know I should have said it long ago, but I knew that if I did I would never see you again, and that would take me out of orbit, but fate made a mistake by allowing me to fall in love with you. Our lives stretched out ahead of us, just like a perpetual sunrise. You'd think it's harsh of me to say so, but no explanation I offer in this moment will satisfy you. I know you'll seek resolution and explanations because you're still too young, but I can't do it right now. You will understand this one day, and until then there must be no contact between us, you must live joyful, grow up and find your path, and I have to recover myself, heal my heart and then go back. So, for now, I release you from me, and even when it hurts, I would do anything to see you happy. I'm so sorry, forgive me and be happy... Love you Cate... Sarah " read Cate crying so much that she could fill a pool.
After reading that letter, Cate's life changed forever, her self-confidence crumbled, she felt betrayed and used, but she also felt sorry for her aunt's lying soul. She never told her parents anything about what the letter said. Her parents all the time cared about her and the change of attitude she had. Maya knew perfectly what had happened, because she called Sarah who confessed everything, and she felt destroyed for the pain of her daughter, but she had to respect her way of dealing with the matter. Clay for his part, always aware of his daughter, but somehow hurt because Cate was not that sweet girl anymore. Thanks to all the suffering, the young woman never trusted anyone again, because she was afraid that people would hurt her again.
Over a year later, Cate was getting her degree at the University of Sussex. One night she decided to go out with some friends, and while they celebrated the end of the career, a woman approached her.
"Hello Cate," said a familiar voice behind her.
"Crap" the girl said without turning around but she did recognize that voice.
"I know you do not want to see me, just tell me, did you get my letter?" said the woman insisting on speaking.
But Cate, took her bag, got into her car and left quickly, without even looking at her.
Sarah knew that was going to happen, but the young woman's rejection made her collapse. Cate did not deign to face her, and she really longed to see her eyes and apologize for all the damage she had done to her.
The bitterness in Cate's heart was poisoning her and just the day she was starting to feel better, Sarah came back, and stirred everything in her head. On one hand, Cate wanted to talk to claim and thus get everything that was inside. But on the other hand, she felt so resentful that she did not want to see her.
When leaving the restaurant, the girl decided to go to the bar where she always went and started drinking until she was drunk. She met up with an old friend, and they started flirting, and then he became a little more violent, because the man wanted to have sex and Cate did not. They started struggling, when someone showed up to save Cate.
After Cate's outburst, Sarah was on her way to her new home, and suddenly she saw Cate's car in front of the bar where they used to go together. The woman entered the bar seeking for her niece and did not find her. When she left the bar, she heard someone shouting and decided to go and see what happened. Upon arriving, she found out that it was Cate, a man was touching and hitting her.
"Leave her alone, you damned bastard," Sarah said, hitting him with her purse.
The man pushed Sarah so hard that he made her fall and hit her head on the floor. The blood started to come out, and the cowardly man ran away. Sarah immediately crawled to Cate but was unconscious, lying on the floor with her clothes torn.
"Hold on a bit, pretty, help is on the way," Sarah said, speaking to the fainting girl.
Sarah was also unconscious after a few minutes of waiting, while the paramedics took them to the hospital.
When Cate awoke, she was so bewildered that she did not remember what had happened.
"Mom, what happened, where am I?" the girl asked, still very sore.
"A bastard tried to abuse you" said her mother almost crying.
"Oh my God! What happened? How did they know where I was and how everything happened?" the young woman questioned again.
Maya looked at her, with some fear for what he was going to say and stood up.
"You should ask her" said the woman opening the curtain, letting her see Sarah, who was with oxygen and hoses all over her body.
"What the hell happened, did I hurt her?" asked Cate worried.
"No baby, she saved you from being raped" Maya said looking at Sarah.
Cate felt guilty, because her aunt was in that situation, and she did not even want to look at her when she spoke to her at the restaurant.
"It's my fault, aunt Sarah looked for me to talk, I did not want to, I went to the bar and I met Eric a friend from school, and he was the one who tried to abuse me" said Cate remembering in tears.
"Do not blame yourself darling, nobody told him to try to rape you, and she wanted to defend you, Sarah would have done it for anybody" said Maya embracing her daughter.
Maya felt sorry for her daughter and sister. Sarah called her when she came to the city to tell her some things and ask her to please don't say anything to Cate. The mother of the young woman thought that maybe if she had said something, nothing of that would have happened. But at that moment, she could not tell Cate because it could make her feel worse.
A while later, the doctor arrived to talk to Maya, while Cate slept, but she was just pretending, to be able to listen.
"We need to tell you something about the patients, your daughter is completely fine, some bruises, slashes and maybe a scar on her right arm because of the depth of the cut," the doctor said smiling.
"And Sarah?" the woman asked somewhat worried.
"Look, ma'am, I cannot lie to you, the blow your sister received in the head was extremely strong, and because of the chemotherapy she received a few months ago, any kind of reaction is a bit dangerous," said the doctor.
When Cate heard the word "Chemotherapy" she asked herself why she had not said anything to them.
"Sarah had cancer in her blood, she left here almost two years ago because of a personal problem, and a few months ago she called me and told me but with the condition of not saying anything to my daughter, a few days ago she called me when she came back to London, but she told me she was completely healthy "said Maya surprised by what the doctor told her.
"Maybe she lied, or does not know yet, but there is a way to stabilize her, we must do blood transfusions, because the head wound caused her to lose a lot of blood" said the doctor walking out of the room with Maya.
Cate decided to be the one who donated blood to her aunt. Sarah did not wake up until a week later. Cate during that week went to visit and donate blood very often. One afternoon, Cate was at home and decided to open the letter that her aunt had sent a few months earlier. In the letter, Sarah told Cate how alone she felt going through the chemo processes, told her about the progress of her illness and that she had left behind everything that had happened. At the end of the letter he assured her that she still loved her but as a daughter, and that there was no day, in which she did not ask life to protect her. Cate finished reading the letter and cried for a long time. The silence gripped her, the minutes passed, the hours as well, and Cate just looked out the window looking at a huge cross far from her house, and for the first time, she decided to ask God to give her peace, the strength to forgive and welfare for your aunt.
Someone called Cate to let her know that her aunt was awake and stable as well. At the precise moment that Cate heard that, she closed her eyes and deeply thanked the universe, then took courage and wrote a letter to her aunt.
"I know it's a little late to respond to the letter, but I'll do it with freedom and fullness. I spent a lot of time, poisoning myself with resentment and hatred, I changed my life, the bitterness and the pain took over my days and I promised myself that no one else was going to use me, that no one was going to hurt me again. I think it's a good time to say that I regret everything you've been through all this time, the illnesses should not be lived alone, and that's why today I can say with my restored smile, my clean heart and my pure soul that I forgive you. Many times, you asked me for forgiveness and I did not have the humility to do it, you were braver than me. Life teaches us that loving is not a crime and the act of love that you did for me is priceless, now I recognize that you only wanted to protect me and that's why today it's my turn ... Forgive me, because I did not know how to value the sacrifice you made when you left, because I ignored your messages, letters and calls, because I hate you without even knowing the reason. I think that what hurt me most was the lie, but everything is in the past. A new life is coming, and I want you to count on me for anything, we will be with you in every process and live without remembering, please… Forgive me I love you. Catherine” wrote Cate
Cate needed to take a bath to go to the hospital, so she asked her mother to deliver the letter to her aunt. Maya went to the hospital, but when she finally arrived Sarah was having a hemorrhage, and she was not allow to be with her. But she gave the letter to a nurse, and then she gave it to Sarah.
Maya was outside the room, looking at Sarah through a glass wall, and she saw her face when she started to read. Sarah was so happy that she cried and said thanks to her sister for bringing her the letter.
Three hours later, Cate arrived, and she went directly to see her aunt, but she was asleep. So, Cate stayed there until she awoke, because she really wanted to talk to her.
"Hey!" said Sarah in weak voice.
" Oh, thanks God!" said Maya smiling.
"Hey, how do you feel?" questioned Cate.
" Not that great but I'm ok" said the woman faking a smile.
"Maya, would you let me alone with Cate?" said Sarah looking at Cate.
Maya, went out, and they started to talk.
"Did you really forgive me?" asked.
"Completely, and forgive me too, I acted like a child, I'm sorry" said Cate touching her hands.
"We all learned something, with you I learned how to be myself, to trust and love. You are an amazing woman, beautiful, smart and blessed, so keep living a joyful life" said Sarah barely able to breathe.
" And I learned many things with you, therefore I am grateful with destiny to join us together again" said the girl in tear.
Sarah had trouble breathing and her voice was getting weaker. Then, Cate called Maya to enter.
But Sarah did not want to see any doctor.
"I just wanted your forgiveness, it was the only thing that kept me standing," Sarah said taking Cate's hand.
"Sometimes, we hurt someone so much that we continue living only to correct our mistake," Sarah added.
"Do not talk," said Maya, trying to calm her down.
"Are you saying goodbye?" Maya question
"I love you sister, forgive me for being jealous of you" said crying.
"Cate, I did love you." Now, I love you, you know what I mean "said Sarah
"I know, and I will always love you, auntie" said Cate.
A last tear rolled down her cheek, before her eyes closed and her heart stopped.
After Sarah died, Cate and her parents were devastated by everything that had happened to her, but they were happy by the fact that she died in peace because she got what she wanted. On the day of the funeral, Cate's entire family met, and Cate said a few words at the end.
"Hello family, as everyone knows, today we meet to say goodbye to this excellent person, a woman full of defects but also virtues, I know that the last months were not the best for her, but she really taught me a lot. Sometimes we do not know how to value that all we make sacrifices for love, Sarah did a sacrifice for me and that's priceless. She taught me that most of the time, changes arrive unexpectedly, to give a 360 degree turn to life. For better or for worse, they force the strongest ones to feel the pain in every lie and appreciate the value of the truth. They take people with their big hands, almost like claws, and shake until give them a lesson. However, even when it seems not to exist any reason, life is an open book, and it gives all the answers. So, aunt thanks for all that things that you did teach us, and don't forget that we love you because now we know the truth about forgiveness" Said Cate with her eyes closed and her head towards the sky.
Thank you for reading!