This is the continuation of An Encounter with Hope. If you missed Chapter 1, I recommend you read it first.
“I’m sorry. You’re bankrupt. There’s nothing left.”
I hear the words being spoken by my accountant but my brain can’t accept them. It seems impossible? How did I go from having over a million dollars in stocks, bonds, investments, and business holdings to this point?
She hesitates for a moment. I look across the mahogany desk and wonder what else could possibly go wrong.
“It gets worse. According to what I’ve been able to figure out, you’re half a million dollars in debt.”
I hear words slip out of my mouth but I don’t connect with the person who’s speaking them.
“How? How did this happen?”
As gently as possible, Tina goes over the figures with me again. She shows me where the losses began, slowly at first but picking up momentum until my business was mortally wounded and the money was pouring out of it like blood pumping from an severed artery. There was no saving it. And I’d missed it because I’d been so focused on the next big thing that I’d missed the most important things right in front of me.
My life as I know it is over. Everything is being taken to pay back the debts I owe. My reputation is destroyed. I can’t borrow the time of day. My luxury penthouse sells at a loss. It’s a buyer’s market, and a bad time to be selling real estate. My car is repossessed. And I have nothing to show for it. Nothing but the huge mound of debts.
“Mom? It’s me, Charlotte.”
I haven’t spoken to my mother in 12 long years, not since the day my father died, but desperation leads me to swallow my pride and pick up the phone. I don’t know what to expect from her. My mother was never predictable. The conversation is awkward and painful, but she agrees to let me come. To my relief, she doesn’t ask why I’m coming.
I pack my life into seven suitcases and take the last of my money to buy a train ticket and some food for the three day journey back to the place where it all began. I don’t want to go home, but it’s all I’ve got right now. I don’t even know what I’ll find when I get there. There’s a reason I left that place. There’s a reason I never wanted to go back. She’s part of it.