The secrets we keep – Part 2: Tatianna
Detective Bianca Abrahams slurped her hot brew. The three teaspoons of sugar making the black coffee sweet and syrupy. “Here’s your dead auntie’s se report” said the loud and offensive voice of Jacobs, the detective in the next office.
“How long has that been on your desk?” demanded Bianca, annoyed, she’d been waiting for the report and had almost forgotten about the case, although that was almost impossible with the weekly call from Sr Renee, reminding her that she needed to close up Ms Anna’s file and needed the police report to confirm no ‘funny stuff’ as she put it.
Jacobs snorted phlegm through the back of his nose, “Ag, maybe a week or something” he responded and left the doorway before Bianca could swear at him.
She reached for the file that had landed on the edge of her desk and opened it. No foul play. Seems Ms Anna Vase had died of a heart attack, in her sleep. A good way to go, especially as the poor woman was suffering from dementia. The other sisters in the old-age home had confirmed Sr Renee’s statements that Ms Anna often spoke in a different language, which no one understood, which was strange because Ms Anna was a South African citizen with no other passports listed. No relatives, just an old woman, on her own, in an old age home in Fish Hoek. Pretty sad thought Bianca. An open and shut case really.
Although, the ballet shoes bothered her – it happened sometimes, that sixth sense thing. Like an annoying little yapping dog, that just didn’t stop until you gave it attention, those ballet shoes were barking at her. Bianca leant over her desk and moved a pile of green dockets. The ballet shoes were in a ziplock, abandoned on her desk until now. She didn’t know anything about ballet, and they looked like what ballet shoes should look like. She pulled the plastic seal open and pulled out one of the shoes. It was definitely old. Really old. The velvet over the top was worn away, not from wear and tear but from age. Bianca stuck her hand into the shoe and her fingers hit something hard before she found the toe of the shoe. She looked inside. So, this was what they called point shoes. No wonder them ballerina girls didn’t eat. If you spent your days on your toes wedged up against a wooden block, you would also want to weigh nothing. Bianca rubbed her finger along the block. There were slight indentations for the toes, but not much space. In the corner, her finger touched a small label. That didn’t seem right. A label by the toes. Using her thumb and index finger to grip the label, Bianca pulled gently. Slowly, the block in the shoe dislodged and Bianca tipped the shoe upside down so that the block dropped out along with a piece of tightly folded paper and a small key. The detective stared at the contents in her palm. What on earth was this all about? She put the ballet shoe down and slid the block, key and paper onto her desk. The key was small, it definitely didn’t open a door. She would have to go to the lock smith to check what it opened. The piece of paper was folded tightly, so she gently tried to pry it open, without it falling apart. After many careful and slow minutes, Detective Bianca looked down at a birth certificate.
IDNO/IDNR.: 590207 5429 08 5
SURNAME/ VAN: VASILIEV
FIRST NAMES/ VOORNAME: CRYSTAL
DATE OF BIRTH/ GEBOORTEDATUM: 1959-02-07
PLACE OF BIRTH/ PLEK VAN GEBOORTE: FISH HOEK
COUNTRY OF BIRTH/GEBOORTELAND: SOUTH AFRICA
IDNO/IDNR.: 380811 6329 08 5
MAIDEN/SURNAME/ VAN: VASILIEV
PLACE OF BIRTH: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
FATHER: NO INFORMATION PROVIDED BY MOTHER
Bianca looked in Ms Anna’s file once again. Born in 1938. Birthday the 11th of August. Anna Vase. Same birthday as Tatianna Vasiliev, the name of the mother listed on the birth certificate. Ms Anna spoke in a strange language no one knew. Tatianna was born in Moscow, Russia. As the golden chords of synchronicity linked across Bianca’s mind, she felt her heart begin to race with excitement.
For Part 1 click here
For Part 3 click here
For Part 4 click here
This was first published in the Billboard Magazine in October 2019