Sienna, a 28 year old woman, is struggling to recover from a trauma five years earlier, when she is summoned to the hospital bedside of her dying aunt. Shortly after her aunt's death, she learns that she has inherited a large fortune. She also receives a letter with a startling revelation which will send her on a journey in search of something she should never have lost.
It had gone. The Photo had gone.
A banging from upstairs broke into Sienna’s thoughts as she surveyed the mess on her sitting room floor.
‘It’s three in the bloody morning,’ a voice yelled through the floorboards.
In her bedroom she flung the duvet and pillows off the bed, yanked open drawers, spilling out t-shirts, tights, makeup. She got down on her hands and knees, felt under the bed, in the tiny space between sagging mattress and wooden floor. Nothing. No sign of the plastic folder which protected the Photo. She felt sick. The Photo was all she had. The only reminder of what might have been. She fumbled around in the bottom of the wardrobe, amongst shoes, discarded clothes, a broken hairdryer. It wasn’t there. Her body was trembling.
The Photo defined her and now she couldn’t be defined. Now she was nothing.
* * *
Sienna handed over a £20 note as the taxi pulled up outside the lawyers’ office.
‘You forgot your change,’ the driver called after her.
‘Thanks,’ she said distractedly, taking the money.
She scrambled up the steps, pressed heavily on the brass doorbell.
In reception, she removed her denim jacket, perched on a leather armchair and opened her bag, ripping apart the lining in case the Photo had slipped in there. A safety pin and biscuit crumbs and fluffs of dusk were its only occupants. Could the Photo have slipped out yesterday when she flagged down the taxi? She pictured the plastic folder in a gutter, surrounded by cigarette packets and chewing gum and expired bus passes.
She fidgeted, fighting the urge to rush back to where she’d hailed yesterday’s taxi, to check the pavement, the gutter. The Photo was what mattered. She needed it. It went everywhere she went. It was part of her. Past and present. And why was she here, waiting to see a laywer? Why had she been summoned? A message on her answerphone. Yes, it was important she came soon. No, it couldn’t be discussed over the phone. There was nothing to worry about. But she wasn’t convinced. Though she couldn’t think of anything she’d done. Or not done. Mortgage payments up to date, no neighbour problems. No husband so no difficulties there. Had she looked at the Photo last night? If so, it must be in the flat. Somewhere. Hiding somewhere…
She scanned the paintings on the drab green walls. Cherubs hovering round a loin clothed man with an anguished expression. A murky lake with mountains falling into it and a rowing boat with a cloth capped man grasping a fishing rod beneath a menacing sky. She looked around for something cheerful. Nothing. Fingers drummed the armrests as her thoughts turned to the evening before. James had arrived late, and she’d watched him adjust the metal coat hanger which served as an aerial for his Citröen. His customary peck, just missing her mouth, irritated her but she’d suppressed any criticism. When he’d left early, claiming a headache - from her incense, of course, not his smoking (nothing that happened to James was ever his fault) - she’d been relieved, needing her bed for herself.