Episode 105: “The Edge of Forever”
A melancholy mood follows Oliver and Shane make their way into the post office. While Shane clearly felt their friendship was developing into something more, Oliver still clings to hope that his wife will someday return to him. The misread signs have led to an uncomfortable state in their relationship, made only worse by the Rita and Norman’s clumsy attempts to dance around the topic. However the team gets a welcome and much needed reprieve in the form of a large cardboard box containing a large manila envelope and an urn.
After the initial shock, Oliver inspects the envelope and sees the name “Maggie” written on the front. On the back is a note that reads, “This envelope has been included at the request of and by prior arrangement with the deceased.” Certain that quick database search will reveal the recipient, Shane clicks away at her laptop for any claims pertaining to “ashes” or “urn.” Her search yields nothing so Oliver opens the manila envelope and finds a single sheet of paper and two stamped envelopes. The envelopes are addressed to a Caitlyn Atkinson and another for a Vanessa Doherty. The single sheet reads:
“Dear Maggie, The time has come and here I am. I’m enclosing both letters for you to mail as soon as you receive this. After all we shared, you’re the only one I trust with them. Thanks for being there when it mattered most. And thanks for keeping your promise.
Meanwhile, while looking for a misplaced stamp, Norman stumbles across Rita’s application for the Miss Special Delivery Pageant. Having spent days filling out the application, Rita’s hit a wall trying to determine a talent. Shane and Norman desperately try to come up with ideas for Rita’s pageant talent. Oliver suggests that she use her photographic memory to recite a speech by the first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin. The idea gets a cool reception with the DLO team. The brainstorming session is interrupted when Caitlyn and Vanessa arrive to claim the urn.
Prior to their arrival, the team was able to learn that Caitlyn and Vanessa are sisters and that the urn contains their mothers remains. While both are eager to retrieve the urn, they are insistent that it not be given to the other. Both women arrive within moments of each other and immediately begin bickering in ways that only family can. As the sisters argue over who should get the urn, Oliver points out that the original box containing the letters and urn were sent to “Maggie” and since neither of them are her, he cannot give the urn to either of them. Instead, he opens one of the letters and reads it allowed:
“Dear Caitlyn and Vanessa,
You are each receiving a copy of this letter. They were mailed for me by someone you probably don’t remember, but she was a good friend to us once when we needed one. By now I imagine you are wondering what has happened to my ashes and that each of you believes you should be the one to decide where my final resting place should be. And, if you fulfill my last wishes, you will. Do you remember the silly little tradition we used to have when you were children and Daddy and I would have a sort of treasure hunt on your birthday? We’d been such a happy family before. You loved each other so much that I could never imagine you would ever be anything but best friends. But, as we learned, terrible things happen whether we can imagine them or not. All a mother wants for her children is for them to be happy and to have each other when she is gone. But for the last thirteen years I’ve watched two little girls who seemed inseparable grow farther and farther apart. When I got sick, I realized I might never live to see you two be the sisters you used to be, but with this little treasure hunt, at least I will die hoping. So, here it is; go on this treasure hunt together. May it lead you both to me. And, I hope, back to each other.
I love you so much.
While neither Caitlyn nor Vanessa can remember Maggie, they both agree to take part in one final treasure hunt.
The first clue in the treasure hunt leads the two women to a mountain campsite. As they get out of the car and look at the lodge they immediately know where they are. The last time the sisters were at the campsite was 13 years ago when their mother brought them to celebrate Vanessa’s birthday. The culmination of the trip was to be a special hike to find a point called the edge of forever. Unfortunately the hike never happened. As the girls and their mom headed out for their hike, they stopped at the lodge. On the television, they saw the news that the flight their father had taken home was one of the planes that crashed on September 11th.
As memories flood back, the situation becomes too much for Vanessa and she storms off. While Caitlyn runs off to search for her, Oliver and Shane sit down to talk. Emotions reach a fevered pitch as Oliver tries to explain his decision to end their dancing. As a “married man” Oliver says that their partnership was “ill-advised.” Shane counters, telling Oliver that she did an online search for his wife and was able to learn that Oliver’s wife signed a 3-year lease for an apartment in Paris. Oliver fumes at the invasion of privacy while Shane insists that she only wanted to help her friend. Oliver responds, telling Shane she presumes too much by assuming they are friends.
While the emotional turmoil of the occasion has slowed the progress of the treasure hunt, the arrival of Maggie puts everything back on course. Maggie, who owns the camp and was there on that tragic day, explains that several months before, Vanessa and Caitlyn’s mother came and asked her to hold the next set of clues until the sisters arrived. Maggie pulls the letter from a cookie jar and reads it out loud.
“A treasure waits for you to find, but only if you leave behind whatever each has in her heart that kept two sisters so long apart.”
It’s then that the sisters reveal the inner guilt and self-blame each felt over their father’s death. The moment reveals to both of them that now, they are all they have. The final lines of the letter implore the two sisters to disperse their mother’s ashes together; to take the hike they never got to and find the edge of forever. As the sisters walk through the forest they come upon a breathtaking clearing where mountains rise above the valley. As Caitlyn and Vanessa open the urn and prepare to disperse the ashes, they realize they should say a prayer. Shane looks to Oliver, saying as a man of faith he would be the perfect person to deliver a final prayer. As the two sisters join hands and disperse their mother’s ashes, Oliver speaks:
“Whenever I have sorrow, Whenever clouds arise, when songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. His eye is on the sparrow and I know… He watches me.”