#Fifty

The banquet hall dazzled with gold lanterns and flickering tealight candles.  Before me stood  everyone who ever mattered.  Some gave small  waves of greetings, while others smirked with pride and sympathy.

As I walked down the aisle, I nod.  My lips curled in an unsure smile. Each step marked my way to new territory.  A sense  of freedom like Moses and the Red Sea.

It felt funny.  Kind of like someone on the ascend  of laughing gas – part euphoric, part desensitized.  I knew this day would come. Never knew who  would be on the journey. Fortunately, I’m the lucky one.

Just like 1968, I appeared at the end of the aisle.  Him on the right.  Me on the left.  Only difference today,  his image loomed from a wooden frame.  The mahogany urn, containing his remains, sat on a pedestal nearby surrounded by more candles. Oh  the symbolism.

A tear slid down my cheek which I wiped away  quickly. No sense in getting everyone in a tizzy,  worrying about my welfare or giving pity.

I took my place behind a clear, plastic podium. I  felt naked.  Speaking in front of people was never my thing.  That belonged to Harold.  He’s dead now.

I closed my eyes wishing for a thick wooden lectern of yesteryear. I’m sure most think I’m stopping to  pray.  Why am I not praying? Could it be because my prayer was finally answered?

Air left my nostrils, emptying my chest and releasing the remainder of my heavy load. I open my mouth, but none of the words planned escape.

“Today I celebrate my pardon. My release from a  prisoner’s hell.”

Eyes widened as loud gasps departed the open mouths  of friends and family.  My son and his self-entitled wife rush to my sides like two prison guards ready to take me away.

He covered the mic before speaking through gritted teeth, “Mom! What are you doing? This is Dad’s memorial!”

“And this is the memory I have of him.”

I slapped his hand away from the mic, dismissing  him and his bobble-headed companion to their seats.

“Let me explain. Or as the younger generation says,  speak my truth.”

I inhaled.  Not for need of air, but to build courage to continue.

“Harold and I were married for fifty years.  Fifty!  That’s an achievement in the eyes of most.  But fifty years of what?  There was no love. There was no commitment.  No respect!”

I grabbed the podium sides for balance.

“That man belittled me at every turn under the  guise of a joke.  He handled the finances, made all the decisions, while treating me like hired help.  In the eyes of everyone he seemed like a great husband, devoted father, and a pillar of the community.  It was ALL lies. Not only did he verbally abuse me, but  he’d hit me too if I said or did anything that  seemed to oppose him. Or just because. I wasn’t  away at ‘retreats’.  I was locked away in the attic.  Told to stay there until I ‘behaved’.  No food. No water.  For days on end.”

I looked over at my son’s tear-stained face.  I wanted to stop.  In my heart.  For his sake at least.  But my lips and resolve wouldn’t let me.

“I was so hungry. I’d eat the accumulation of dust and dead bugs. One time, I lucked up and found a rat. Never in a million years would I have touched or eaten such a filthy creature. But I wanted to survive.  I had to survive.”

I refocused on the crowd.

“Why do you think I lost all that weight?  Why do you think I have this limp?  The cuts on my arms?  Oh, and this one above my lip.  There was no ‘hiking accident’ or ‘fat camp’.   The real accident…I met this man and married him.”

A whimper left my mouth. I pointed to the urn.

“I can barely see out of my right eye because of him.”

I paused and lowered my head. Shame conflicted with my courage.

“Why did I stay?  Why didn’t I tell anyone? I did… to both. Each time he found me and the beatings worsened.  I told Mama who said, ‘I needed to do better and it would stop’.  My  sister was no Macy’s Day Parade. ‘Wives are  supposed to obey their husbands and serve them’.  What was I!  A dog?  What about husbands loving their wives?  Ain’t that what the good Book says?”

A few guests nodded in agreement.

“What about the many affairs Harold had? And children he aborted to save his image. The hush money stolen from the company till, excused away as an employee with sticky fingers. Bob Myer was fired behind that. And all the while, the  money went to help Harold sin and then cover it up.”

I raised my hands in pretend surrender.

“You didn’t come to hear all of this. I know.”

I returned my hands to the podium.

“But I’m truly done. I’m free! Fifty freakin’ years. Fifty!”

My shoulders lowered. Calm and relief filled my soul.  But one inkling of rage just wouldn’t leave.

My legs see-sawed towards Harold’s portrait and urn.  I swatted at both, knocking them to the floor.

“Now get up and clean yourself off!”

I stood there shaking. Actually believing his  ashes would reform to a human-like being.

My son somberly walked over and escorted  me from the banquet hall. I held my head high, knowing that on this next side of life, I’d live in freedom.

Advertisements

Thread through History

Edith went to the trunk posted at the foot of her bed. She pulled out a piece of fabric that was actually a drab gray plaid blanket that she took from the ship. She laid it out on the bed, smoothing out the wrinkles. She was 23 years old back then. Now she was 40 dealing with a similar issue in a different time and place. She wanted to make better use of the blanket so she made a dress.

Edith turned the lackluster fabric into a masterpiece almost like Cinderella going to the ball. She cut and sewed each piece by hand using no pattern, only a memory of the types of dresses she made at the factory. The top of the dress was fitted with long-sleeves, a column of buttons down the front, and a flared skirt with pleats at the bottom. She used an old pillowcase to make the white Peter Pan collar and matching cuffs . She had sewn hundreds of these dresses, but this one was different. It would be special, for a special purpose.

The day arrived for Edith to wear her dress. She was proud and determined to accomplish the task at hand – to march Continue reading ->

We’ve Only Just Begun

Robyn yawned as she turned the page. The book was interesting, but her eyes and mind were too tired to comprehend. Helping her ailing mother was taking its toll. Books had become her vacation – a mental break from the reality of her world.

The damsel was in distress.  No longer could she care for the manor.  The storm brewing would be its end as well as hers.  Sitting on the disheveled porch, she cried. Then a man stood before her.  It was Tobias.  He cupped her face in his hands, gazing into her eyes before pulling her close to his heart.  He vowed to make everything right.  She looked up at him with hope.  He reassured her by passionately kissing her ruby lips.

Robyn swooned.  Her attention was glued. Adrenaline pumped through her body providing a jolt of energy and excitement she didn’t know she had.  She longed for a man like that.

She daydreamed about being whisked away to a happily ever after – summer picnics by the lake and quiet times snuggling by the fireplace.  Her man would look like Tobias too – a tall, handsomely strapping man with a loving and determined heart.  But who was she kidding.  There were no dates or prospects – unless you count the old mailman who flirted with her.

Robyn revisited the book, but something was different, strange.  Her exact thoughts were written in the story.  She flipped pages, and more of the same.  It was like reading her own mind.

Continue reading “We’ve Only Just Begun”

Just My Luck

Tap,tap…tap tap tap. Tap, tap…tap tap tap.

Leah Donovan awoke to the rhythmic sound of rain drops hitting her bedroom window. She really didn’t want to get up. The bed felt so good, but she had to get ready for work.

When she turned on the water in the shower, it was cold and remained that way. She quickly jumped in, washed, then jumped out. After she got dressed, she went to put on her shoes, but one of the heels had begun to separate. She went to grab a quick breakfast of toast and juice, but the bread was molded and there was no juice.

avaxnewsLeah felt like she just wasn’t having any luck. She grabbed her wallet, keys, and cell phone. Once outside, she was bombarded with raindrops. She doubled back for her red umbrella.

As Leah walked the three blocks to the bus stop, the rain stopped. Rays of sun tried their best to break through the clouds before them. She closed the red umbrella hoping it would not be needed anytime soon.

Leah stood at the bus stop with the others she saw most mornings. No one seemed to speak – just nod a greeting and proceed with whatever they were doing. Her cell phone buzzed. Read more>

Unexpected Reunion

Image: Listovative
Image: Listovative

Cara, Liz, and Evonne headed out after work for happy hour. After all, they had something wonderful to celebrate – Cara’s promotion.   Well, it really wasn’t a promotion. More like a temp being made permanent. Cara was happy that she didn’t have to job-hop anymore.

At The Bar & Grill, the ladies took advantage of the drink special which just happened to be Cara’s favorite – margaritas. After a couple of pitchers, they were all feeling liberated and free. But none were as spontaneous as Cara who decided to join in on karaoke.

She strolled to the front, skimmed the list of songs, and one jumped out at her. “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies. Cara smiled big with a slight giggle. She hadn’t heard that song since her junior high days. She still knew the lyrics by heart so she told the coordinator she didn’t need the screen.

She took her position on stage and began to sing. She did well at first. Spouting out words that were second nature.  “How can I help it if I think you’re funny when you’re mad? Trying hard not to smile though I feel bad.”

Then Cara threw a blank. She couldn’t remember the next part, but a guy leaning against the bar did. He walked towards the stage and stood in front. “I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral. Can’t understand what I mean? Well, you soon will.”

Cara picked the song back up after the courteous vocal nudge from the handsome man. As she continued to sing, she felt awkward. She tried to focus her attention on Liz and Evonne, but she could feel this man staring at her.  Read More>

Unlucky in #Love, Lucky by Circumstance

WeddingGameIdeas

The employee area in the casino sat quiet though littered with staff on break. Each stayed in their own bubble until the resident bartender and sometime funnyman entered.

“Ralphie!!!” The greeting sounded like an episode of Cheers.

“Hey guys…Larry, Jim.”

Ralphie grabbed a snack from the vending machine, then sat at a wood laminate table.

The employees circled around him.

“Whatcha got for us today?” It was hard to tell who asked due to the number of people.

“Oddest thing.” He paused to eat and swallow. “Five chicks walk into a bar.” Continue reading “Unlucky in #Love, Lucky by Circumstance”

Comfortable in My Own Skin

pixabay

I was born on a Tuesday…no, wait….a Thursday.  Well I guess at my age now, it really doesn’t matter.  Hi, my name is Anne, and I’m 74 years young.  I used to not say things like that because my mind wasn’t right.  Well, not in a mentally disordered sense, but just my way of thinking.  My only regret, is that I didn’t learn about thinking better, sooner.  Would have made a lot of different decisions if I had.  I know you didn’t come here to hear about my problems.  But I’ll share a piece of my life with you.  Maybe it’ll help some youngins get it together before their bones turn brittle.  Read More>