#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.

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#Christmas Nostalgia: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Wow! Can’t believed 2 years have past since originally writing this post. It brought back so many great memories that I wanted to share them again. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays! See you in 2019.

Melanie V. Logan

Christmas is one of those holidays that brings love and good cheer.  It’s also one that triggers memories from childhood or moments with loved ones.  So I’m sharing a couple that crossed my mind this season. Enjoy!

Nativity in a One Light Town
In a small Virginia town, where the only traffic light’s hailed as a major fascination, one family dared to be different at Christmas. That family, led by a pastor and his wife, chose to share the true meaning of the holiday with everyone who passed their home.

Helping with this endeavor, the couple’s four-year-old placed straw in and around the manger for the plastic baby Jesus to rest while the ten-year-old wiggled Jesus’ synthetic parents into their hovering poses. The pastor secured the makeshift barn as his wife painted final touches on the wooden cutout animals.  He’d string a row of colorful lights along the porch awning…

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We’ve Only Just Begun

Redux

Melanie V. Logan

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…

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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 ->

Funny thing happened on the way to the wedding…Part 3

Image: The Gifted Way
Image: The Gifted Way

Abby woke up with a terrible taste in her mouth, awful smell in her nose, and a headache that could have been deemed an eight on the Richter scale. She still hadn’t opened her eyes. And with what was going on with her other senses, she wasn’t sure she wanted to. But she had to take a peek – at least find out what that retched smell was.

Abby couldn’t believe her eyes. She was lying on a hard bench in a jail cell with five other women she did not know. She could have sworn she was in her apartment. She tried to reach into her hurting head to determine what was real and what had to be a dream. She was hoping her present situation was the latter, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

“Ahhh. Sleeping Beauty finally woke up.”

Abby looked over to see that the person addressing her was a tall, heavy-set woman who seemed mad at the world. Instead of responding Abby turned away.

“What?! You too good to speak?”

Abby still said nothing. Finally the woman walked over to her, and stood in the line of her vision. Abby tried to stare at the wall beside her out of fear and hope that the woman would go away.

“Abby Marlowe!” Abby jumped up from the bench and hurried to the front of the cell. “Let’s go! You’re being released.”

Abby was so thankful for the timing. She didn’t know what was about to happen, and with her luck thus far, it wouldn’t have been good.

After grabbing her belongings and heading towards the precinct exit, she caught sight of a man in a tuxedo and a woman in a wedding gown sitting in the waiting area. It was Agustin and his bride.

“Oh my goodness! What are you doing here?”

“Someone from the bar left a voicemail that you were being taken to jail. We thought we’d help since you were in trouble.”

“I don’t need your help.”

In the most southern of accents, “Well hun, seemed like you did.” Then with an attempt to soften the exchange, “Excuse Agustin’s manners, I’m his new wife, Madelyn. Why don’t we leave and discuss the matter elsewhere.”

“Good idea! I’ll leave, and you two can go elsewhere.” Abby moved swiftly past them and out the door.

Agustin followed with Madelyn closely behind. “C’mon, Abby! I, uh, we just want to make sure you get home safe.” Madelyn shot Agustin a barbed look, but said nothing. Finally he jogged to catch up with Abby, leaving his new wife behind out of earshot. “Abby, please. I still care about you. I couldn’t let you sit in there.”

“You could have sent someone else. Instead, I’m greeted with a man and woman that look like they belong on the top of a cake. I knew it was over Agustin, but I didn’t need the visuals. Besides, how did you convince her to come?”

“It wasn’t easy. And you’re right. I should have sent someone else. But Abby when I heard that message, old feelings kicked in. I knew you needed me and any other reasoning left my brain. It’s wrong, I know.” Agustin paused, looking up at the sky, then back at Abby. “I love my wife and I know I hurt her on the most important day of her life. Madelyn was willing to support me even when she wasn’t happy about it. Can’t you tell?”

“Actually, she seems like she’s trying out for a pageant. Too poised and polite. If the tables were turned, she would have had to just sit in jail. And if you chose to come anyway, we’d be heading to divorce court. Madelyn hasn’t really done anything.”

“I’m not surprised. She’s a patient woman. But I don’t want to put her in a position like this again.”

“You won’t.” Abby started walking back towards Madelyn with Agustin following suit. “Madelyn, thank you for coming to bail me out. I’m so sorry I ruined your special day. You don’t have to worry about me anymore.” Abby gave a heartfelt smile as she began to walk off.

Madelyn nodded. Agustin took her hand and led her towards the car, “I’m sorry.”

The married couple sat in silence with the only sound coming from the clang of the cans tied to the car bumper hitting against the street. “Just Married” painted on the back glass. Agustin hoped that in the years to come that this moment would be one of those things they could look back and laugh about.

Great minds think alike…or do they???

Image: Big Think
Image: Big Think

Have you ever had an idea or story that you felt was so unique that nobody else in the world could ever come up with the same thing? And then you see your idea on a store shelf or used as a storyline in a TV show or movie only to feel like somebody had to be looking inside your head.  What a bummer?

I keep a notebook for invention ideas and use other tools for story ideas, but I swear someone is peeking sometimes.   Sometimes it feels like a “doh!” moment, and other times a near crashing blow.  Regardless, I’m pressing on.  Eventually something will pan out.  🙂

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you feel about it?

Writing and Love, it’s About Control

Truer words have never been spoken, Millie.  Many writers, and I do this as well sometimes, attempt to control the character because we have a set agenda on where the story should go.  But like reality, situations and lives can move in directions that we never expect.