Posted by: storywriter45 | August 23, 2014

Homeless Heart

 

 

THE HOMELESS HEART

 

 

     Inya brushed back her long black hair from her face with her little hand, and sighed.  “It is so hot Mommy.  I am so thirsty.”  She looked down and spotted a container that had some water left in it.  She picked it up and brought it to her parched lips, then hesitated.

     “Go on and drink it, Baby.”  Her mother hugged Inya trying to comfort her eight year old daughter.

     Inya drank the water from the container.  The water was warm from the heat of the sun and she could taste the salt from her lips as she drank every drop.  “I’m still thirsty, Mommy,” she cried.  One tear found its way down her small cheek.

      Her mother had to turn away, not able to comfort Inya or herself from the harsh truth they had to live every day.  “Come on Inya, maybe we can find some shade.”

     “I don’t want to walk, Mommy.  I am tired.

     “There are some trees a little way down the road.  Come on, you will feel better once we get there.”

     Inya drug herself along with her mother to find shade.  The heat of the road was burning her feet through the holes in her shoes.  “Please Mommy, can’t you carry me?”

     “Oh Baby, I am sorry.  I am just too weak. 

     “Look Mom,” Inya said keeping her voice very low.  “Those people are staring at us.  I hate that.  It is so mean.”

    A couple of women were walking by and smiled at the two of them.  “Hello,” one of the women tried to be friendly.  “You two look so hot.  I was just heading over to get a soft drink across the road.  Would you like something to drink? 

       I would really appreciate a soft drink, or water would even be better. for my daughter.  But, I am fine,” Inya’s mother answered.

    The friendly woman hurried back with two waters and a couple of sandwiches.  “They had these sandwiches on sale,” she said.  “I hope you don’t mind.”

     “Well thank you very much,” Keisha said.  Keisha felt sad, humiliated, and relieved all at once.  At least they had one meal today.  

     The woman smiled and told them they were welcome and hurried off with her friend.

     “Oh, Mom,” Inya blurted out.  “I have to go to the bathroom.  What am I going to do?”  Inya crossed her legs and looked up into her mother’s troubled face.

     Keisha looked around for a place to take her.  “Over there,” she said.  Let’s try that store where that woman got the sandwiches.”

     They walked in to the store and looked for the restroom sign. 

     “Now, Mom,” Inya cried.  “Now!”

     “Excuse me, Ma’am,” the store clerk called out.  “Can I help you with something?”  He looked them over and frowned.

     “My little girl needs to use the bathroom.  Please,” she said.   “We are far from home and I am afraid she won’t make it.  Won’t you please let her use the bathroom?”

     “I am sorry, Mam.  We don’t have a public bathroom.  You will have to go somewhere else.”

     Inya began sobbing.  “Please, I have to go right now.”

    “Fine,” the man sounded angry.  “But, I better not ever see you two in here again.  If she makes a mess in there, you will have to clean it up.  I am not supposed to let anyone in there!  There, right at the end of that hall.  Now hurry up.”

     “Please don’t yell at my little girl.  It’s not her fault.”

     “Look lady, if you can’t take care of your little girl, maybe you should give her to someone who can.”

     Finally Inya came out of the bathroom.  “Are you ok?” her mother asked.  She put her arms around her daughter and gave her a hug.

    “I’ll make sure there is no mess in there,” the store clerk said.  “And then, you two get out of here.”

     Keisha was relieved once they got out side.  They walked hand in hand down the street looking for a shady spot.

     “Look over there,” Keisha said.  There is a tree over there with a blanket under it.  Come on.  Let’s go.”

     “Mama, that is someone’s yard,” Inya said.  We can’t just go in their yard.  We might get in trouble.”

   “Oh baby, there is no one home,” Keisha answered her.  “It will just be for a little while.  I promise.  I am so tired of walking.  My feet hurt.  Come on, let’s go.  We can cool off for a little while and then be on our way.”

     They walked into the back, carefully looking around.  “I hope there aren’t any dogs,” Inya said.

     “Don’t worry!  If there were any dogs, we would have heard them barking already.”

    The finally made it to the blanket in the shade and sat down.  Keisha leaned against the tree and finished her sandwich and water.   She felt like she was in paradise and slipped off her worn shoes and dug her feet into the blanket.  Inya finished hers too and lay back against her mother.  They were so cozy in the shade lying on the blanket that covered the soft overgrown grass.  They were mesmerized by the cool sanctuary they found and soon fell fast asleep.

     Inya dreamed of swimming and playing with friends.  They were splashing water at each other and laughing.  Inya loved it when she had these wonderful dreams.  Even though her mother told her that it used to really be like that, Inya couldn’t remember.  But, she had her dreams.  The sun was never too hot in her dream.  And, oh the food they ate for lunch.  Inya didn’t really know what kind of food it was, but she loved the taste.  Fresh food and juice were abundant.  They even had enough to share with their friends.  She desperately did not want to wake up.

    Someone yelling startled the two as Keisha felt sharp pain in her left side.  She had woken to a couple of young men screaming at her, kicking her in the side.  She quickly looked around to find Inya standing at the edge of the blanket.

     “Don’t hurt my Mommy.  She wasn’t doing anything to you.  Please, stop.”

   “Come on, get up you old hag,” one of the men said to her.  “What the hell are you doing on our property?  Does this look like a charity house to you?  Get up and move on!”

  Keisha jumped up feeling as much anger as she felt fear.  “Ok, ok, give us a chance,” she said.  She got up and grabbed her daughter.  “Please, we weren’t hurting anyone.  We are leaving right now.  Just let me grab my shoes.”  She bent down to pick up the worn shoes with no laces in them and holes in the bottom.

     But, one of the young men kicked them out of her reach.  Though he looked to be not much older than fourteen, he was tall and menacing.  He then pushed Keisha again and yelled at her.  “Just get out of here.  You two need a bath.  My dog smells better than you!  You can leave the shoes as payment for using our blanket.”

     “Hold on a minute, “the other young man said.  “They might have stolen something.  You never know.  Did you two steal those waters from the house?”

     “Of course not,” Keisha cried out.  “We were just looking for a little shade.  We’ll go now.  Please give me back my shoes.  I need them to protect my feet.  Please.”

    “Oh, just give her the shoes and let them get out of here,” one of them said.  “We don’t need them hanging around here any longer.”

     The young man picked up the shoes and threw them at Keisha.  She grabbed them and her daughters hand and headed for the road.  She was too afraid to stop and put them on till much later.  She was struggling to hold back the tears and could only sigh. 

     “I told you Mommy,” Inya cried out.  “You are not supposed to go on property that doesn’t belong to you.”  She looked up at her mother crying and jerked loose from her hand.  She wanted desperately to run off, but there was no better place to go.   “I bet my Daddy would take better care of me,” she wailed.

     “I’m sorry Inya.  I miss your father too.  But, he’s gone forever.”

     “Do people ever come back from Heaven?” Inya asked.

    “No Inya, they don’t.”  Keisha hated lying to her daughter, but, she didn’t have the heart to tell her that her father didn’t want her anymore.  He had left town leaving them with no money and only one month’s rent paid on their apartment.  It had been three years since she heard from him.

     The struggle since he left became harder each day.  She worked two jobs to try and keep a roof over her head, but it wasn’t enough.  It seemed that Inya’s babysitter made out better than she did.  Once they lost the apartment, it was harder to keep a job.  Then it became impossible.  With no phone or permanent address, who would hire her.  Actually, she hadn’t given up trying to find work until one day when someone had stolen her bag of clothes. That was two years ago.  The only thing Keisha and Inya had left were the clothes they were wearing. 

    Keisha couldn’t hold back the tears a moment longer.  She began crying hard, releasing the tears she had held back for so long.  “I am so sorry, Baby,” she said.  You know I am doing the best I can.  Look, over there.  It’s Ann.  Hey Ann, how are you?  I haven’t seen you in what about three weeks?”

    “ Hi,” Ann said.  I have been in the hospital, but, I am all right now.  I see you two are still out here on the road.  So, you haven’t found your sister?”

     “No, I haven’t.  And it has just been too hot to walk far.  I tell ya, Ann.  I just don’t know what I am going to do.  Things are just getting harder.”

     They started to walk together for a while.  Kiesha was glad for the company.  It seemed to help Inya too.  Her crying had stopped and she was grilling Ann about her stay in the hospital.  They walked endlessly down the road looking for somewhere to rest.  But, there were no benches or even railings to be found.

     “Hey, Keisha, look over there.”  Ann motioned to the other side of the road.  “They are selling used clothes over there.  Maybe they have some to give away.  You know something that might not sell.”

     “Wouldn’t make any difference,” Keisha answered.  If I had any money on me, we would be getting dinner in a little while.”

     “Yeah, I know what you mean,” she answered.

     “Hey, I have an idea,” Keisha whispered into Ann’s ear.  “Could you keep your eye on Inya for a couple of minutes?  I don’t want her to see what I am doing.”

    “Of course,” she said.  “Go ahead.”

    Keisha went across the street to the shop that was selling the used clothing.  It doesn’t look to busy she thought.  She looked around at the clothing, pretending to shop.  She nervously went through the aisle looking for children’s clothing.  Keisha wasn’t sure if she could do it.  This is something she had never done before.”

     “Can I help you?” a woman asked.

     “I’m looking for little girls clothing,” Keisha replied.  “She wears about a size seven.”

     “Oh, they are three aisles over and down toward the back.”

     “Thank you.”  Keisha was happy to be heading for the back of the store.  She browsed through the racks and tables while watching to see if anyone could see her.  Keisha didn’t have time to be picky.  She picked up a couple pair of underwear and a shirt and pair of shorts and stuck them inside of her makeshift purse.  Then she moved on to the women’s department and found a couple of things for herself.  She shoved a bra into the large pocket of her smock and looked up to see the woman watching her.  Kiesha was struck motionless with fear.  She was sure she would faint and grabbed on to a pole.  She wanted to apologize for stealing, but, the words just wouldn’t come out.  The woman nodded and then just turned away.  Keisha wasn’t sure how to react.  Was the woman pretending not to see her or was she expecting her to put the things back.  She just wanted to run outside, but, she still couldn’t move.

     One moment later, a man walked in.  “Hey there,” he said.  “How are things going?”

    “Oh, pretty good,” the woman said.  Then she motioned for Keisha to come on up to the front.  “Unfortunately, we don’t have what this lady needs today.  But, I told her to check back next week.”

 “Thank you for your help,” Keisha said and headed out the door.  She hurried and caught up with her daughter and friend.

     “Well how did it go?” Ann asked with a smile on her sun burnt face.  “Did you get what you needed?”

     “I did ok,” she answered.  “I am going to take Inya to that gas station over by the railroad tracks so we can wash up.  Maybe I will see you a little later.”

     “Keisha and Inya finally made it to the gas station and went around back to find the restroom.  “Come on Inya, we are going to wash up and put on some clean clothes.  Look, I have a new pair of shorts and a top for you.  Now throw out those old clothes and the underwear too.”

     “Where did you get these clothes, Mommy?  Did you buy them at that store?”

    “Well, sort of,” Keisha answered.  “The lady that works there said I could pay her later.”

     “Did you get clothes too, Mommy?”

     “Yes, I got a couple of things too.  Now turn around so I can wash up and change my clothes.”

    Inya turned toward the wall while Keisha got out the clothes she had taken.  She took a long look at herself in the mirror.  The mirror is old and worn like my face, she thought.  She looked at her hair that needed desperately to be washed and cut.  She put on the bra she had taken and smiled.  It felt good to have one again.  They finished dressing, used the facility and went outside.

     “Well, the sun is finally going down,” Keisha said. “I think we better head for the shelter if we want a place to sleep tonight.”

    “Maybe we can get a real shower!”  “Mommy, can we go to the one with the shower?”

   “Yes, but we better hurry.  It will fill up fast in this heat.”

     It took them about twenty minutes to reach the shelter, only to find out it was already full.

     “Please, can’t you squeeze us in?” Keisha pleaded.

     “Look Ma’am, I’m sorry,” the attendant said.  “There are so many so many people on the streets these days.  You know, we do the best we can.  There are just too many people.  You know lady; you should consider taking your daughter to child protective services.  She should never be on the street.  They will find a family to take good care of her until you get on your feet.”

     “I could never give up my baby,” Keisha yelled at the attendant.  “She needs me.  I am all she has, the only family.  We have got to stick together.”

     “My Mommy loves me!  She can’t help it if she can’t take good care of me.  She tries her best.”  Inya was crying hard and held tightly to her mother’s hand.  “Let’s go somewhere else, Mommy.  Some place where they try to help people not split them up.”

    Keisha and her daughter walked away slowly.  Inya’s words were weighing heavy on her thoughts, but Keisha wasn’t ready to give up her daughter.

     “Where are we going, Mommy?”

     “I don’t know, Baby. “

     “What about those bandon houses,” Inya asked.

     “The abandoned houses are too dangerous.  Lots of times, there are druggies and drunks in there.  We’ll have to find someplace else.”

     Keisha headed back down the road toward a Coney Island restaurant.  Inya looked up at her and asked where they were going. 

     “I’m heading back to that place where that nice man gave us some food last week.  Remember, Inya, the chili dogs and French fries?”

     “I love French fries, Mommy.”

       “It is getting dark, Mommy.  Is it far?”

     Keisha looked up just in time to see a group of teenage boys heading toward them.  She felt fear envelope her entire body.  She couldn’t move as she watched them head toward her.

     “What’s wrong, Mommy?  Why did you stop walking?  I am hungry and want to get going.”

     Just then, the gang of boys stood right in front of them.  “Hey, bitch…you got any money?”

     “Get real.  Do we look like we have any money,” Keisha answered.  “Now, just leave us alone and let us pass.”

     “Not so fast,” one of the boys answered. He started shoving Keisha toward a row of houses.  Keisha started screaming, so one of the boys punched her in the mouth.  The sharp pain brought Keisha to her knees and blood began dripping down from her lip.

     “Please, what are you doing?” she cried.  “I don’t have anything.  Please, just leave us alone.”

     “Oh, I think you have something you can give me,” one the boy said.  “Come on; let’s go back behind that building over there.”

     “What do you mean?  Let go of me.  Please you’re hurting me.”

     “Grab the little girl,” one of the boys said.  “Follow me back behind the building.”

     “Please, what are you going to do, please?  Help!  Someone, please help”

     “Shut up you stupid bitch or I will hit your little girl.”

     “Oh please, I’ll be quiet.  Please don’t hit my little girl.  Inya, stop crying, it’s going to be ok.”

     “That’s right little girl.  Your Mommy is going to be nice to us so we won’t have to hurt you.”  He drug Inya around the corner of the building laughing at her trying to break free.  “Wait, wait,” she cried.  I lost my little teddy bear with the blue eyes.  Please, I have to find him.”

     The boy ignored Inya’s cries and held on to her arm so tight that he bruised her.

     They reached the back of the building and the five boys started grabbing at her, ripping her shirt.

     “Please, my little girl.  Please don’t hurt my little girl.”

    “Hey, Dude, take the little girl around the corner so she won’t see what we are doing.”

     “No way, I want to watch.”

     “Dude, just take her.  You will get your turn.”

     “Oh God,” Keisha cried out.  “Please, don’t do this.”  Keisha started throwing up.

    Through all the chaos and screaming, Keisha could hear police sirens coming close.  She wanted desperately to yell for help, but, she was afraid that they would hurt her daughter.  The sirens sounded closer.  All of a sudden, the boys took off running.  Two policemen were running toward her.

     “Ma’am.  It’s ok now.  We’re here.  You are going to be ok.”  The policeman put his arm around Keisha and helped her up.

     “They took my little girl back around that building,” Keisha cried, “Inya, Inya!”

     Inya came running toward Keisha, her face wet with tears and her body trembling.  “Mommy, they hurt you,” she cried out.

     “It’s ok, the officer said.  “She is going to be all right.  We are going to take her to the hospital.  What’s your name?” he asked Inya.

      “It’s Inya, she sobbed.  “Am I coming to the hospital too?”

     “Of course,” he answered.

     Just then the other policeman came back.  “They got away,” he said.    “They all ran off in different directions.”

     “No surprise there.  Let’s call for an ambulance for this lady and her lovely daughter, Inya.

     “Well, sir,” Keisha started.  “I don’t have any money or insurance.  I really can’t go to the hospital.”

     “Don’t worry about that right now,” he said.  He rolled up a blanket from the car and put it under head.

     It seemed like a long time before they got to see a doctor at the hospital.  Keisha was sore and scared.

The doctor started asking her questions about where she hurt and what happened to her.

     “Why is everyone asking me the same questions?” she asked him.

     “Just try to relax,” he said to her.  “We are just trying to help you.  Now, there will be a lady from Children’s’ Protective Services to see you about your daughter.”

     “What do you meant to see about my daughter?”

     “Well Ms. Bellows, we have to find a place for your daughter to stay while you in the hospital.  The nurse said that you have no family or friends to call.”

     “Oh no.  Well you are just going to have to let me out of here.  You’re not going to send my baby anywhere.”

     “Calm down now, Ms Bellows.  We are just trying to help you and your daughter.  Don’t you want what is best for your daughter?”

     “Mommy,” Inya cried. “I lost my little teddy bear with the blue eyes.”

     “Don’t worry, Inya. We will find it when we get out of here.”

     “I am what is best for her,” she answered.  But, there was nothing she could do.  The lady from Children’s Services took Inya from the hospital room.

      Even though she tried to assure her that they would work with her and get her on track so she could get her daughter back, Keisha could not be consoled.  She cried then sobbed until no more tears would come out.  She slowly drifted off to sleep with the help of the medication she was given.

      Inya walked into the large building with the nice lady.  “See, Inya,” the lady said.  “It looks just like a regular house.  There are some other girls here that you can play with and make friends.  You can meet them in the morning.”

     “Ok,” Inya said still unsure of her fate.  “Can I take a shower first?”

     “Of course you can.  My name is Mrs. Kelsey.  I have some clean pajamas for you too.”

     “Pajamas.  I never had pajamas before.”   After her shower, Inya climbed into the soft bed with a real pillow.  She fell asleep quickly, so exhausted from the terrible day.  And she dreamed.  But, they weren’t dreams of friends and beaches and food.  They were nightmares of dragons and monsters that took her Daddy and her Mommy away.

     Inya was placed in the foster care system within the week.  Keisha was released from the hospital the next day.  Even with help from the Women’s’ shelter, she wasn’t able to find employment.  Keisha remained on the street and became despondent.

     Inya never found her mother again.  Her memories of that time in her life were vague.  She looked for her when she got older, but there wasn’t a trace.  Every once in a while, Inya dreams about the day her Mommy was hurt and how they ended up at the hospital.  But, the memory of what Keisha’s face looked like was fading.  But, Inya had to give up the search.  Her new job was taking her to a new home in a town far away from the big city of Detroit where she grew up.  She never missed the city and all its awful sounds.  But, somehow she still remembered the gentle hugs of her mother and still longed for the childhood and mother that she was deprived of.  She drove one last time past the viaduct where she and her mother spent a lot of time that last summer.  But, she didn’t see the older woman laying down in the shade of it holding on to a worn little teddy bear with blue eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: storywriter45 | August 21, 2014

Front Porch Memories: Grampa and his skunk.

One of my favorite memories as a child were the vacations we took in the summer to visit my grandfather on his farm in  the rural area out side of Cummings, Georgia. My parents would pack us all in the car with luggage and enough snacks to last us through the fifteen hour trip. This was before Interstate 75 was complete and included a treacherous trip through the mountains in Jelico,Tennessee. I was always so excited. I was the only one of us three girls that could stay awake for most of the trip. I didn’t want to miss anything. There were times when the only people awake in the car were Dad and I. Mom would tell me to keep talking to him so he wouldn’t go to sleep. I think about it now, he must have hated it. He is definitely not one for much conservation.
It was like going back in time in those days. We would finally come to the long dirt road that bore our family name, Nichols Rd. Of course, there were no street lights, convenience stores, or even gas stations. We traveled down the bumpy red dirt road, the air heave with humidity and pungent smells of livestock mixed in with the smell of hay and corn crops. We would pull up to his small farm house and he would be sitting on the porch with that same grey felt hat that he wore for years. I probably wouldn’t have recognized him without it.
There were chicken coups over to the right, the occasional bull in the back, a couple hunting dogs running around, and the occasional pig that got loose from the pen. It was exciting for us city children to experience all the sights and sounds of rural life, but, I could have done without the strong smells.
One summer, we arrived early in the evening and found Grandpa sitting in his usual spot on the front porch. So excited, I jumped out of the car and ran up to greet him. He held his hand up as if to stop me. I stared at him in amazement when I realized what he held in his lap.
“You have a pet skunk?” I asked him. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He told me to approach slowly so as not to frighten his little friend.
“That’s close enough,” he said.
The rest of my family stood still by the car, not sharing my enthusiasm in Grandpa’s new pet.
I asked him if he had the scent glands removed from the skunk. “No,” he said.
I just stood there staring, afraid to move at this point. Grandpa had raised him from a baby and the skunk was very close to him.
Mom and Dad insisted he put the skunk away before any of us were sprayed. I couldn’t wait any longer and needed to use the bathroom. My uncle finally convinced Grandpa to put a bathroom inside of the house. This was no easy task as Grandpa couldn’t understand why you would want something like that inside.
I walked through the front door past a hen in the living room, then past a bucked of crawdads, and finally to the bathroom. I smiled, relieved that I wouldn’t be sitting in the out house hoping a one of the hogs or hunting dogs didn’t push their way through the little wooden door.

Posted by: storywriter45 | July 2, 2014

Front Porch Memories

The cool morning breeze gently caresses my face as I sit on the front porch admiring the colorful landscapes of summer. It is here, on this porch, where I gave birth to many dreams. Some came true, some did not.
Now I sit on this porch and memories are stirred of children growing up in this yard, family pets that have come and gone, neighbors that have moved in or out.
My fondest memories on this porch are watching my children walk down to the school bus, come home from school, playing in the yard, and the very fun water fights that often started with a squirt gun.
I usually instigated in squirt gun fight.
Once, in the dead of winter, I opened the front door and squirted my then teenage son and his friends. They were quite shocked when I ran after them in my bare feet right across the ice. They were so stunned that I actually was able to give them quite a soaking.
Now, I sit here and see my youngest grand son playing on this porch with all the wonder and zeal of a three-year old. He is in for a surprise this summer as I have decided it’s time to introduce him to the squirt gun fight!

Posted by: storywriter45 | June 13, 2014

BEST FRIENDS

 

 

 

 

 

Best friends they say are worth their weight in gold.

Makes no difference if they are new or friends from long ago.

Best friends hear you when you silently cry.

And stand by you without asking why.

They give you space when you need it most.

About your accomplishments they will boast.

They fill your soul with joy and gladness.

And help to wipe away your sadness.

They encourage you when you are down.

And when needed, put your feet back on the ground.

Having a friend like you makes me blessed.

To you all my secrets I have confessed.

A trusted friend like you is like a rare pearl.

Thank you for letting me into your world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: storywriter45 | June 11, 2014

Welcome Intrusion

 

 

Morning intrudes upon our sleep, but brings the day in its place.

The darkness leaves and allows the sun to shine upon our face.

Another chance to spend some time with those you hold dear.

Be careful to tend to every day as they will quickly slip into a year.

Posted by: storywriter45 | June 5, 2014

A RECOVERED DREAM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adrienne stood staring at the mirror. She didn’t see the lines of life that lay like a map on her face, deep and harsh around the mouth and long slightly curved ones around the eyes. Her cheeks were starting to lie in vertical layers and her eye lids drooped to partially cover her large green eyes. Eyes that were once bright and filled with wonder now are dull and saddened by the passage of time.

 

She could hear voices behind her, someone speaking about her and old age and Alzheimer’s or something. Not me, Adrienne thought still staring at the mirror seeing a young woman about thirty or so instead of the 86 year old face everyone else witnessed.

Every so often, tears would find their way down the tracks yielded by many nights of sorrow and wailing when she was alone, alone, without her Darcy. Darcy was the love of her life. She couldn’t help the way she felt. Her husband had lost passion for her at a young age and put all his energy into his career. He left her alone often with her children and an unfulfilled sense of purpose. No one could blame her for seeking out a lover and a little slice of life for herself. But, her children never suffered. They never knew about him or her unhappiness with life without him. They grew up like other children loving and needing their mother when they were young, hating her when they were teenagers, and leaving her behind to pursue their own dreams when they became adults.

“Miss Adrienne, come now. It’s time to go to bed. You need your rest, sweetie.”

 

Adrienne looked at the nurse grabbing her arm, nudging her away from her stance at the hallway mirror.

“No, I’m not ready to go,” Adrienne answered her and pulled her arm back. “Not yet.”

“Come now, Miss Adrienne. Let’s get you settled.”

Adrienne gave in and went with the nurse to the bleak bedroom. The room reminded her of the old black and white movies and even looked a little frightening. Everything was in shades of grey and white and the walls were stark and high.

“There you go, Miss Adrienne. Slide right on into bed. You’ll feel better in the morning. Now, here’s your sleeping pill. Make sure you take it or you will be up walking the halls again.”

Adrienne slipped in to the cold unwelcoming sheets and took the sleeping pill. But, the problem was that she always ended up vomiting them up. She wasn’t doing it on purpose, but, was afraid to tell anyone. They might give her an injection again and she hated them. She shuddered at the memory of the injection she received the night her Darcy disappeared.

It was her forty fifth birthday and Adrienne was putting on her very best evening dress. It was dark blue with white satin trim. It had a deep plunging neck line and slits up the side. White pearls or diamonds was her dilemma. She lightly scented herself with her favorite perfume and put on her four inch heels. Anticipation was rushing over her like waves that grew in strength and size with each passing. Will tonight be the night she asked herself? Will Darcy finally profess his love and ask her to marry him? She stared at the mirror as if frozen in time and dreamed of a life with him now that her children were grown and on their own. Her husband barely knew she was alive. I deserve some happiness too, she said to herself.

“Miss Adrienne, are you still awake?” The nurse came into the room and tucked her in bed. “Now, you took that sleeping pill, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Adrienne answered. “I’m just not tired yet.”

“Would you like a glass of warm milk?”

“Maybe that will help,” Adrienne answered knowing it really wouldn’t make a difference. The nights were long, but, Adrienne didn’t mind. She spent her time alone in the bliss of a life of romance and joy that had long since passed. Nights of romantic intrigue with Darcy played in her mind like reruns of a favorite movie. They were nights filled with romance, parties, and friends. It was as though she lived two separate lives. At first she found it exciting to sneak off into the night and not tell her family where she was going. It was easy, though. Maybe it was too easy. It seemed no one missed her.

The nurse came back into the room with the warm milk. “Here you go, Sweetie. Drink it down and I will pick up the glass later. Have a lovely dream.”

Adrienne wished the nurse hadn’t mentioned the injection earlier. Now she couldn’t get it off her mind. The injection they gave her when Darcy disappeared made her sleep for what seemed like months. She had no recollection of that time in the hospital. Perhaps if they hadn’t given her that injection and kept her there, she would have found Darcy. If he had come looking for her, he wouldn’t have known where to find her. How could he know? He never had contact with any of her family. He never called direct for fear her husband would answer. It was always Adrienne that made the contact except for rare occasions when he would ring her once and hang up as a signal. Her husband had discontinued her phone service when she was in the hospital. He later restored the phone service, but, the number was not the same.

Adrienne’s night would now be filled with distress and sadness instead of the bliss of joyful memories that usually lasted well into the dawn. Then, she would rest peacefully till about nine o’clock when they would come to take her to breakfast.

Adrienne felt tears trickle down her cheeks, causing her pillow to be damp. The bad memories were flooding back as her body shuddered with the pain that started from her neck and cascaded down her entire body. “Darcy,” she cried. “Where were you?”

“Miss Adrienne, are you ok?” the nurse called from her door. “Are you crying? Are you in pain?”

“Just a nightmare,” Adrienne answered quickly hoping the nurse wouldn’t come in and find her in such a state. Surely, they would give her one of those injections.

“Ok then,” the nurse spoke again. “Let me know if you need anything.”

 

Adrienne tried to push the unpleasant memories back so she could think about the romantic dances she used to have with Darcy under the stars in his backyard, but, they wouldn’t relent. She hugged her pillow tightly and gave up trying. Her memories brought her back to the night that ended her hope of a better life. She had taken the whole afternoon preparing for the wonderful evening she would be spending with her love, her Darcy. She admired her beautiful gown in the mirror, her long auburn hair laying gently over her shoulders, and the brilliant diamond necklace shimmering from the strong bathroom light shining above her head.

Adrienne’s husband knocked on the bathroom door. “Addie, I’m leaving now. I will be back on Monday. Please remember to mail those letters I left on the table. They are very important. At last he is gone, she thought. Now she could finish packing her make-up bag and put her belongings into the car.  “I’m never coming back,” she said aloud, smiling at herself in the mirror.

Darcy had found her a darling little cottage to rent on the water. He had tried for a long time to get Adrienne to move out of her unhappy home. Now it was really happening. Adrienne tingled with excitement, wondering if Darcy was going to propose now that she was leaving her husband. Maybe this is what he was waiting for.

She got into her car and drove to the cottage, anticipation growing with each nearing mile. She pulled into the long dirt driveway, framed with large weeping willow trees. The welcoming wooden porch was laden with beautiful summer blooms planted in large ceramic containers. The air was heavy with the flowery aroma and the scent of the lake gently rolling to the shore just a few feet away. She wondered how long it would be before Darcy arrived to take her out for dinner and dancing at the country club.

Darcy never came. Adrienne waited for hours, sitting on the porch in her beautiful evening gown. She tried to phone, but he didn’t answer. She had even called the local police department and hospital to make sure nothing happened to him. She didn’t have the phone numbers of his friends.

She got into her car and began to drive up and down the roads searching for him. She drove back to his house and found his car still in the drive and rushed up to the house.

“Darcy, are you home?” Adrienne asked as she entered through the front door. There wasn’t anyone inside. Darcy’s wallet lay on the counter along with his car keys. After searching the whole house, Adrienne decided to phone the police. They weren’t much help though. She took another look around the house and then went back to her car. She sat, trembling, not sure what to do next. She didn’t even know who to call. Darcy never gave her phone numbers of his friends or family.

What was his name, Adrienne asked herself. Darcy’s best friend’s name was Allen, but, Allen what. Adrienne headed back to the little cottage where she could sit and try to think things through. She would have to calm down so she could think clearly. Obviously, Darcy was in some kind of trouble and needed her help.

Adrienne sat at the little wooden desk in the front room of the little cottage and started making a list of names of people Darcy had introduced her to. There was his sister Ellen and her husband Bob. She couldn’t remember Bob’s last name either.

“Miss Adrienne,” the nurse whispered as she picked up the glass from Adrienne’s night table. “Are you asleep?” There was no answer. “Well, then sleep well Sweetie.”

Adrienne had lost her train of thought and finally drifted off to a restless sleep tossing and turning. Pleasant dreams wouldn’t come tonight, only the fear and loss of her love. Tears traveled down a familiar path in her face and settled on a damp pillow.

“Good morning, Mom. How are you today?”

“Melanie, I am so happy to see you. Is it morning already? I can’t believe you are finally here,” Adrienne smiled up at her daughter.

“Of course I’m here, Mom. It’s Tuesday. I come every Tuesday,” her daughter responded. “Are you hungry? I would like to take you out to breakfast. Does that sound good?”

“Oh yes, I would love to go out. I just have to dress. I want to wear the white dress with the blue roses. It reminds me of spring.”

“Let me help you with it,” Melanie said as she withdrew the dress from the small closet space. She removed the dry cleaning bag and held it up. “Oh yes, it does look like spring,” she said. “It will look lovely on you, Mom.”

Adrienne smiled as she removed her night clothes and reached for the cotton dress with a semi-long flowing skirt. It made her feel young and light hearted. She even did a twirl once she got the dress on. She took Melanie’s hand and they headed for the Porsche that was parked out front.

“Is that your car?” Adrienne asked her. “Wow, that’s something.”

“It’s the same kind of car Darcy drove, remember,” Melanie said.

“You know about Darcy? How did you ever find out? I was so careful to keep him secret all those years ago. How long have you known?”

“Mom, we all knew Darcy. Are you forgetting again?”

“But, I never told anyone.” Adrienne began to shake from the anxiety enveloping her.

“Oh Mom, please try not to be upset. I just wanted to have a nice breakfast with you. Maybe we could talk about something else.” Jonathon is going to meet us at the restaurant. It’s been awhile since you’ve seen him.

“Jonathon,” Adrienne paused.

“Yes Mom, your son.”

“I know. I know who my son is. Are we almost there?”

“I just need to find a parking spot. Are you up to walking a bit? There doesn’t seem to be any parking places close by.”

“Oh yes”, Adrienne answered. I love to walk. I hardly ever get to walk anywhere past the yard at the nursing home. They won’t let me step foot off the property.”

Adrienne got out of the car and looked around. Everything looked familiar, sort of.

She walked happily with her daughter for two blocks to a little café where Jonathon was sitting in a window side booth waiting for them. He smiled out the window at his mother whom he adored. He didn’t like visiting her at the nursing home. He couldn’t bear to think of her living anywhere but the beautiful little cottage by the water, waves pounding on the shore, beautiful flowers everywhere. She loved it so.

“Mom,” Jonathon stood up to greet her. “I am so happy to see you. You look wonderful.” Jonathon was somehow able to look past the passage of time that took a toll on her face. He just saw his lovely mother, a woman of elegance and grace.

Adrienne backed up suddenly. “Who is that?” She was trembling and almost fell back.

“Mom, it’s me, Jonathon. It’s your son. I know you will remember in a minute. Please sit down and we will get you some tea.”

Adrienne slid into the booth still feeling unsure.

“Why do you suppose Mom remembers you and not me? Maybe it’s because you are able to see her more often. I wish I could be here more.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, John. You have a family and business four hundred miles away. Anyway, the disease is random when it comes to which memories stand and which ones fall”

“Melanie, did this young man know Darcy? Do you think he knows what happened to him?”

“Mom, we all knew Darcy, don’t you remember?”

“But, I lost my Darcy that night. It was my fortieth birthday. I searched everywhere for him.”

The tears filling Adrienne’s eyes broke Jonathon’s heart. He hated to see her so sad. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a small gift wrapped package with a blue bow. “This is for you, Mom. I made this special for you.”

“Look,” Adrienne said. “The paper has blue roses on it. You remembered that I love blue roses. It’s really too pretty to open.” She took the little package and held it over her heart. “You must be my son. You remembered the blue roses.”

“Open it Mom. It’s a DVD. I had it copied from an old VHS tape of yours. I hope it will help you remember. Take it home with you and watch it.”

Adrienne smiled and slipped the little package in to her purse. They finished their breakfast and left the café. “Are we going back to the nursing home, Melanie? It’s such a lovely day. Couldn’t we spend some time outside somewhere? It is such a lovely day. I get so bored in that little room.” Adrienne brushed her white flowing hair back from her face. She walked a little easier than usual as they headed towards Melanie’s car.

“Mom,” Melanie began. “You seem to be feeling a little better today. Would you like to come back to my house? We could watch the video and then maybe have tea in the garden. What do you think?”

“That would be lovely, Melanie. I haven’t been to your house in awhile. Let’s do it.”

When they got to the house, Melanie set up the DVD player in the family room and brought out some tea and cakes to have while they watched the DVD. Adrianne sat anxiously waiting to see what the movie was about.

“Oh, Melanie, it’s someone’s wedding. Look at that lovely wedding gown with tiny blue roses around the waist and neckline. Isn’t it gorgeous…? Melanie, that’s me. That’s my dress.”

“Yes, Mom, it is. You were a beautiful bride. Look how happy you were.”

“But Melanie, that’s Darcy. How is that possible? Look, that’s Darcy. I can’t believe it.”

“I know you don’t remember Mom. A couple years after you and Dad were divorced, Darcy showed up at your door.”

“Oh, yes…yes. He had been looking for me. We were both in the hospital at the same time without knowing it.”

“That’s right, Mom. Darcy was rushed to the hospital on your fortieth birthday. At the time, you didn’t know what happen to him.”

“I remember now. Darcy found me and we were married. Oh, Melanie, how could I forget?” Adrienne’s eyes filled with tears of joy this time as she watched Darcy and herself married. She had a blissful marriage with him. “I’m afraid I will forget again, Melanie. I don’t want to forget again!”

“That’s why Jonathon made the DVD for you. You can watch it whenever you want. He sent a DVD player with me. You can take it home with you. What’s wrong now, Mom? Why are you crying?”

“I was thinking about Darcy’s funeral. It broke my heart when he died. We had a wonderful marriage, you know. We did everything together. But, it’s ok. I have this beautiful movie and beautiful memories.”

“That’s right, Mom. Whenever you are feeling sad or you can’t remember, just play the DVD. It makes you smile.”

Adrienne brought the DVD home with her and placed it on the little white night stand. She called the nurse to help her set it up.

“Certainly, Miss Adrienne, I will be happy to set this up for you every night so you can have sweet dreams. Your daughter, Melanie, told me all about it. There you go. Now, just press Play on the remote when you are ready.”

“Thank you for your help,” Adrienne said as the nurse stepped out of the room. Adrienne sat back against the head board of her bed and pulled the warm quilt up to her neck. She smiled as she watched the handsome couple make their wedding vows. And oh the reception was wonderful too. Darcy held her in his arms and they seemed to float across the dance floor.  Her long flowing hair glistened in the ball room lights and Darcy was as handsome as ever. She wished the night would never end. Adrienne drifted off to peaceful sleep and present dreams. There were no more thoughts of injections and hospitals. She had her Darcy and that was all that mattered.

 

 

 

Posted by: storywriter45 | April 30, 2014

Five Hundred Word Stories

     I finally completed my challenge of writing two five hundred word stories for young children. It was definitely more difficult than I thought it would be, but I am happy with my results. Now to write the cover letter and send off the submissions to the publisher. I am still waiting to hear from my critique service about my seven hundred word picture book, “That Bee Is My Friend.” I am anxious to hear the results.

    In the mean time, I am still working on my middle grade book, “Owen and Max Time Travel to Christmases  Past.”

They will travel to a Christmas in 1800’s America, 1700’s London, 1600’s Germany, and finally to the first Christmas. I am enjoying writing this one so much. I can’t wait for Owen to read it.

Posted by: storywriter45 | April 30, 2014

     “Jackson,” I called. “Come and see who is in the bathtub. Look, it’s Sammy the seal.” Sammy the Seal was one of my daughters favorite books when she was little. I was hoping it would entice my three year old grandson to let me read to him. But, as soon as he saw the book, he was off and running. Now look here you little cookie toting munchkin, I know you will like this story I thought to myself. I tried reading another book aloud while he was in the room. Every couple of lines, he came over and took a look at the book and walked away again. “…and only three ducks came back,” I read aloud. With that, Jackson came over, took the books from my hands, closed the book and said, “good night.”

     I guess I will just have to be patient. I will continue to read out load a little each day and hope that he becomes interested.

Posted by: storywriter45 | April 28, 2014

Writing Children’s Stories


          It didn’t cross my mind that it would be challenging to write a children’s story in five-hundred words or less. I am comfortable with the eight-hundred word count for a picture book I wrote, so I thought this would be fairly easy.  Turns out, it is a bit of a challenge to write an engaging story with interesting characters in such a short work. If you are looking for a writing challenge or an exercise in writing, try this one.   

Posted by: storywriter45 | February 5, 2014

Is Candy Crush Really That Important?

 

     I was sitting in the surgical waiting room while my grandson was having surgery on his hand. Luckily, I brought a crochet project with me. It’s works like an anti-anxiety medication for me when I am required to sit still somewhere for too long a time. There I was, working the stitches minding my own business when an adorable little girl with large brown eyes and long light brown hair plopped down next to me. She had an irresistible smile that I found charming.  After setting down an armful of bags and totes, her mother sat down next to her.  Well she comes well prepared, I thought to myself and returned to my project. The little waiting room was filling up fast. How many of these things do they schedule at one time anyway.

     A little while later, I looked up from my project to see the little girl tugging on her mother’s arm. But, Mom was to intent doing something on her phone. Perhaps she was texting or face booking I thought. Well, whichever one, she definitely found it more important than her daughter. “Mommy,” the little girl tried to get her attention again. This Gracious Grandma was about to put her two cents in when the little girl tipped her bowl of pickles all over herself and one of the totes. You could smell pickle all through the waiting room. Well, Mom jumped up at this time to take care of it.

      It really tries my patience when I see a parent too busy texting or playing a game on their smart phone to pay attention to their child’s needs. Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love smart phones and have one myself. However, I have no trouble restraining myself from using it when my grand children need me or when I am driving, etc. 

      It seems that young parents these days do have the same compassion for a child that we or our parents had. I see a child crossing her legs waiting to go to the bathroom and Mom or Dad simply makes her wait. Really, make the game wait…it won’t wet its pants

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