Fire


It’s been thirty years

And it’s been twenty days

And the feelings are somehow the same

It’s as if you weren’t here

And as if you won’t leave

Makes me wonder if you ever came

My mind is still whirling

And my heart has gone blank

The memories have all been erased

Like the scent of the past

The fragrance can’t last

YOU are just my yesterday….

The pain is so deep,

I can’t hardly sleep

Though,  I know, that I’ve finally learned….

I won’t do it again…

Look back where I’ve been…

for with fire, you always get burned.

Diane Reed 2012

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Seems Like Only Yesterday…


SON

 

Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

(My son and his beautiful family)

by

Diane Reed

copywrite 1997

Do Overs


If I could do it all again

would I make the same mistakes?

Would I bypass all the times

when I know my heart would break?

Would I still fall in love

with the father of my kids?

Would I do the dumb things

I remember that I did?

If I could go back,

and undo everything I’ve done…

Would I trade it all

to once again be young?

It is a tempting question,

to consider what I’d do,

to be able to wipe the slate clean,

To undo the things I wish I didn’t do…

And yet, I have to wonder

what the trade off would have to be

if I undid my life…

And could re-invent the one called “me

Even with all I now know…

and the lessons I have learned~

The “Do Over” I could have,

and the places I’d return,

I would still have to choose

all I know of in this life

If it meant being someone else’s mother

and someone else’s wife!

For all the ones that I have loved…

makes it worth it in the end~

To live the life with the ones I’ve loved

Yes~

I’d do it all again.

Hopefully with lessons learned

to make some slight revisions~

To gift me with the wisdom of today

In tomorrow’s new decisions.

Diane Reed

Little Jewel


I wanted to come on and thank my blogging friends and followers and wish YOU all a wonderful and thankful day… maybe by writing something profound…. but I have to admit by the time I got here, once the dishes were washed

and all had gone as successful as possible with about four different families, extended and such, all connected by marriage or somehow~ all under the SAME roof….with the usual eggshell walking and  family dynamic tensions~     In the end… I felt blessed and yet pretty weary for the wear (having to have worked Wednesday and then knowing that I was back to work for another 8 hours bright and early tomorrow) I have to admit, I didn’t feel too inspired…

 And so thought I would just share something I had already written. Sooo, I was going      through some of my old poems and songs, and I found this one. It made me realize that I sometimes forget that I am nothing without Calvary. And so as we go around the room and rattle off what we are thankful for…. I am glad I am not so tired to remember the gift that Jesus gave us…. our everlasting life….on a hill far away, on an old rugged cross. And even when I am grouchy or fail to be exactly the person I wish I could be, or don’t get it right… even when others see me as clueless because I don’t see their point of view in exactly the same way…  (can ya tell I had a taste of family dynamics along with a helping of cranberry sauce??! smile…)

“HE” sees me soooo differently, not because I am or deserve it… or did anything special other than to simply believe… And for THAT~ I am so grateful!

HOW could I have ever felt uninspired??

About 25 years ago or so, I wrote this song with a friend. We really thought that we were going somewhere. Who knows where “somewhere” ever is? Today was Thanksgiving and I had 20 for the celebration. At first, I was overwhelmed but then I got into it. My daughter peeled 10 pounds of potatoes!  Later, when I realized that we had no center pieces, she actually gathered all the candles I had in the house, filled glasses with popcorn and went out and hunted down some pretty cool looking pinecones… and then for free… with what we had in the house, she made these beautiful  centerpieces that looked like they had been ordered!

My husband went and got tables and chairs…  my sister who is usually the first to leave, stayed and helped clean till the very end… everyone pitched in. I got up at 4AM and I am just checking in to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who I have met here that I am truly thankful for.  And the fact that I am so unworthy of all I have and yet HE blesses me anyway!

Here is the poem…

Little Jewel

Just a pebble in my own life

scarred and scratched upon the sand

but then you found me worthy

it’s still hard to understand

You refined the roughened edges

brought a glow for all to see

and yet you used my broken life

Jesus, all in spite of me

Chorus: I can hear you softly saying Little Jewel shine for Me Little Jewel shine for me

So unworthy in my own eyes

still uncut within your hands

like a jewel amidst the pebbles

hidden in the rocky sand

So unworthy in my own life till you died and set me free so you died for just a pebble made a jewel on Calvary!

(repeat chorus)

Words by Diane Griffin ’85 Music by Linda Hurst


On this Thanksgiving week, I wanted to give you all a little food for thought. I promise it is worth the read… If you are wondering what you have to be thankful for this year… take the time to read the whole thing, you will realize you have plenty!

I decided I would walk back to my Hotel that day, even though I had spent all day and most of my money shopping and my shoulders were aching from the weight of the bags. Flagging down a tuk-tuk would made the trip quick and easy and with the unbearable heat rising up from the sidewalk and bouncing off the city walls and radiating down from above it is a wonder I chose to walk that day but at the time I decided that I would like to wander through the alley ways and stalls and nod my head in greeting to the people of Sukhumvit Road and thats all it was at the time. But it is only in retrospect that we see the significance of seemingly small decisions such as these. We don’t realise how our preferences, no matter how small, act as the fingers and the palms and…

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When I’m On My Knees


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJwDxWddgSk&feature=related

Click on and then listen to the above words

and that…….

is where I am today. On my knees. Literally. In the course of my life I have discovered that there really is power when I am on my knees, on my face, in my most rawest form. I feel the heart of Mary at the foot of the cross, I feel like Eve when she realized she was naked in Eden, I feel the prayers of those crying out to the Lord in desperation and I feel me….

Really listen to the words this time. I mean really close your eyes and soak Him in and maybe, get down on your knees and see what I mean….

On my knees I find God in His purest form. Funny though, I can find Him in my car two inches away from another bumper that He helped me AVOID or in the waiting room of a hospital waiting for a loved one,  He was there during a test at school, and after my heart was broken as a young girl and during my divorce or even in a silly moment of praying for a dumb parking place. HE is where ever I want Him to be. But when I am on my knees I feel that I am where He wants me.  Maybe because He knows that I will  find Him  in the deepest part of my soul and I wonder why I don’t come here more often, just to praise Him. Why is it always when I need Him?

 

Today I make a deal with me to go to my knees more often. It feels good. I love our time together. I have been so caught up in me that I have forgotten what coming home feels like. The prodigal daughter, it really does feel like a party as he welcomes me into his presence and I can rest in Him and know that He IS in control.

 

 

Letter to my nine year old self~


The funny thing about growing up is you can do it at five or at fifty five. And I have been discovering that I have been kind of stuck for a long time. And yet the mistakes I have made along the way are very clear to me now. I guess that is a good thing. I mean, what a waste to have gone through everything I have and not have learned something from it.
In May of this year,  Oprah had a section in her magazine where it featured women who wrote a letters to their younger self. I thought it was such an amazing idea that I just had to take a stab at it.
Jasmine… and me…. nine years ago! How time flies!
I actually wrote this in May on another blog and had  just  transferred it over here….  and begun to re-read it myself…
The cool thing is, that my ten year old granddaughter just walked in. She is staying with me for the weekend. She just called up out of the blue, asking me if I would like some company because she missed me…my husband is out of town dealing with his dad and so I had honkered down for a quiet weekend of uninterrupted writing…  (I know, I know, what do they say about the best laid plans?) Well, anywaaay, talking about making memories, I couldn’t say no. And now I am inserting this sentence because it is so cool. I just had the opportunity to read the letter below to my ten year old granddaughter. She also is a writer. I gave her an empy little journal and she has been filling it all weekend. And so I am in awe of the magic in the moment… see if you don’t agree… it was if I had written it for her.
Here is my letter to my young self:
Today you are so filled with expectation and dreams, your whole life is ahead of you. Your life is virtually an unwritten story waiting to be written. Some pages, you may want to tear out along the way, some you may want to hurry through, some will keep you stuck and some will be happy memories. Embrace them all. Don’t waste any of the lessons, learn from them and move on. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes you cannot change.
You want to grow up so fast right now. You can’t wait to have a boyfriend, to drive, to be done with school. And then someday, to have babies and then you won’t be able to wait until those babies talk and walk and I just want to tell you to SLOW DOWN!!!! And be a KID!!!  Life will fly by fast enough without you helping it along. LIVE in TODAY.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  These days will someday, become the “Good Old days” that you’ll look back on and you will regret not enjoying them as much as you could have. Always wanting the next step to happen too soon and not enjoying the moments that will only be sweet memories that you will wish you had enjoyed more.
Let things go. Don’t dwell on the things you cannot change. Don’t hold grudges. Things will happen in life that are just plain wrong. People will hurt and disappoint you. It is just going to happen. Nothing you can do, can stop that. But the way you handle those hurts and disappointments,”IS” totally in your control. Don’t waste your time in regret, just brush your shoes off and move on!
Finally, you are a dreamer, and a story teller. You are one of the lucky ones. You know what you want to be when you grow up. Don’t wait. Follow your dream. Fight for it. Educate yourself. Find out how to make it happen. Don’t wait for someone else to make it happen. You have to go out and make it happen yourself. Write that novel you have always wanted to write. Write as many as you can. Touch people with the stories in your head. Ask questions, learn lessons.  But don’t forget to be quiet. Don’t interrupt so much.  You can find your own voice when you need to. Take the time to take turns and really listen. There is power in listening. Sometimes if you talk too much, people just hear the words…. when you are quiet and listen, you can find the true hearts of people and then and only then, can you finish the story you first began.
Age is all about the lessons we learn, the doors we open, the stories we live and what we do with what has been entrusted to us.
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been”
Madeleine L ‘Engle
OH YEAH, and by the way. Don’t let your mom curl your bangs like she does! You look like a goof ball!

B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G


Sometimes I use my tears

 for everything all at once,

I remember ALL the pain,

I experience all the love

that has passed me by,

I cry for the people

who needed me

when I wasn’t there,

for lost dogs in my life,

for dreams

that should have come true

and misunderstandings

that should have never been

for death, and for life,

and for those

who never got a chance to live it.

Sometimes I use my tears

to break all at once

to shed them until I am empty

so that I might be filled again.

Diane Griffin ’90

(me)

Unexpected Love


Our store was called Rose In The Woods.  It was supposed to mean:    “A thing of beauty in an unexpected place.”  My mother in-law thought it up and I always loved the sentiment. Sometimes things of beauty are so unexpected they go unnoticed.

Recently I had been feeling very sorry for myself. My daughter’s dog Buddy died and I was blind sided by my grief. Silly old dog! Everytime I turned around that dog was underfoot. And whenever I left the house without putting the trash cans up, I could count on coming home to a mess. That dog countersurfed like there was no tomorrow. No matter how far removed I thought an item was, that dog seemed to be able to manuever his fat little body up far enough onto the counter to retrieve his prize! Like he was on a treasure hunt! I am sure if I had put up a spy camera and video taped him… it would have won the prize for Funniest Home Videos!

I would wonder who ate all of the tortillas or all of the buns and sure enough I would go out to his yard to clean up his messes and would find empty plastic bags out there. He would make me want to scream!

But that dog was so smart. From the time my daughter was young, her bus would drive by and he would sit at the end of our deck and h000owl… knowing that his girl was on board! He would roll over, high five and speak on command. He knew the difference between shaking and highfiving! He could sit or lay down and  when she would call him, if he didn’t come right away, she would start counting and he always came before she reached three!

When Brookie went to look for apartments, her main prerequisite was that they had to allow dogs. She finally found one that allowed them. I am glad they had that time together. They spent many hours at the dog park near where she lived. But he howled when she went to work so eventually after several months of trying, she relented and had to bring him back home.

My dad and I started walking with him a few years ago and they fell in love with each other. Some mornings it was very dark and we could barely see my dad who lived up the street. We would meet half way. On foggy mornings, before I could see him, Buddy would start crying for me to let go of his leash, and my dad would squat down to greet him. My dad ended up paying for surgery for Buddy a few years ago that prolonged his life by three more years. Below is a poem I wrote about our walks….

It began kind of quietly in a shy kind of way

“Maybe I’ll walk with you” is what I heard him say

And when my dad joined us, it became our group of three

The day my Dad began walking, with my daughter’s dog and me…

Each morning I’d think, I don’t want to get up

But then I’d think …it’ll be good for my dad and the pup!

As I climbed the road behind those two

I heard my dad say “this is soooo good for you!”

Just a few minutes a day became my most treasured of times

In the steps that we took, and the wisdom I’d find

All fit into the little time that we had

As I would keep step as I walked with my Dad

We walked up hills and around bends

We started out as family and slowly became friends

Talking about politics and old time religion

I loved hearing his passion behind his opinions

I followed him up hills and behind doors unopened

I heard new stories I’d never heard spoken

He sparked a new interest in things I’d not learned

And made me care~ where I’d been unconcerned

We laughed and joked as he remembered times as a kid

And the hilarious things his brothers and he did!

He taught me things about the constitution

And his own ideas about different solutions

No school could teach me the things I have learned

No time I’ve invested could earn the return

And in all the gifts I’ve been given or treasures I’ve had

Not one could compare to the walks with my Dad!

Buddy’s illness hit so suddenly and before we knew it we were making the decision of what to do. Brooke was in LA at the time and was devestated. When her Dad was talking to her, I called up my Dad and asked him to call her when we hung up because I knew she was going to need her Papa! Later she said both her grandma and papa prayed with her and said the perfect things. Another moment in my Scared Of Daddy Long Legs experience of not getting to be there for every moment your child needs you.

Even though my husband and I had grown children, we realized that in all of our adult life, we had never had to make that kind of adult decision. Deciding whether or not to put down a beloved family pet.

I would not allow Brookie to drive home in her devestated condition and we did not want Buddy to suffer so she came home later the next weekend hitching a ride with some of our best friends who were coming to our area for a visit.

My husband and I had buried him and when my daughter came home she pretty much collapsed on his grave. It was devastating to watch her grief mingled with ours and we all were suffering. Unfortunately the grave was too shallow and the next day she noticed that it was unsettled and so she added more dirt and one by one carried more rocks out to it. I think in a way that was her closure and a good exercise for her to help get through the grief but it was horrible for a mother to feel so helpless as she watched her baby in so much pain over losing her beloved friend.

The other day I came home and found my son who lives in town at my house with all kinds of garbage cans filled and gardening tools and shovels out, totally clearing out the side yard where Buddy lay. I had told him the story and kind of felt he seemed a little removed from the whole situation but was blown away by his explanation of what he was doing He told me that he wanted to surprise Brooke the next time she came home and have a nice garden growing near Buddy.

At that moment I knew I had done something right. I saw the love in my son’s eyes. My first born kidlet who was stubborn and independent even as a little boy. He showed me in that moment how much he cared and how much he loved his little sister. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift that day and realized that I had just witnessed another example of a thing of beauty in an unexpected place.

We don’t always see the best in each other because we are more alike than either of us would like to admit but my son has proven that when the going gets rough, he is the first one there to step up!

Reblogged from my other blog~

Still On the Darn Subject Of THOSE “LIKE” CLICKERS!!!!


Maybe I am just shell shocked from the recent election, when every ten minutes I was getting smooozzshed by one political party or another with promises and phone calls,  commercials,  bumper stickers and billboards coveting my vote. And now once again we all are left in the dust. I feel that this blog is a lot like an ongoing election. You can’t avoid the politics. Not even here. Our little corner of the world that we have found, makes the world go away for a just a little while. Our stage where we get to perform, even if to an audience of one or a thousand. We are doing what we love best, writing. Isn’t that enough? Why are those votes so important to us? Perhaps because we learned it really early in our young lives. If we cry, we get attention. If we cry hard enough, we get picked up and even fed. Think about it. We have been searching for that kind of high ever since.

Writing is my way. And if you have a blog here, I know it is yours too. But writing comes with it’s biggest joys and most frustrating draw backs.

A few weeks ago, I went on a hiatus of sorts after realizing that I was writing on this blog for all the wrong reasons. And that was for YOUR feedback. I would post something and then wait for the response.  I mean, we have all loved the proverbial red A+ and maybe even a little smiling face that we used to get after turning in an especially well thought out little story. Whatever it was, and whenever it was, as early as second grade? We experienced that first high and we were hooked. After that, we waited for the next and the next. Finally when our teacher even commented to our mom during a parent conference that maybe we had something special” we lived for the next sign of recognition of specialness.  And as we grew older, when our instructor or professor chose to read our essay as a special example to the class THAT felt even better than the A because we were actually hearing our own words being read aloud with all the same enthusiasm we felt when we wrote them. It was that connection. Our crying was heard and once again we were being fed. Thus… here in my blog, I have felt that. It is nice to be recognized, to feel “gotten” by someone else who understands why I am writing at two in the morning again.

No high could match that. Unless we went on to find it in some other way, I actually did in a  small way. I wrote for our local magazine for a few years…. I was  even given my own column for a while, until I needed to go out and get a “real job” I mean the way I wrote,  .15 cents a word could add up, but that was when I was working for myself, doing art shows as well but both weren’t paying the bills nor providing benefits, and so I had to move on and get the job I have now.  But it was good while it lasted. I would be in town and a random stranger would tell me how they enjoyed my column and once again that  A+, middle of the night feeding high took me to new levels. But then like I said, I had to give that up for a real job,  And for a while, something squashed my creative side by having to succumb to a nine to five. But slowly through the course of less hours and a few other things that inspired me recently, I have found myself NEEDING to write again. As if a part of my heart has re-awakened.

So I stumbled onto this blog here. And as we talked about it before in a recent post entitled :”CLICKING LIKE” I discovered by your responses, that a lot of you felt the exact same way. We got sucked in BIG time to the high of our very own STATS. Arrrrrgggh! And so I went on a little reprieve becuase I was writing posts like this. I would wait for a LIKE and then another and another. (Greedy gal that I am!) And they would come… sometimes right away. Before I was even done re-reading my own first paragraph again, making sure that all my editing was done correctly, I had gotten four clicks. I smiled and then thought…..”HEY wait a minute!” Hmmm what is going on here? How could they be reading everything I wrote so fast???!

So you seee… I fell for the LIKES of those who “CLICK” just to generate traffic to their own blog. They are hoping that there are those like me who actually will appreciate each and every one who takes the time to visit my site and (hopefully) actually read what I wrote, not just click on like for the sake of clicking, thank you very much! Does anyone get what I mean??? I know those of you who I feel that I have connected with do and I guess I am wasting my time writing about this again because the few who do GET what I am saying will probably only be the same ones reading “this” post too. And I love you for it! But I would love to somehow get those darn LIKE clickers (now have I discovered a new slang word here? lol.) And pleeease understand that if you are actually down to this * point in my ranting, you are not who I am talking about! I am talking about to the faithful LIKE CLICKERS that would never be caught getting this far into anyone’s blog. The ones who flat out, don’t read any of it.

Though I am not without fault, I know it is hard to keep up with some of the posts… I have never really cared for TWITTERING, I mean do you really care that I just had a yogurt or if I am on the 101 on my way to work?? As is here, I have found that some of the bloggers (me included at times) write several posts a day. It is kind of comical. We have this random thought we feel is kind of brilliant and so we share… like what I am doing here… so I am not laughing at you!!! I do it too. It is funny how we think that everyone else is so interested in our thought of the minute and yet I know that I didn’t start out coveting your responses or LIKES for that matter, I had come here to write, to stretch my wings, to oil my “writer’s block” to get unstuck and also have a place to store my own journal so that someday, I could come back and look at where I was today tomorrow. How much I have learned and grown someday. But I got caught up in the whole STATs thing and I am sorry I did that to myself. And have to wonder. Is this just a social network of writers? I mean is it more like I will scratch your back if you scratch mine? Or do we really truly genuinely look forwrard to someone’s posts? I know I do. I know I wouldn’t have “followed” you if I hadn’t. And I know I have liked a writer’s posts so much I have sought them out to see if there is a new one that I may have missed. And I can promise if I click LIKE I actually have read it!

Sooo what has prompted me to write this latest rant? Well, I have been posting my book and it is so hard to know who is reading, who is liking and I got absolutely hardly any feedback. Is it that bad??? I have to wonder….lol. I mean even the ones who commented on almost every post I have written…. NOTHING! Well, my friends… are always my best supporters, those of you who I have totally had a kindred moment with (you know who you are) I appreciate!!  But I have to wonder, maybe I am just asking too much to expect people to read eight pages of a chapter at a time. That is rather presumptious of me I know, but what was I was to think? You had puffed me up by LIKING me all those other times! I mean like lifting the proverbial crying baby out of her crib, you fed me… I expected more! Now my stats are sooo low but I expected that. Sadly. I did. I am not out there hanging my flag in the wind OPEN for business like I used to be so my once sky high views have dwindled and so my friends… if you are new here BEWARE…. Really think about the reasons why you blog before you invest so much time. If it is for you then that is wonderful. If it is for other reasons, that may be good too. The connection I have made with a handful of writers here is worth more than the thousand of LIKE clickers I may never know.

And who am I fooling thinking that writers and agents are actually wandering around wordpress looking for raw, new talent…

Getting published is not magic. It takes long hard work. The good old fashioned kind. Technology is awesome. Being able to send a manuscript with a click and publishing a book with another click may be the way of today but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to jump through the same hoops to get there. I GET it now.

Maybeeeeee I would just like to go back to the way things were. Where ignorance was bliss. Where I lived in a world of people LIKING what I wrote. What do I care if they read it or not? Nah. Ya know I do. I want to know if you reeeeeally like ME or you just want my vote.

But the final point (I promise) that I am trying to make i;s that I really am over it… the STATS thing… I probably will always want that primal pat on the back. But I know I dont’ truly need it anymore. Because if I think something is good than it is good. I don’t need  the click or the vote or to check out my stats ever again because I have finally found out how to climb out of the proverbial crib myself!

Chapter Six


Below is Chapter six from my book. For those of you interested, I have published/(posted) one through five in my previous posts. I have taken a break from blogging to finish my book and have been sharing it with my followers who have requested more.  Thank you for all who have actually taken the time to read each chapter. Your time is my most coveted gift!

*******************************************

Chapter Six

Keri had been slow in sharing anything about Jack with her parents. They had both met him, and he had been charming, while her parents had been cautiously gracious. It was difficult for them to watch their daughter become so consumed with a boy. Keri had always been a good student and had recently, been very focused on going to college early, majoring in English and becoming a Writer, which they encourage wholeheartedly.   Just the year before, they had watched her excel at workshops and earn awards. They had watched her become more involved in the school she volunteered at and had supported her decision to graduate early, and had been impressed that she had managed to accumulate enough credits to do just that.

They were  proud of her accomplishments and  that she had been offered a job at the Center while hearing glowing reports from Betty about what a natural she was with the children, they did not want anything to divert her from her plans, especially a boy. Keri was planning on working at the Center  the first of the year, and enrolling in the local Junior College with plans to transfer to UCLA the following.   Though  Keri maintained her grades and Mrs. Walker applauded her recent work,  they knew their daughter and saw a difference, subtle as it was,  and it concerned them.

Keri realized that her parents weren’t keen on her seeing Jack. He was three years older  and they had just started allowing her to date.  In the past, she had gone out with guys that were friends in more of a group setting. This kind of serious  dating was new for them all.  Keri didn’t want the bubble to pop or to have to answer too many questions so she hadn’t talked about, or brought Jack around a lot. She had  enjoyed the independence she had over the summer and wanted it to continue. Her parents had trusted her and given her more freedom due to an arrangement that they had made with Lori’s mom, knowing that she would be available if Keri needed anything . Though, they hadn’t counted on Jack hanging around.  Now that her mom was home,  Keri did not want to rock the boat too much. She tried not to be on the phone a lot with him when her parents were around or to be too obvious about the time he monopolized,  but she loved him and wanted to be with him as much a she could. And her parents couldn’t help but be concerned.

Keri would ride the bus in the mornings on the days she knew that Jack planned to pick her up after school. One day her mom joked about how Keri had begged to get her license and had worked hard to earn her car and how strange it was now that she was back to riding the bus and mentioned that she hadn’t seen Keri actually  ride the bus since Lori had gotten her license the year before. Keri just smiled, she was happy that her mom seemed to accept the new arrangements as long as she kept up with her school work. It was her senior year and her mom had shared stories of her own memories, telling Keri that her life was like an empty book and this was the year that she would begin to fill the pages with memories that  she would never forget. She told her that she didn’t want her to waste a moment of any of it with regret and seemed to be okay with giving her the trust she had earned over the summer, but Keri had been aware of her mother’s apprehension.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that her mom happened to drive up as she was hopping off of Jack’s bike. She slammed her car door and stood there with her hands on her hips. “What is this?!” her mother demanded. “Uhhhh,  motoooorcycle.” Keri answered a bit too flippantly with a sarcastic edge to her tone, as Jack nudged her in warning that THIS was not the right time to be joking.”  Keri’s mom reiterated that fact strongly by saying “I know very well that it is a motorcycle young lady! What are YOU doing on it?!”

Keri silently handed Jack her helmet as she was ushered into the house by her mom.  He had no other choice but to leave,  promising that he would call later. As Keri’s mom called after him saying “Oh no you won’t.” in a very firm voice. Keri’s face was filled with disbelief and anger as she raced into the house shouting “How could yoooou?!” As her mother promptly followed her, eyeing her shorts, and demanding, “What could you be thinking getting on that bike with just shorts on?” Keri had actually burned the inside of her calf on the pipe a few days earlier and sheepishly said, “He has a helmet for me. “That’s big of him!” Her mother retorted. “So your head will be okay while the rest of you is turned into hamburger!?”  “I think not!” Keri pounded up the stairs to her room slamming the door shouting, YOU are ruining my life!” Where she could hear her mom’s reply, “No, I am trying to save it!”

Keri’s mom took her to school and dropped her off the following week. Her dad was away on a business trip and had yet to come home but her mom had assured her that they would all have a discussion together as soon as he returned. Keri was miserable that week. She only spoke when necesarry and without any emotion at all. They had, had their share of mother and daughter disagreements but nothing like this. She and Jack met a few times at lunch. They sat beneath some trees behind the auditorium cautiously consumed in each other. “Baby, we will figure this out.” Jack promised, weaving his fingers through hers. He had parked his bike and  started just driving his car after the scene in Keri’s driveway, and had told Keri that he would even sell his bike if he had to. He told her that he planned to go to her parents and talk to both of them when her father came home at the end of that week.

He did as he said and Keri’s dad respectfully listened as Jack apologized for taking her on the back of his bike without their permission.  He assured her parents that he was a very careful driver, with both his motorcycle and his car, but admitted that it had been a bad idea to allow Keri to ride in shorts. Her mom  thanked him for realizing that, as Jack reached out to shake  her Dad’s hand. Her Dad had been impressed with the handshake and Jack’s apology and told them that they would be allowed to to see each other again, adding that he would  even allow Keri to ride on his motorcycle only when they had permission and were properly dressed for riding but he would prefer them  in a car for the majority of their dates. “Thank you daddy” Keri jumped up and wrapped her arms around her father’s neck. And then hugged her mom as well. There had been a lot of tension that week and Keri wanted it over as did her mother. “I KNOOOW that you just want the best for me” she said quietly to her mom as her mom hugged her back with an extra tight squeeze.

After that, Jack would pick her up in his Triumph Spitfire and they would take long drives with the top down. He would bring a blanket and lay it out as he would tell her stories of adventures he had, and wanted to have. Some of his stories were of wanting to sail around the world, others were of how he wanted to learn how to fly, and others included  memories of Maddie, and those were hard to hear. He spoke of  school and how hurt he had been by her and how betrayed he felt. Keri tried to understand and act like she didn’t mind the stories. She knew he was still hurt and had a hard time trusting her completely because of his past, and so she just tried to love him even more. and to prove that she was not Maddie and would never hurt him.

One day they went out on the boat alone. Jack was teaching Keri to sail. She loved it when it was just the two of them. Even though she enjoyed when other couples had gone with them, she cherished her time alone with Jack. Keri had discovered that she actually, loved sailing even though the first time out they had been caught up  in thirty mile per hour Santa Ana winds, they had been out several more times after that, and the weather had been wonderful.   This particular day, the breeze was perfect and there was no one around for miles.  They tacked back and forth a  long time and he praised her for her natural ability, he even sat back and let her handle the boat all by herself and praised her until she beamed with pride. Finally, Jack tied the line and leaned back into Keri, she breathed him in, she loved his smell. He smelled like fresh air and the sea.

Her heart felt full as she leaned back and let the sun coat her bare skin. They sailed that way for a long time and then Jack lazily asked, “You hungry?” Keri thought a minute and said “I guess I could eat something.” She got up and began unpacking the picnic lunch she had packed that morning. She had just handed Jack a sandwich and he seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. He leaned back sipping a grape soda and began soaking up the sun again. The temperature was perfect.  Boats had slowly begun speckling the scenery and the sky was bluer than she had ever seen it.  Keri took in the day, took a bite of her sandwich and admired Jack’s swimmer’s physic when the wind changed and Jack steered the boat as she jumped up to adjust the jib, as she casually mentioned something about how she couldn’t reach the “rope.”

All of a sudden Jack stiffened and his face grew red and he exploded.  “Line, it’s a damn line!”  He bellowed at her.  Keri’s eyes grew wide in surprise. She was not sure if he was serious. He was in such a rage that it had totally caught her off guard. She dropped her sandwich. He threw his in anger, yelling at her and roared that “the only rope on a boat was the one on the bell ”How could you not know that by now?! he raged.

At first, Keri seriously thought he was kidding but when she realized he wasn’t, something inside of her broke. She had never had a “friend” speak to her that way. Even when she was in big trouble,  her parents had never yelled at her like that. Keri was dumbfounded. She did not know what to think. Something  shifted inside of her,  she did not recognize exactly what it was, maybe it was the instinct of survival kicking in, maybe it was just the simple respect that she had for herself but right there in the hub of that moment she knew that it was over. Even if she had made a huge mistake, if she had pulled the jib so tight that the boat had been hard to recover, she hadn’t deserved his anger, he had no excuse to talk to her like that.   Their day was ruined. Their future was gone. She watched a stranger storming around as he turned the boat back without her assistance. She just sat there frozen.

They were silent all of the way back to shore. She had never experienced anything like the scene that had just happened.  She kept playing it over and over again in her head.  She was devastated. He had not only screamed at her. He had grabbed one of the lines and hit her with it and then somehow in his rage had proceeded to spit on her. She was stunned. She wiped her face and stared out to sea. She tried to remember just what may have led up to his reaction, to trigger such an explosion. She did not know how it had finally ended. The rage seemed endless as if something had snapped inside of him. Keri had finally just started crying and then it was over as quickly as it had begun. As if her tears had snapped him out of the place he had seemed to go. He seemed spent as he reached the shore. She hoped nobody would ever find out. She was totally humiliated and very glad that they had been alone and no boats had been nearby.

The evening fog drifted in as she sat shivering in the car, it was not too terribly cold but for some reason she could not stop trembling, as if she was chilled to the bone. She sat in the passenger seat, trying to block out the memory of what had just happened and feeling the raw emotion of it all. They had never even argued before. She never imagined that he had such a temper. He had always been so patient and kind and a wonderful teacher. This had ruined everything.  She felt no responsibility over what had just happened and yet she was still so confused and began second guessing herself, wondering if perhaps, in some small way, it was her fault. She knew he had made a comment about ropes being called lines and the port and starboard sides and some other technical sailing terms but didn’t think it was such a big deal. He had seemed to love teaching her things and she loved learning from him. Keri began remembering a time when her own father would try to teach her things and would get so frustrated with her and the memory made her cringe. She wondered what really set him off or if it had actually been her. She continued pouring over every detail of the outburst in her mind and could not come up with a reasonable explanation except that perhaps she was to blame.

Keri could not move as she watched Jack hooking everything up. She caught herself holding her breath watching him and when she realized what she was doing, she would slowly let it out as she heaved a deep sorrowful sigh. She was so angry she couldn’t even cry. She was just stunned as she began thinking about all that they had shared,  and all that she had begun to dream of, now all lost in this horrific outburst. She wondered, maybe she had made a mistake about a nautical term but she could not excuse the scene she had  just observed nor could she erase it from her memory. No reasonable person would ever get so upset over something so irrelevant would they?

She wondered if this is why Maddie broke up with him. She wondered if Mrs. T knew about his temper when she manipulated them like little game pieces, relieving her own daughter of this boy only to push him off on some other mother’s daughter, not to mention her daughter’s best friend. She wondered if Lori knew. She sat there feeling totally sucker punched. The nausea inside of her began to make her stomach convulse. He was taking so long and finally she felt tears of anger rising, she began to strategize her departure and the little speech she intended to make when he finally dropped her off.  She kept wondering if Lori had any inkling of what Jack Sagan was capable of behaving like or if she had witnessed any of it. She stewed, growing angry and hurt and decided not to trust anyone ever again. She was mad at Lori, and at Mrs. T. and at Maddie for making her a part of this situation, and then feeling so consumed by it all, she felt nothing, just the hot tears on her cheeks.

Overwhelmed with a sadness she had never known. She had been humiliated, crying in front of Jack. Though Keri’s crying is what ultimately seemed to save her. He had not seen her cry much before and it really did seem to break the fog he seemed immersed in, but now, they were at a standstill No one had said a word since the outburst and Keri just wanted to go home.

The longer Jack took to get in the car, the angrier she became.  She was mad and she had a script penned in her head of what she was going to say to him. Maybe he had treated other girls like that but  she was not going to allow any boy to treat her that way ever again, and she meant it.  It looked as if he was having trouble hooking up the lights on the trailer. The longer it took, the angrier she got. Keri had believed in God since she was a little girl. Her mom had taken her to church and that is where she met Lori. They went to both the same school and church. But like so many, Keri had gotten busy and fallen away from her routine of attending regularly.  She had learned about praying and the thought nudged at her heart as she continued to sit there and slowly she just began to pray quietly but the words formed fluidly. As soon as she closed her eyes, a peace came over her that was hard to describe.  Suddenly, she was not worried about getting home or even about how Jack would respond to her, just bringing God’s name into the situation seemed to help her find an amazing peace. She felt a stillness in her heart that was calming, as she prayed, “Dear Lord please be with me now and on the drive home, it was as simple as that. Nothing elaborate, just simply inviting God into the car. With her eyes closed she felt His presence, almost as if He was sitting next to her and just the mention of His name, calmed her.  Keri watched as Jack walked around and around the boat and tried to wipe out the details of the memory and what had happened earlier. Keri was still hurt but she felt stronger after her prayer.

Jack finally slid int his seat and gently shut the door. The silence filled the car. Every sound screamed loudly inside her head. The door closing, Jack’s breathing, the clinking of his keys, the pounding of her own heart, the sounds of nothing and everything, overwhelmed her. Keri waited for Jack to start the engine, but he didn’t move. He sat there with his keys in his hands. He was not stoic or angry like she had expected him to be. She waited and waited.  Jack just sat there, in silence and then he did something so unexpected, he began to cry. “I am so sorry Keri” he began.”I want you to know that there are things about me that no one knows, I can’t really explain it. But I don’t want to hurt you and I will, I promise I will. I know that much and that we can’t go out anymore. I behaved like a monster today and can’t promise I won’t again. I want this to be goodbye.” He said so firmly that she believed that he was serious.

She sat there blindsided. She blinked, she swallowed. She let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding and had to remind herself for the second time to breathe. This was nothing like she had imagined the conversation going. She sat still reeling by what he had to say. She sat there dumbfounded as he continued.  She had planned to tell him goodbye but hearing him take the initiative panicked her. He shared some memories from his childhood, horrific things that he had gone through as a young boy, things he had never shared with anyone, as Keri quietly listened.

little crying boy

Her heart ached for him.She wanted to reach over and wipe away his tears, she wanted to hate the ones who had hurt him. Tears filled her eyes as he continued to share his heart breaking memories, of horrific things that had happened to him as a little boy, and realized that his childhood was not a normal one by any stretch of the imagination. Keri’s heart literally hurt as she considered everything Jack had shared. He waited as he ran his fingers through his sandy blonde hair. Once he had finished the recount of some of the things that had happened to him as a young child, he admitted that though it might explain his anger, in no way did he feel it excused what had happened that afternoon and he was so sorry. He said that he knew that he had huge anger issues and had trouble controlling the rage he felt so strongly at times and again insisted that he could not go out with her anymore. He also assured her that none of what had happened had anything to personally do with her.

Even though Keri had made the decision to not continue in the relationship even before Jack had gotten into the car, she did not see this coming. She understood more now, on a much deeper level, where he had come from. She felt honored that he had trusted her with so much. She realized that his inner child felt so out of control that when Jack felt as if he was losing any part of control now, he just didn’t know how to deal with it. Keri’s heart broke for him and she began crying too. She began to imagine the terror he must have felt when his mother became so out of control. She felt his pain and loved him even more. All the anger left her. As her body relaxed, she wondered if God had a hand in helping her understand Jack more.

Keri tried to picture her days and nights without him in them and her heart stopped. She had known him for such a short time and yet could not imagine her life without him in it. She did not care about today. She would not mention it again. She would protect him now and make up for all those times as a child when he felt unprotected and abandoned. She decided then and there that she would show him how to love by loving him so much he couldn’t possibly ever feel unloved again. As long as she was by his side, she would teach him all about love. At that moment  she decided that she was not going to leave Jack. She would make it very clear that could never happen again, but she was not leaving.

Keri reached for Jack, all the resolve of leaving had left. Her heart changed in that moment. She saw his tortured soul. and looked right into it.  Jack could see that Keri was in this for the long haul. She was not going anywhere. For the first time in his life, Jack felt as if he had come home. Keri pressed her lips against his hair and held her face against him for a long time. She soaked in that moment, wanting to remember it forever. Feeling the calm and the love after the storm was like a salve.   The windows of the car were covered with a blanket of fog, providing a remote haven for their new found devotion to one another. They held onto each other with appreciation for their new though unspoken commitment. And then Jack lay his head in Keri’s lap and they both cried  and then sat in silence. Keri stroked his hair for a long time, feeling oddly maternal, and then slowly lifting his head in her hands, she told him. “I won’t leave you Jack, I promise. I won’t leave you, ever.And she truly meant it.

******************************************************

So thank you to all who have been reading. Just to let you know… there are about twenty more chapters…. I think that I have posted enough of my book for now….

I  will save Chapter Seven and the rest … for you when I finish the book.  Hopefully you have gathered that this story is a look back at first love and coming of age, it paints a picture of how an innocent young girl can lose herself so easily. Even when she knows better and comes from a good, solid upbringing.

It begins, in the seventies before cell phones  and google, before Facebook and Oprah. Before abuse was talked about openly. It makes you think twice about asking someone abused why they stayed. It is not an explanation for them or an excuse for the abuser but hopefully it paints a picture of  how people become who they become… because of where they began.

It is a story about a young girl who falls hopelessly  in love with a young boy so damaged from his childhood, and how that first love evolved into a heartbreak that followed her for the rest of her life controlling the different choices she made along the way and how those choices are a little like raindrops.  It only takes one to begin a flood. It touches on the tools she gathers along the way as she comes full circle, learning to build a dam so that she will never be washed away in the same way ever again.

Soooo again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading! I hope you have enjoyed it so far.

Hopefully I will finally get it published so that you can find out what happens next!

😉

Chapter Five


As I am in the midst of editing… how could I not love this quote??

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Chapter Five

Things returned to normal for Keri as Lonnie and her mom returned home from Seattle the following week. And then school started the next. It was her senior year and she only had two classes along with her Advanced Independent English class that she was continuing with Mrs. Walker, who had told Keri three years ago, that she was her “New Discovery.” During Keri’s freshman year, her English teacher, had assigned several poetry and fictional assignments, and each one that she had turned in, had impressed her teacher more than the last. So much so, that she had requested a parent conference suggesting that Keri would benefit more from an individual mentoring class, adding that she was offering to instruct her. She explained to them that she would have to bring up her  idea to the school board in order for Keri to qualify but she was sure that once they saw her work, they would agree to it.  Her parents had been thrilled and extremely proud.  Keri’s work was submitted, the board  reviewed  Mrs. Walker’s request, and they had unanimously approved it.

So the next year, Mrs. Walker instructed Keri by giving  her assignments that would challenge her and she had excelled. And the class had been extended for the years that followed.  Mrs. Walker had been teaching for over thirty one years, and had only offered an Independent Study class to two other students in the history of  teaching. Both had gone on to earn Scholarships at Berkley and become published authors.

Mrs. Walker started out by making Keri promise that she would keep a daily journal, even during the summers. She had honored that promise, having fun finding new styles of journals each year. This year, she had found a little leather bound one with a lock on it. She had saved up her allowance and purchased it right before the end of school this past year. She was on her third year now, and this past summer she had filled twice as many pages as required. The agreement had been that her teacher would not read the contents, but would just initial the pages when she turned them in once a week. If she wrote a poem within the journal, or something that she wanted to share with her teacher, she would simply copy it onto a separate piece of paper and turn it in. She had never minded before, in fact, she would have liked her teacher to have read some of her entries. But this year, since meeting Jack, she was happy that they had the little “no reading”agreement because she had new things to write about that she did not really want anyone to read, least of all Mrs. Walker.

Thanks to Mrs. Walker’s promptings, Keri had won a few small scholarships for young writers by submitting her work to different writing competitions that her teacher had found for her. When she had been in Junior High School, One of her favorite authors ,Ray Bradbury happened to live locally and for some amazing reason, Keri’s school had been fortunate enough to have him  come to an assembly as a guest speaker. Keri barely breathed the entire time he was speaking. She had read all of his books and loved each one. To hear his story and get to ask him questions was a pivotal moment in her young life and had inspired her to keep writing. And she did.  Sometimes, way into the wee hours of the night. Assigned or not, she knew, without a shadow of a doubt that she wanted to be a writer.

One day after she had turned in a new assignment, her teacher had found her in the school library studying. Keri looked up and greeted her teacher by sitting up a little straigher. “Hi.” They both whispered in unision smiling at one another. Keri had genuinely grown to not only admire and respect her teacher and her talents but to really love her. Over the years she had been one of Keri’s biggest motivators, it was hard not to appreciate someone who basically cheered you on and encouraged your passions. And in turn, Mrs. Walker had grown to truly love Keri as well. She dropped an assignment in front of her saying, “Keri, I think that this is your best work yet, and I want you to consider submitting it for a scholarship.” Keri looked up. “Reeeeally?” she asked. “Yes, her teacher continued, “I’m not sure what has changed but  your writing is even more exceptional lately and I can tell that you are writing from the heart more because this paper is magic.” She finished. “Thank you, Keri whispered beaming, as Mrs. Walker said, “See you tomorrow.”

Keri’s senior year was turning out to be amazing even without Lori. She loved  English,  and really only had one class that was a little difficult and that was Government, which was required in order for her to graduate. She groaned inwardly, everytime she thought of it, and had planned taking it in summer school but Lori had talked her out of it. Now she was cursing her best friend under her breath and was regretting that  very decision as she sat at her desk writing down her long homework assignment for the next day, wondering how Lori was doing in her own classes. At first they had spoken on the phone every day and then Keri had found some cute stationery to send her notes  on, and Lori had found some just as cute to send back to Keri. But lately, as both the girls grew busier, the phone calls and notes had lessened.

Most of Keri’s friends went to Rolling Hills High School or Miraleste, two neighboring schools, just outside of her own district. Though she usually was only attending half days this year, it had been nice to have a friend to catch up with in-between classes and have lunch with on the days that she stayed on campus. Last year, Lori  had attended  full  time, and had been around for Keri. It had actually been Keri, who had not been around as much last year, having to drive all the way to Buena Park two days a week to volunteer. Her mom’s friend, Betty had enthusiastically helped her get a volunteer position where her young daughter Christina went to school. Keri had shown an interest in Christina,  when they had met one afternoon when they were visiting at her house when she had come home from school. She had learned that the little girl was seven and couldn’t speak because she had a condition called Aphasia. Keri had fallen in love with the little girl and her  story had intrigued her. Betty had been happy to let Keri take her daughter on several outings after they had gotten to know each other. One day, they bought a balloon during one of their outings and Keri wanted to surprise Christina’s  mother,  with a new word. “Okaaaay, Keri coached  when she dropped the little girl off, tell your mommy what we bought you.” She prompted.  The little girl looked up with big eyes and pronounced “Ballooooon!” as clear as a bell. She looked proudly at her mom, as her mother cried. After that, Betty had invited Keri to Christina’s school and when she had been offered a position, Betty had kindly come and picked Keri up every Tuesday and Thursday all year long. She had even gone to the office at the High School and arranged extra credits for her. Now that Keri had her own car this year, she drove herself.

Everything seemed so different to Keri this year. She definitely felt the holes that had been left by her best friend not being there. Though, she still had her share of friends and one or two new ones in Government that she would join in the cafeteria or hang out with after school she missed Lori. Though, for the most part, she usually left at lunchtime to go volunteer or spent her Independent Study days in the library working on her English class. Unless, Jack got off early, and picked her up. On those days, she forgot all about missing anyone.

Keri actually had enough credits from the year before when she volunteered at the Speech School, but she had been offered a paying position there when she graduated so she had wanted to keep  her schedule  and continued to volunteer two days a week  to keep in good standing  there. Though she continued to earn more credits, she already had enough to gradutate. Jack had been proud of her when she had told him about the school. He loved to listen  to her stories about the children and what they were learning. But some days she noticed that he seemed to resent her having to go. He liked having her at his beck and call. She loved that he wanted her to be with him but would explain cheerfully, that it was important to her to keep that door open and that school was actually the whole reason she was able to graduate early. And yet, he would pout and Keri would laugh it off and think he was just being cute.

As Keri sat in class with her eyes fixed upon her teacher,  her mind was filled with Jack. His smell, his smile, his kisses, were like intoxicating vapor wrapping her heart so tightly she felt as if she would burst. She doodled as the lecture continued. First she wrote her name, and then his, and then her first name and his last next to it. The innocence of young love consumed her.

Always having been a good student, she was mystified and confused by the new silly feelings she felt.  She smiled as she slouched back in her seat. She was feeling so far away from anywhere remotely having to do with what her instructor was writing on the chalkboard.  She looked at the clock that seemed to be moving painfully slow and sighed.

Finally when the bell rang, she bolted out of her seat and fell happily into Jack’s arms, when she saw him. He was standing beside his motorcycle, and said“Hey baby” he whispered into her neck as he let his fingers gently wind through her hair and pulled her to him, kissing her as he handed her a helmet. She put it on, jumping on the bike behind Jack and wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. She breathed him in, resting her mouth on the back of his neck and lightly kissed the hair that fell upon his collar. She had waited all day to be in this exact spot. This is where she belonged. She thought. Hugging him as tight as she could, she laid her cheek against his back as they pulled away from her school.

The motor roared and filled her world as the wind danced past her bare legs. She could feel the heat of the bike beneath her. She playfully lifted her legs and wrapped them around Jack’s waist and he squeezed one of them and slowed the bike to a place on the cliffs. They jumped off and took their helmets off while Keri shook out her long tresses, Jack pulled a blanket from the leather satchel on the back of his seat. and lay it out and then they tumbled on it in a frenzy of passion and laughter. Kissing and groping and exploring with an innocence that only young lovers know.

“I love you” he breathed into her ear with a warm rush of words that sent a tingle all the way down her back as she breathed the same words right back to him. They said the words often now. Though she had waited a long time to hear them. Long after he had told her that he had liked her, she knew that she loved him, but she was not going to say it first. It meant too much to her, she wanted Jack to say it first.  One night after a day of sailing, as he was dropping her off, he had kissed her and almost said it but stopped short. Keri began probing, “What were you going to say?” She teased, laying her head in his lap and looking up at him. They had ended up having a serious discussion but he hadn’t said it that night. Nor for many more after that.

One late afternoon, he had picked her up in his car. At first she didn’t recognize him because she had been looking for the bike, but when she saw him sitting in his car, she ran over to it and hopped in. “Hi” she said happy to see him. “I wasn’t expecting your car.” He nodded. Suddenly, she saw that he seemed upset. Keri frowned and asked, “What’s wrong?” Jack vaguely told her that he had just had an argument with his mother but he didn’t seem  to want to talk about it. He had been very slow in sharing about anything to do with his home life and she had only gotten little pieces of information from Lori and her mom. But she knew it was a sore subject and not one that Jack talked easily about and so she didn’t pry. But today he seemed to need to talk.  Keri laid her hand on his knee and said “Talk to me.” He looked uncertain and and very uncomfortable but then suddenly, as if a dam had burst,  he began pouring out things he had never shared before. He told her  what the fight had been about, about his mother’s random outbursts, and a little about his very chaotic childhood.  As Keri sat and listened, her heart broke. He looked as if he wanted to cry. He told her that his mom had yelled such horrible words of hate to him, she literally had to muffle a gasp.  She couldn’t imagine her parents talking to her like that. And then he  told her that his mom had thrown something at him as he drove away, shouting, that no one would ever love him, ever. He looked so ashamed and lost as a tear slid down one cheek.

In that moment pieces seemed to all start to fall into place for Keri. Love had come so naturally for her. From the time she was a little girl, she had written poems about it, even before she had met Jack, she had written about Prince Charmings and being in love and whisked away . Her parents loved each other and they loved her. It was all just so natural. They had always said it to each other and she kind of had just assumed that everyone else had that same kind of love growing up.  But now as she sat with Jack, she realized in the hollow of that  moment that love didn’t come so easy for everyone.  Maybe, sometimes, it didn’t come at all. Now she knew why saying I love you had come so hard for him. Maybe it was because he had never felt loved before.

As she sat with Jack, she saw the small boy inside of him that needed to be loved by someone so badly and she knew for the first time in her life what being in love felt like. It wasn’t a contest about who “said it ” first, it was so much more than that. It went much farther back than today she had realized in that moment as she held his hands in hers. She had always assumed that parents automatically loved their children. But she had learned that  love wasn’t a commodity that you could buy or will into someone else’s heart. It was like….  something you could barely describe, it was like “magic.”

Jack  looked so hurt as he shared more about his mom than he ever had before. Finally, after a long time, still sitting in the empty school’s parking lot. She took his face in her hands and kissed it. Feeling the the love more than ever, she knew exactly  what was happening…. the feeling was like twinkling little electric currents running through her,  Even though she had waited for him to say it first, for so long, she whispered over and over “It’s okay,  because…….      Ilove you. She emphasized the word “I”, the more she said them, as if she was even more surprised of her feelings than he was hearing her say the words.  Keri realized that she truly knew in that very moment what falling in  love felt like and that she really , truly was in love. She knew it without a shadow of a doubt, and she had to say the words out loud. With his face still in her hands she held him away from her and saw the tears in his eyes as she said, “I love you, oh Jack, I do, I love you!” Her voice was hoarse with emotion.   He looked so young, like a broken little boy. She knew so well and not at all, and he whispered back so tenderly, “I have never said these words to anyone before, but I love you too Keri.” And then in the parking lot they held each other  and she knew that they had discovered magic.

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Thank you guys… for reading….

This one… I submitted kind of fast after my editing job… trying to run out the door to go to work… so I will come back and fix the errors… but like I’ve said before… would love feedback! Anyone actually following the story? 🙂

Do you guys want more? I guess if you answer… I will know you really are reading… 😉

XOXO

Chapter Four


I have been sharing pieces of my book. (It is already written, I am now in the process of editing it, which I have found is almost a longer process than writing it.) This won’t make much sense without reading the first three chapters. I am asking for feedback and guidance from anyone who has already published a novel. I appreciate everyone’s time! I have stopped blogging for the most part, until I have finished my editing. But please feel free to visit my archives, I have over 100 posts just waiting for you there.

Chapter Four

Keri woke up to her phone ringing. Her dad had left earlier that morning for another business trip and had told her that he wanted her to check in with him and her mother regularly while he was gone, and to still ask permission before just going out to sea again or doing other things that she would normally have to ask to do if they were there, and she laughed and  happily agreed.

Keri’s dad had not been so sure about leaving her for the next week but she assured him that she would be fine. She opened one eye to peek at her clock radio and groaned when she saw that it only said 8:13, she reached for the phone beside her bed. “Helloooo?” Keri said in a raspy voice that was obviously still not fully awake. “Where are you?!” Lori’ demanded loudly. “Huh?.” Keri answered sleepily. Only to be met with another retort, “Did you forget about todaaay!?” Suddenly Keri jumped out of bed. “Oh my gosh, Lori, I am soooo sorry!” Keri said now, fully awake, “I’ll be right there.”

Lori had a few registration issues that had come up at the end of the school year, and had to drive to UCLA to iron everything out so that she could get placed in the dorm of her choice. She had wanted Keri to come along for moral support and to see how to get there so she could visit, often Lori hoped. She was feeling slightly homesick and unsure about making new friends. “You will do just fine.”  Mrs. T had encouraged her, when she had found her daughter in tears earlier that week. Planning to drive the girls up that morning, they mapped out the best route to take. Deciding to make it into an all day outing, she  planned to treat the girls to lunch at her old hang out, called the Hamburger Hamlet that had been a favorite study spot of hers when she had gone to UCLA. The girls had been looking forward to the day and to take the walk down memory lane with her.

Now she was late and she felt horrible as she jumped in the shower and then raced to Keri’s. Matt had left his wallet in the backseat of Jack’s car the night before and Jack had found it that morning when he left for work. When he arrived at work, he had called the Taber’s and Matt answered, just having  noticed minutes prior that it was missing. He asked his mom if she could swing by and pick it up since Sarah’s family was picking him up for a day at the beach but he would need it later that evening when he went to the movies with friends. Lori groaned, complaining that now they were going to be even later. Keri felt secretly pleased for a chance to see Jack again so soon. When he saw the Taber’s car drive up, he ran out to the car and handed Mrs. T the wallet. Leaning in, he caught a glimpse of Keri and looked surprised as he said; “Good Morning!” Lori barely grunted something back, but Keri enthusiastically tilted her head so he could see her better and,  happily offered back in a slightly exagerated chippery voice, “Good Morning!”  Keri could hear Lori mumble a sarcastic mimick of the way she had greeted Jack and frowned but ignored her. Jack grinned back at Keri, obviously happy to see her. “Thank you for finding this.”  Mrs. T added gratefully, touching Jack’s arm. As they drove away Keri waved and watched Jack as he winked back at her and she felt it again, that warmth that she had felt a few times the day before.

Lori had not missed the little exchange and was annoyed. Keri seemed so happy. But Lori knew more than she was letting on and felt horrible about not coming clean from the start with her best friend. The least I can do is, tell her what I know and then let her decide, she would argue with herself. Lori knew enough about what had happened between Jack and Maddie to know she didn’t like it. They had met up at Montana State during a double date and began going out. Lori deciphered enough to know that it had been a very troubled relationship through out the time that they were dating and had overheard their mom talking to her sister during a few late night phone calls, trying to console her when Maddie had called crying after a bad argument. She had even had to come home after one particularly bad fight and Lori remembered hearing her sister sobbing through the walls and wondering what had happened that was so horrible that made her cry like that.

Jack had left a semester early to go help his mom with something and his plan had been that he would return again the following Semester and he and Maddie would spend the summer together when she returned. But her sister had landed a part time job a few months earlier, and could not leave as soon as school ended and if truth be known, she hadn’t wanted to because that is where she had met Dan.  Even though Maddie had broken up with Jack, he had been hoping that he could win her back over the summer. He had planned on taking her sailing and other fun places  but his plans had all been changed when Maddie happened to have plans of her own. All Lori knew was that Jack had expected Maddie to return home to him, and had not been counting on her bringing a fiancé back with her. She knew that her mom had been distressed over how to break it to Jack without hurting him or any possible drama, and she realized that without even thinking, her mom had probably just recognized that Keri had been the perfect solution. Lori remained miffed at her mom for knowing what kind of issues Jack and her sister had been having, and  not being more concerned about Keri.

But Lori felt that she had her old mom back since she had finally broken the news to him and he hadn’t been as devestated as had expected. Mrs. T was just so relieved having the problem of hurting Jack behind her. Lori knew that her mom had grown to love Jack, he had shared things with only her and no one else, and she had begun to understand his demons.  She knew more about his family dramas and why he acted the way he did, and so she excused some of his out bursts that had happened in front of  Maddie and even some that she and  Matt had witnessed.  She had been a kind of a self appointed surrogate mother and counselor to him when he needed someone to  just be there and listen to him.

When Lori had confronted her mom with what she knew, her mother had insisted that she felt that Jack had learned from his mistakes and had changed. And so Lori kept her feelings to herself.Though she struggled with what she knew.  As the weeks passed by, Keri seemed so happy with Jack. So Lori decided to keep quiet, hoping she was wrong and that her mom was right and that Jack had actually changed.

Mrs. T easily navigated  the girls around the campus. They parked and walked for what seemed like miles. As they investigated both old and new buildings. By the time they had gone to Lori’s meeting and explored the different aspects of the campus they were tired and starving  but they loved every minute of it. Lori’s mom told so many stories that day that both girls felt as if they had discovered a new side of her that they had never known. They chatted easily over lunch and laughed at the funny perdicaments she shared about her own first year away from home. By the end of the day, Lori felt more comfortable about moving away and Keri loved and admired Mrs. T even more.

Things seemed to go back to normal for the Taber family, before Jack and the boat occupied their driveway. Lori was planning on leaving a few weeks earlier than expected to take a class that she had found  she needed to have completed before the first semester began. Keri sat on Lori’s bed sulking as she watched her pack “I’ll probably be back in a few weekends.” She reassured her. “And you can always come up and visit.” she reminded Keri who agreed, “I guess” but stuck out her bottom lip as Lori laughed. Keri hopped up handing a stack of tee shirts she had just folded for Lori to add to her pile,  when the doorbell rang. Mrs. T was around back, outside in her garden and Lori was sitting under a pile of clothes so Keri jumped up and offered, “I’ll get it!” as she skipped down the stairs. She was surprised to see Jack standing there with a box of tools. “Hi” Keri said  sounding surprised. “Uh, hi” Jack replied “I borrowed these from the garage and was returning them before I forgot.” Jack stammered. He usually only found Mrs T home this time of day.”I thought that was your car.” He said pointing around to the side of the house where she normally parked so that she could easily maneuver around the progression of cars that ended up along the Taber’s long driveway.

Jack had been calling Keri sporadically  and they had gone out  a few times, mainly to just talk and get to know each other. She let him do most of the talking and slowly he had begun to open up. She felt that he just needed someone to talk to and she had been that someone. She had continued to spend most of her days with Lori but now Lori was leaving and she felt kind of lost. “It is good to see you Jack!” Keri sounded happier than she felt and opened the door wider, motioning for him to come in. Jack grinned, hopefully and stepped inside.

Keri and Jack were still talking at the bottom of the stairs when Mrs T came in wiping her hands and looked surprised to see him there, as he quickly explained that he had brought back the tools he had borrowed when he had been working on the boat. It had been slow at the station and so they let him off early and he told Mrs T that he had meant to bring them up earlier. She thanked him knowing that he had avoided coming, when he knew Maddie would be there. But Maddie had come and gone and was now visiting Dan’s family on the East Coast for a few weeks.

Mrs. T excused herself to go check the chili she had on the stove and asked if they would like a bowl as Lori came down to see who had been at the door. Mrs.T stirred the simmering pot as Lori and Keri pulled the bowls and placemats from the cupboard.  Soon Matt and Sarah arrived and they found themselves all sitting around the table once again, eating cornbread and chatting happily. Jack had slipped in directly across from Keri and she couldn’t help but notice how he was kind of playfully bumping  her feet with his, under the table. When she looked up, he was looking directly at her. She glanced away and then looked again as he she felt another nudge and then giggled and blushed as his eyes remained fixed on hers.

Keri helped Lori clear the table as the boys settled on the floor watching the game. After all the dishes were put away Lori said she had to finish packing since she was leaving in the morning. Keri wandered over to where the others sat watching TV and let her go up alone. Matt was on the floor, leaning back on Sarah who was sitting in one of the easy chairs in front of the TV, affectionately playing with his hair. Jack hopped up from the other easy chair he was sitting in so that Keri could sit. Something flipped in Keri’s stomach as Jack nestled back comfortably onto Keri’s. He had been complaining that his back was sore from having to work on a car upside down all day. He smelled like a combination of shampoo and gasoline from work. To her surprise, the scent made her feel funny inside.

Jack reached up to rub his neck again. Keri pushed him forward a little and he seemed kind of unsure as to why. But when she began massaging his neck and shoulders, he realized what she was offering and leaned further forward groaning with pleasure. Soon,  Matt had talked Sarah into doing the same, joking about how sore he was from a day at the beach. When Lori came down to get a soda she surveyed the scene at hand and rolled her eyes, going back up stairs with the unpopped can she had come down for. For a moment, Keri considered following her up, but  she was not in the mood  for a lecture and  was still a little annoyed that their summer plans had changed so close to it’s end so she just settled back and continued to glide her hands up and down Jack’s back as he pressed comfortably up against her bare legs.

As they both got into their cars that night, Keri mentioned something about going home to an empty house and how she actually missed her mom and little brother and would be glad when they returned soon. Jack offered to follow her home and Keri agreed. She had just cleaned the house knowing that her dad would be home in a few days and had left it sparkling. When he pulled up, she parked in the driveway. She went over to his car. She knew that he had planned to  just watch her go inside. They hadn’t even kissed yet. He had been a perfect gentleman. But something about the night made Keri want to ask him to come inside. And so she shyly asked, “You wanna come in?” Jack grinned. “I thought you’d never ask.”

As Keri unlocked the door, Jack followed her. Dropping the keys on a table by the door, she continued to the kitchen, Jack liked watching her as she turned on the lights and then  opening up the fridge offering  him something to drink. He continued to watch her as she poured them both some iced tea and went into the living room. “How about a fire?” he suggested eyeing the wood. It was almost September and the nights were getting a little nippy, especially near the ocean where she lived. “if you want to.” Lori agreed. When the fire was blazing, Jack went around and turned out all the lights. Keri watched him from the sofa, amused. As he sat down, he took the iced tea out of her hands, placing it on a coaster on the glass slabbed coffee table in front of them. He held her warm hands, still slightly wet from the condensation on the glass and looked into her eyes that looked trustingly back at him, her lips parted, just waiting for what came next. He tilted her head up and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her but he brushed her bangs away from her forehead ever so gently and breathed. She held her breath waiting for what seemed like several minutes but she knew it had just been a few seconds, and then he said in a  soft, rough voice she knew she would always remember, “I really like you Keri.”

Jack’s words took her breath away, even more so than if he had actually kissed her. The words caught in her heart. She felt as if she would burst. He had emphasized the word “you” so tenderly. She savored the moment and then whispered, “I really like you too Jack.” Then reaching up, she touched his face. Ever so slowly, she leaned up as he leaned down and their lips touched softly, searching and then exploring, getting to know the other. Nothing in the kiss carried anything from the past. She knew at that moment. This was not a rebound kiss. Nor the residual pieces from a broken heart, it was somethng new. No one else mattered at that moment.  He was kissing her, not with the memory of Maddie in it,   but with the possibility of a new future and with the  tenderness of a new chapter, ready to be written.

Chapter Three


To those of you following this… Here is Chapter Three. For those of you just happening to find my blog, I am right in the middle of a little hiatus. I have 21 chapters of my book in the very raw, rough draft stages. I am in the process of fine tuning and editing each chapter. And asking my readers for feedback… Thank you all who take the time. If you are interested I have over 100 posts in my archives that will keep you busy until I return to my regular posting post!

Again, Thank you!

Di

Chapter Three

Keri and Lori went dancing that night as planned. Lori seemed a little more subdued than normal. But when Keri casually asked what she thought of Jack, Lori just replied “He’s nice enough.” In an indifferent tone that was hard to miss. But Keri did. In fact she missed it all together. The music was loud and the bar was crowded as the bouncer stamped their under aged hands and nodded for them to go inside. Keri barely gave Jack a second thought as they surveyed the crowd at the Blue Moon. It was the same place that most of the guys from Avenue F hung out and they always had a good time.

Keri was not looking for anyone serious. She had her summer planned. Jack was nice. Maybe, she could be a good friend to him. He was definitely going to need one she had reasoned with Lori on their way there that night, and Lori had agreed. She knew that Jack was not Keri’s type. She liked dark hair and green eyes and Jack had lighter hair with blue eyes. Though, she had noticed the cleft in his chin and kind of did like the twinkle in his eyes, she had explained to Lori that the main reason she had said she would go sailing was because she just wanted to go sailing. It was “as simple as that”

Keri had gotten a little irritated when Lori kept grilling her as to why she had allowed her mom to finagle her into the date, and told her in no uncertain terms, “I assure you that I really am not interested in Maddie’s leftovers!” Or at least she wasn’t conscious of it, nor was she aware of the fact that Jack had actually asked Mrs. T about her after she and Lori had driven away that day. It had completely gone over her head that he was even remotely interested and as far as she knew, he was still waiting for Maddie to return and had no idea that she wasn’t returning to him. But Mrs. T had come clean that afternoon. She hadn’t missed that Jack appeared to be intrigued with Keri. And when she had come out  to offer him a glass of lemonade after they  had driven off,  Jack had asked about her. Keri had just seemed like a perfect opportunity to help break the news about Maddie to him, a reminder that there would be other girls. She told him that Maddie had met someone but didn’t offer any more than that. Jack had been furious at first. But more hurt than surprised. Mrs. T had reminded him of of their fights but she didn’t need to. He remembered them all.

Mrs. T patted Jack’s cheek and went inside, letting the news sink in. She left him alone with his thoughts. He sanded and pounded and thought about all the fighting and breaking up that he and Maddie had done over the last year. He thought about the last fight that they had, had. And the words they both had shouted to one another, and could never take back. His mother had called him home and he had no choice, Maddie had taken that opportunity to tell him that she wanted a break anyway, and that perhaps this would be a good time for it. He flinched as he recalled the terrible timing and the things he had said to her when he left. When he needed her most, she had not been there for him. As he sanded, he realized that she never had. Even so, in all his reasoning,  he missed her like hell.

Mrs. T had also been thinking. She had seen him perk up when he had asked about Keri and so she had a little plan of her own. She went about making the lasagna and then went out and asked Jack to join them for dinner and mentioned that she was going to try to track down Keri and Lori and invite them too. She had not counted on not being able to reach the girls and remembered  Lori telling her that she was going to spend the night at Keri’s but had missed them the few times that she had tried to reach them at Keri’s.  Jack had seemed disappointed when Mrs. T had told him that she hadn’t been able to reach the girls, but had cheered up when Matt walked in. And then just as they were helping themselves to some salad, the girls had driven up. Mrs. T lost no time, running out the door and returned smiling with them both in tow.

They brought such energy to the table, all tanned and scrubbed, ready for a night out as they bubbled over, laughing and happily talking about their plans for the evening, still trying to decide which house they were going to end up at. “Just let me know, if it’s not here.” Mrs. T requested easily. When Keri had reached for Jack’s hand, as Mrs. T introduced them, he seemed to forget about his broken heart for a few minutes and Mrs. T had not missed the chemistry in that little exchange and had begun to look for an opening to encourage it more.

Keri had fun, just like all the other nights, with a string of boys inviting them both to dance.  They were hot and damp when they found each other again. A dark haired boy who she had danced several dances with asked her for her number. She just smiled and teasingly said “Sure, let me find a pen.”  But when he walked away for a minute, Keri grabbed Lori and said “let’s go.” When she finally dragged her out the door, Lori whispered “He was cute, why didn’t you give him your number?!” Keri laughed. She knew that they had learned where there was one cute boy, there usually was always a friend for the other. And since Lori had not been interested in anyone there that evening she had been hoping the cute guy that Keri had been dancing with, might have a friend just as cute. But for some reason, that night Keri wasn’t interested and didn’t want to give anyone but Jack her number.

Aside from the weather, the sailing date went well. Thirty mile per hour Santa Ana winds had tossed the little boat around significantly that afternoon. Though, the day had started out  with crystal blue skies. Keri’s dad had seen the small craft warnings earlier that morning and told her that he really wished that she would reconsider going, but after a little pouting,  which was really out of character for her,  he finally relented, giving her permission, shaking his head and sighing exasperatedly as she hugged his neck and happily ran out the door.

Keri’s Dad, was concerned and not just about the sailing trip. He had never seen his daughter care about anything more than her writing. Keri had always been so level headed when it had come to boys in the past. He had always known that the day would come when one would sweep her off of her feet but he had grown comfortable in the delay and had been hearing horror stories from his friends and the problems they were going through with their teenage daughters and had counted his blessings. He was confident in Keri. And yet he knew that it only took one boy to change everything. He could only pray that she would make the right choices.

Keri was not sure why she had persisted in getting her dad to change his mind, and why it had meant so much for her to go, except for the fact that she had given her word that she would go, and she liked to keep the promises she made.  She knew that she could have called Jack and told him that her dad had read the warnings and suggested that they change their plans to another day. And that he probably would have understood she reasoned. But she had felt a sense of urgency that she did not recognize, something that had made her really want to go, something that she had not felt before and it had registered with her, and bothered her a little. She realized that she did not want to cause another  disappointment for Jack, he had experienced so many lately, and she just did not want to be another one.

As the boys launched the boat, the sun reflected on the water as the warm winds blew. She wondered where her dad had gotten his information because from what she could see, the day had started out beautifully. Jack was very attentive he had packed a lunch for everyone and as Keri and Matt’s girlfriend Sarah, got acquainted, Matt and Jack maneuvered the boat out of the marina. She liked the way he handled the boat in the winds. How he directed Matt and seemed to know what to do as they increased. Keri felt safe as the little boat moved up and down over the rough waters and Jack took control, instructing which lines to pull as he and Matt steered the little boat back to the marina. She liked how he looked in his wet tank top. And watched the muscles in his arms flex when he grabbed the lines and tied the boat to the dock.

Keri told Jack about the small craft advisories that her dad had listened to earlier that morning and how concerned he had been, she was touched that as soon as they had pulled the boat out, he had found a pay phone for her so that she could call him.   Keri assured her dad that they were fine but admitted good naturedly that he had been right and she was sorry for not listening to him but promised she would in the future. As her father put the receiver back down, he breathed an air of relief though he knew from the lift in his daughter’s voice that she would probably break that promise many times from this day on. And that Jack most likely would be behind those broken promises.

Keri ran back happily to help the boys hook up the trailer and pack the soggy supplies that they had brought back to the car. The evening fog was rolling in as Jack turned on the heater and motioned for the girls to get inside, handing them dry blankets. As she crawled in the front seat, she watched the boys as they worked to hook up the lights. Finally as Jack slipped in next to her, something dawned on Keri, she knew why she had persisted in talking her dad into letting her go. She realized that she really liked Jack. She liked him in a way she had never liked a boy before.

Jack dropped his boat off at his Dad’s apartment where he was staying and then turned to Keri, Matt and Sarah, “How about Bobs?” He suggested. “Sure.” They agreed. They had worked up quite an appetite, having never finished their lunch when the winds had kicked up. And besides, Keri realized that she was not ready for the date to end. When they got to the restaurant she and Sarah excused themselves and went to the restroom, pulling out brushes, in an attempt to try to tame their long beach blown hair.”I must look just great.” Keri remarked as she slid into the seat next to Jack. “I think you look pretty cute.” He said and then added, squeezing her knee, “For a good sport that is! Over hamburgers and sodas they laughed, talking about how wet they had all gotten earlier that day. When their sodas arrived they all clinked their glasses in honor of their surving it.

That night, Jack dropped  Matt and Sarah off first. When he pulled into Keri’s driveway, he turned off the engine but kept the heater blowing. Keri leaned comfortably against her door as they began talking easily. He talked mostly. About school and having to leave it because his mom needed him. He talked about moving in with his dad and having to get a job at the gas station on the corner near their apartment. She knew that his parents had recently been divorced and that his reasons for coming home had something to do with that but she didn’t want to pry and so she listened to just what he shared. He asked her about her plans after she graduated and she told him that she had enough credits and  planned to graduate early.  He seemed impressed. And his admiration warmed her with a feeling that she had never felt before.

Though she felt that they could have talked for hours, she knew that he must be tired and she also knew that her dad had left the porch light on and didn’t want to take advantage of his leniency, after all, there was still quite a bit of summer left. “I had a wonderful time” she offered. Jack smiled and said “I’m glad. Let’s just see if I can ever get you back out there.” Keri laughed, “You just name the day, I’m tougher than you might think” Jack got out and went around and opened Keri’s door, taking her hand, he helped her out. Never letting go, he asked, “Can I call you?”

Chapter Two


For those of you following this… you know that Chapter One was found inside my last post …

“Like A POSTCARD or something like that….”  You really need to read Chapter One to follow… 

Chapter One… begins as (the adult version of)  Keri  finds a journal she kept long ago.

Chapter Two…. finds her back in her younger years, when she actually started that journal and was living the stories that she wrote about… slowly the chapters will carry you forward again to today, which is when she finally begins to understand the lesson in her journey  ~ hence; the title: Pieces of The Circle

(The pictures are NOT mine… I have no claim to any of them in this chapter, I just have fun choosing them to help you read… someday I will have to figure out the right picture for the cover…. ) but I am hoping that I can help paint a picture in your imagination… just with my words,  as I tell you my story… and hopefully,  in the end you won’t need pictures at all… Please keep in mind that this is still a very rough of parts of the book that I hope to someday start submitting as a whole…. I am sharing here for those of you who asked me to and also because I truly need some honest feedback. What parts are hard to follow? What words do I usee too much… etc…  I have come back here to edit at least fifty times so far… there is a technique my daughter told me about called the Dr. Suess Technique… you read it aloud to yourself as much as you can stand it and then read it aloud to others as much as they can stand it! Smile… Here, I have you… I know it is long… so those of you who are busy, I understand if you move on… but those of you who stay….

Thanks for reading! I love you!!!!

Here it is….

Chapter Two

Keri watched as her mom and little brother Lonnie, prepared to leave for the airport. It was the first, in all of their years after moving from Seattle to California, that she would not be joining them on their yearly summer trip. After all, she was sixteen. Too old for “family vacations” she had told her parents. Though, she had to admit, that her summers had been magical. When one would end, she would start counting the months until the next one. Ever since she could remember, she looked forward to every single one of them. Keri and her cousin, Annie, had spent all of their summers togethers at their Grandparent’s house near Lake Washington since she could remember. Memories filled her heart with the special adventures they had shared over the years. She smiled as she recalled how they would cook up schemes,  trying to come up with ways to stow Annie away in a suitcase so that Keri could bring her home with her to California. She smiled now just thinking about it. And she had to admit that it felt odd not to go this year.

But Annie had landed a babysitting job for the summer and so Keri had decided to stay home this year. After what seemed like endless conversations over the subject, her parents had finally consented. It was the summer before her senior year and her best friend Lori’s last summer home before she went away to school. Lori had gotten her license almost a year ago, and Keri had finally gotten hers a few months earlier, which represented a new kind of freedom for both the girls that they had never known before. Her father was very busy. He traveled and worked late hours and so she knew that for the most part, she would have the independence she longed for. Keri understood that she was to keep up the house while her mom was away and she appreciated that her dad had given her a reprieve of sorts by not requiring her to get a summer job. She knew that this was the last summer she had to just be a “kid” and  planned to make it the best one yet. Little, did she know…

Waving goodbye to her family as her dad pulled out of the driveway to take her mom and Lonnie to the airport, and then catch a plane himself. She threw kisses as she grabbed her beach gear and headed for Lori’s to pick her up. The sun felt good on her face as she climbed into her car. The breeze was almost nonexistent. It was a beautiful day and she knew it would be warm at the beach. She could see the ocean from her house in Palos Verdes and the blue sky sparkled invitingly as she slid into the driver’s seat of her new car as the sounds of the latest Top Forty filled the speakers her dad had just installed for her as she turned up the volume on her new stereo. She rolled down the windows, and smelled the scent of fresh cut grass. Feeling quite carefree and that all was well with her world she pushed open the sunroof and waved to her friend who was mowing the lawn next door as she drove by.

When Keri pulled up to Lori’s she noticed a boy who looked to be a little older than her, working on a sailboat on the long driveway that led to Lori’s house. As she passed him he took off his baseball hat and wiped his brow and nodded. She wondered who he was but decided that the day was a wasting and honked for her friend who stood on the balcony outside of her bedroom, motioning for her to come on up.

Keri sighed heavily as she jumped out of her car… Pointing to her watch-less wrist as if to say, “Let’s not waste the rays.” They were already leaving later than they had planned since Keri had waited to see her mom and Lonnie off. “Come on Lori, it’s almost one.” Keri whined in a playfully sardonic tone as the she walked through the door, only to be met with a glass of lemonade and a smile from Lori’s mom “Hey Mrs. T” Keri said accepting the drink and hugging her tight,

“I can never say no to your terrific lemonade.” And then turned as she heard Lori call out “I’ll be right down.”                             “So where are you girls off to today?” Mrs. T asked cheerfully… “Avenue F in Redondo” Keri confirmed. She and Lori had dubbed the spot right outside of the life guard’s station ever since they noticed Brad, the cute new lifeguard that they had met during spring break and had gotten to know even better, during the weekends that followed. They had a little flirtation going on as he would joke about turning down their AM radio, insinuating KRLA and KHJ were passé and the FM stations he listened to were going to be the new place to tune in to. They had a volume war and finally Brad had used his megaphone and the girls had laughingly conceded.

As Mrs. T probed curiously, Keri got lost in  her day dreams as she thought of Brad who was tan with sparkling brown eyes. He was a couple of years older, and very funny. He loved to joke with the girls and they bonded with him right away, and then with several of his lifeguard friends in the area. Brad’s friends had easily become their friends and they all had begun playing what they called:”Sunset volleyball” once the beach had cleared and everyone was off duty. Brad had mentioned the bonfires during Spring Break, and after a day of teasing and sharing cookies they had brought for him, he had invited them back that night to play. They had excitedly gone home to shower and change and then ran back with a six pack of sodas, a package of hotdogs and some of those home baked cookies as their contribution.

When they arrived they found half the guys playing a warm up game near a bonfire that the other half was just starting. There was a big tub of ice filled with beer that they added their sodas to, as they were greeted and quickly integrated into the game at hand, evening out the teams. Not until the sun had finally dipped beneath the horizon did they stop playing.

Keri and Lori dropped to the blanket they had laid out laughing. “That was so fun!” Keri said rubbing her wrists. Lori nodded in agreement. “You guys aren’t bad for girls.” Brad had said and Keri gave Lori a high five, stating, “For girls you say?” Just you wait, we will give you a run for your money when we’ve played more.” Volleyball, bonfires and Avenue F seemed to fill their weekends after that.

“Sounds like fun,” Mrs. T laughed at Keri, realizing that she was far, far away in her thoughts. Keri took another sip as she snapped out of it and absently asked “who’s the guy in the boat?” Mrs. T cleared her throat and said “Oh that’s Jack.” Keri swallowed asking “Jack?” “Yes, Maddie’s old boyfriend.” Keri was curious, “Old Boyfriend?” she queried. “Yes old.” Mrs. T Sighed, “you see Maddie got herself engaged and is bringing home her Fiancé to meet us.”  Maddie was Lori’s older sister by two years. Mrs. T continued, “she has given us a month to break the news to him and get him moved out. Keri was puzzled. She had just spent the night with Lori a few weeks ago. “He lives here?” She asked. “No, but we let him bring his boat here to work on. And he’s been working on it daily.”  Mrs. T replied. Keri was even more confused. Why would someone get engaged if they already had a boyfriend she wondered. But was distracted by Lori clamoring down the stairs, as she kissed her mom and hurriedly began pulling Keri out the door.

Keri noticed Lori’s turquoise swim suit under her clothes and laughed stating, “I almost wore that same suit!” They had gone swimsuit shopping the weekend before at Rosie’s on Pacific Coast Hwy,  a store that always seemed to have the best bikinis, and had both bought some new ones but couldn’t decide on the ones they both liked so had ended up with a few of the same suits. “Lori noticed the pale pink one beneath Keri’s halter top and smiled, saying “I guess we should check with each other because I almost wore the pink one!” Mrs. T laughed. “Oh to be young again, she reflected, so carefree, if I only had to worry about what color my swimsuit was for the day.” Lori rolled her eyes as Keri happily followed her to the car, thanking Mrs. T for the lemonade, she gave her a quick hug. As Lori’s mom waved the girls on telling them to have a good time, closing the screen door she went back inside.

Keri loved everything about Mrs.T. and her quiet, but involved presence in Lori’s life. Always just far enough away to not be in the way, but close enough to show she cared. From the time she and Lori started hanging out, Keri always felt welcome and during the weekends, the girls always were either at one house or the other. Lori was going to UCLA that fall and Keri didn’t want to think about school the next year without her. It made her sad. But she forced herself to just think about the day ahead and decided that today was all that mattered.

Keri buckled her seatbelt and slipped a Chicago 8 track into her player. With the sun shining down through the sun roof, the girls put on sunglass and Keri cranked up the volume and smiled, rolling down the windows, they began singing loudly, rocking to the beat laughing. They hadn’t been to the beach for several weeks due to having to study for finals and all of Lori’s graduation responsibilities so they had both looked forward to today.

The girls sang loudly as they drove down the long driveway, bouncing in their seats. The boy in the boat caught her eye and grinned at them as they drove by.  Keri couldn’t help but feel a little compassion for him. Wondering what the story was… She asked Lori. “Why is he hanging out here if Maddie and he are broken up?” Lori sighed in a way that reminded her of Mrs. T’s sigh and it made Keri smile. “Good old Maddie and my poor mom, she seems to always be trying to fix things but I’m not sure how she is going to manage this one.” Keri asked “Why, because she has a new fiancé?” Lori grimaced yeah. I kind of feel sorry for him. I think that he thought that they would get back together like before.” Keri asked “Like before?” Lori nodded. “yeah they broke up a lot, and would always get back together. This time though, it’s over for sure she already has a new guy and a ring and a date.” “Oh that sucks for him.” Keri said. Lori nodded. Keri couldn’t help but take another glance in the rearview mirror as they drove out of sight.

Brad waved to Keri and Lori as soon as he saw them coming down the ramp. He jumped out of his chair and hopped from the tower. He was still as cute and tan as ever, in his red suit and hugged them tight. A few of their friends were already playing volleyball nearby and waved. Even when the guys were off duty, they seemed to hang out at Avenue F. The girls managed to find a spot, dropping their bags and slipping off their cover-ups, they joined the game. They looked like models in a commercial for suntan lotion, out there in the sand, Brad thought as he watched them from above.

The girls took turns taking showers at Keri’s house after the beach. Her dad was out of town on business for a few days and they planned to go out dancing and then come back to spend the night. “Oh I can’t believe it”, Lori groaned as she walked in Keri’s room drying her waist length hair with a damp towel, “I forgot my new shoes and my overnight bag.” Keri was sitting on the floor putting on the last touches of her make up in front of her floor length  antique mirror as she replied, “That’s fine we’ll just swing by your place and pick them up.”

They had just started discussing where they would go for dinner as they approached her house. Pulling up, Keri glanced at the covered boat still in their driveway, thinking Jack must have gone home for the day. “I’ll just run in and be back in two….” Lori started to say when the door opened and Mrs. T came out waving them in. “You two are just in time for my famous lasagna she gushed. Keri and Lori looked at each other, both loving Mrs. T’s lasagna and without protest, jumped out of the car. “Why not?” they both said in unison and laughed.

Lori ran up to her room to grab her shoes and pack a bag as Keri followed Mrs. T into the great room while waves of warm garlic bread wafted through the room straight to her nose. “Oh my gosh it smells like heaven in here!” She exclaimed as she sauntered into the room with the farm like table filled with the Taber family and Jack.  Mrs. T. immediately introduced Keri stating “Keri this is Jack Sagan.” Keri warmly held out her hand, from the moment she had heard his story, she had felt a twinge of compassion that she could not shake.

And as he took her hand in his firmly shaking it, he looked her in the eye with a confident smile that impressed her. Hmmm she wondered if it was impressed or intrigued. But without knowing exactly what it was, something in the stars seemed to shift.

The aroma of garlic and the chatter of everyone filled the room as dinner was served. Jack was friendly and animated and talked about being ready to launch his boat. Mrs. T seemed pleased knowing that launching it, meant that it would be moved and it was one more thing she could cross off of the check list that her older daughter had given to her. The boat being gone would be a huge load off of her to do list, out of all the things that Maddie had requested be done, before her arrival.

“I have a great idea.” Mrs. T cooed nonchalantly, “Why don’t you all go?” Lori didn’t miss a beat and piped up “Not me. I get seasick!” “Count me in!” announced Lori’s younger brother Matt, who was a year younger than Keri and had been helping Jack work on the boat for the last several weeks. He was eager to try out the vessel on the water. “Can I bring Sarah?” he asked hopefully. Sarah and Matt had been inseparable for the last year when Matt had not been hanging out with Jack. “Sure.” Jack agreed good naturedly. Keri was laughing at something with Lori when she noticed just out of the side of her eyes, Mrs. T mouthing a silent message of encouragement to Jack as he turned to look at her and offered. “How about it?”

Lori glared at her mom, looking annoyed, and realized that she and Jack had most likely discussed these plans earlier in the day and that this dinner was a little more contrived than she had made it all look. Mrs. T seemed to miss or ignore her younger daughter’s reaction. Keri, on the other hand, had not missed the look, and searched Lori’s face for a clue as if asking her what to do.  Lori just shrugged and so Keri turned back to Jack, not wanting to hurt his feelings, especially after knowing the disappointment that soon awaited him, she hesitantly answered “Sure, why not?  I’d love to.” Before they left, Keri reached for Jack’s hand and wrote her number on his palm and smiled.  He looked down at his hand and smiled back.

And that is how the story of Jack and Keri began. Innocently enough, and yet very conveniently for Mrs.T who mentally crossed yet another thing off of her list.

Pieces of A Circle is a book that I am writing about a young girl who got caught up in an abusive relationship that changed her life forever. Not so much because of any of the physical abuse, even though there was some. This is a story that touches more on the emotional and mental abuse that changed the choices she made in her life, and the woman she became because of it all.

It is about the anger she carried with her and a lot about  the life she missed because of it. And then the twist at the end about forgivness and understanding and yet the crazy way she almost found herself lost again trying to find the young girl she had left behind so long ago.

 

 

 

Chapter One


Hi Guys!  Soooo…. I know I am not supposed to be here until I finish my book… but just consider this like a post card or something like that….

By the way for anyone new to my blog… I am trying to finish my book… so I have taken a reprieve… but I have 120 posts that should keep you busy reading in the meantime! Thanks for understanding… and I will be back! 😉 I miss you guys too!!!!

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Pieces of The Circle

 

 References to real people, events, establishments or places are intended to only provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously.

“Your life is like an empty book, with pages still unwritten, each day you fill another page.”

 May this story encourage every young girl who still has an unwritten book, pages yet to fill and a life yet to be lived, and may it also inspire those women who think that their pages have already been filled, their books already written, and their lives already lived. May they realize that there are always new chapters or even sequels just waiting to be written and life still waiting to be lived…

 And for all women, both young and old, looking for romance no matter what the cost, to understand what the cost could be…

 Prologue

It was 1973, the summer of her sixteenth year, when secrets were still kept in little locked journals and the words that filled the pages were just fantasies of what she hoped for. Images of a house with a family, behind a little white picket fence

danced through Keri’s head as she wrote, pouring out her dreams in way of poetry. She was sure that she wanted to be a writer and would stay up late into the wee hours of the night slowly filling each page with raw and corny poetry, waiting for her innocent prayers to be answered, for her Prince Charming to come and, whisk her away into the life she was so sure that she was meant to have.

That old book had since, been packed away for dozens of years, still holding all of those dreams. Keri had since grown up and so much of life had happened in-between.

 Years later, while going through storage boxes in her attic, the book was discovered again by Keri, the girl, who was not so young anymore, nor hopeful or optimistic. Now much wiser and a little more tired and worn out, she held the book close and slowly opened it, breathing in hints of yesterday, flipping through the pages now yellowed with age. The memories flooded her heart and seemed to blindside her with a force she had not been prepared for.

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 Chapter One

The rain was tapping with such force outside of Keri’s window that it woke her up. It was a blustery Saturday morning; the kind that seems to still have one foot in winter and the other, in spring. Keri knew that it was just the kind that made her fifteen year old daughter Brynne, very lazy. But affected her in a totally different way…She had decided that it was the perfect day to talk her daughter, into getting a head start on some spring cleaning. She had spoken to her husband Tim, about cleaning out the attic and making it into a study to write in. An aspiration she had put on the back burner for a very long time. Tim had thought that it was a wonderful idea and told her that he would even build a little loft in their garage to store the boxes that were left after clearing everything out.

Inspired by the thought of moving closer to her dream, Keri put a roast in the oven and headed up to Brynne’s room with a glass of orange juice and a bagel with cream cheese. Keri pushed open the door singing a song that her dad used to sing to her to get her up on school days and Keri had continued the tradition. “Good morning breakfast lovers, welcome to ya, I got up bright and early just to howdy do ya, first call for breakfast, first call for breakfast!”

“Oh mom it’s Saturdaaaay!!” Brynne pulled up the covers and groaned but after a little coaxing, she reluctantly crawled out from under her warm down comforter and followed her mom up the attic stairs, munching on her bagel.

As Keri turned the knob, a rush of warm air and a comforting scent, filled with memories enveloped them, snapping them to another time.

Soon they were laughing and chatting while the rain drummed against the roof above them as they got caught up in all the memories.

“Look Mom” said Brynne as she held up an old floppy dog and danced it over her head  then hugged it tightly with an expression of such love, that for a moment, it flashed Keri back to another time, long ago when that old floppy dog was not so old and floppy. She tried to remember the Christmas morning when her daughter had received it. As she leaned back against the wall watching Brynne pull out old toys and clothes with all kinds of memories attached to each one of them. She smiled and sat down in front of another trunk of her own, filled with old papers and notes and books that had since been long forgotten.

As Brynne got caught up in looking at some old colorforms, Keri reached down into the bottom of one of the trunks and found the little diary. She recognized it right away. A surge of energy seemed to run through her as she held it. The lock still latched, she clicked the little button and felt for its release. It unlocked easily but for some reason she froze and did not immediately open it. She stood up feeling uneasy.

She was puzzled at her reaction, as she looked out the large picture window at the top of the trees swaying in the storm and walked over to it, feeling very melancholy. The rain had started the night before and remained steady. She could see the little brook below and saw that it had filled and was running over. She felt comfortable inside the warmth of the attic and imagined herself, looking out the same window someday, as she sat at her desk and wrote.

The smell of the roast wafted up the stairs prompting Keri to go check on it. Promising a quick return, she left Brynne still sorting through boxes. She had fully intended to just check the roast and go right back up to encourage her daughter into getting rid of half the treasures she had stored up there over the years but Brynne had gotten caught up in her own little journey down memory lane and the whole project seemed to have turned into an all day event. Keri smiled; picturing Brynne in the pile she had left her in as she gently closed the oven door and turned the temperature down a bit, wiping her hands on the kitchen towel, she turned to go back up and then remembered that she had brought down the book, she went over and picked it up from the counter feeling slightly unsettled.

She played mindlessly with the little lock as she clicked it open and shut and walked into the living room, poking at the fire in the fireplace, then sitting down, she pushed the little button and the lock released as she opened the book. Things that she had not allowed herself to think about for a long time consumed her in an instant. Every word on every page snapped her back to another time in her life. She felt as if she had been given a time capsule, opening up such sweet but sometimes painful memories immobilized her as she turned each page. Noticing the initials of Mrs. Walker scribbled on every single page, she recalled how it had all started out as a writing assignment but had grown into so much more. She remembered writing the words and the exact way she felt when she had written most of them down.  The memory of that young girl seemed to take on a life all of its own, as if she were reading about a fictional character and yet the memories those words triggered within her caused her to want to go and find that girl again, to somehow get her and bring her home.

Keri pulled a fuzzy throw over her legs as she read. Every page she turned seemed like opening up an old door and peeking inside. The love and pain and memories consumed her as the glow of the fire filled the room and the sound of the rain hitting the roof seemed to be lost in the background as she continued to read the words she had written a lifetime ago.

She hadn’t noticed how much time had gone by until she heard her daughter padding down the attic stairs. “What’s that?” Her daughter asked walking into the room, finding her mother deep into whatever it was that she was reading. Keri looked up and smiled. Brynne was puzzled. She had been lost herself in a magical mood, pulling out old dolls and stuffed animals that had sent her back to another time all of her own.

Brynne had fully expected to find her mom in the kitchen or having gotten caught up in something on TV which she always seemed to have on for background company, even if she wasn’t watching it. But today, she sat by the fire in silence with a book. “Have you been crying?” Brynne frowned, sounding slightly concerned as she sat down next to her mom eyeing her with a look of uncertainty. She wondered what it was that may have caused her to stop her day like this. Looking amused at catching her daughter’s interest, Keri wiped a tear away and smiled. She was a little surprised with herself, crying over an old diary but the only way she knew how to explain it was to be honest.

Keri had not mentioned the diary when she found it at the bottom of that old trunk. Not really hiding the little book, but not knowing if she even wanted to go there herself.  She had thought that she had put all of those feelings behind her but over the years she realized that they were not as easily packed away as old things in a trunk might be. Like this diary, they would show up when she least expected, like today. Keri tested the waters by reading a few of the pages aloud to Brynne. After a few minutes, she stopped and looked up to make sure that she had not completely lost her daughter’s interest but noticed that Brynne looked quite captivated.

Inspired by the attention she seemed to have captured, Keri, explained to her daughter…”I started writing this when I was about your age.” Brynne listened interested. “I was so smitten with the idea of being in love and so boy crazy back then, then adding for good measure, ”even though I really was not allowed to officially date until I was sixteen.” She said smiling with a wink. “I hung out with a few boys and then the summer after my birthday I met someone.” Brynne’s interest peaked and she asked, “A boy that was not daddy?” Recently, Keri and her husband Tim had been negotiating curfews and dating rules with their daughter who now, found this all very interesting to say the least, picturing her mother with boys when she was her age was a concept Brynne hadn’t broached.  “Yes.” Keri answered, “I met a boy who was not daddy, a boy who changed my life forever.”

A look passed over her mother’s face that Brynne could not read. They had shared a mother and daughter bond that few can boast about, they finished each other’s sentences and usually knew what the other was thinking with very few words. Both Keri’s and Brynne’s friends envied their relationship. And without ever giving it a name, they had been best friends from as far back as either one of them could remember and Brynne felt as if she knew everything about her mom, until today. Brynne listened with interest.

Keri wanted her daughter to admire her. She felt as if she had made so many mistakes in her life but had managed to rise above most of them. Brynne had always been so level headed and unaffected by the silliness of young love. When her friends would seem unusually boy crazy, Brynne had always been the one in control. She was a dancer and she would not let anything get in the way of her dream. Least of all, what she called silly romantic drama that she witnessed her friends going through much too often for Brynne’s taste. She felt she had plenty of time to find the right one and seemed in less of a hurry than her other friends. But even as level headed as her daughter was, Keri knew that it was only a matter of time, and it only took one boy to turn her heart upside down. And so she decided to share what she had written.

But before she started reading more, Keri scanned the pages that were filled with such innocence and details about her first real love, her first real everything. Each page seemed to captivate her with memories of their first dates and their first kiss and first argument…all of their firsts captured inside this locked little book. She read the sad little poems randomly placed throughout the pages, and even found some very passionate accounts of some pretty explicit moments that she barely remembered actually writing about and blushed as she read each sentence silently to herself,  remembering it all as if breathing in a scent of long ago and not getting enough of it… And then she finally got to that place. It was a place when everything seemed to change. A place where even her handwriting  changed. A place where eggshells and tension seemed to become a part of her life. She began recalling some very unequivocally painful times as she continued to silently read to herself as if she were searching for a happy ending somewhere in the pages. And yet she knew how it all ended.

Realizing, that she had never really shared any of this with anyone she panicked at the thought of sharing her pain now. The anger she was feeling again, distressed her. When it was all happening to her, she had been ashamed. Her friends would never have understood why she stayed. And as for her parents, they wouldn’t have stood for it, especially her father, and so she had remained silent. Even though Brynne and Keri talked about everything, this was a hard one. She didn’t want to just blurt out things that she hadn’t prepared her for. However, she reasoned, if she was going to share this with anyone, the most logical one would be Brynne who was just beginning to be interested in boys.

Keri had always planned on talking to her daughter about this.  She had never wanted her to feel the way she had all those years ago. She wanted her to feel as if she could talk to her about anything. Keri was snapped back to another time as she glanced over the pages. She remembered how she had felt back then and how it was a lonely place to be. Feeling as if no one would understand, so instead, she had found comfort in her writing. She remembered pouring her heart out in those journals like loyal friends, late at night in her room. They were always there for her, like good listeners, to catch her words as well as her tears. She had always kept each one, secretly hidden and then once one was filled she would begin another. It was as if writing relieved her of the ugliness inside.

Over the years, she had never had the heart to get rid of them. They had been like faithful old friends, a kind of reminder to her. A reminder of that young girl she had left behind, so long ago. It was almost as if in opening the pages of the little diary, she had found the innocent part of herself again, the part that she had given up, the part that had been packed away like those old dusty journals, still hidden in the bottom of that old worn out trunk. She was not too sure if she wanted to mess with the feelings that she had managed to neatly pack away. And yet had she really? Had she ever totally forgotten? She knew she wasn’t fooling herself. Her life was different because of all the things inside of those pages. She was different. And nothing could change that.

She knew that she could have gotten rid of those old books a long time ago and yet still would have never been able to forget. And so now, holding onto them symbolized a promise that she had made to herself, to never go there again. And so where ever she moved to, She brought them too, tucked deep down in the bottom of that old trunk, stored away, like her memories. Knowing that someday, she would use them as a message, a template so to speak, of things she wanted to protect Brynne from. But it had all caught her a little off guard today.

She was just grateful that she had found that trunk. In all the years that had passed, her memories had been confined to the privacy of her journals.  She didn’t know if she even wanted to remember. And yet, Keri had always felt that everyone’s story, good or bad, was worth telling if it could help someone else not make the same mistakes. Keri thoughtfully considered her story and wondered if today might be the day she would share it and just perhaps, telling Brynne her story would help guide her in her future.

Long before Brynne had even been interested in boys her mother had encouraged her to make a wish list that included the top ten things she wished for in a husband.  Keri had read the list and then added one more…she told her daughter that if any boy ever showed any sign of a temper that she should run like the wind! Brynne never quite understood why her mom had always been so adamant about that rule but had respectfully added it to her list.

Sitting there with her book in her hands, her life’s story literally tucked inside the pages, and her daughter a willing audience she considered everything. She held the book tight against her chest and looked into Brynne’s eyes filled with questions, with the crackling and popping of the fire raging, she opened the book and said;

“I never told you about this part of my life, maybe it’s time I tell it to you now.”

 Brynne, who was always in a hurry curled her feet up under her and grabbed another throw as she settled in to listen to her mom read. Keri began reading, she read a page and then the next one and paused thinking that Brynne would be bored but instead she motioned for her mom to continue. All the pieces were fitting in place now Brynne finally knew why her mom had added that extra rule. By the time she was done, the fire had died down to a flicker and more than two hours, maybe more had passed. Keri closed the book and she looked up and noticed that Brynne was in tears. “Oh mama” she cried, “It is all just so sad.”

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So there it is… I am making myself try to stick to my guns and between working fulltime, and the stuff going on in my life… just finally finishing this… I still have 20 more chapters and some of those have been the ending so this is just a dent but I did want to check in and say I actually AM working on it…   I will share a few more as I go and would love feedback!

Thanks for your time!

Love you all!

Di