Being nice… IS as Simple as That


bullying

When I was little I used to look at the mean kids and think when they grow up and look back, they will be so ashamed. But as I have lived life I know that more than likely, they just grew up to be mean adults. Funny how small our worlds are when we are young. We don’t automatically understand things objectively. It is all so simple before we are about eight or nine. We don’t understand about egos yet. But if we are blessed, we have adults that can teach us that it isn’t what others think about us but what we ultimately think about ourselves.

My dad grew up in a family of five boys. He was a twin and most of his life didn’t have a toy of his own. And the ones he did have are stories he tells about seventy years later. He recently told me a story about a big old mean coach in High School that told the class that nobody better return without gym clothes. He had $5 to his name and a horrible tooth ache. He went to the dentist and was told, “$10 bucks to fill and $5 bucks to pull.” Needless to say he returned to school without gym clothes or “that” tooth. He said that all the kids were standing there in new shoes and gym clothes and he was the only one dressed in school clothes. I won’t even give that horrible coach room on this page to say what he said. But my dad never went back to that school and later joined the Navy to be able to eat and get an education there.

In my life, I have discovered a lot more about mean adults. As Jane Austen said: “I was quiet but I was not blind.” in observing them, we  learn how  to deal with them. As kids we knew them as bullies. As adults we call them difficult.  I have strategically positioned my life around those people, avoiding them as best I could. I’ve viewed them a little like “land mines”  and tried to surround myself with amazing people and must say that I’ve been pretty successful in doing so.  Though, we all know that even though we choose most of the people we spend our free time with, there are a few who slip by that we can’t control, work related, family, and a few that we let in on our own omission.

Sometimes we have to look deeper and understand that hurting people hurt people. That where we see the two choices, to be nice or not, and  two paths that seem pretty obvious which to take, we must realize that in their pain, they are only seeing one. In the past, it has been so hard for me to not say what I am thinking. Let’s just say that the filter has been slightly in need of adjustment for a long time. I have to intentionally realize that the guy who cut me off or cut in line, has no idea who I am or is personally doing anything to me in particular, and that I have no idea what is going on in their life. It isn’t always easy to just be nice, to stay on the high road, to keep my joy and not give anyone else the power to to take my joy away. Nor is it my responsibility to punish them for their bad behavior.

Being nice is as simple as that. We can conquer negative energy with our peace.  But what about the ones in our lives that is not a stranger that we may never see again, but someone that we have to deal with daily? It takes practice not to react. It takes even more to be “nice” and understanding. Because sometimes the ones that challenge you more, teaches you the most. That people and situations are both powerless without your reaction. I remember once I accidentally cut someone off who was in my blind spot. I saw it all unfold in my rear view mirror as all I could do was hold my breath and pray. It was a near miss.

traffic2

As the guy pulled up next to me, I knew he deserved my eye contact and I gave it to him as I mouthed as sincere a “SORRY” as I could without him hearing it. It totally diffused the whole situation in less than a second. This big burly guy got a soft look on his face and accepted my apology all inside the magical moment of respecting each other. I was wrong. He deserved my recognition of that. How easy would it be if that happened every time on the road. No matter who we are, regardless of age, gender, race, we need to respect each other. It’s as simple as that.

In the end, the only power we have is to set an example. To realize that everyone deserves kindness and respect, even the ones being rude to you. Not because they are nice but because you are.

Growing Up


 

 

women writing at desk

I wrote all day yesterday. Everyday last week was taken up with different things and so besides getting out there in the beautiful sunshine and mowing the lawn and catching up with my friends next door for a few minutes, and responding to a few work emails and then turning those off, I had a “me” day and made myself sit down and just write. I mean really take the time to relax enough to take notes and regroup and take more notes and focus on that little project I keep promising myself I’ll finish.

woman writing in the sun

It seems as if every day off I’ve had lately, has been consumed with other things that take priority. So yesterday I literally closed the door and spent 8 hours making myself work on my book. Last night my husband complained that I’d barely said four words to him all day. Well, that was an exaggeration. I could tell he wanted to talk about it during a show he doesn’t approve of me watching. And even though I had it recording and could have stopped to probably argue about me taking a day for me, I just didn’t. I probably should have stopped and talked. But I am still working on boundaries and at times my interpretation of them, can be a little selfish.

In the past, if I’d known anyone was remotely upset with me, I’d prickle like a porcupine and get defensive. Today, I think the difference is that I am growing up. Though that kind of sounds oxymoronish here as I still watched the show my “daddy” didn’t approve of. And no I’m not going to tell you what it was, cuz I’m not proud of the fact that I love reality shows! LOL.

The problem with having experienced abuse in the past, is always expecting abuse in the present. I have a friend who is a fellow blogger with a story much worse than mine and she always makes me think. Today my comment to her post made me think about the fact that survivors of abuse have one thing in common, distrust. We are always expecting a repeat of the same.

She got married last year. Found love and is still pinching herself over how happy she is. My comment to her was that I think the secret to her success is that she waited until she grew up. And that the problem with abuse is that we just begin to expect everyone to be the same as our first experience and to not realize that abuse is not the normal. We don’t learn how to argue like grown ups. We just learn to fight back and make everything a drama.

couple talking seriously 2

I am really trying to break that cycle. I tend to over-react to a normal disagreement and feel backed into a corner before I ever even look at the other side. I have just begun to grasp the fact that not everyone comes from that warped abuse perspective and I need to stop dropping that hat on the heads of people who don’t deserve it, while giving myself a break and embracing  my own choices.  Right or wrong. If I want to have a day off, and someone takes it personally, I need to just explain that I need a break, and nothing is wrong.  And to realize that not everything has to be a drama.  Hence; me growing up? Perhaps.

typed to be continued

I don’t have to just sit there and be a jar of rice!


three jars of rice

My daughter has been telling me about this thing called The Rice Experiment. A Scientist took 3 jars of rice and for one month, he said to the first one, “thank you” and to the second one he said “you are an idiot or I hate you.” And the last one was just ignored.  Watch the link below to see what happened. It is pretty incredible. The result is that the one that was told “thank you” grew fragrant and flourished while the others grew bacteria etc. The video is only about a minute long and is worth the time you take to watch it.

rice pictures from top

 

Lately, I have been in a horrible funk. I have pretty much felt like the other two jars of rice. I am not sure what is going on. I do believe that outside energy does have a lot to do with our lives. The negative people that we give power to, and the power we give away is within our control. I have come to the conclusion that we don’t just have to sit there and allow someone to come along and ruin our day and create fungus in our lives. Too many times I have allowed the negativity of others to take over.

suspicious

I believe that it is a conscious choice to love ourselves and embrace our positive-ness and all the fragrance that comes with it. We don’t have to wait for someone to come along and spew the expected or unexpected words we have grown accustomed to that catch us off guard and throw us off kilter. We need to find the love. It is there just as much as the hate. They actually sit next to each other all day long. It is up to us who we give the power to.

happy looking at

TODAY I know that I am loved. By God and by me and that is ENOUGH!

 

 happy smile

http://karmajello.com/mind-spirit/philosophy/masaru-emoto-rice-emotions-experiment-video.html#_

 

Who Am I?


stairs swirling

What is failure? Everything about the word stings. I think in the end, it is like everything else, a choice. We look at the glass as half full or half empty. We look at failure as rejection or opportunities to try again. In my life I have recently been on a downhill spiral. I have allowed myself to shut down. My life was interrupted in a way that I could  never have predicted at a time in my life when I needed a change. I reacted in a way I never could have imagined and only now am beginning to recover. Trying to understand the notion of who I am. I mean really Who Am I?

Sam I am

Have you ever felt crazy? I am not sure what crazy is. Perhaps it is carrying around a version of someone else inside your body. You function, you exist, you let this thing called a body carry you around and yet you don’t connect with it or anyone around it. You just kind of fake it. I think in a way, that has happened to me twice in my lifetime. The first time I think I was unaware what was happening and the second, well it just blindsided me.

split mirror

I was raised in a home which had its own issues but for the most part it was a loving and good one. When I started dating, I was pretty innocent. I didn’t have a lot of experience and I got involved in a pretty abusive relationship. A little physically, but most of it was emotionally, and the damage was so great then that  it has impacted me all these years later, I have carried the damage with me, trying to deny it. I have struggled with different issues all of my life stemming back to those days. Though, I’d really thought that I was past it all.  But something happened recently that made me wonder if I’d been faking everything about who I’d convinced myself that I was.

alice quote

 

Where I was reasonable, I was foolish, where I was truthful, I was shady, where I was faithful, I was non-committal. I craved a “soft place to fall” and looked for it in all the wrong places. My final stand was that it was MY TURN and I was going to make me happy “finally”. I started losing weight and taking care of the body that was carrying me around whoever I was. But I was in this fog of instant gratification. And for a while, I can’t deny it. I liked the feeling.

But there is this place in all of us… the part of the “me” that we know that we are. The place that brings tears to our eyes if we stay there too long. Where we feel love and pain and we are REAL and I am not sure if that is where home is or our heart or soul. A place where we still can get healthy and feel good about ourselves for the right reasons. A place that is the keeper of our heart. And for some of us… that place may be hard to find. We may have lost the key but yet…   I know that is where God is always waiting. And somehow I always manage to find my way back there.  And you know what? He still remembers me. Even though I think that “this time” I may have fallen out of HIS grace. He still remembers and loves me anyway.  It is not about being crazy, or failure or guilt. HE is that soft place. When I ask; “Who am I?” He replies You are my lamb.

Jesus saving the lamb

Still My Lamb

I couldn’t stand the world’s pain

and so I ran away

like the lone lamb from the flock,

I was the one who strayed.

I fell from grace still clinging,

hanging to life’s limb

as the Hand Of Life came down,

the one, that belonged to HIM

He left the nintey nine

to come and set me free

I didn’t understand why

He’d do that just for me

I asked Him “Why My Lord?

You don’t know who I am.”

He said, “Oh my child yes I do,

you are still my lamb.”

Diane Reed

2014©

Jesus and Lamb

Moving Day


mirror renass

Looking back into the mirror,

split personality mirror

a reflection of my past…

mirror brokennnn

The doors I chose to walk through

and the ones I closed too fast…

three doors

Messages I never got

letter bundle

and the ones that I received…

phone call

the ones I knew were just your lies

and the ones that  I believed

phone off the hook

all pour through my memory

like rain beating on my heart

RAIN

years are not the only thing

that have torn my dreams apart.

breaking up

and made me see the strength in me

as I gather them up with care

moving day suitcases

and move on to another day

memory alone

where I won’t find you there

Diane Reed

2012

looking back quote

Behind The Door Of Yesterday


girl at a new door out in field

Behind the doors of yesterday

girl carrying huge key

we all hold that perfect key

ballerina

unlocking places in our past

ballerina sitting on floor

where shadows used to be

dancing in the wind

Dancing upon moonbeams  until all  the music dies

SONY DSC

letting go of all the pain as the broken winged one flies…

floor crying girl

Falling hard from our dreams, when we finally land

 baby in a bubble

searching for our innocence all where we first began.

finding Diane3

Diane Reed

2013

As I continue to work on my book, I feel stuck. I am in a place of pain. Of total confusion. I guess ambivalence would be the best word to describe where I have landed. I keep going backwards. I need to start moving forward. I have a story to tell. A lot has to do with my past. I have the framework sitting there for me to build upon and yet I am not sure why I need to write these silly poems that have nothing to do with me today….

Or do they?

Duhhhhh


Mail... You Got Mail

My curser turned to your page as my day began to start

like a slap, you shared words with me that tore my heart apart

let me tell you now that they were words I didn’t need

You sent them anyway – knowing just where it was, I’d read…

frustrated girl on computer

You wanted to bring me into your own little world of pain.

My world is far from perfect, you just added to it’s stains.

wind

I wonder what you wanted for me to do or to say?

Was it your intention to just blow my day away?

tornado aftermath

I know that misery loves company so you invited me

without ever considering the place that I might also –  be.

Your feeling angry now,  so you wanted me to feel it too

Funny, but what you just did to me… I’d never do to you!

Diane Reed ’13

holding hands over earsholding hands over earsholding hands over ears

Several years ago, I went to visit my cousin. She’d needed to work the first couple of days of my visit so I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle until she came to get me.  It was a fun time to catch up with my Aunt.  She was such a wonderful woman! She loved to laugh and I loved to make her laugh and we did that a lot during that last visit. She was a wonderful artist and could make patterns up out of her head! She painted and sewed and made apple dolls and hand carved their faces with expressions that brought them alive! She loved her pets and little kids and elderly people and I loved her with an admiration that I don’t give out freely.

It was a great visit except that my Aunt had built up a lot of resentments over the years which I think ultimately,  made her physically sick and in the end part of her demise.  I am pretty sure that she died too young and with that resentment still in her heart. Though she was amazing, she just could not let go of things she felt had been wrongly done to her and she shared some of those things with me. She shared some mistakes she feels that my grandma made and I have to admit that they were rather shocking. Though I am not sure how much was amplified in her mind as the years went by, I do believe my Aunt for the most part. Finally when my cousin came to pick me up, she asked me how my visit with her mom had been and I asked her  if she knew the stuff her mom had told me about grandma.

I think it was in that moment, I saw my cousin as not only an adult but one of the wisest people I know, and still feel that today.  She held up her hand and said to me “Diane my mom tried to tell me bad stuff about grandma for years and I never let her because grandma was an amazing grandma to me, and I’ve told her that I am sorry if she had a different experience but I refuse to let her ruin my memory of her.” And then she said, “I am sorry you let her tell you.” Well, I am too. But I was kind of caught of guard. My Aunt did not ask me if I wanted to hear any of it, she just told me. And I am not sure if I would have known how to tell my Aunt I didn’t want to hear something I didn’t know she was going to say but it made me really respect my cousin. Because after all, my grandma took my Aunt and her kids in when they had no place to go and took care of and loved my cousin and her brother and my cousin recognized and remembered that.

I am sure that my Aunt was never really in a place where she ever recognized all that her mom did for her. She was already filled with such resentment by then but my grandma  loved her kids with all her heart and so in turn her theory of my  grandma hating her seemed ridiculous to me because I don’t think she would just love some stranger’s kids in the same way. She could have just sent my Aunt and her kids away but she didn’t.

I am sure my Aunt had a different experience with her mom than we did as a grandma because we treated our grandma like our hero.  She was my soft place to fall until the day she died. I loved her and the wonderful memories she made for all of us. When I’d come to visit, I’d remember waking up to hearing my Aunt yelling at my grandma and my grandma probably yelling back at my Aunt. It’s not that hard to see that you reap what you sow in that situation but I am still sorry that my Aunt missed all the great stuff we loved in her mom.

I guess the point of my story is… I could have written about the things I learned about on that visit… The stories my aunt told me about my grandma…etc… But at the chance of my cousin reading this,  I never will. I will protect my cousin from the stories she does not want to know or ever need to know. Recently, I’ve been given unsolicited information that I never wanted to know. In the past, I’d made it crystal clear that I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m not really sure what part of “Please don’t talk about this to me” was not clear enough  but it was SENT to me in way of text without warning…. how shady is that? The highest form of manipulation is still going ahead and sharing something that was uninvited with an innocent bystander because you are angry with someone else and need to vent. And they wonder why we aren’t that close anymore.

I guess the operative word here would be…. Duuuuhhh!

Finding Diane


Soooo remember that song that I was trying to write the lyrics to? A while back a musician friend of mine, Jim

http://nostolencatpictures.com/2013/03/31/music-theory-0031/

  wrote a melody, indicating that he was inspired by the chapters from my book (Pieces of the circle) that I am writing and shared some chapters here. He titled the piece Finding Diane and basically told me that it might  be therapy for me to come up with the words. HOW long has it taken me?

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/finding-diane/

I think we started in February.  I must say that it has been quite a project. If you have followed me at all… you may have gone to my friend Jim’s archives (above) and listened to the melody. It is epic! I have come up with several lines via original poems that I have posted here separately. I wanted to see how it flowed if I put them all together. So that is what I have done here today.  The cadence is off a bit in a few areas because they were written as separate poems, but it surprised me just how well 3 separate individual attempts seemed to all flow together. I  have left out the pictures which have sort of become my trademark to enhance the words I write. (Though if you want to read them with pictures they are listed all separately in my archives.) Though the poems do sound better separately, it surprised me how they worked together.

Anyway, I don’t expect him to finish our song anytime soon since he is a teacher and has other projects going but he was right. It was therapy and so I title this Finding Diane. If nothing else… the title is coming true!

The song will not require as many lines as are here (way more than he needs) he will need to cut out words here and there and only take the lines that will work… but at least I have given him something to play with for now. I finally feel found!

Well maybe one picture…..

Worship by sunset

I hear a song and my heart flies away,

I want to snatch it back for it’s gone to yesterday.

The melody wraps around my heart,

though in my head I keep playing the part.

No one can know the pain that I feel,

over a fantasy now, that seems unreal.

And so I pretend that nothing is wrong,

as I try to block out the tune in our song.

But the melody lingers as I push replay,

and wander back into my heart still there, in yesterday.

I dance in the flames as I fall into step

trying to miss the places that made you upset.

The memories make me jump higher and higher,

I feel the sting as I dance past the fire.

The tears bring back the pain that I’d put away,

spinning back into the melody of yesterday.

Like a butterfly trapped, still inside its cocoon,

I dance through my mind running from each room.

As I close the door, where you live in my mind,

I find the part of me that I left behind.

Just like a jewelry box dancer trapped in a box

my heart is inside with the key and its lock.

I had to come back to this place, always heard whispering in my ear…

Oh little girl, somehow I knew I’d still find you here.

Among the memories waiting, wondering if I was coming back

to find the child I left long ago forgotten in my past.

I gather you up and hold you close as we walk through the rooms of our soul,

pieces of you and me once broken, healing and becoming whole.

Looking inside from the child within, I see all the pain you must feel.

Knowing that we must tend to each wound before we truly begin to heal.

We walk through the lonely places that once held our yesterdays

Oh how I wished I’d protected you in so many different ways.

And yet I know that through the hurting, we’ve gained strength in what we’ve learned.

In all the lessons remembered, in all the times once burned,

in every tear we ever cried, and every broken heart,

in every time we were in a crowd, and felt a million miles apart.

we built the walls around our heart and “they” never saw us cry.

We learned that fighting to survive was what we had to do

and so I lost the biggest part of me the day when I lost you.

It’s hard to face the ugly truth and really look inside,

to know I left you all alone, living with the hurts and lies.

You were the child inside of me and I failed you the most,

in the mistakes I made along the way, in the different paths I chose.

But I’ve come back to find you, to finally bring you home.

So that together we can learn to live and never be alone!

I want to find the kid inside, and heal the pain we knew.

I want to learn to love the me, that I forgot to love in you!

And so as I pack up all your things, I have hope in what will be…

As I learn to love you more…

Cuzzzz after all you’re ME!

Diane Reed

2013

                                                                                                          (Hey and Jim try to look past the punctuation errors! LOL)

Painted Windows


window painted shut
It’s kind of funny,
how I see things so differently now,
as if a window, once painted shut has opened,

open window blowing curtains

And how I overlooked the heart you
once left broken.

lonely girl
I am annoyed with me
and the things I did not see~

window woman opening

My vision has been restored~

window open1

And the opportunity for a second chance
is my  reward.

Being able to now open the windows once painted shut,

Somehow… it all seems just enough~

window opening

Though looking back,

I am surprised that I almost gave you
back so much of me.

 And yet looking through the open pane
I see it now all so differently~

window with shutters

Diane Reed

2013

Chapter Nine


This is Chapter Nine… I think that I will share one more chapter and then that will be it until I find a publisher. Thank you for all who have taken the time to read this. I love your feedback. It has been like gold to me. For those of you just reading for the first time… this is part of a book… it won’t make much sense unless you follow my blog back to chapter one. Here is Chapter Nine for all those who asked for more….

I am off to work and wanted to get this posted  this morning before I left so there may be a few extra type os than normal… I intend to go back and edit some more after work today!

Thank you for reading.

Diane

open diary

Chapter Nine

In the weeks that followed, Keri learned to handle Jack and her relationship on her own. It was a little like a balancing act. Though she thought that she was doing a fine job, people began asking her if she was okay. “Sure, why?” She would almost snap. Having no one to talk to about Jack’s mood swings, Keri weathered the weight of it all on her own shoulders. Until one day, Mrs. Walker came to her with tears in her eyes. She’d been worried about Keri and actually read her journal, “not all of it, but enough” she confessed. Keri was horrified. She’d always trusted the agreement they’d  shared, without so much of a second thought and through the years, she never suspected otherwise and became quite unconcerned and free about what she’d write. And if truth be known, her teacher never breached that trust ever before, until she had she’d seen a change in Keri, who’d come to class obviously upset  one day to drop off her assignments and hadn’t waited to talk to Mrs. Walker who’d  called after her but Keri had not heard her or at least  acted as if she hadn’t. Though, Mrs. Walker was pretty sure she had.

Keri scrambled inside her head as her teacher stood in front of her with a pitiful look of concern, she tried to recall what she might have recently written. There’d been some pretty bad times lately. Times when there’d been no other place to go but inside the pages of her journal. Mrs. Walker laid the leather-bound book in front of her. Tears of anger burned in Keri’s eyes. All this time, Keri had believed that Mrs. Walker was just initialing each new entry without reading a word. Now, she didn’t know what to believe. Keri snatched the book up and held it tightly against her chest. She wondered how far back that Mrs. Walker might have read.  Her teacher saw the look of betrayal on Keri’s face and rushed to explain. She’d just been concerned,  now, she couldn’t ignore what she’d read. Keri stiffened as Mrs. Walker tried to touch her arm. She pulled away as she picked up her books and ran out of the library without a word.

woman crying

Keri agonized all night long. She couldn’t talk to Jack about this. He would be so angry with her. He did not know about the journals. She’d read poems to him from them, but her journals had been hers. They were not even for Jack to know about. She had not wanted him to ask to read them so she never mentioned them.  Her head swam. All of a sudden the room started spinning. Keri grabbed her mouth and ran to the bathroom and got sick. Keri kneeled by the basin coughing and crying.  She’d never felt so betrayed. And yet the hardest thing about her anger was that  she knew that her teacher really did just care. And yet she was just so ashamed that anyone  knew that she’d allowed Jack to treat her the way she’d described in those sacred pages.  Now, she felt naked and as if she wanted to run away, far away where no one knew her. That night she decided that she was going to finish High School even earlier than she’d planned. She did not want to have to deal with Mrs. Walker or anyone. She was so confused. During their conversation, Mrs. Walker told Keri she’d always be there for her if she needed her and  suggested that perhaps she’d really wanted her to read what she’d written. It just made no sense to Keri  and more angry at her teacher.

The next day Keri  went to her counselor to find out exactly what credits she still needed. She was happy to discover that she could complete them all  by taking the required exams through a few independent study classes that she could do on her own through the counseling office at the local community college. She was surprised how everyone seemed to support her plan. Keri  explained that she wanted to finish her Senior year early since her schedule was so minimal. She told everyone that she planned to start working at the Speech and Development School full-time, and have a little time  in-between before she had to start her college classes. She decided that rather than going away to school, she would take some of her general education classes at the  same community college where the counseling office was that she would be reporting to until she completed her High School credits. Surprisingly,  her counselor and her parents didn’t question her new change of plans even though she’d be forfeiting the scholarships she’d applied for. In fact, her mom and dad didn’t seem to discourage or encourage her to go to college. Jack was the only one who really encouraged her to go and yet the idea of  going away to school now,  seemed less and less appealing to both of them as they fell more deeply in love.

The weeks passed quickly and her own graduation was uneventful. There just wasn’t one. A few months later, after completing all of the requirements.  She’d gone to pick up her report card and diploma from the office, only to be told that her official diploma would not be available until after her graduating class had gone through the actual ceremony in June.  Suddenly the realization of what she’d done and was missing out on, hit her. Her choices impacted many things she’d been looking forward to. She’d known that she would miss her prom and other school activities the following year, but she’d also reasoned that Jack would not have wanted to go to any of it and she did not  want to go without him. And yet, Keri couldn’t help feel a tear slip down her cheek as she headed for the parking lot, with her report card in her hand.

The year before meeting Jack, she’d been invited to a boy’s Grad night who she’d met at church and been dating casually for a few months. He was valedictorian of his class and Keri was honored to be his date.  They’d gone to Disneyland after she’d watched him speak to his graduating class and the entire night had been magical.  She was glad that she had that memory, and decided it was going to have to be enough. She was just relieved that school was  behind her and that  Mrs. Walker  had not said anything to anyone else about what she’d read in Keri’s journals. Keri was sure she would have called her parents but for some reason she hadn’t, and Keri was grateful.

When Keri ripped open her report card and saw the A+  in English, a melancholy feeling came over her. She walked toward her car as she scanned the paper. Memories flooded her thoughts as she remembered  all the things she’d learned about writing from Mrs. Walker. She remembered the first time her teacher approached her with tears in her eyes after reading something that she’d written and telling Keri that she had a gift. Tears blurred Keri’s eyes,  just as she was about to  bump into Mrs. Walker herself, who looked equally surprised. She’d not seen Keri for several weeks though signed off on her class after  learning of her plans to not pursue her current scholarship she’d been disappointed but decided not to interfere. In fact, she decided to do nothing.

Keri had seen the familiar signature and had felt uncomfortable. She hadn’t seen her teacher since that day in the library. Only she and Mrs. Walker knew the truth of why she was really graduating early.  “Thanks for the A” Keri said uncomfortably. “You earned it as always, Keri”. Mrs. Walker smiled “Good luck to you honey, you are very talented, I hope you do something great with your writing.” Keri knew that graduating early had ruined her chances for several of the scholarships she was up for,  ones that they worked on together.  Suddenly they just hugged. Though it wasn’t clear who reached out first. The embrace was long and genuine. “Thanks for everything Mrs Walker” Keri whispered hoarsely and Mrs. Walker hugged her a little tighter and then slowly let go. At that moment, she knew Keri better than any adult in her life. The years of mentoring and long talks about her dreams to write, and then watching her progress and win awards, had been her teacher’s own reward. She wanted to say so many things to Keri at that moment and yet she knew that they were all things she would have to learn on her own.

hug

 

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!

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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.

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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!

😉