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Community Entertainment & Leisure
06-07-2014 02:38 PM
Chapter 52 (June word prompts: wonder, lily, gossamer, eyes, empathy, lazy, sunny, beings, regret, leprechaun)
Craig had just finished reading Ruby and Pearl their favorite bedtime story about a lazy leprechaun who lost his gold because he took a nap instead of watching his treasure. They were both finally asleep. He went into Johnny’s room and found him in bed with his eyes closed, but was pretty certain he was faking sleep. Craig had no problem empathizing with the young boy since he had done the same thing as a child. Of course his circumstance was different, not having to wonder where his mother was or what would happen to him and his sisters.
They had already been running a bit late with bedtime after Stan’s visit. Craig tried to put his friend at ease. He could tell how much he regretted the night before and could tell he was feeling very badly about the whole situation. It wasn’t the first time Craig had wished he knew more about psychology. He had the feeling there was something going on with his friend and wanted to help but had no idea how to go about it, or even what the problem might be. It had been hard to talk to Johnny but at least he knew the problem in that situation.
He had taken the opportunity to talk with Johnny alone when he went to pick up the children at Maggie’s after school. He had called ahead of time and asked Maggie to involve the girls in something so they wouldn’t notice their brother’s absence. He purposely went earlier than usual and it wasn’t difficult to get Johnny’s attention and coax him out the front door for a little walk.
It was a sunny afternoon and a good time to take a walk down to the pond just a few blocks from Kozy Corner. Johnny had asked no questions all the way there. Craig asked about school and the usual questions. He wasn’t really expecting much in the way of answers and wasn’t disappointed. The boy seemed to be studying the toes of his shoes as they walked along. The only time he seemed to show some interest was when they met a golden retriever who greeted them as though they were long lost friends. Johnny actually laughed as he was kissed by the dog. That made Craig think of Madison and how her dogs seemed to make the children more comfortable.
They finally reached the pond. It wasn’t very big but it was a pleasant area with benches spaced around it so privacy was provided. They walked past the first one and stopped at the second.
Instead of sitting Craig picked up a pebble from the ground and tossed it into the water not far from a lily pad. Johnny picked up a pebble and threw it into another part of the pond. There was a gossamer film of algae that was disturbed making a series of concentric circles which finally reached the edge. Johnny picked up another pebble, larger this time and threw it much harder. That was followed by another and another, the last one making a loud splash.
“You know, there’s nothing wrong with being mad’, said Craig as Johnny was about to throw another stone.
“I’m not mad”, said Johnny, throwing the rock on the ground instead of in the water.
Craig waited a moment before responding, “I think I might be mad if my mother left me with my two sisters. In fact, I think I might be pretty scared too and worried.”
Johnny was silent but Craig could tell he was thinking.
“I talked to the sheriff and he’s going to find her”, said Craig. He didn’t really like promising something like that, but felt he had to try and make the boy feel like everything was going to be OK.
“I don’t think so”, he said in a very soft, child-like voice,
“What makes you say that?”
Johnny tossed another pebble into the water. “That’s what Dad said and he said we would all be better off without her.”
Craig hadn’t known what to say as they walked back to get the girls. He could feel his own dislike for the boy’s father rising in his throat and knew he shouldn’t let the children see that. Now looking at the small boy pretending to be asleep he just wanted to protect him. He pulled the blanket up over his shoulders just before the phone rang.
(To be continued)
06-04-2014 05:27 PM
Chapter 51 (June word prompts: wonder, lily, gossamer, eyes, empathy, lazy, sunny, beings, regret, leprechaun)
Stan felt a lot better after talking with Madison. He thought about calling Craig, not to mention his call to Madison, but to tell him how much he regretted his behavior of the night before. Then he decided it best to go over after work. An apology was always better made when you could look into the eyes of the other person. Besides he still didn’t have a good explanation for his behavior. He could only wonder why all these old memories and feelings seemed to be emerging now.
It occurred to him that coffee was what he needed. He was not a lazy person by nature, but had been feeling so tired lately. Everything was an effort. It didn’t help that all of his customers seemed to have deserted him. He needed his usual sunny disposition back. An attitude adjustment, that’s what they called it. Right now he didn’t even feel like himself.
Madison added the last touch of paint to the shadows in the woods behind the cabin. She wasn’t entirely pleased with the result, but it was time to put it away before making further changes. It was possible it would appeal to her more with a bit of distance. She hadn’t been able to get as involved with the work as she had hoped. Perhaps it was because, as a commission, the scene was more important to someone else. She wasn’t at all fond of commissions, but the money was good and it was always nice to have someone like her work. But she would feel better about something more personal.
She retrieved the short story she had begun along with some quick sketches of possible illustrations. She had to chuckle when she noticed the sketch of the leprechaun sitting on a lily pad bore a slight resemblance to Stan. She wondered what he would think about that.
But it was the fairy with her gossamer wings that was going to be the challenge. She had yet to decide what medium to use for the illustration. She had been thinking watercolor which could also be mixed with colored pencil or even pastels or any number of other things. This meant taking more supplies with her for her trip.
As she gathered up all the supplies she thought she might want to work on this project she wondered if she was being overly optimistic at the thought of getting anything accomplished while she was away from home. At the same time she would rather take things and not need them instead of the other way around. And it would be a good time to test to see if the children liked her story.
She was able to empathize with Stan and his desire to fix the mess he thought he had made. She was having similar feelings herself and for a similar reason. Only she couldn’t talk to Stan about it. She was going to have to talk to Craig herself.
Tedi reminded her that it was dinnertime by a wet nose on her arm. She was surprised to notice that the sun was setting. The dogs were more than happy to follow her from the studio and take their places in the kitchen while she made dinner. They had no way of knowing that Madison was not thinking about them at all, but rather of a call she was to make later in the evening.
(to be continued)
05-21-2014 11:07 AM
Chapter 50 (Word Prompts: fresh, face, brooks, mud, balloons, circle weathered, confetti, dancing, wasp)
Stan listened to the phone ring for the fourth time. She wasn’t going to answer, he told himself. What if the voicemail picked up? What if he had gotten the number wrong? What if this wasn’t Madison at all? His “what if’s” were interrupted by a voice on the other end.
“Hello?” There seemed to be a questioning in the simple word. Stan was unsure if this was Madison at all. He was tempted to just hang up. This was a stupid thing to do. He felt as though he was drowning with all the thoughts dancing through his mind.
It seemed an eternity before he was able to speak. “Madison? Is this Madison Morrison?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
Suddenly he couldn’t contain himself. “Madison, it’s Stan, you know, Craig’s friend. I know this is none of my business but I don’t think Craig will call you. He thinks he’s put you in a bad position.”
Madison sat staring at the weathered house that she was getting ready to paint and knew the brush would not be picked up for quite a while.
“What’s going on, Stan?”
“I thought I was going to do a good thing, make it a party. I went to see my friend, Brook. I got all the party fixings to go with the pizza, you know balloons, streamers, funny hats. Only then I saw Ruby’s little face when she came to the door, and Johnny. He shouldn’t have those dark circles under his eyes like that.”
His words seemed to be coming so fast that Madison had a difficult time keeping up with his thought process. She couldn’t help but think of confetti falling through the air and before it could land it was swept up again. She wanted to slow him down but thought it best to let him wind down and ask questions later. He seemed to stop only to have a fresh thought emerge. Finally she knew she had to interrupt.
“Wait a minute, Stan. Have you talked to the sheriff? Is there any word about Joanie?”
Stan took a deep breath before beginning to apologize. Madison felt like she was trying to swim though mud and interrupted him again.
“Stan, what did you call to ask me?”
“I wanted to ask you to come back. I don’t know what made me run out on Craig like that but I made a mess and I’m trying to fix it.”
“Does Craig think I ran out on him. I know I left suddenly, but I had already stayed longer than I had planned.” She thought there was no need to mention the wasp and the fear she was feeling.
“No, I don’t think he thinks you ran out on him. In fact, he feels badly that he involved you in something. He’s upset that he was manipulated by Jason and thinks in the process he used you.”
This told Madison that there was some news, but she decided it would be best to learn when she could talk to Craig instead of trying to get the information out of Stan.
“Don’t worry. I had already planned to come back on Thursday. I’ll give Craig a call and let him know my plans. Is he having the children stay at my house?” It still felt strange to think of it in that way.
“Last night he stayed with them at their house, but I don’t know what he plans from here.”
“OK, I’ll talk with him about it and see if we can make a plan. Thanks for calling, Stan. It’s better that I know what’s going on.”
Once the call was ended, Madison tried to lose herself in the painting while she let situation just simmer in her mind. She could call Craig tonight or in the morning.
(To be continued)
05-12-2014 03:40 PM
Chapter 49 (Word Prompts: fresh, face, brooks, mud, balloons, circle weathered, confetti, dancing, wasp)
Craig watched Stan’s tail lights disappear into the night. He knew he needed to go back inside to see about the children but the fresh air felt good and he wasn’t certain that he wanted the children to see the tears that were threatening to run down his face. How could he help the children when he was feeling so abandoned himself, first by Stephanie, then Madison and now Stan,
He had never noticed the picnic table a few feet away in the back yard. Perhaps he would serve the pizza there which would get them all out of the house for a while. It seemed there were ghosts in the house, echoes of the problems of the adults who lived there. Perhaps it was better that he get them back to Madison’s house where it was more neutral territory for the children. He walked over to inspect the table and saw that it seemed very old and the weathered benches seemed a bit wobbly. He would have to inspect it in the daylight before using it. Wasps had been known to build nests under furniture like this.
Back in the kitchen he couldn’t help noticing Stan’s balloons filled with helium and dancing against the ceiling. He knew they should be a cheerful sight, but right now they seemed a bit depressing, the feeling one gets after the party is over.
That’s when he noticed the bag sitting beside the pizza box. He was surprised to find party hats and streamers. He was about to put the bag away when he noticed a card inside. Thinking it would give some explanation for his friend’s behavior he took it from the envelope and saw it was actually a card covered with confetti from his friend Brook. She was wishing them luck with the party and saying to call if he needed help. Somehow just reading the card helped, but it was Madison that he wanted badly to call. But he was in no shape to deal with her rejection.
He put the bag away hoping there would be a time when a party would be appropriate. He took out some plates and put them on the circular place mats on the kitchen table. He noticed there were only four places and wondered what happened when both parents and children were at the table as there were only four chairs, then he noticed the high chair in the corner. It seemed that Pearl was too large for a high chair, but he could be wrong. Then he wondered how often both parents were actually sitting at the table at the same time. Perhaps it wasn’t a problem at all.
He called them all to dinner once the table was set and reminded them to wash their hands. He was surprised when they showed up to see that Pearl’s face seemed covered in mud. He should have realized they were being entirely too quiet although he didn‘t know where they could have found mud at this hour of the night. He was relieved to learn that it was only brown marker and hoped he could discover how to get it removed after dinner. He was fast discovering how ill-equipped he was to care for small children.
They seemed entirely too quiet while eating their pizza. He tried to start a conversation, asking about school, and friends but received the shortest answers possible. He was hoping they would ask about their parents and give him an idea of what they already knew. If they hadn’t already heard the gossip, they soon would. But he was unable to think how to bring it up so he just kept quiet. Perhaps if he had a chance to talk to Johnny alone after dinner he would have an idea.
(To be continued)
05-10-2014 08:31 AM
Chapter 48 (Word Prompts: fresh, face, brooks, mud, balloons, circle weathered, confetti, dancing, wasp)
Stan stared at the phone willing it to ring. Things had been better this morning when he opened the shop and had a couple of customers right away. Of course, the news about Joanie was the main topic of conversation. Between Josie and Dusty’s news conference their message had become the hottest thing the town had known for a long time.
It seemed everybody had a theory, but no actual information. He knew they were expecting him to have something to add since the word had also gotten around that it was Craig who was taking care of the children. And it was about the children that Stan was having a problem that he had no idea how to handle.
He had gone over with pizza in hand as planned. Since he really wanted to make it a party he had balloons too, one for each child. When he had bought the balloons he had been excited and had told Brook his plan. She thought it was a good idea and suggested some other party ideas. He had bought the streamers and the hats but drew the line at confetti since that would be difficult to clean up. He was feeling good about everything when he parked in front of the house. The front light was on and seemed welcoming. It had been a long time since someone had turned on a front light for him. That was something that didn’t happen when you lived alone.
He was about to ring the bell when he noticed how weathered the front door looked. It was in need of a fresh coat of paint. There was a spider web in the corner and appeared to have a wasp caught but still alive. He felt sad for the little fellow and would have turned him loose but had a feeling his reward would be a sting.
Almost immediately the front door opened. He knew they must have been watching for him, but the look of disappointment on the face of the child who opened the door told him he was very wrong. She didn’t cry but her expression was heartbreaking and he had no idea what to say.
Craig came up behind her and introduced him to the children. He learned it had been Ruby who had answered the door. Pearl was sitting on the floor focused on a doll and barely noticed someone had arrived. But it was Johnny that got his attention. The dark circles under the eyes did not belong on the face of an eight year old boy.
And that’s where his mind began to get muddy. His thoughts seemed to be dancing between the present and another little boy who was worried about his mother. He had never cared much for children, but these he wanted to take in his arms and hold them tight and tell them that their world was going to be all right, no matter what happened.
He rushed to the kitchen, desperately trying to escape the memories that were threatening to overtake him. He remembered thinking perhaps some fresh air would help and spotted the back door. Craig had followed him out but he was entirely incapable of explaining his condition.
So now, to add to everything else, he had abandoned his best friend when he knew he needed his support the most.
That was when he got the idea to call Madison. If he was incapable of giving the support to Craig that he needed, perhaps he could get it for him in another place. He had gotten her number off Craig’s phone earlier. All he needed to do was to press “send”.
(To be continued)
05-08-2014 08:27 AM
Chapter 47 (Word Prompts: fresh, face, brooks, mud, balloons, circle, weathered, confetti, dancing, wasp)
It was almost midnight by the time Rebecca left. The storm had finally stopped and the news said that the skies would be clear for the next few days. Madison was glad of that. She hated to drive in the rain and after talking with Rebecca she was more certain than ever that to return would be the right thing to do.
She was tired by the time Daisy and Tedi came back inside after going for their late night tour of the yard. She was relieved to see no mud on their feet and thought they had probably barely left the patio. She dried off their paws before she allowed them on the bed with it’s fresh sheets.
She was relieved when her dream was filled with balloons and confetti instead of a reappearance of the wasp. Perhaps talking about it with Rebecca had removed it from her mind for a while. Parties were much more pleasant. She thought her dream had been about her prom, only she couldn’t really see the face of the boy with whom she was dancing.
The sun was already high when she made her way to the kitchen and the coffee pot. The pups didn’t seem to have much more energy than their mistress as they followed her. She buttered some bread and put it in the toaster oven and poured a bit of kibble in each bowl while waiting for the coffee and toast. Her journal was still lying on the table. She made a few notes about her talk with Rebecca. She still felt a bit odd about showing her the letter, and at the same time, she was glad someone else knew about it and seemed to understand. It would be good to have her company for a couple of days over the weekend.
That made her think of Craig. Perhaps she should call him this morning. There was nothing pressing today. Tomorrow would be the time for party preparations. There wasn’t a lot to do since she had already baked the cookies and she didn’t plan to do a massive housecleaning just to leave again.
She poured another cup of coffee and carried it into her studio. Perhaps she would work on the commission that she had promised to do. That was in oils instead of watercolor so it wouldn’t be so easy to transport. She picked it up and put it on the easel. It was a pleasant scene with a weathered log cabin and a little brook running along beside. The people who asked her to paint it didn’t say who owned the cabin but she wondered if it was theirs. She would have to remember to ask where it was. Somehow the scene looked like it could be in the same area as Robert’s house, even though there were more trees in the painting.
Suddenly she realized she needed to stop thinking of it as Robert’s house. Something had happened when she re-read the letter last night and she realized it really was now her house. She wasn’t certain she had accepted that fact before now.
She poured out a quantity of turpentine in the cup and gathered up a collection of paint tubes. She was about to squeeze out a small circle of each color when her cell phone buzzed. She had forgotten she had put it in her pocket.
She took it out, expecting to see Craig’s name on the ID. Instead it was the right area code, but listed the caller as unknown. She thought of Jason and wondered if she should let it go to voice mail, but then realized the phone contained his number so his name would show up the same as Craig’s. Finally her curiosity got the best of her and she punched the button.
(To be continued)
05-06-2014 11:49 AM
Chapter 46 (Word Prompts: fresh, face, brooks, mud, balloons, circle, weathered, confetti, dancing, wasp)
“I think I need to apologize for the crack about the balloons”, said Rebecca.
Madison chuckled. “I probably didn’t need to make the comment about using the pepperoni for confetti either. I guess we were both in a mood and dancing around the real issue. Why don’t I go ahead and put the pizza in the oven?”
Halfway to the kitchen there was a flash of lightening and the lights promptly went out. It looked like the weather was going to get worse before it got better. She went ahead and felt her way to the stove and turned on the oven, grateful for the gas that would work even with no lights. She turned on one of the burners to give a bit of light while she took the pizza from the box and placed it on the pizza stone to slide into the oven. Then using the same burner she lit a candle to carry into the other room to light some other candles that always set out around the room.
“I guess we’ll have to wait for the pizza”, said Rebecca. Each candle created a little circle of light, but the one on the table didn’t really reach Rebecca’s face. Madison thought it was probably true of her own too.
“Not really”, said Madison. “It’s a gas stove so it’s in the oven. I’ll go check on it in a few minutes. I’m really glad you thought about playing that tape. It’s been a long time since I’ve pulled those out and I had forgotten about that one with the brook. It wasn’t my favorite before but I think it’s just what I needed tonight.”
“I haven’t used it in a while either, but I recommended it to a patient this week and I thought I might try it myself while it was fresh in my mind.”
Madison made her way to the kitchen. It was hard to see the pizza in the oven but the cheese seemed to be melted which meant it was hot at least. She put it back in the box and sliced it up. As she piled the plates and the napkins atop the box she thought at least with the dim lights the Easter plates wouldn’t look so out of place.
There was little conversation while they ate the pizza. More than one piece of pepperoni found it’s way to the floor along with some scraps of crust. Daisy and Tedi had a hard time deciding where to sit and finally Tedi settled beside Madison and Daisy chose Rebecca. Madison hoped the strange and spicy food didn’t upset their stomachs. Both of them were well trained to use the doggy door, but if they spent much time outside tonight, they would be full of mud and a bath for two dogs were not a part of the plan.
When the box was empty, Rebecca was ready to listen to Madison’s story. She asked very few questions as she ran through meeting Craig and his proposal to use the barn. Madison wished she could see her friend’s face better. It was strange to talk to someone in the dark, knowing they were in the room but still being unable to see their reaction. She was especially interested in Rebecca’s reaction to the children and the mystery of Joanie, but there was still no comment.
Finally Madison talked about the way she had suddenly fled and the wasp that continued to appear.
That seemed to get Rebecca’s interest. “You say this wasp, or a wasp has continued to appear ever since you left? Is this something new?”
“No. I mean obviously I’ve seen wasps before. They aren’t exactly rare in these parts. In fact I remembered seeing a nest and a dead one on the day when I went to Roberts house all those years ago to pick up my things.”
“Ah”, said Rebecca in her therapist’s voice.
“But it’s not something I normally notice, I guess. I mean one popped into my visualization and chased the butterflies away. That has to mean something.”
“What do you think it means?” Rebecca was in full therapist mode now.
“I think it means I could get stung! It’s a warning that there’s danger and I should run away.”
Just then the lights came back on and almost seemed too bright after being used to the candles. But Madison was puzzled by the smile on her friend’s face.
“Well, that’s nice timing with the lights, just as I was about to make my pronouncement.” She blew out the candle sitting in front of her. “I think you are partially right in your interpretation. Of course you could get stung. That’s always a possibility no matter the undertaking. I also think it might be a warning that you need to run away, which you did. However, you’ve also told me that you intend to go back.”
“I’m planning as of now to go back”, said Madison. “Actually, I thought I would have heard from Craig by now. I’m afraid I angered him leaving the way I did. At least I couldn’t blame him if he was angry. Perhaps I need to call him and apologize but before I do I want to be more clear in my own mind.”
“I’m really interested to see that you’ve connected the wasp to Robert, and twice now, once at his old house and now at this one. You know I’ve never heard you talk very much about him, even since you inherited his house. You must have some unfinished business with him and it has be coming up staying in his house filled with all his things.”
“Yes”, said Madison, but not as much as I would have thought. I think finding that letter helped a lot.
Madison suddenly realized that she had told nobody about the letter and had not really intended to. It was just too personal.
“Do you have the letter?”
“Yes, that and Daisy are the only things I brought back from the house.” Madison knew Rebecca was expecting her to show it to her and she decided she really needed to do that if she wanted her to understand. She walked over to a drawer in the desk and removed the blue envelope and handed it over and watched as she read.
If you are reading this I already know a few things. First, I have died, you have talked to my attorney and you have probably met Daisy. Also, I imagine you are very confused. I’ll try to clear up some things.
The last few years I have thought so much about all the fantasies we had on those get-a-ways. Do you remember how we talked about just calling our bosses and telling them that we had decided to be gypsies and just stay in paradise?. Sometimes I wish we had done that, but in my heart I know that the problems would just have been transplanted to paradise.
Then a few years ago I saw this ad in a magazine and I thought of that night on the beach when you told me that you dreamed of having a place where you could just escape and be alone with nature and animals, surrounded by all the cats and dogs and only the few humans that you chose to include. Somehow I knew this was the place.
That is what I called to tell you that last time. I don’t blame you for telling me that you would only talk to me if I were sober. You were right, it’s just that I never managed that. But I’m telling you about it now. I don’t know if you still want these things, if not, you can do with it as you wish.
There’s just one thing that really is important to me. I told you once that you were the best friend I ever had. Well, Daisy has been my best friend for the past three years. I don’t know where she came from. She just appeared on the front steps one morning and came in when I held the door open. I fear she was mistreated before she found me because there is one very odd thing. I have never heard her bark. I can’t stand the idea of her being treated unkindly after I’m gone and I hope you will take care of her. To me she is an angel in a dog body as well as my best friend.
I know you will need some time to decide what you want to do. In case you want to stay the night, the bed is made up in the spare bedroom. You will find bread in the freezer along with other food items, including coffee for the morning.
Just one more thing, thank you for being my friend. I wish I had known how to cherish that friendship. It has taken Daisy to teach me those lessons. If there is another life time I hope to do it a lot better.
With the love I wasn’t able to show you before,
Rebecca folded up the paper and placed it back into the envelope.
“I understand”, she said.
(to be continued)
05-04-2014 09:35 AM
Chapter 45 (Word Prompts: fresh, face, brooks, mud, balloons, circle, weathered, confetti, dancing, wasp)
It wasn’t quite 7:00 when Madison noticed the dogs heading for the front door. She was about to look outside when she heard a familiar voice call. “Open the door, my hands are full and the weather is about to get wet out here.”
She almost pushed her way inside as soon as the door was opened. Tedi and Daisy sniffed around the ankles but were more interested in the box that she held.
“Let me have the box and I’ll put it in a safe place.”
“You might want to put it in the oven. I ordered it half baked and uncut. I thought it would be faster and I wasn’t certain when you wanted to eat. Sorry I couldn’t manage some welcome home balloons.”
Madison thought she caught a sarcastic edge to her voice. She tried to laugh at the joke, but wasn’t certain that it was a joke. “That’s OK”, she said. “We can pretend the pepperoni is confetti and toss that instead.” Rebecca’s chuckle didn’t sound all that genuine either and she was glad to have a reason to escape to the kitchen. She placed the pizza, in the box, into the still warm oven. In a few minutes she thought she would take it out of the box and put it on the stone to finish baking.
“Would you like some coffee? I have both regular and decaf that I can make.”
“Would you happen to have anything stronger? It’s been quite a day.”
Madison opened the frig and spotted a bottle of white wine pushed toward the back. She had no idea how long it had been there but she took it out and poured a little taste. It seemed OK so she took it along with two glasses into the living room where she found Rebecca petting the dogs. She thought that was probably better therapy for a bad day than wine, but poured out a couple of glasses anyway.
“Do you want to tell me what’s wrong?” This was not the way Madison had envisioned this meeting. It appeared she could well be the one in the therapist role instead of the other way around.
Rebecca was about to raise her glass to her lips. “I think I need to warn you that this wine is not exactly fresh. I don’t know how long it’s been in the frig but it didn’t seem to have become vinegar.”
Madison thought she was seeing the beginning of tears on her friend’s face. She knew from experience that if her problem revolved around a patient she would get very little information. She needed to give her time to share whatever she felt she could.
“Do you still have that tape that we used to listen to?”
“I have lots of tapes. Which one are you talking about?”
“Remember the one with the water sounds, like a bubbling brook? That one always helped me to relax. Perhaps if I can meditate with something like that I can become human again.”
Madison went to a cabinet and opened a drawer that held a row of cassette tapes. She couldn’t remember the last time she had opened the drawer and just looking at the titles brought back other times. There was one with nature sounds, bird calls and such. There were several that were just soft music and one with sounds of the ocean. There had been a time when they would have evenings where her entire circle of friends would gather and do meditations with these tapes. She finally found the one she thought Rebecca had been referring to and popped it into the player.
By the time she was back in her chair it seemed her friend was already more relaxed on the sofa. Her head was back and her eyes were closed. She had a pang of jealousy at the sight of Daisy curled on the end of the sofa with Tedi on the floor beside her. But then she thought perhaps Rebecca needed their comfort tonight more than she did herself. She leaned her own head back and pushed the recliner into position with her eyes closed.
In just a minute she was transported back into a safe place she hadn’t visited in a long time. The sun was warm on her face and a breeze gently blew against her cheek. Her fingers touched the mud beside the stream and she felt their weight slowly submerge them. She could smell the aroma of wild flowers and enjoyed the butterflies who were dancing their way from one blossom to another. Her body began to relax and sink into the moist earth and be comforted by it’s warmth. She was greatly enjoying the sensation when that pesky wasp began to chase the butterflies away.
The spell was broken.
She picked up her wine glass and took a sip that she didn’t really want and listened to the tape come to an end. Rebecca opened her eyes and sat up.
“Thanks”, she said. “I really needed that. I’m usually a lot better at staying emotionally uninvolved with my patients, but it’s more difficult at the end of the day. I’m afraid I got a bit of a bee in my bonnet, as they say. It was all I could do to keep from asking this couple Bleep is wrong with you people. Don’t you understand what you are doing to your children. That is not exactly a professional thing to say.”
“Well”, chuckled Madison. “It’s funny you should mention bees and children. Maybe you’ll have better luck with my story.”
“Oh, before you start, you haven’t answered the question I asked on your answering machine.”
Madison had to admit she hadn’t listened to the messages.
“Just as well, now I can ask you in person and not give you time to think about it.” Her smile said that now she was joking instead of being snarkey like before.
“There’s a workshop being held near your area, well your new area. I was wondering if I could house sit for you for a few days.”
“I won’t need a house sitter because I’m heading back there on Thursday, unless plans change. However, there’s a spare room and you are welcome to use it.” Madison didn’t add that it would be great for a psychologist to see firsthand what was happening.
(to be continued)
05-01-2014 09:26 AM
Chapter 44 (Word prompts: pleasure, wind, warming, Easter,
manipulation, breaking, unwinding, crack, thirteen, perfume)
Madison made a mental list of all the people who had probably left messages on the machine and spent the rest of the afternoon calling each one. Since it was a long list she tried to keep the conversations to a minimum and just issued an invitation for getting together on Wednesday night. She was thinking that by that time she might be able to unwind some of the tendrils of her situation and be able to go over it all at one time.
By mid-afternoon she had reached everyone except Rebecca, which wasn’t surprising. The only office help she had was a college student who worked part time around her classes and mainly took care of bookkeeping and filing insurance forms. As a therapist, Rebecca was out of contact when seeing a client. Even though she gave out her cell phone number in case of emergency, everyone respected this boundary and only a real emergency would break this rule.
As much as Madison would have liked to speak with any therapist right now, she left a message on her machine along with her cell number. She realized this might be a bit of manipulation on her part in that her friend might think it was more than just a casual call since she was including a number she normally kept very private.
So far everyone on her list that she had contacted thought they could make it on Wednesday night. Providing Rebecca could also come, that would make a total of thirteen people including herself. That number pleased her a lot since she had learned that it was a lucky number, especially for women and was considered an ideal for a group, believing it contained a good mix of types and attitudes. This seemed a good omen considering what she needed at this point. At the same time, that meant a larger group than she normally entertained at a single time. Perhaps some shopping was in order.
Just as she was about to head out the door she was startled by a crack of thunder. She had been so involved with her calls that she hadn’t realized how dark the sky had become. The wind had become brisk and she thought the storm would follow shortly. Tedi and Daisy were still under the table in the kitchen which was their favorite place in bad weather. Madison decided shopping could wait until after an inventory was completed.
She had an ample supply of coffee so that wouldn’t be a problem. There was an entire shelf of mugs that she had collected over the years, certainly more than the number required. After checking the cabinet she found all the ingredients for her raisin oatmeal cookies. If only cookies were served then there would be no need for plates, but then she remembered the left over plates and napkins from Easter that were stashed in the cabinet. Nobody would mind that they were out of season. After all, bunnies and chicks are cute no matter the time of the year.
With that problem solved she got busy with the cookies and with the perfume of cinnamon, cloves and ginger filling the air, she decided to add some vanilla with some sugar cookies to the mix.
With all the baking the kitchen was warming up to an uncomfortable degree by the time the last tray came out of the oven. The dogs had emerged from under the table thinking that a cookie might find it’s way to the floor. So as not to disappoint them, as soon as the last tray was unloaded and put in a safe place, Madison took some dog biscuits and called them into the other room where it was cooler.
She was just in time to catch the weather on the TV news and learned she had made a wise choice to stay home for the afternoon and evening. A large storm was expected overnight but by Wednesday, the weather would be fine. That seemed another good omen.
Just as she was getting comfortable her cell rang. She had the immediate thought that it would be Craig, but instead it was Rebecca’s name that was identified. Madison attempted to control the disappointment in her voice as she greeted her old friend. But she was unable to hide it when she learned Wednesday night would not be workable for Rebecca.
“But I am available tonight”, said Rebecca. “Could we get together now instead?”
And so it was agreed that she would come over with a pizza which would solve the problem of dinner too. Maybe it would work out even better this way.
(To be continued)
04-28-2014 01:07 PM
Chapter 43 (Word prompts: pleasure, wind, warming, Easter,
manipulation, breaking, unwinding, crack, thirteen, perfume)
The wind hit them in the face as they stepped outside. It had been a strange meeting and there were still so many questions and so few answers. However there were some things that had to be decided now.
“What do you intend to do?”
“It looks like I don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. I need to pick up the kids no later than 6:00 and I have to figure out what to do with them until at least the 13th when Sean gets out of rehab, unless something breaks with Joanie before then.”
Stan was uncomfortable with the cold that seemed more intense after being in the too warm office. At the same time he felt he needed to ask a few more questions in order to make his own plans. He wanted to support his old friend but he also knew he needed to be on his own for a while to sort out some of the many thoughts and memories that had been triggered in the past few days. The problem was that he had no idea how to go about this unwinding process. In many ways it would be a lot more comfortable to wrap himself up with Craig and the children. He wondered if he could manipulate the situation to be able to do just that.
Craig was oblivious to what was going on with his friend. Stan had always been very good at hiding his emotions behind that smiling face and on the outside he was showing no signs now that his façade was on the verge of cracking wide open.
“I’m thinking I’ll pick up the kids from Maggie and take them to their house tonight. By that time Dusty will have held his press conference and along with our community grapevine everybody should know what’s going on. The need for secrecy is now over and I think the children should be more comfortable in their own home with their own things, at least for tonight. I guess for the time being that has to take priority over everything else.” Craig did not sound happy.
“Why don’t I come over with some pizzas and drinks? We can have a little party.”
“That’s probably a good idea. I have no idea what kind of supplies I’ll find at their house and no idea how they are or what they’ve been told. I haven’t felt free to talk with them about their mother and they have asked no questions. I have no idea what their father told them over the weekend. Perhaps I should have asked Dusty, but he probably didn’t think to ask about that either. I rather wish Sean and I could have talked and devised some sort of plan, but he didn’t seem very friendly when I saw him. I’m actually rather surprised that he consented to have me take care of them.”
Stan wanted to make a derogatory comment about the children’s father but thought this was not the time.
“So”, continued Craig. “I’ll see you about 7:00?”
With that they parted ways and Stan was left with his thoughts of Easter egg hunts and his mother’s perfume. One of those was a pleasant memory, the other not so much. He could only hope he would have some company when he opened the store. He really didn’t want to be alone.
The store seemed more dark and empty than usual when Stan opened the door. He checked the old answering machine that was set up with the business number only to find there was no blinking light. It appeared his absence had not been missed by anyone. Most of the time he liked being alone but right now he missed the family he might have had if things had been different. He headed for the back and put on a pot of coffee, more for something to do rather than from the desire for caffeine. Perhaps the aroma would float outside the door and bring in a thirsty person. With the coffee on he turned on the sound system to some new-age sounds guaranteed to bring back no memories from the past.
(To be continued)
- accepting clients
- book club suggestion
- Book Review
- boomer books
- dancing and hugs
- historical fiction
- Job Loss
- literary agent
- Long-term unemployment
- Middle Class
- reading lists