Sometimes seeing how people see things outside of the Washington & NY bubble lets you know you're not alone. As Crazy as the world has gotten there are still many of us out here who see things from a different perspective. A real perspective because we are living and working in the real world. Working day to day to make the ends meet.
There are things I love and things I hate, in life. I am sure most
people feel the same way at times. I am so close to getting where I need to be,
steps, seconds a milisecond of space. This has been a very odd year for me, not
because it’s been super wonderful or truly awful just strange and different. I
am finishing up with school, which is both exciting and terrifying. We are in
the process of taking on another booth at the store (yes this is scary). The
biggest thing on my mind though is the book. I am finally there. After more
than a year of struggle, heartache, and plain old ignoring it. I have, finally
pushed my way through. I feel like I have just given birth.
The strange part is now it’s time to settle down and go back
through it once before sending it off for editing. I know the part when it’s
been edited, is supposed to be the hard part because someone is telling you
what they don’t like. For me though that is more a matter of fixing things that
are wrong or not working. It’s like walking your child to school the first day
and hoping they will make friends or that the other kids will like them. In
many ways that is what writing is like. You struggle with the road the story
takes you on until it feels right. When it does though you can't type fast
enough to get it all down.
So here I sit going through my first edit, (the one that I get to
do!) each sentence read out loud. Every word weighed and judged to be worthy or
not. I worry for this little tale of mine. Will it do well? Will people like
it? When I turned down this path I knew it was time. For me to do what I
love. To write!
One of my favorite writers once said, “If you're a writer you need
to just write. Going back to school won't do it for you. It has to be inside of
you already. You have to find the courage to just do it and put it out there.”
Well I did the school part anyway and I have to say that it did
make a difference for me. I feel like I’ve reconnected with who I am, and who I
always wanted to be. My book may fall flat, or it may do well, regardless I
will keep going. I’ve learned that it is as much a part of me as breathing.
School is almost done, just a few short weeks until graduation. It seems like a
lifetime since I started this journey. One filled with ups and downs that many
have shared with me as I wrote about the experience.
So do I end this story here? Or perhaps the journey will continue
on, in this moment I am unsure. Oh, I know I will continue taking classes
probably part time so I can focus more on the writing and the store, while I am
in the here and now. Alive!
I wanted to say thank you to those who have pulled up my blog
posts week after week to follow my journey & others who've done so from time to
time. Thank you, for keeping me going and checking in to see what was going on.
In four short weeks I will graduate with honors Phi Theta Kappa.
Me! I never expected that or all of the support along the way so thank you so
very much. It mattered to me to know you were reading along following my adventure.
Walking into the local McNeil Pharmacy Regina shoved her car keys into the pocket of her denim skirt. She was greeted by both the Pharmacist, and his wife.
“Good morning Regina, I see your mother has you out running errands again for her. How is she feeling dear?” Asked the grey-haired woman from behind the counter. Slightly plump and grandmotherly in appearance her grey hair had that old lady blue tint to it, and her rounded curves making her appear warm and inviting.
“She still coughing horribly. The Doctors have not been able to identify what is causing her illness.” Regina answered in her soft voice.
“It came on so suddenly, I just don’t understand it. “
“Well, I’m sure she will be all right dear. Sometimes these things happen just to let us know we need to slow down.” She added. Before handing Regina one of the filled prescriptions.
“Oh, my!” She said, “John will be getting your mother's other prescription in later today. I will have to have him drop it off on his way home if that is OK. Will that be, all right with you dear?” She asked.
Regina nodded her head indicating that it would be fine while she fumbled for her ringing cellphone. Answering she kept heading towards the door.
“You take care now and give your mother our regards.” The clerk called out as she left.
“Hi Caro what’s up?” Regina asked.
“I need to run out to the grocery store. How long will you be child?” Caro asked through the phone.
“I'm going to grab some lunch at Friendly’s and then I will be heading on home. Could you just check on Mirishka before you leave, so she doesn’t throw a hissy if she wakes up?” Regina asked.
“No problem dear, I will check on her and make sure she has everything she needs before I go. I shouldn’t be long. You go enjoy yourself sweetie you deserve a break from her. I’ll tell her your running errands if she asks.” Caro hung up after they said their goodbyes.
Walking down the aisle, Regina let herself out the back entrance to the gravel parking lot. She started up the car undecided if she should go right home instead, or if she should steal an hour for herself. She had always loved going to Friendly’s it was one of the special treats her dad had shared with her as a young girl. She made a right at the corner and drove past the three buildings to pull into the parking lot next to a squad car that was already there.
Hurrying inside Regina tucked her sunglasses into her purse and looked around. Her eyes fell on the dark head of a patrolman who sat in a booth with a cup of coffee facing the back wall of the restaurant.
Quietly coming up behind him she placed her small hands on his shoulder before leaning in.
“I missed you.” She whispered, letting her soft breath tickle his ear. A gentle smile lit up her face making her almost beautiful in the light coming in through the windows.
“I missed you to Reggie.” Dennis said as he put his larger hand over hers to give it a gentle squeeze. Although Dennis had been a few years ahead of Regina in school, the two had hit it off from the start. They had managed to keep their friendship despite Marishka’s disapproval.
“Have a seat trouble. Whatcha ya been up to? How is Marishka? Any better?” He asked more out of politeness than real concern. Having grown up in the same small town, he had never had any delusions about her or her manipulative nature.
He knew Regina would never allow him to be more than friends, not as long as she was under her mother’s thumb. Little by little he hoped he would be able to change her mind on the subject someday.
“What are you going to have Reggie the usual?” he asked, the two settled down to a quiet late lunch together.
Back at the mansion on the hill, Caro their housekeeper left to take care of the weekly food shopping. She had checked on Marishka and found her sleeping with the wide flat screen TV on, and the heavy drapes pulled closed. Shaking her head, she left leaving a note on her nightstand before turning off the TV. Locking the back door, she let herself out, backing her small car out and down the long driveway.
Marishka woke alone in the house; she could feel a searing pain in her chest. Frantically she pushed the button to call Regina or the housekeeper Caro. Sitting there clutching her ribs and breathing heavily, her breath wheezed with each exhalation. Louder and louder it grew until that was all she heard. She looked around her room; the dark wood paneled wainscot that was original to the house, seemed to be closing in on her making the room seem darker somehow.
Gasping in pain, she fell back against the sheets. She looked down at her hand still clutching the call button. She heard it, a noise out of place. A soft shuffling sound, someone was in the room. Taking careful shallow breaths she cried out for help, her eyes darting frantically around.
“Regina, dammit help me!” She demanded. Listening as the sound grew closer. Someone was here in the room.
“Stop playing games. This is not funny dammit! I need help.”
A deep throaty disembodied laugh echoed, across her flesh raising goose bumps on her skin and causing the hair on the back of her neck stand up. The darkened room offered only vague outlines of what was there.
“You're not funny! Regina, Caro, Joshua is that you? Stop playing.” She said, desperately.
“Who is it? I have a gun; you bastard! I know how to shoot it.”
The room grew silent. To silent as if it were holding its very breath, waiting. “Where the hell are they?” She thought to herself. Even though Caro was old she still should have come by now. Where was Regina? Damn that worthless slut. Probably out spreading her legs for some useless landscaper.
With a cry of pain she arched on the bed, tears streaming down her face, every breath a painful wheeze that was deafening. Afraid now she looked to her night stand for her cell phone or the house phone but neither were there. Just a piece of paper. Reaching over she grabbed it reading the short message from Caro. Alone! Damn them both. Turning, her eyes opened wide, and she screamed as she saw who was standing at the edge of her bed. “It’s not possible! Your dead damn you! I killed you myself.” She cried out, before her world went black. ******************************************************
Caro was the first to arrive home
from the store. Carefully she set the bags on the table, taking off her coat
and hanging it behind the back door. Her grey short curls were tight to her
head. Humming softly to herself, she began putting the food away and preparing
the evening meal. Regina would be home shortly; she thought glad that she was
able to help cover for her and provide her some time away from the house and that
then Regina rushed in with the prescriptions. Laying them down on the counter
she looked around for a tray.
was your lunch missy? Your mamma is going to be paging you soon enough.” Caro
said, bustling around the kitchen. Short and plump she somehow belonged here,
moving around with ease and purpose. Regina thought as she watched her.
Caro. Sometimes it’s hard to deal with mothers demands. You know how she can
get.” Smiling at Caro she teased.
“Not like you though. You old softy.”
kiddo. You need a break from that woman. I don’t know why she didn’t bring in a
nurse to take care of her. It’s not right how she treats you.” Caro huffed
turning back to the stove. As there longtime housekeeper, she had come with the
house. Always calm even under Marishka’s fiercest rage she had stayed acting as
a buffer when possible, for Regina.
used to it Caro, she’s just sick right now. She’ll get better.” She said. Even
though she knew her mother would never show her kindness she couldn’t help, but
feel sad for her.
“Is her tea ready?”
just the way she likes it. I know you usually make it, but you were running
late, so I went ahead and set the tray up for you.”Regina looked down at the elegant display;
everything was perfect.
Picking up the tray, she began to carry it up stairs.Halfway
up she stopped mid step. It’s gone she thought to herself the wheezing is gone.
That could only mean one thing, one of the medicines was working. Hurriedly she
stopped before opening the heavy wooden door to Marishka’s room. Taking a
breath, she composed herself.
she turned the knob in case she was asleep or resting. The light from the
hallway fell across the burgundy and gold oriental carpet, she could make out
the outline of Marishka on the bed. Silence, a deep empty silence, was all that
greeted her. With suddenly cold fingers Regina, carefully reached for the light
switch. The light flooded the room; her eyes were drawn to the huge four poster
bed that had always dominated the room.
mother’s body lay sprawled out across the bed. Her blood staining the gold silk
sheets, her chest torn open from the inside out. Like a scene from a horror
movie her face a mask of terror. In shock Regina dropped the tray before
turning to walk out of the room in a daze stupor.
Sitting heavily on the top step, she rocked back
and forth for several moments as the horrific image she had seen settled in her
head. Unable to process the horror she called out to Caro the only reality she could
grasp at the moment.
Here is the first excerpt from the next project I am currently working on. To be honest I could think of no other title that would fit for this story. It will be posted in four segments one each week. The story is in process, and part of a bigger piece of work. Please post any comments you may have and let me know if you enjoyed it and if you think the title fits. Thank you.
The tan stucco turn of the century mansion sat back off the street on an acre of property. A manicured botanical wonderland. Like a silent sentinel, it kept secrets. It had since its construction in 1900. Built by a wealthy Italian to impress his new bride Francesca it was a Victorian masterpiece, located in the Ridgewood Heights section of town. It sat high above overlooking the peaceful charm of the valley below and keeping an ever watchful eye on the skyline of New York City. It watched as the twin towers went up in all their splendor and again in silent horror when they crashed down on 9/11. This majestic house would come to hold the sweetest joys along with the darkest secrets of its owners over the century it had existed. Like a living breathing entity, many swore it had a soul of its own and in a way it did. Some swore Francesca had lingered, watching over those in need.
A young woman walked up the long stairway carefully balancing a breakfast tray on her shoulder as she climbed the steep staircase. Every item on the tray was in the exact location to create the ultimate presentation to the one it was intended for. Passing by the disapproving stares of ancestors that belonged to someone else’s family that hung on the walls, she watched them out of the corner of her eye. They had come with the house when it was purchased by Martin Johnson, her deceased father. She paused as she stuck her tongue out at them and their unspoken disapproval of her.
Approaching the closed solid oak door with its crystal handle, she could hear a deep wheezing coming from the room beyond. It grew in volume with each step she had taken. The sound was like a rake being drawn through dry leaves on the sidewalk on a cold winter day. Sharp and crumbly it grew louder as she entered the room.
Carefully moving across the still darkened room, she set the tray down on a stand beside the bed. Going over to the window, she opened the heavy burgundy drapes that blocked out any and all light. With a quick tug, of the first one and then the other tall drape she flooded the room with soft morning light.
“It’s about fucking time you useless girl!” the voice rasped from the large four poster bed against the far wall.
“I’m sorry, I had to remake your eggs they didn’t come out the way that you like them.” Regina said as she adjusted the tray table and moved it in front of the occupant of the bed. “How are you feeling today? Marishka. “
Regina was tall and slender with short straight blonde hair and blue eyes. She was not what could be called beautiful but had a serenity to her appearance that drew people to her. An innocence that Marishka couldn’t seem to crush.
Sitting up on the bed Marishka glared at her daughter. Her brown curly hair was cut to her shoulders her skin an olive tone belying her mixed birth. A stigma that she had spent years trying to hide. Neither beautiful nor ugly she was sultry, sensuous, and had a way of moving that promised carnal delights. She used her innate sexiness to her full advantage over the years. Her face and body had been maintained, which had given her the appearance of a much younger woman from behind, hiding the crow’s feet and lines of age that had begun to barely show on her face. Yet age and time were the enemies now, taking her power sapping it away little by little announcing middle age.
Looking at Regina, she could only feel hate towards her daughter. The youth, and fair coloring she envied and wanted for herself, the innocence, and spirit that had survived. She despised the child and had considered her an inconvenience, always in the way. Her birth had been an accident, unplanned, one that Marishka’s husband Martin refused to let her end or abort.
“How do you think I am feeling you stupid cow? The damn doctors cant figure out what is wrong with me. Yet I can feel the heaviness in my chest growing worse by the day.” She wheezed, a racking cough began shaking her body. She held a handkerchief up to her face, coughing violently.
Regina kept her face blank, while the fit seized Marishka. To speak unless asked to was unpardonable, to show compassion, a mistake that was used like a weapon against her. She had learned the hard way after her mother had ordered her henchmen and driver to punish her with a willow switch while she had watched. She had taken sadistic delight in her young daughter’s cries of pain. Rubbing her arm she touched the ridges of one of the many scars that had been left on her young body from the many lessons.
Finally gaining control of her cough Marishka went on with her litany.
“All of those doctors. Charlatans just trying to take my money! Thieves every last one of them. I’ve had ex-rays, cat scans, MRI’s yet they find nothing! No one knows what is wrong with me, just a dark mass they say. I feel like a goddamned pin cushion they’ve taken so much of my blood.” She whined in remembered pain. “I’m sick of it, I tell you! I won’t do anymore!” Breathing heavily, she leaned back against the pillows still glaring at Regina while she gasped for air.
What a disappointment she was, Marishka thought, just like her father Martin. Spineless. The only thing he had done right in the end was to kill himself while driving drunk. That is of course after she had cleaned him out in their divorce.
Dying almost before the ink had dried on the papers, he had left her a hefty life insurance policy that she cashed in. Perhaps the best thing he had accomplished as a man, she thought with contempt. Studying Regina, she found it hard to believe that she was her child.
“At least the twit would never know that the money from his death which was to have been held in trust for her had been conveniently transferred into her own accounts.” A passionate interlude with their attorney had been all it had taken to make any paperwork naming Regina as Martins heir disappeared for good.
Marishka had climbed her way to her wealth and prosperity often over the bodies of the women whose husbands she seduced. One husband at a time she had ruthlessly looked for weak men who were easily managed. Men she could seduce and manipulate with her unique skills in bed. Taking pleasure in pretending to be helpless she drew them away from their lives allowing them to live out their darkest fantasies.
Often destroying entire families along the way she had mercilessly used and then discarded each husband. Pushing each until they had died one way, or another. Crawling from the gutters of Paterson she had always had a hunger for power and money, and at 47 that desire still remained strong.
Her Russian mother and Nigerian father had never understood her single minded desire. Both had been second generation immigrants who had been happy with their lower middle class lifestyle. Always working, struggling to make the ends meet they had never understood her.
Arrogantly she had dismissed their shock at her blatant sexuality. She had evolved into a woman that was a ruthless predator who cared for no one. Toying with the eggs on her plate, she glared at Regina hating the child that she had been unable to crush.
“They still aren’t right you stupid girl. This is a shitty mess you’ve put on my plate. I don’t know how you can call these eggs poached.” Taking a sip of the hot coffee she savored its hot warmth as it opened airways and allowed her to breathe more freely for the time being. Aside from the coffee she only nibbled at the toast taking a couple of small bites before pushing the whole tray away.
“Get this crap out of here! The smell of it is making me sick.” She ordered, waving a hand dismissively before picking up several slips of paper from her nightstand to hand to Regina.
“You can take these down to the pharmacy and wait for them. They are the new medicines Dr. Finklestein has decided I need to take. Maybe you can do that correctly as your attempts at cooking are pathetic.” She sneered slapping the papers into her hand before succumbing to another coughing fit.
In and out her breath wheezed, the sound almost painful to hear. “Take this mess with you, as well.” Deliberately she knocked over the juice glass on the tray, spilling it onto the eggs. The little bitch wouldn't be eating her breakfast she thought with satisfaction.
“You may leave the coffee at least you haven’t ruined that!”
Regina tucked the prescriptions in her pocket and picked up the now ruined tray never speaking when she left the room. Had she been foolish enough to respond, her mother would have flown into a rage as when Regina was younger. Even at twenty-two she was still terrified of her mother’s angry rants.
Leaving, she gratefully pushed the door closed breathing a sigh of relief as she escaped into the hallway. “Bitch,” she said to herself looking down at the destroyed breakfast.
Marishka had always been a hard woman in private only pretending affection when she had been courting one of her new men or trying to present the illusion of the loving mother in public. In private, she was often cruel to her only child never failing to remind her of her many shortcomings or to tell her how plain and pathetic she was. When Regina had stopped reacting to her tirades, and had learned to be silent Marishka had only gotten more enraged. Resorting to having her beaten for the slightest infraction. Regina had been helpless to fight back. Shuddering she pushed the disturbing image from her mind. Never again.
Entering the kitchen, she turned over the tray to their housekeeper Cara, who looked at her with concern. “You OK Reggie?” She asked.
“I’m fine. “Regina answered before walking out the back door. Down the steps and to her left she escaped to a beautifully enclosed courtyard with a small wrought iron bench. Inside the courtyard lay several flowerbeds that held six rosebushes, they were surrounded on two sides by a yew hedge, which worked as a barrier protecting the tender flowers from the harsh winters. This also obstructed the view of anyone who might be out walking the yard.
Regina admired the lovely blooms as she sat down on a bench that had been strategically placed in one corner of the garden. To her back was a thick wall of the yew hedge and in front of her was the back corner of the house. Coming here always made her think of her late father. While he had been alive, Martin had always been her haven from the world. He had protected her from the disapproval of her mother. Each morning he had left a single orchid bloom on her dresser before leaving for the day. After Marishka had divorced him he had arranged for the housekeeper to continue the tradition in his absence, but on his death the flowers had stopped. As had any hope of a normal life that Regina had held on to.
She looked up at the windows of the large enclosed side porch as she thought about the father; she missed desperately. At one point, the sun porch had been filled with beautiful plants ranging from small roses to orchids that her father had grown and propagated on his own. He had been an amateur botanist in his spare time. Enjoying the beautiful variety of trees and flowers that grew on the property. From the lovely grape arbor that divided the back yard in half to the extensive perennial flower beds that surrounded the oversized swimming pool that had been added in the 70’s.
Regina loved every inch of the property and had spent many hours reading in the hidden shaded alcoves all over the yard. One of the ways she escaped when her father was no longer around.
His devotion to Marishka had caused nothing but torment and strife between himself and his family. Pretending to be helpless, she had used her tears to get her way. If that hadn't worked he had always been an easy target for her to seduce.
Deliberately, Marishka had pulled him away from his first wife and three small children. Convincing him that his daughters and ex-wife were only after his money. She carefully laid the seeds of dissension. He had given up everything he had held dear to be with her. Taken in by her lies and sultry ways he fell under her spell. Marishka had gotten pregnant, and life had seemed to settle down. For several short years, it had seemed that she was finally content. That is until she grew bored with him and having a child to care for.
Regina could remember that it was at that point that Marishka had traded up finding another man, Daniel Vandermere to replace her father. Daniel had a bigger bank account and had showered her mother with the gifts and the attention she felt was her due.
Marishka had secretly tormented his estranged wife, with phone calls and images of the perversions he had committed in his attempts at pleasing her. Desperate to hold onto Marishka he had walked out on his marriage of forty years. Heartbroken and shamed his then wife had committed suicide.
Absently Regina looked up to the second floor window that sat above the courtyard. That room was her mother’s office. Or technically Regina’s office now. It had been a nursery for Francesca’s five children. Watching while the curtains moved slightly she was sure that Francesca was watching her. It had been rumored for years that she had loved her home so much that she refused to move on and had lingered watching over its residents. Regina had always taken comfort from the story; it somehow made her feel less alone.
Having been given the responsibility of overseeing her mother’s financial affairs after she became too ill to handle them herself. She had thrown herself into the job sticking to the way she knew she would want things done still trying to please her. She would have to go work on the monthly accounts when she returned from the pharmacy. Checking her watch she realize she needed to go before it got any later. Knowing already she would be expected to bring the paperwork into her mother to allow her to review each document, statement, or bill she had paid.
As a recently married 46 year old I am in the process of finishing my degree. Working to take care of my family and live my life.Blogging, working, writing, and chugging along like most of us. Who am I ? I am you, I am me, I am your mother, friend, the best and worst that we each have inside of us. I am a different perspective and find myself fascinated by the interesting moments in life.