Cheep, A Serial, Number 5

Number 5:

Lucy hung up the phone. She had been talking to her sister who was flying down to join her for some sister time at the beach. Her bedroom was on the second level of the beach house, but she could still see the man who had sat down beside her over top of the dunes. He was leaving to walk on down the beach as she had seen him do every day. She’d had so much on her mind that she had scarcely noticed him. She was surprised he had stopped to talk and embarrassed he had seen her crying.

Amelia, her older sister, had called to make the final arrangements for her visit to the beach. She was going to spend a week with Lucy there. They were both looking forward to their time together. Amelia and Lucy had gotten to spend little time together as adults. They were six years apart in age and had led different lives. This was their chance to reconnect, although interruptions they hadn’t counted on were going to interfere. Lucy had already been at the beach house for three days alone. Her husband and other guests were going to soon all arrive in the space of two days.

First, Lucy’s daughter, Marie, and her husband, Adam, were flying in on the same day as Amelia. The next day, Gary, Lucy’s husband would arrive. Lucy was looking forward to spending time at the beach with everyone except Gary.

She and Gary had been arguing for days. During one of their arguments, Gary had changed his flight and, instead of arriving when she did, he expected her to stay at the beach house alone for several days. She had to drive almost 600 miles to get there. She had to do it alone. It was right in the middle of Hurricane Irma and that monster storm was going to be making landfall in South Florida as she drove and when she arrived at their panhandle beach house. Lucy had envisioned heavy traffic and even bad weather.

Everything turned out all right on her drive. She stopped and spent one night on the road and went on the next day. It was lonely in the beach house. She had taken the opportunity to do some thinking since she got there. Her relationship with Gary had not been good for over a year. Really for two years. She had been considering divorce. When Ed Gillespie found her sitting below the dunes, that subject was on her mind.

Lucy Hammonds was a beautiful woman. Blonde hair, flawless skin, a killer smile, and those azure eyes. She looked much younger than her 60 years of age.

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Cheep, A Serial, Number 4

Number 4:

Ed sat there for a few moments. He had been aware that she was very attractive, but he couldn’t really describe her because he was captivated by those azure blue eyes. She was troubled. He didn’t think she had smiled except when she had introduced herself and only a little then. He didn’t even know the color of her hair. She had seemed laser-focused on whatever was hurting her inside, a bad marriage apparently. He looked back at the beach house, but he saw no sign of her. He didn’t know she was lying on her bed watching him as she spoke to someone on the phone.

Ed got up from the sand dune, dusted himself off, and continued on his walk. He wondered if he’d ever see her again. If she was a creature of habit, she’d be out in the same spot on the beach the next day, gazing at the Gulf or crying. Perhaps both. He hoped she would find peace. He continued his walk down the beach. As he returned to his beach house, she was nowhere to be seen.

Cheep, A Serial, Number 3

Number 3:

Ed sat down but not too close to her. He felt like, if he did, she’d run off like a wild thing. The two of them just stared out at the ocean for a moment or two.

Finally, Ed introduced himself. He held out his hand.

“I’m Ed, Ed Gillespie.”

She seemed to have to screw up her courage. She finally took his hand and said, “I’m Lucy. Lucy Hammonds. I’m staying in the beach house right behind us.”

“Lucy, if you don’t mind me asking, would you like to talk? I’m just an old guy who has been around the block a few times. I don’t know why such a beautiful woman sits here day after day crying her eyes out, but if I could offer any wisdom or just be a sounding board, I’d be glad to do so.”

Then he smiled at her. Ed had a very engaging smile. He still felt like a dope. He just made this big speech to a total stranger who was sitting here crying. Why should she want to talk to him?

Lucy gave him a soft smile back.

“I’m here alone, Ed, and I’m lonely and scared. I have a big problem. You see, I think I want to divorce my husband.”

Ed thought to himself that he should get up and leave right that second. He’d had his share of relationships in his life, including a marriage. Some of those relationships were with women just like Lucy, either just prior to or just after they were divorced. Those relationships were nothing but trouble. Somehow, Lucy seemed different or maybe it was because she was beautiful. Ed was a sucker for a beautiful woman.

“I’ll have to tell you, Lucy, that I’m probably not the best person to give relationship advice. But, what do you mean that you only think you want a divorce?”

“Ed, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. One year for sure. Probably even two years. I’m afraid.”

“Everyone who contemplates divorce is afraid, Lucy, but what are you afraid of, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“I’m afraid of being alone. I’m afraid no one will ever find me attractive again and that I’ll never again find love.”

Ed was disarmed by her honesty. At that moment, her phone rang. She got up and ran into her beach house, leaving him sitting against the sand dune.

Cheep, A Serial, Number 2

Number 2:

Ed Gillespie, the old, retired private investigator, walked up and down the beach on the Gulf of Mexico every day. There may have been the biggest hurricane ever spotted brewing just off the Atlantic coast of Florida, but no one knew it in the Panhandle. The water was azure, reflecting the color of the sky. The only hint of trouble ahead was more wind than usual.

East of his beach house, Ed saw the same woman every day. She sat with her back to the dunes, just beyond the sea grass, facing the Gulf. Some days, she gazed out at the water, looking haunted, as if she saw nothing. Other days, her head was hanging down and she held her hands over her face. He assumed she was crying. On the days he could see her face, he saw that she was beautiful. It wasn’t difficult to see pain on her face and see that she was also troubled. There was something vulnerable about her and he longed to stop and ask if he could help. Thinking of the women who had burned him in the past had stopped him so far.

Today was different. He glanced at her as he neared her place in the sand and she was looking at him. He could have sworn that her eyes reflected the azure of the water. He found himself walking over to her.

“Hi,” he said, “I see you sitting here almost every day. I thought I’d stop and say hello. I’m Ed and I’m staying two beach houses down the beach.”

He felt foolish. As he gazed at her, he saw the tracks of tears on her face.

“Hello,” she gulped, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting anyone to stop by. I’ve been crying.”

She was hastily trying to wipe away her tears.

“I don’t suppose I could help? I have a pretty good set of shoulders,” Ed remarked, “Would you mind if I sat down?”

She just stared at him.

“Look, I’m not a serial killer or anything. Just a guy taking some time off.”

“Sure,” she said. “Sit.”

 

Cheep: A Serial

Number 1:

CHEEP!

PROLOGUE

Cheep! Cheep! Lucy’s eyes flew open. She listened for a minute. It was the smoke detector. The battery was dying. She was trying to sleep.

Lucy was alone. Gary, her husband, had sent her to the beach house days ahead of him. He had insisted. The smoke alarm was high up on the arch of the cathedral ceiling. She couldn’t reach it. She laid there and tried to ignore it. That incessant cheeping.

Lucy heard another noise. She got up and grabbed her handbag. Her Smith and Wesson was in it. As she stepped out on the balcony to listen, she was grabbed from behind.

When her husband arrived three days later, all he found were her old beach sneakers beside the bed.

Domestic Abuse – #JusJoJan 2018

I want to thank everyone who read my “She” series written for Linda’s #JusJoJan 2018 Challenge. I want to thank all my fellow bloggers who provided the very timely prompts that allowed me to write the series. It was a true story.

I want to make a comment to end the series on domestic abuse. If you are in a relationship where there is domestic abuse, whether you are a male or female victim, there is help out there for you. You may feel helpless and hopeless, but you are not. The first thing that you have to think about is your safety because small incidences of verbal or emotional abuse can quickly turn to physical abuse. Even if the abuse remains verbal or emotional, it is terribly damaging to you in ways that may not show up until later in your life. It will affect your sense of self-worth and your ability to move on to other relationships. It will affect your perception of the opposite sex for the rest of your life and not in a good way.

All that I can say to you is GET OUT of the relationship. You may be thinking that you can’t get out because of children, money, or the emotional ties that bind. I repeat, GET OUT. Your children should not be witnessing this kind of abuse. Emotionally, you will start to feel stronger the moment you walk away even though the pain will be devastating for a while. If you feel like you will have no money, you absolutely will. If you are married, file for divorce with the help of a good attorney. Your spouse will have to provide maintenance for you and a settlement. Get yourself in a position where you can support yourself. You cannot depend on an abusive spouse.

Here is a resources for you:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:  1-800-799-7233

This organization will usually be able to direct you to a short-term shelter in your area.

Best of luck to you and remember….You are worth more than any abuser!

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Silence – #JusJoJan 2018

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She was one of the girls from the model school in the university town. There were fewer than twenty of them, moving lockstep through twelve grades together. Most of them lived a protected existence. Middle class. Some upper-middle class. Doting parents. Somehow they thought they were special. It wasn’t their fault. It was instilled in them. She knows there is nothing special about her, although there was about many of the rest. They loved each other as sisters. She looks back at that time, at those girls, and wonders how any of them survived in the big, wide, still scary world.

She wonders if she has survived these many years later. She knows her ability to find and have a decent romantic relationship has not survived. That has been gone for a long time if it ever existed at all. It might have been killed one night when she was seventeen. She won’t think about that. Maybe it was killed when they divorced the first time. Perhaps when a love relationship during the gap between the two marriages hadn’t worked out?

What she knows for sure is that this time, this failure of her second marriage to him has done her in. It wasn’t that the marriage failed. It was the way it failed that has hurt her so much. Eventually, she’ll go through the motions of life again. She can’t even do that now. But one day she will. Even as she hopes there will be another relationship, she knows there won’t be. She will never open herself up to that kind of pain again. She can barely sustain her friendships right now. Even those seem to be destined to cause pain. She isn’t able to show her friends how much they mean to her anymore.

Maybe this is the way it was supposed to be all along.

There is a silence in her heart.

THE END

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s #JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.

 

#Darkness – #JusJoJan 2018

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After she first ran from the situation with her husband, she was afraid of the dark. She hadn’t ever been afraid of the dark before or not to her recollection. She had always been a night owl. Darkness had been her friend. She had worked in the dark. Driven alone all across the country in the dark. When the world was asleep, she was in her prime. Suddenly, the first night that she found out he was not coming home again, she was afraid of the dark.

As the days passed and each day became shorter as the winter solstice neared, the thought of the impending darkness sat upon her like a heavy blanket. She was not a good sleeper and she was awake during all those hours of darkness. Terrified. Alone. She felt like she was the only person in the world in the cold of the winter. When she finally went to bed at night, she had to leave the lights on. She prayed for daylight.

She tried to determine what had happened to her to make her so fearful. The last months with him had been dark. He had said some terrible things to her and she had always been a sensitive person. Those things had hurt her deeply. She felt she had seen the darkness of her husband’s soul. He never smiled. He seldom spoke unless it was to belittle her. When she thought back, it seemed as if darkness surrounded them both. She didn’t see the darkness while she was immersed in it. She could see it when she looked back.

She was starting to see light again and she thought that maybe, just maybe, she was not quite so afraid of the dark now. She realized what good friends she really had. If one of them didn’t call her, email her, message her, another one did. They saved her life those first horrible weeks. They were still saving her life. They all knew, maybe better than she did, that there was still a long road ahead of her in order for her to untangle her from this situation. That the darkness would still come and go and threaten to strangle her. They were there for her. She loved them all for that.

He was out there too, somewhere. In the dark.

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s #JusJoJan’s 2018 Challenge.

Revolt – #JusJoJan 2018

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She had started to revolt against his jealousy years before. He was so jealous that she swore he was jealous of inanimate objects. She went into a career that was male-dominated. He was, of course, jealous of her colleagues and questioned her when she had to stay late at school. If he didn’t question her, he pouted. He was even jealous of her girlfriends. She seldom went anywhere with her girlfriends because she was basically a homebody, but when she did, he was convinced they saw “men” or met “men” or that they went out of their way to be around “men.” He was even jealous of the time she spent with her dogs. Her best friend was a man. Friend only, but of course, he never believed that.

She tried to talk to him about his jealousy. She reassured him. She certainly didn’t have to be with him. She had her own money, her own means. She was with him because she wanted to be and for other reasons as well. Nothing could ever reassure him and he took his jealousy out on her. She thought his jealousy caused him to start questioning her every move. Caused him eventually to start hating her. It was so unnecessary.

Then she found out about his former ten-year affair. She quit cajoling him, reassuring him. She didn’t care anymore. She came and went as she pleased. She didn’t answer his questions anymore. She didn’t let him persecute her over a lunch with a girlfriend or a phone call from her best friend. Perhaps that had been the beginning of the end. She doesn’t know. Divorce is usually caused by a lot of little things.

She had spent the early years of this nine year marriage trying, really trying. The harder she tried, the more he expected. The more jealousy surfaced. It just wasn’t meant to be. Why couldn’t he just be a man and confront her? Tell her face to face it wasn’t working? He did exactly what his father did to his mother. The same thing as going to store for a loaf of bread and never coming home.

Why did he have to be such a sneaky coward?

Why does that have to hurt so much?

 

This post is part of Linda G Hill’s #JusJoJan’s 2018 Challenge.

 

Contemplation – #JusJoJan 2018

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She found herself in a contemplative mood today. Not just about her marriage. About the state of being married as well. She doesn’t feel like she knows much about marriage. She’s been married to only one man. Married to him twice, but just to him.  They were divorced for 14 years in between. A long time and there were other relationships, but not other marriages. She had read somewhere that only two percent of second marriages to the same person work. She was certainly not going to be in that two percent. Made sense to her. People simply don’t change that much.

She knows that she needs to accept her part in the demise of their marriage. She didn’t ever trust him after the events of their first marriage and contentious divorce. She tried to trust him, but he gave her little reason. When they got back together, he seemed like himself. By the beginning of their second year together, he either revealed his true self, which was quite changed, or he had grown into someone different in just a year. They should have spent more private time together, but the years apart had changed them and they had almost nothing in common now. He was resistant to developing common interests. Their one common interest, their beautiful island in the south, turned out to be the destruction of them. That, perhaps, broke her heart the most.

She knew that she would never marry again. Never even consider it. She would like to think that there was still a relationship out there for her. A nice guy, perhaps an intellectual, but a fun one. Someone gentle and kind. Someone she would enjoy talking to. Being with.

Her contemplation complete, she knows that time is short for her. Not that many good years left.

Was it possible?

 

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s #JusJoJan 2018 Challenge.