“Madam, you and your children need to come with me,” a police officer stated. He was from the police nationale.
Mom gazed up at him and asked: “Why, what have we done? We’ve only been sightseeing here on vacation. We have our passports and travel Visas.”
“If you come with me, right now, this will be much easier,” the officer said. I shivered at his cold impersonal accented tone.
My Mom attempted to speak but the officer squeezed her arm tightly and picking her up, deposited her in the back if his police car.
My sisters and I peered up at the officer scared spitless. “We didn’t do anything,” I said. “I’m twelve and my two sisters are ten-years old twins. We aren’t bad kids.”
The officer nodded at me. I could hear my Mom crying and banging her hands against the window in the police car. My sisters Paige and Monique were crying silently.
“What’s your name Cher?” The officer asked me. His French accent was thick when he spoke English.
“I’m Brianne, what did my Mom do?” The officer didn’t say anything, but he nodded to one of his fellow officers.
“We need to talk to your Mom about some things for a while. This is officer Carson, he’s going to take you back to your hotel. You girls can watch movies and swim in the pool. Don’t leave and always ask Carson when you want to do something. He’ll take you for repas du soir later on,” the officer said. He smiled at me and I could tell his smile was forced.
“But our Mom . . .” Paige and Monique whined. It was no use. Officer Carson herded us into his vehicle and drove us back to the hotel we were staying with our Mom.
We played in the pool, pretending we enjoyed it. We watched three movies on pay-per-view and then some cartoons on TV. We played on our Mom’s tablet, emailing our Uncle Reese and asking what we should do. The message always came back to Mom’s email, saying the email address was wrong, but we knew better.
At 4:00 pm Officer Carson came back from the gift shop with chips, popcorn, pop, and chocolate bars. Paige and Monique were happy to eat what they could; mom didn’t let us have much junk food, even on vacation. I had a square of delicious Belgian chocolate and almost threw-up.
Later around 8:00 pm, Carson told us to put on nice clothes for dinner. We dined at a trendy restaurant and the food was magnifique. By this time the smell of the delicious food in the restaurant and my hunger had surpassed the twisted and nauseous feeling in my stomach.
“My Mom, what if she can’t afford all this?” I asked Carson referring to all we’d done so far. Our family had scrounged and saved to travel to a few countries in Europe this year. Mom thought it was vital for us to have the experience traveling to see history, and other cultures.
Officer Carson appeared thoughtful. “It’s okay Brianne. Ne tu inquites pas. We’ll take care of things until your Mom returns. I nodded. I didn’t know what else to say.
That night we went to bed sleeping fitfully. The next morning Carson awoke us and told us we would be sightseeing today. He told us about various places we could visit and let us choose a couple of them to see. We went to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t have to wait in line at all; we immediately were able to see what we wanted first.
The four of us continued site seeing for the next week, never seeing our Mom. We always went out to dinner at a different restaurant each night to dine. Carson enjoyed eating well.
One day, Carson even took us to H&M and some clothing stores for girls our age and let us each have one-hundred-and-fifty Euros to shop. We didn’t question Carson on this, even though it was a lot of money to us. We decided to spend eighty Euros and save the rest of the money for emergency.
Caron seemed to know, “Vous etes des files intelligences pour economiser de l’argent. Bon les files.” He smiled at us, a rare occurence. We understood a bit of French from school and found ourselves picking it more with Carson. He brought us back to the hotel to spend the rest of the day watching movies and swimming.
Three-weeks later our Mom returned. We cried when we saw her. I thought I’d never see her again and I gathered Paige and Monique thought the same.
Mom appeared awful, unkept, and waif thin. She immediately went to bed, waking up in the middle of the night to shower. A wardrobe of various designer clothes and shoes was later delivered to her that week and Carson handed her a cheque for a large amount of money. My Mom’s eyes nearly popped out of her head.
“For all your troubles Madam,” Carson told her and disappeared; we never saw him again.
After Mom recovered for a couple of weeks, she decided we should continue to travel. A Doctor which had come to see her every two-days declared her fit and well.
“Now that we have the money, we can travel throughout Europe and see many countries, not only three,” Mom told us. She smiled almost like her old-self and arranged for us to go everywhere we wanted and stay in nice hotels.
Later I thought back to this and realized Mom was running from the demons chasing her inside, from her nightmares, and her flashbacks.
On a beach in Grenada, Spain, Mom finally said: “Girls I suppose it’s time we go home, you’ve missed a month of school already.”
We didn’t want to leave. We were worried about or Mom. She hadn’t been the same person since the police first took her away.
I’d given her space and only asked once or twice what happened to her. She ignored me. She wouldn’t talk to Paige or Monique either.
” I can’t tell you. That’s why we’ve so much money now Brianne,” she finally said to me.
Years later, I’m thirty-six and visiting my Mom. She is paging through a scrapbook of our European vacation.
“You never said,” I began,”You never told me or anyone what happened to you in France. I know the memories give you nightmares still. What did the French police do to you Mom?”
To my surprise she answered me. “Your Dad, you never knew him. I divorced him when you were only three-years-old and the twins one-years-old. He was a bad person, involved in things even in Europe which were awful and illegal.” A tear slipped out my Mom’s eye.
“When we came through France, they thought I was there to see your Dad. They promised they wouldn’t hurt my daughters but treat them well, if I told them everything I knew about your Dad. I told them I hadn’t seen him in almost ten-years that he was a terrible low-life, wanted across the North America.”
“They wanted more. The police thought I had to be in contact with him. They were sure I was here to see him. For a week they tortured me, wouldn’t let me sleep, and other worse things. Eventually, they believed me and promised to let me go if I helped catch your Dad and draw him out from hiding so they could arrest him. Their plan worked, your Dad’s locked up forever,” my Mom said.
“Mom, how could you not say anything all these years? How did you manage to travel around Europe after being . . .”
She cut me off. “Money Brianne. Millions and millions in US funds. Enough to send my three daughters to the best universities and give you everything I couldn’t before. Enough money to wipe out the misery of thattime in my life.”
“Did it work? I asked my Mom.
She sighed tears forming, “It’s money Brianne. It makes things better and hides the truth. But in the end, the truth of what I went through is always there behind my eyes when I close them. I’m thankful Carson took care of you Brianne and Paige and Monique. He treated you well as the police promised he would. Above all, I was grateful and am grateful for that.”
Mom closed her eyes and the tears continued to streak down her cheeks.
A Rispetto, an Italian form of poetry, is a complete poem of two rhyme quatrains with strict meter. The meter is usually iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of abab ccdd. A Heroic Rispetto is written in Iambic pentameter, usually featuring the same rhyme scheme.
I’m trying to blend into the people who are out on Whyte Avenue at night. I’m starving but afraid to stop. I step into a noisy pool hall blending in with a blonde guy and his buddy. We team up and win some money from teams of other Pool players.
I’m near the airport and I sigh at the far walk ahead until I find a bicycle unlocked. I ride hard and buy an early plane ticket to Vancouver. I devour breakfast first.
As I leave the Vancouver airport on the train, I see him. How did Kieran find me? I sob earnestly, as I reach my Motel room.
Kieran catches me leaving after sleeping. He holds me as I shiver at the chemistry between us. I can’t risk being his girl.
” Why are you running Audrey? Don’t you know I’ll always find you? You’re my person, “he murmurs.
“I’m afraid” I whisper ” I’m scared of having a happy life. I’m scared I’ll lose it.”
Kieran grasps my hands, ” Audrey, I love you and will never leave you. You don’t have to run anymore.” Kieran has said the right thing. I have security.
I destination I will always love to visit is Las Vegas. I have been there six times since I was twenty-two-years-old. Some people say it’s fake and gaudy. But there is a carefree and indulgent attitude held by the people who come to frequent Vegas. And the chances that I will get to visit Italy, Paris, and Rome (some of the places the hotel themes are based on) is much slimmer. I come to Vegas for the shopping, the shows, the good food, a comfortable and luxurious hotel room, the clubs, and to meet people who want to get away from the everyday hum-drum of life.
My first visit to Vegas was with friends for eight days. We booked a Grand Canyon Tour that we had to be up for at 5:30 am to walk to catch a tour bus. The night before we played sociables, a drinking game, where each of the cards stands for something related to drinking. So, things such as girls drink, guys drink, give two drinks to whomever you choose, rhyme time etc. I went to bed about 1:00 am and my friends about 3:00 am. No one was a happy camper walking to Southpoint where this tour bus waited that morning. We all looked pasty and awful with our hangovers. And all of us were so tired we fell asleep as soon as the bus started driving to Arizona. The rest of the passengers thought it was funny how we all passed out. But we all woke up feeling much better and awestruck by the Grand Canyon. It is simply one of the most stunning natural sites I have seen in my life.
Later on a night we had had decent sleep, we rented a limo and drove all around Las Vegas. We saw Freemont Street at night, and dressed up for the evening, we participated in Tony and Tina’s Wedding, and later walked into a club at the Wynn Hotel called Tryst. It had a beautiful waterfall inside the club. We took lots of pictures that night and it was memorable being with my friends and figuring out how to maneuver our way around Vegas.
I went back with friends to Vegas a year later. We were doing a three day stint, which means we were running on adrenaline due too a night that lasted to 5:00 am and days that began around 10:00 am. We saw and did a lot of interesting things in Vegas. I think the most memorable was The Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian Hotel. I also had my first massage the last day which was heavenily.
Unfortunatly, a large chunk of this trip was pure girl drama. There was free champagne for ladies at a club we were at and our bartender was giving the champagne away like it was going out of style. I stopped drinking before my two friends, champagne tends to make me queasy if I have more then a a glass or two but my one friend threw up in a basin after way more champagne then that and we had to leave the club. Friction had been building between the three of us and one friend L decided to stay and flirt with some guys she met even though we had to leave because T was sick. L had a great boyfriend at the time, her husband now, and we liked him and felt bad for him; this wasn’t the first time she had been flirting with guys who were not her boyfriend. Anyways, the three of us made it back to our hotel room at the same time.
I was so angry at my friend for ditching us and flirting with random guys instead. She was mad because she thought we left her. We yelled at each other loudly. I can only remember very few times I have been so mad at someone that I yelled at them like that. But this fight had been brewing all summer. My friend T tried to stay out of it but she couldn’t because she was the reason I was so mad at L for leaving us. L left the room immediately with her stuff, to stay with the other three girls we were there with. She wouldn’t talk to us. That night T and I cried in our room until the sun was high in the sky in our window at the Paris hotel. It took until October to work things out, and Vegas had been in August.
With my parents Vegas was a different experience. We had a car to drive around in and we drove out to Red Rock Canyon. I did quite a bit of shopping with my Mom and we stayed at the hotel, the Venetion. The Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas is awesome and so is shopping in the Forum Shops at Caeser’s Palace, and in the shops at the Venetion. If you are looking for a bargain you can try the Premium Shopping Outlet in downtown Las Vegas as well there are some more reasonably priced shops in Planet Hollywood.
The Venetian hotel rooms were luxurious and beautiful. In colours of red and gold, two beds were swathed in curtains with a giant headboard. The beds are so comfortable and our room had a sunken living room beside the beds. The large bathroom had two sinks, a separate room for the toilet, a makeup vanity, a huge tub, and a roomy glass shower. Although it was beautiful, complete with a private pool on our level, it was incredibly ardeoush to get back to our room because the Venetian is a big hotel. But it was gorgeose because it had Italian Renaissance paintings and sculpture all over the hotel and you could step into the gondolas and travel right around the canal in the Venetian and outside where it was especially beautiful at night. The Belagio also has this beautiful light show that we watched when we were there. It is the same one from Oceans 11 where after the heist Brad Pitt, Matt Dameon, George Clooney, and all the other wonderful actors in that movie stood before leaving one at a time.
There were other times and other memories that I have coming to Vegas. This last time was just my Mom and I. We spent a lot of time out in our bathing suit by the pool at Treasure Island (which is the closest hotel to all our favourite shopping destinations). Are room was not as nice as the Venetion or Paris rooms but still a huge step up from your average hotel room in most hotels else where. We saw different shows and shopped at varied places. We played the slot machines and got free drinks while we did.
In the end, Vegas is a memorable place to visit, good or bad. I think everyone loves the crowds and rowdy atmosphere at 3:00 am. There are so many beautiful hotels too. But after a trip, it is always good to be in your own bed and away from the crowd.
It’s cold and the frost hangs in the air, babies breath frozen.
And although it’s warm and toasty inside, a shadow draws near and stuns the day,
Looking for that sunny winter clear cheer but my eyelashes are stuck with snow so thick it’s icy to blink.
Do you know the passing of the hours, the days that are devoured devoid and devastated by times stopping ice cold.
I go where I can, I go where I must.
But I wish for sunshine sublime sweet light.
I wish for beaches sand white as bone.
I pray for the days I lost this past ete, bring back the fresh grass that rabbits hop through
Find hope in the warm breeze of a starry night, liquid gold touching the sky.
Find transcendence in the brush of barefeet through sand on the beach each crystal exfoliates and brings me to shore as the water laps at my toes bubble gum pink for the month.
And I’ll sit and tell you a story of how a man loved a woman, and woman learned to love a man.
A summer romance as we glide on through the days festivals ablaze.
Food dripping in sauce and tasty and shared by a glass of sangria or some type of draft.
Call out birds chirping outside my window, whirly bird send a tune loud and clear.
Drift the sun bathed days, coconut sunscreen, and splash in the pool with tens of little kids. Screaming shrill intense words to a friend and a dog jumping into swim in the pool, licking faces and shaking droplets onto everyone
Oh cold bitter blustery blizzarding days end swiftly.
My soul calls for warmth that triggers the heart, that sends blood pumping for the first of the tulips and call of the warm breeze … Fantastic.