For November Notes the Day 9 song is called ” 1-800 – 273 – 8255″ Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid. I reversed the songs for Day 8 and Day 9 so Day 9’s actual song was completed yesterday. As per usual combining prompts with Sarah from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix Prompt of a shadorma form poem about emotion.
Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel via Unsplash
“1-800 – 273 – 8255” by Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid
“The Shadorma is a Spanish poetic form made up of a stanza of six lines
(sestet) with no set rhyme scheme.
It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5.
Before we go any further, I need to introduce Christine’s blog as a whole, it’s called: Brave and Reckless.
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Christine?
My name is Christine Ray and I’m from Havertown, Pennsylvania (outside of Philadelphia). I blog at Brave and Reckless. I feel as if sometimes I should call myself the ‘accidental blogger!’ I came to the WordPress blog site to do one piece of writing called: What Every Woman Knows. The piece is based on rape culture, sexual harassment, and sexual trauma and is, sadly, more relevant now more than ever.
Writing that one post literally changed my whole life. I rediscovered that I loved writing. I also love to write poetry and I’m thrilled to be part of an active writing community. My blogging goals include continuing to grow and strengthen Secret First Draft, the Go Dog Go Café and Blood Into Ink, all projects that are very near and dear to my heart.
2. Do You Have Any Particular Blogging Goals or Things You Want to Accomplish?
My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.
The idea was that I develop discipline and prioritize my writing. I am involved with a lot of other collaborative blogs. And sometimes my own personal writing keeps moving further down the priority list than it should be moving.
Additionally, I’m registered for a course about writing child and young adult literaturein the Fall that I’m really excited about. The thought of a low-residency program to earn a Masters in Fine Arts has crossed my mind a time or two (or maybe ten!!).
“My first goal is to simply improve my writing skills maintain writing as a daily habit. When I started blogging, the deal I made with myself was simply to write 10 minutes a day. I had the option of writing a new piece from scratch, working on an ongoing project, or editing a piece of writing.” – Christine Ray
3. When Did You Begin Writing or Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You?
I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I began writing but I was definitely scrawling short stories into dog-eared notebooks in middle school. As well, I started writing poetry as a teenager. I was also the editor of my high school newspaper and my senior yearbook.
Nevertheless, I have taken long breaks from writing when life has become busy but it has always been something I come back to when I’m in transition. I turned fifty-years-oldin 2016 which was a major life reassessment period for me. Writing became a primary method for me to work through my feelings.
Finding my voice again as a writer has been really powerful, though to be honest, I think other people took me seriously as a writer long before I did. There were most definitely several months where I transitioned from when I thought about myself as a middle-aged woman (who happened to write), to identifying myself as a writer and a poet, being who I am today.
Writing has become, and honest, always has been an essential part of my identity. As well, began my blog: Brave and Reckless on October 8, 2016.
4. Where do you Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing? Why is it Significant for you to Continue Writing and Blogging?
I find inspiration everywhere. Music is a big part of my writing process and song lyrics frequently inspire my workbut I’ve also been inspired by movies (Paterson is amazing);TV (you’d be amazed how much poetry there is in American Gods);beer menus, conversations with other people, and currently, a collaboration with Aurora Phoenix inspires and motivates me. The collaboration began in the comments section in one of my blog posts.
This sounds silly when I say it out loud, but when I started this particular blog in October, I had no idea that I had anything to say!The vast majority of my writing is inspired by exactly what is going on in my emotional life, in the moment.Sometimes I approach writing about those things obliquely, but often what you see is a direct reflection of my experiences during the day.
One of the most transformative experiences of blogging for me was realizing my writing resonates with other people.Every time someone writes to me and tells me that I captured exactly what they were feeling, but couldn’t articulate it, is an incentive for me to keep up with my writing.
Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.
“Every time someone writes to thank me for writing openly about depression, suicide, PTSD, or trauma, it is incentive to keep writing. Feeling like I can still make a positive impact keeps me writing and blogging. I feel that I can make a positive impact on other people by continuing to write and blog because it helps other people, not only myself.” – Christine Ray
5. Do you have any Particular Writing or Blogging Habits? What do you Enjoy Most About Writing? Is there a Time of Day you Prefer to Write?
I have a busy life and have discovered that the only way to fit writing and blogging into my life is to awake at 4:00 a.m.From 4:00 a.m to 6: 00 a.m. I write, I answer blog related comments and emails, I record ‘Spoken Word’ versions of my writing, and see to editorial duties.
As well, I have been known to write whole pieces in the Google Docs app on my phone during my commute on the bus or train.I also eat lunch at my desk, at work, and try to catch up on reading other people’s blogs. At times, I’m still awake at 10:00 p.m. doing blog related activities and tending to my own writing.I must admit that I’m tired right now. However, I expect things to calm down a bit over the upcoming summer months.
6. Can you Tell us About your Most Current Writing Projects on your Blog or Outside of it?
In addition to writing and publishing daily, I’ve been running various writing challenges on my blog. This week I challenged readers to write about a life experience using ten objectsand will be publishing my favorites on my ‘Brave and Reckless’ blog. I’ve already committed to two Writing Prompt Challenges and have my third occurring now using the prompt: “I Am More Than Breath and Bones.”
I do publish some of my work, the pieces I call “the softer side of Christine”—on Poetry Corner. I’m also happily involved as a Barista at the Go Dog Go Café. It’s been fun to put the site together and to work with a lovely cadre of writers,some of whom I’ve met and some of whom are new to me. The Cafe has a wonderful community vibe and brings out the best in writers.
My most recent project was launching Blood Into Ink (with a group of writers from WordPress and off of it).’Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma.The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.
It is open to men and women and already features some pretty fierce writing. I am proud of this project and hope that it encourages many writers to tell their stories and aids them in receiving the support and respect they deserve for their stories of survival and dealing with them after the fact.
Also, I’m working on a project called Whisper and the Roar, a feminist literary collective site. I am still an author for Whisper and the Roar. All of the writers on this site are feminist but the content is not overtly feminist.I piece I wrote for this particular site is called “Ode to a Black Eye.” Such as many of my pieces, this post is autobiographical (my childhood friend Wendy had the black eye and we finally talked about the incident when we reconnected on Facebook.
“Blood Into Ink’ has a safe and respectful environment for stories of survival to be told. It gives a home for stories from those who have lived through sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and other forms of trauma. The focus of the blog is to discover our ‘warrior voices’ by telling our truths.” – Christine Ray
7. Have you Published any Writing or Poetry outside of your Blog? If not do you plan to in the Future?
I recently had a couple of pieces of poetry published in Felan Magazinewhich has lit a fire under me to publish more writing into print. Felan centers its issues around a particular feeling so it was easy to pull my best pieces about Anger (Issue 10) and Love (Issue 11).
8. Can you Briefly Describe to us Your Writing Process? Are there Certain Genres of Writing and Reading You Prefer?
The vast majority of my writing happens on my PC in the early morning hourswith music playing in the background. Some of my work happens on my phone on the train. Some it is sprawled into notebooks until I have time to typeit up. I’ve been known to write a poem or two during long and dull meetings at work (hopefully none of my co-workers are reading this).
Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy! I’m obsessed with Jane Austen (I’ve got a Jane Austen quote as a tattoo) and I’ve read the Harry Potter series a ridiculous amount of times. I love psychological British mysteries, Young Adult literature, as well as, science fiction, and fantasy. All in all, I’m a serious book nerd!
“Poetry is definitely my primary form of written expression but I do write some prose, some short fiction, and essays. As a reader, I tend to joke that I will read the back of a cereal box if nothing else is handy!” – Christine Ray
9. Do you have any Wisdom for Other Bloggers and Writers?
Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day.Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!
Also, don’t obsess about numbers. Fifteen extremely engaged followers are more rewarding than two-hundred disengaged writers.Be brave and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s writing. I have picked up a lot of followers this way. Most vitally, I have made excellent friends by commenting on the writing/blogs of other people.
In addition, I recommend subscribing and responding to the Daily Post. I want everyone who writes and/or blog to know that their voice matters and their truths matter too. Don’t worry about your audience, worry about what you need to say.
There are twelve million people on WordPress—your people (your followers) are out there.You may need to look for them, but there is someone out there who wants to read what you have to say.
10. Is there Anything Else you Want to Share, something you think is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
Things have calmed down a little but I spent three days replying to all the comments I received! I still don’t know how the WordPress editors found me or that piece.However, I try to use my newfound readership for good and give lots of other really good writers exposure on Brave and Reckless(I feel like I should be quoting Spiderman or something here)!
“Make writing a daily habit even if you can only dedicate ten minutes a day. Write what you like to read! Find writers whose work you like and follow them too! Check out those who follow your blog—you may like their blog too!” – Christine Ray
11. For fun, do you Have Any Especially Favorite Bloggers that you Love to Follow?
There are so many blogs that I love! My big writing crushes are:
The Feathered Sleep — Candice Louisa Daquin’s writing is elegant, exquisite, and emotionally resonant.
A Journal for Damned Lovers — Nicholas is gritty and dark and never glamorizes life, love or himself. He takes you on journeys into the human psyche that you didn’t even know you wanted to go one. He appeals to my darkness and I want to grow up and write like SK someday!
The Lithium Chronicles –Nicole Lyons and the other poets she highlights on her site are badass warriors! There is an electricity to Nicole’s work, a buzz that gets under my skin, and into my blood. Some of her writing is similar to what could be pulled from own diaries.
Additionally, all of the writers at the collectives I work with are amazing and deserving of a read.
12. Can You Please Share with us a few of Your Favorite Pieces from your Blogging?
Thank you so much to Christine Ray for being so detailed and open sharing her writing and poetry with us on my blog and on the Go Do Go Cafe.If you would like to be featured as a writer, blogger, or person who is blogging/writing about a causeplease reach out to me through my contact page. Next week`s interview will be a ‘Rewind Interview,’ a blogger I’ve interviewed in the past.
It takes a great deal of pushing and a lot of poking to make me angry, but Yasmine knew which buttons to push. The neighbors never heard us fight, until that night in August.
“You always want to be together; I can’t be with you all the time. I’ve work and sometimes I need alone time, and occasionally, guy time.” I yelled.
Yasmine flicked back her long brown hair and laughed at my rage; she was far away inside her head again; I could tell.
“Look who’s upset,” she said softly. “It took me a long time to make you this angry, Logan. I thought you would never notice me. You’re always leaving me home alone.”
“Yasmine, I’m extremely upset at you, scared for your mental well being, and scared for our relationship. But you think my words are a joke.” I say.
She laughs and slids her arm around my shoulders. I shrug it off. Yasmine crosses her arms and says:”Calm down Logan. Stop being such an ass. Your married, you don’t get space anymore.”
“Being married doesn’t mean no space.You never used to be this way Yasmine. You did stuff with your friends and visited relatives. You also worked as a successful interior designer.” I told her.
“Now, you stay home all day and you lay in bed. I’m trying and I know you’re not well. But one of us has to work and support us financially. You need to look for ways to occupy your time. Read, write, watch TV, walk, or pretend you’re designing a new interior space.”
Yasmine gave a thin smile at my suggestions. “I suppose you want me to keep visiting the psychiatrist, the doctor who says I’m suffering from depression because I lost our baby.” Tears leaked out of Yasmine’s deep brown eyes. I wiped them away.
“I think it’s best for you Yasmine. The psychiatrist makes sense. You’re sad, tearful, and you can barely make it out of bed. You’re also anxious and you’ve terrible self-esteem right now. When I tell you you’re wonderful, talented, and beautiful, you don’t believe me. Yesterday, you said you believed you were a baby killer.” I said.
Yasmine smirked.”Before the baby died, I believed you. Now, I don’t believe you’re telling me the truth. I’m in awful shape and I think you’re placating me. I believe you’d rather by anywhere else and not with me.”
“Listen,” I told Yasmine. ” When I said I need space, all I meant was I need some time each week, where I can tye up loose ends from work. I also need a night away from you every week or two. For my own mental health, I need a few hours where I can forget and not deal with our issues.”
“I talked to your friends Becca and Lynn,” I told her. “They said they’d love to take turns hanging out with you one night a week if you’re okay with that? You guys could go see a movie or go shopping, something along those lines?”
Yasmine buried herself beneath the comforter on the couch.”I don’t want to see my friends, look at me? And I need you here Logan; I was thinking, we could have another baby?”
“It’s not that I don’t want another baby with you sweet heart, ” I say carefully. “I keep telling you, it’s not your fault Jacob died. It happens to many woman with their first pregnancy. It’s just right now, you’re still recovering from losing Jacob.” I told Yasmine.
She covered her ears, “I don’t want to hear it Logan. Stop talking. It’s my fault Jacob died; I didn’t take care of myself. Now, I’m sick and I feel I can’t do anything. Everything makes me tired and I’m so mad at myself.”
I sat down beside Yasmine and rubbed her back.” Relax. We have time. Work on feeling better. Try to take a short walk, even around the block. Be in the sun on the patio to get more vitamin D and sleep whenever you need. However, you have to promise to take your pill.” I said.
“I don’t want to! I hate my med. It makes me feel foggy.” Yasmine complained.
“The doctor says in a month or so, when you’re used to the medication, the fogginess will go away. But you have to let your body get used to the anti-depressant. I notice when you take them, you’re much happier. You get out of bed. You make conversation. You sketch out designs for rooms,” I tell her.
“But Logan . . .”
“Please, for two-weeks, try taking your pill. If you don’t, the Doctor says you’ll have to go back in hospital, Yasmine, ” I begged.
Suddenly, Yasmine flew into a rage. She pushed at me and screamed. She grabbed her car keys before I could catch her and snuck in the elevator. When I reached her parking space, it was empty. I’ve never seen Yasmine again.
Yasmine’s my wife and it hurts me to know she could be anywhere and I can’t help her. I don’t know if she’s well or still suffering from depression. No one’s been able to find her, not even a private detective.
I grieved for Yasmine. It took me two-years before I started writing my stories down in journals. I thought, when Yasmine came back, she could read about what happened in my life after she left. I tried to make my journal entertaining for her to read.
Then, they found her body. Parts of me ached which I never knew existed, when I learned Yasmine was dead. I’m not sure how they can find out how she died now. But I’ve convinced myself I caused her to commit suicide.
I tear the pages out of my journals; I had had them bound and printed into volumes for Yasmine to read. Now I know she will never be able to read what I wrote.
Broken and grieving, I destroyed all my journal volumes. All the typed pages scattered across the floor in my office. Broken journals, like my heart.
How does one heal after hurting so long, believing their other half, couldn’t be dead?
Hi happy Tuesday. Thank you! Thank you to all my 1000 followers, I appreciate you all a great deal and am so honoured to have you follow me on my writing journey. I received the badge which says 1000followers but ashamedly, I haven’t figured out how to do a screen shot on my IPhone 6 or IPad Mini 4. But, you guys are amazing!
The summer flu has hit, so lucky I had some posts mostly, ready to go . . .
There is an interesting trend happening concerning the use of semi-colons, that bit of punctuation our English teachers told us, we dont need to use.
Mental illness and suicide have given the semi colon new meaning. An article from the online tool Grammerly states from project semi colon’s website:
‘“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life . . . ”’
“Who is this woman beside Uncle Terrance in a wedding dress? Was he widowed before he married you?” Aunt Rosie gazed at Katie as if she had found something she shouldn’t have touched.
“Where did you find that Katie?”
“Oh, it was out on the table by the front door. I saw Uncle Terrance in there today, taking out some boxes.” Katie said.
“Are you okay Aunt Rosie? You’ve gone pale. What’s with the picture?”
Aunt Rosie shook her head.”I can’t. I just can’t,” she said, holding her throat.
“You seem out of breath. Maybe, relax a moment and I’ll make you some lemon tea. Do you want to tell me about this photo Auntie? I think you would feel better if you did.” Katie remarked.
Aunt Rosie began to hyperventilate. It took a few minutes but Katie calmed her down. ” Nice deep breathes Auntie. That’s it, now here’s your lemon tea. It will soothe your nerves.”
Aunt Rosie sat silently and finished her tea. After about twenty minutes, she began to speak haltingly.
“Your Mom and I . . . we had a little sister, her name- her name was, Marrion. She was – was a younger sister. Only, twenty-seven when she passed on.” Tears ran down Aunt Rosie’s usually cheerful complexion.
“Your Uncle Terrance and Marrion loved each other, from -from the day they met in high school. Marrion was sixteen and Terrance had only graduated. He was working at his Dad’s construction company.”
“Mom, never said anything about her having a baby sister,” Katie said stunned.
“Sharon and I, we don’t like to talk about Marrion. There’s a reason,” Aunt Rosie remarked.
“Terrance married Marrion when she was only seventeen. I had always had feelings for Terrance, but Marrion didn’t care. She said Terrance loved her and she was right.”
“For six-years, everything was fine. I managed to hide my feelings about Terrance and Marrion and Terrance were in their own world of love. Marrion became pregnant at twenty-three and had a girl she named Lisa.” Aunt Rosie admitted.
“What happened to this baby and was Marrion alright? I don’t have a cousin named Lisa?” Katie questioned.
“I know you don’t Katie, let me explain. It’s time – time you knew the truth . . . Marrion suffered from Post – Partum depression. She didn’t care about the baby and could barely get out of bed.”
“For the last four-years of her life, Marrion was in an institution. She kept trying to kill herself. Marrion easily became immersed in self-loathing.” Aunt Rosie recalled.
“Sharon, Terrance, and I, we wanted the old Marrion back. No medication seemed to help her. ECT only made Marrion distant, it was if the real Marrion wasn’t there anymore.”
“Who raised Lisa?” Katie wondered aloud.
“Your Mom raised her dear. Terrance asked her if she would be Lisa’s guardian. He said he couldn’t handle taking care of Lisa while working and visiting Marrion.” Aunt Rosie’s voice began to quiver.
“One day Marrion wasn’t in her room or even in her ward. We found her hanging from a storage room ceiling.” Aunt Rosie sobbed.
Katie went to comfort her but Aunt Rosie held Katie back.” Lisa isn’t Lisa anymore. Your Mom raised Lisa from the time she was three-months-old. Lisa’s your older sister Denise.”
“What?” Katie gasped, having to sit down herself. She was shocked.
“Your Mom asked Lisa after Marrion died, if she would like to choose a different name for herself. Almost five-year-old Lisa chose the name Denise. It was the name she had given to her most treasured Barbie.”
Aunt Rosie’s admission hurt Katie.”How did I not know Denise and I weren’t sisters, but cousins? We look so different in appearance. Her hair is auburn and my hair is blond. She has curves and I’m athletically built.”
“Not to mention, Mom never told me who Denise’s Dad was, she said Denise had been the result of an old boyfriend she didn’t want anything to do with now.” Katie said aghast.
“How did you get together with Uncle Terrance?”
Rosie smiled: “Terrance was devastated when Marrion died and had loved her so much. But he needed comforting.We grew closer and got married.”
“It took a few years, but Uncle Terrance eventually loved me as much as he’d loved Marrion, but in a different way I think. Things came together and Sharon met your Dad and had you. We never spoke of Marrion to anyone but your Dad.”
Aunt Rosie had stopped crying. She smiled and Katie could see she was happy again, as if a burden had been lifted from her shoulders.
Katie thought about her Aunt’s revelations: “That’s unbelievable Aunt Rosie, you guys have all been hiding this from me. I need to talk to my Mom.”
“Oh, you can’t ever tell Sharon, dear.”
“But why?” Katie said frustrated.
“I promised her, Uncle Terrance promised her, and so did your Dad. You were never to know the truth about Denise and the sad fate of Marrion. Sharon was close to Marrion because they were nearer in age. Marrion’s death is a wound your Mother carries and it never heals.”
Katie sighed. “I wish Grandma had told me about this before she died.”
Aunt Rosie smiled softly. “She never knew the truth either, dear. We told her Marrion had a reaction to a new medication and died.”
Katie shook her head sadly,” Talk about skeletons.”
Apology: I’m sorry, this is way too long for Flashfiction but the story just developed and formed. I tried to cut it down and it’s still too long 😦
I am sitting by a government building and admiring its interesting architectural elements. I am waiting for my contact to arrive.
It’s fall and I can feel the nip in the air as winter approaches. It’s why I have chosen to wear my new coat. It’s long, hits me mid-calf, and is made of a silk-lined pink-wool with black buttons. My makeup is flawless down to the lipstick that matches my coat and my hair is curled artfully. I’m anxious, but I need to appear in control.
My contact ‘Winston’arrives. He is dressed impeccably in a tailored suit and expensive shoes. He could be any government businessman. Winston looks at me and I can tell from his calm expressionless demeaner he knows about ‘intrigue’ well.
“Do you have it?” I ask him curtly “you’ve had plenty of time.” He looks at me sternly, “time is money” Winston says and I hand him a small bag filled with twenty-thousand dollars.
I stare up at Winston and hold out my gloved hand. He places a small memory stick in the leather of my palm and passes me a hard copy in an envelope. “It’s pretty obvious” Winston murmers matter-of-factly, ” Senator Smith’s wife is cheating on him. She has been for seven years. Two years after he found out, he began his own affair.”
“And before?” I question.
“He was faithful for the five years they dated. Since the day he meant her, he never slept with another woman until five years ago. Before Ashley, um you… he was miserable. He channeled his energy into his work and became a young Senator.” I shook Winston’s hand,”anytime, Ms. Taylor.”
I stare at the memory stick with the evidence of Linda’s affair. I knew about the affair of course. Jamie’s wife Linda was the one who first cheated. He had loved her deeply. She had wounded him and he hadn’t recovered until he meant me. But Jamie was still married to Linda. A piece of his heart hung onto her, even though she was always with Daniel (Jamie’s cousin) and hardly spoke to Jamie.
Slowly, I walked away from the ornate government building, walked down the street past some trendy shops, and into a restaurant called Linguini, where I met Daniel, Linda’s boyfriend.
“She gets a divorce or she disappears,” I tell Daniel. Daniel’s face turns pale when I present him with the envelope Winston gave me.”Why does she string Jamie along Daniel? You and I could both be free to be with who we love, if only Linda would sign the divorce papers.”
Daniel sighs, “she won’t sign the papers because she gets almost nothing. Just a million for twelve years of her life.”
“But she cheated first and she hates him now. Jamie didn’t start seeing me until two years after Linda first cheated. She had her chance.”
“It makes me angry too, Ashley. I have lots of money, but she gets hysterical when I ask her about signing the divorce papers.”
“If she doesn’t the media will know what a whore she was. How she ripped apart her marriage with the senator, cheating with you. If that’s not enough I’ll have her sent away. She’ll never see you again Daniel.”
A growl comes from Daniel, ” I’ll get her to sign the papers. I wish you would have came to me and we could have worked out a better situation for both our lives, Ashley. You didn’t have to play dirty.”
Daniel left the restaurant quickly and I sipped my Mascoto deep in thought. Jamie arrived soon after, his eyes sparkling at me serenely.” I have missed you so much,” he tells me kissing me softly and then deeply as we get lost in each other.
Jamie sits down beside me and puts his arm around me while we order food and drinks. “I have something to tell you,” I start talking nervously. I tell Jamie the whole story of me highering Winston to dig up proof of Linda’s indescretions. When I’m done talking a tear escapes my eye and Jamie wipes it away with his thumb.
“Ash, I wish you’d told me sooner. We both would have felt better if I knew what you were doing.”
“Are you mad?” I manage.
“No, not mad at all. This proves to me what I know; you love me and are faithful to me. You’re also a smart and savvy woman. I told myself I’d never be fooled by a woman like Linda again. That’s why I sent her the divorce papers and that’s why she’ll go to trial and get the death penalty if she doesn’t sign the divorce papers.” I gasp.
Jamie’s face has gone rigid and I can tell it is difficult for him to say the next words:”We did have a child once. A little girl named Amber. She was sweet and only two when Linda strangled her for crying loudly when they were home alone one night. Linda said the noise was driving her crazy. . .” I huddled into Jamie stunned. With a vacant look in his eyes Jamie whispers,”she was my wife. I kept her secret. I thought she was depressed. Then I found out she was cheating.”
“That’s terrible Jamie. I can’t believe you’ve been keeping this inside you all these years.” I whisper.
He smiles at me, “two years later I met you and you made me feel whole again. I promised myself I would cut ties with Linda. She wants more money but I won’t give her a cent. She killed my innocent daughter, and I have all the evidence necessary to put her in jail on death row.”
The food arrived and Jamie and I ate hungrily keeping us from saying more about the situation. Although, I wanted Linda gone, apart of me wondered whether she had struggled with postpartum depression; maybe she was still dealing with a mental illness untreated. She did seem volatile.
One instant I was eating and the next I heard a commotion in the restaurant. Linda was standing at our table screaming at Jamie. Daniel was close behind her trying to calm her down. I guessed his discussion with her based on my threats hadn’t gone well.
Linda threw the divorce papers on our table and shouted, “I want more money! If you don’t give me more, I’ll shoot the skank.” A handgun was pointed at my chest. Daniel and Jamie were carefully, attempting to settle Linda down and obtain the gun when Linda cracked and pulled the trigger. People screamed as the shot rang out.
I felt a burning in my chest, then extreme pain. I saw the blood on my hands as I tried to stop the steady oozing with my thick wool coat. Everything was happening quickly. Then Linda held the gun to her own head and despite pleading from Daniel, and the sounds of horror others were making in the restaurant, the gun went off. I briefly thought about how many people at Linguini would be traumatized by this shooting; not only Daniel, Jamie, and I.
I shrieked, surprised I still had a voice. My head was cloudy and I ached in pain as Jamie was trying to stop the flow of blood on my chest and call 911. Daniel was a mess as he cried over Linda’s body. There was blood everywhere and I registered the noise and panic of the people around us from a distance.
I slept fretfully for ages. I dreamt awful scenarios and I almost woke up before tumbling back into a nightmare. When I finally awake, I’m at a hospital and I can see out a window to the government building below. My memory is pricked but Jamie is asleep beside me, his head on the bed. I adjust my position on the bed as carefully as I can without hurting myself and waking Jamie.
The funeral for Linda was weeks ago. Daniel was devastated, especially when Jamie told him about his past with Linda. He felt Daniel had a right to know the truth.
I had been in the hospital a month in semi-consciousness. I almost died and Jamie had spent most of his time waiting for me, (while taking a leave of his senate responsibilities)to wake up and live the life we wanted together. “We’re free Jamie,” I tell him when I am allowed to leave the hospital. He grins and my pulse increases.
“I thought I’d lost you Ashley. The doctors told me it was a long shot you’d recover. ” I held Jamie’s hand in solidarity. I was done with intrigue and blackmailing people, for now…