At least the writing went well

I had sort of a cry baby day today.

Just really tired and everything’s getting to me.

But at least the writing’s gone well today. I should probably have the novel finished by the end of the month. For some reason, that feels kind of scary. Not sure why. It’s my 6th novel – 8th, if you count a couple that were sort of early disasters and didn’t get published.

Here’s a section of Chapter 23 in Blessed By Light. Approx. 3 pages.  Have a good night, gang. Sleep tight.

*****

23.

Presumed Innocence

I BELIEVE THAT I AM INDEBTED TO LOVE. And indebted to you, for bringing me love. Who could have guessed that this year would become so hard? Who knew I was gonna need so much love? Who could have known that the world I had become comfortable in was no longer going to be enough? A world too full of conversations with a wife who was dead and who had died way too young.

But there you were. Just a girl in the night. Not even looking for love. Not to give it or to receive it. And yet. You were a light to me. A beacon just guiding me up to an unexpected shore.

And now I can’t imagine not loving you with everything I am.

I lost both my parents within a few months of each other, but I was on the road so much back then. I barely remember the loss even though I know I felt it. I have songs from back then to prove it – hit songs. Songs that half the world knows all the words to now – 30 years later.

Some of it was rage. Some of it was just plain tears. You know.

I was surprised that my mama, a woman who was filled with such innocence, who combatted my daddy’s drunken shit with so much grace for so many years; I was surprised that she ultimately found the world unbearable without him in it. And here, I would have put money on it that her best years were still to come once he was dead.

I was so wrong. She didn’t last 3 months.

I understand loss a lot better now, of course. I know that no one’s gonna ever guess who anyone loves in this world or why. Life just comes at you and sometimes love comes with it. And the years happen; they just unfold and go on.

I never dreamed George was gonna die before me, even though he was a couple years older. I just never thought about him dying at all. It doesn’t make any sense to me that he could be gone.

The last thing he said to me was when we were out there on the porch, after my heart attack. He was talking more about you, actually.

He said, “Take your fucking pills, man. She doesn’t want you to die.”

I told him, “It’s easy for you to say. You’re not the one who can’t get it up because of all those goddamn prescriptions.”

He thought that was funny. I guess, me not getting it up. And me getting so angry about it that I threw all those fucking prescriptions away.

I kind of wish that woman would have pled not guilty, so that she’d have to maybe get up on that stand and talk about George.

Did she really know him? Were they really having some sort of affair there in New York that he never said anything about? Not even to me? If they were, my god, when did he find the time?

And what could he have done to her that could make her so mad she’d want to shoot him?

He was 70 years old; still chasing skirts. Maybe that was it. He’d been married way too many times. He was just not gonna commit anymore to any woman. He said that all the time. And some of those gals he fucked weren’t that much older than some of his kids. You’re not even that much older than one of his kids. And he fucked you like nobody’s business…

You can smile, honey. It won’t hurt my feelings. We’re just talking; throwing the truth out there. He made you feel good. I know it.

He was like a kid, too, though.

Driving that Hellcat.

But he knew how to love life. That’s for certain. Boy, do I have some memories.

✽✽✽

The last time I saw my mama, she looked like an angel. She was so fragile, though, and so filled with grief.

My daddy had just died.

I didn’t attend the funeral because all my presence did back then, in public places, was cause chaos. So I just visited her at home.

Sat on the couch in the front room, of all places. We always used to sit in the kitchen. Her grief, I guess, made her feel formal. The kitchen table was for her laughter, or all those years of singing along to the radio.

That was my mama in the kitchen.

So we sat together on the couch, stiff and sad. She talked so quietly.

I hated to keep asking her, “What did you say?” So I missed most of what she had said. And then I kissed her goodbye. And then I went back on the road.

Now I wish I hadn’t worried so much about her feelings, about making her repeat herself, because she died 3 months later and I never did find out what she had wanted to say to me about my daddy.

I know now that she saw him so differently than I did. I hated that man.  I really did.

When he died, I found room inside myself to forgive him, or to make allowances for his wasted dreams. I understood it better, him wanting to sing in bars and then me coming along and spoiling his plans. But, still. He was brutal.

At least he never hit my mama.

Just me.

Then sometimes my brother.

Never my little sister, though.  He never hit her. I had once thought that by the time she’d come along, he was just worn out. Or his belt was.

But really I think he just thought girls were special – you didn’t hit ‘em.

He never hit her.

My little sister, she was just the sweetest thing. Just like my mama. Soft-spoken. She liked to laugh. She wore little dresses that made her seem so prim, even when the 60s were well under way and girls started to wear blue jeans everywhere.

Not my sister. Half the time, she looked like she was on her way to church.

I was so shocked to find out that she was not a virgin. She was only 15.

She was dating this guy who was a good friend of mine – another guitar player. We sometimes played in the same bands, you know. Just kids.

I went up to his room one afternoon. I knew he’d skipped school. Both his parents worked. They were gone all day. It was easy for him to skip school. We used to hang out in his room and drink beers that we’d swipe from his old man’s private fridge in the garage. You know. Smoke cigarettes. Play records. Hang out.

I went over to his house; the kitchen door was always unlocked. I went straight up to his room and there he was in bed. Fucking some girl!

I mean, really fucking her. I could see.

But then, in shock, he rolls off her because I’d walked in, and it was my little sister!

That was funny.

She was so embarrassed.

I was just stunned. I didn’t know she knew about sex. She sure found out earlier than I had.

She was scared that I was gonna tell, but I didn’t tell anyone. Except my brother, you know. We still shared a room.

That night, I said, “You will never guess who was fucking Joe today…”

And when I told him, you know what he said? He said, “Was she pretty with no clothes on?”

I couldn’t believe he asked that! She was our little sister. But, you know. I sort of thought about it then and I said, “Yeah. She’s pretty without her clothes on.” She was.

She died kinda young. One of those female things. Ovaries. Cancer. I was on the road then, too. I talked to her on the phone long distance, though, whenever I could. And she’d always get concerned because long distance was so expensive back then. But she was the baby girl, you know? Anything for her. I miss her, too. She had the sweetest laugh. Just like my youngest daughter. They sound the same.

✽✽✽

© 2019 Marilyn Jaye Lewis

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