Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moving Forward (revised)

You may all remember my story, Moving Forward, from early on in this blog. I have revised it and lengthened it quite a bit, and I wanted to post it for you guys, to get your opinions as well as the opinions of my class. Please, tell me what you think, and I would be glad to receive any feedback you may have for me.

As we left Los Angeles, Tammy looked at my father. Our next stop was Phoenix. My sister and I filled the back seat of the family car, our father took the wheel, and Tammy, the dreaded stepmother, took shotgun.

Five weeks ago, Sam and I watched as our father took Tammy as his wife. We smiled as we stood beside Tammy at the altar, but we disagreed with our father’s choice. Sure, Tammy was nice, but she was not the mother type. She could never replace our real mom, no matter how hard she tried.

Now, we would have to be stuck with her for an entire week in the middle of the desert. We would have to actually spend time with her; Sam and I shuddered at the thought of having to stay in the same room as Tammy.

We kept thinking if mom were still around, we would not be leaving LA.

I thought of mom, wondering how she was, where she was. I looked to the sky, and I remembered the call.

That day, our father answered the phone. As the person on the other end of the call spoke, our father’s jaw dropped and he fell to his knees as soon as the phone was back on the receiver. Sam and I ran to his side.

“Are you okay, dad?” I said. I looked into his eyes.

“I am fine, girls, but I’m afraid your mother—” his voice broke. He opened his mouth to speak again, but his words failed him. Tears welled up in his eyes and I knew. I just knew what happened.

“What happened to mom?” Sam said. She fell into place beside him.

“Mom’s not with us anymore, is she Dad?” I asked him, trying to find a bluff in his face.

He shook his head and the empty feeling in my stomach grew. Sam looked at him with wide eyes.

“Your mother passed away this morning,” he said to Sam, and she finally understood. She latched on to our father and buried her head in his arms. I stepped away, unable to speak.

That night, he handed us an envelope with our names neatly printed on the front. It was in our mother’s handwriting.

My precious girls,” the letter started. We would always scoff at this line. After all, she walked away from us when we needed her most.

I love you two, I really do. I’m sorry that I never told you anything, and that I left when I did. You will never understand this, and I don’t think I understand why I did what I did, but at the time, I felt like it was what I needed to do.

Christie, I need you to keep your head out and look out for your little sister. I know it’s going to be hard, but please, do it for me. Work hard and I want to be able to watch you grow up to be successful in whatever you want to do.

Sammie, baby girl, keep smiling. I cannot bear to see you without that beautiful smile on your face. Step in to the California sunshine and forget anything ever happened.

I have never had to do this, and I did not want to do this in a letter, but I need to say goodbye to the two of you before it’s too late. Please, forgive me for leaving, and forgive me for every wrong I had ever done against the two of you.

I love you, my precious daughters, and I hope you never forget that.

Love you forever,


The first time we read that letter we could not make any sense of it.

I looked out the window and saw the trees and houses of California fly past us. I turned to Sam and saw that she held a single piece of paper. As her eyes moved across the page, I knew it was the letter. She and I would read it every night, trying to make some sense of this.

Had she known that she was dying? Did she want to keep us in the dark of an illness? Why did she leave? Questions we would never get the answers to.

A tear fell from the corner of Sam’s eye and I put my hand on her shoulder. She looked at me and smiled.

I wanted to tell Sam that mom was looking over us. I wanted to tell her that everything was going to be okay now. I could not find the words to express it.

Tammy’s screeching voice brought us back from the emotions that were rushing through our heads. She was going on and on about what stores she wanted to visit, and what she wanted our father to buy for her.

He looked at us through the rear-view mirror. An apologetic look formed and what was left unsaid was understood. He knew we were upset about Tammy, but he married her anyway.

He thought he was doing the right thing for us, giving us a mother, even if she wasn’t a good one. He thought we could use some female advice. Tammy wa just the opposite.

She would ignore us if we went to her with our problems, and her advice was anything but good.

I thought of mom. I looked to the sky and thought.

“Mom, if you’re out there, please, watch over dad and make sure he’s safe against the witch,” I said under my breath so no one else in the car could hear me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Secret Sanctuary

So it's been a while since I've posted, and I do apologize. I've been dealing with some issues, but I am back now. to make up for my absence, I'm going to post a longer story that I wrote a long time ago for a friend that she posted here. I added some more to it, and did some edits since then, to turn in to my Advanced Fiction class. I hope you guys like it, it's one of my favorite pieces that I have done.

Our secret garden, our secret place. A place in the middle of the forest that has long since been forgotten. Our nights together had come to a close. It had been months since an escape to our hidden sanctuary had taken place.

We would not run away again. Our time together had come to an end. We had lost our secrets, our love. Now, our nights were all but forgotten, they were gone.

I stepped out of our flat and started for the woods. It was mid-afternoon, a different time for me to be going there, and I was going alone. We had always gone to watch the sunset and the bright stars, the two of us hiding from the world.

I stopped short just before the clearing. Music was coming from our spot. I ducked under the bushes and snuck a peek. A pair of speakers was sitting on the little table that he had brought the last time we had visited.

I saw her first. I froze. She was seated on the little bench, hands intertwined with his.

He had brought another woman with him. They were speaking in whispers as their hands stayed together, and he knelt in front of her. As they stood to leave, he spoke in a clear voice.

"We can come back as often as we would like, this spot can be ours."

I did not know what to think. He had cast me aside so easily, and now I was sure he had forgotten me. I created this secret hideaway with him, and now he was willing to share our spot with another.

As they left the clearing, they passed by my hiding spot. A small diamond sat upon her finger, I knew what had happened between them in the clearing.

When they were out of sight, I stepped into the clearing. The clean white bed was untouched, still made. The canopy I had hung from an overhead branch had been pulled aside, but that was how I had left it nearly a year and a half ago, when he told me his goodbyes.

The past had been lost, and now I had to live in the present. I loved him. I never stopped loving him. Although I could see that now he loved her.

I was alone.

I sat on the bed and laid back on the pillows. Looking at the sky, I remembered the past. I thought about the very first time we had needed an escape from the world.

We were hand-in-hand, walking. Just walking. I was telling him about my crappy dead-end job as a receptionist and he was complaining about how his boss had fired most of the people in his department, but knew she only kept him on because she liked how he looked in his suit.

We had been together for almost five years at that point. We had been married for two. We walked along a trail in the woods, and came to a halt where the path ended. The trees surrounded us, but we wanted to push even further. We stepped off the trail and into the forest. Another five minutes of walking passed when we came across a clearing. It was small and untouched. We stepped into the clearing and sat down in the long grass.

I leaned against him as he wrapped his arm around me. I had a secret to tell him. I was expecting a child, our first.

Before I could tell him the happy news, he took a long look around and suggested that we make the clearing our hideaway. I followed his gaze and smiled.

“Perhaps, to make it a bit more comfortable, we make a little secret garden. Maybe we could put a small mattress or a bench,” I suggested.

A week later he brought me back to the clearing and I saw that he had placed a queen sized mattress, covered in white linens, and a little bench in the very center of the garden. I looked up at him, eyes wide.

"I love you," he said in a whisper.

"I love you, too," I said. “I have something to tell you.”

“What is it my love?” he said, sitting me down on the bed.

I took his hand and placed it on my abdomen, a smile forming on my lips. "I'm pregnant," I said.

A smile broke out on his face. He pulled me into his arms and we had a few moments of complete bliss. This was my first good memory at our secret garden. The first moment of many that were to take place over the course of a year.

A few months after I told him our happy news, I ended up losing the child. We still went to our place, to remember the good times, to be able to escape the reality of loss and hard work. Not long after, however, things started going sour in our relationship. He would work late nights, he would be out with his friends more often, and he slowly stopped telling me that he loved me. I would not leave our flat, having quit my job out of the stress and pain of losing the one thing that could have kept the two of us together.

A few months after the three year anniversary of our marriage, he told me he wanted a divorce. I was shocked, of course, but I understood. We were not the same people anymore. We had grown apart. We loved each other, but it had been a long time since we had been in love with each other.

Soon after, we parted ways. I was able to keep the flat while he got much of the furniture inside. I saw him a few times after, surrounded by his friends and the new girl he was dating. We would say our quick hellos, but nothing more before he walked away.

Soon after, it would only be a nod, and before I knew it, I avoided his gaze altogether.

I thought about visiting our spot, our sanctuary, just once more before I let go. I had to give myself some closure from the fairy tale I had once been a part of. When I finally decided to visit, all my emotions came crashing down. There was no closure like I had thought there would be. Instead, I longed to go back, hopeful that I would see him again.

Now, it was not our spot. It was his spot. It was her spot. He could bring her back as often as he wanted, they could be happy together.

It was not my place anymore. I stood up and walked toward the trees. I did not look back. I could not look back. I walked away from the past, and into the future, never to return to that place again.