The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind.

She walked along the tracks, the sun shimmering in the distance where the heat was radiating so much that everything seemed to be distorted, including the train station up ahead.

The tears rained down her face, smudging mascara, and putting rivulets within her makeup. The sobbing had stopped long ago, before she’d even reached the tracks. She was probably not even aware that still she cried.

Reaching the station she clambered up onto the platform and wandered over to the ladies toilets where she went in and washed all of her makeup off. Looking in the mirror she whispered to herself, “so what did you expect? Really? That he would profess his undying love for you, drop to his knees and propose?” Realising that this train of thought was not going to do anything other than realise another bout of crying, Boe washed her face once again, and drying it on the paper towels provided, straightened herself up, collected her suitcase and left the room.

Walking up to the ticket machine, she purchased one ticket – a one way ticket back to the city. The very last place on earth she wished to go. Moving over to the timetable on the wall Boe worked out that she had less than twenty minutes to wait before the next train would whisk her away from the town where she had never been any happier.

Boe walked over to one of the bench seats currently in the shade that looked out over the stations platform, and across the tracks. The view was so pretty. The station oversaw the main part of town. The part she thought, that was the prettiest. All the store fronts with their timbered board walks and pretty lace work in a myriad of soft pastel colours. Planter boxes in windows and baskets of flowers hanging from porches. It was such a beautiful town, and she couldn’t believe that she wanted to get as far away from it as possible.

It was Sunday though, so for the most part the stores were all closed, and the traffic was minimal. Sundays in Longview was always relaxed. Most people took off for the lake with families and friends at this time of the year. Swimming, boating and picnicking being the main past-times. Boe was so going to miss those times, especially with Luc.

She’d passed by the store and dropped a letter in through the letterbox telling her boss that she had to leave town suddenly, and that she wouldn’t be in on Wednesday like she usually was. Lucky for her she was only on casual wages – she didn’t have to wait and put in two weeks notice.

Once she got into the city, and home to her Mamma’s place, she would contact Janie and let her bestie know what had happened, where she was and that she was going to be okay. She knew she would be. She’d managed on her own before, she would again, at least this time she wouldn’t be alone for long.

Hearing a train in the distance she looked up and along the track, so she didn’t see him when he walked onto the platform through the station gate. Nor did she see the relief that crossed his face when he saw her still sitting there. Slowly he walked over to where she was, and sat down beside her on the bench. That’s when startled, she turned to face him. Before she could form any thought, let alone say a word, he took one of her hands in his and said, “forgive me Boetica. I didn’t think. I just reacted, and reacted badly at that. Please believe me when I say I love you, and I hope you will forgive me. That you will stay, and never ever leave me again.”

Boe looked into his eyes. They were warm and brown liquid pools of sorrow. He truly was sorry, she could see that but, “How can I? Why should I for that matter.” A spark of anger flashing across her face.

“It was wrong of me to react the way I did, and I can never undo the damage I did by leaving. But I hope you’ll give me the chance to try. When I came home after coming to my senses, and discovered you had packed and gone… a large part of me wanted to just curl up and die, and I realised that my heart is tied to you irrevocably, and that there is no way in the world I could ever live without you. Besides,” he said as, still clasping her hand he slid down onto the floor of the platform, and on bended knee said, “if you leave, I won’t get a chance to tell you every day how much I love you, or how sorry I am for screwing things up so badly. Marry me Boe, keep me bound to you forever. Allow me to love you and our baby the way I should, the way you deserve. Marry me, please.”

“Yes,” was all she said. Radiant now, a smile lit her face, because she knew that this was the right path for all of them. She knew it in her heart.

The Cemetery

I love to write. I also love reading, and anything else that provides me with some sort of escapism. It wouldn’t be stepping too far from the truth to say, that I was unique in my family in that way. My family are all doctors, lawyers, judges and the like. I don’t mean to be dismissive of them at all. I respect and admire all of them for what they do on a daily basis. They actually scare me senseless, family or no. But in my family? I’m the odd duck on the pond, or the ugly duck as it were.

Mother once told me that I wasn’t adopted and that I needed to pull my socks up a bit – this was after I’d written an essay at school on where I’d come from. My mother, being the literal being she is, took exception to the piece, even though I tried to explain that it was a piece of fiction only.

For the last few years I’ve been writing on and off. Never serious, just dabbling, doubting my ability – as you do. I’ve taken my bit’s and pieces of work and thrown it in a drawer to be left mouldering. I thought that, unlike wine it wouldn’t age well.

I had no idea at the time, how wrong I was.

You see there’s this rather new and novel way (no pun intended dear reader) for a person who has the time, talent and conviction to obtain all of the assistance that once could only be found in a publishing house, all online. You can actually publish yourself if you have the drive and do the research. It was doing the research that had me end up here, as an acclaimed writer and now published, I can also say author.

Let me go back a bit first though, so you understand where I’m coming from. You see some time ago now I was, what I now term ‘unconventionally’ fired from my longterm position, and fired in a rather spectacular way. I was a loyal employee and believed that I would either retire or die before I left. I was accused of doing something I had not, and found wanting was ‘asked’ to leave. It was such a shock, for not only was I wrongly accused, I had never been fired from a job before. I had received raises, secondments and been head-hunted, but never fired. It was just before Christmas, and my family at the time, relied heavily on my income. It truly was not a good time for either my family or myself.

Approximately one week later, and heavily depressed – it was only a few days before Christmas Day, and for the first time since leaving work, I found myself alone at home. Feeling completely devastated by the circumstances I found myself in, and wallowing in self-pity – something I was unfamiliar with – I did the only thing that would make me happy – I grabbed my iPad, closed my eyes for a minute, and then began to write… the words flowed from me. I wrote a story. I have no idea how long I wrote for, but at the completion of that story, I found myself lighter of heart, and with a sense of satisfaction inside of me. I put the story in a drawer and within fifteen minutes my home was inundated with loved ones, and the story itself was completely forgotten.

Until about two weeks later when I was cleaning.

It was a lovely sunny day, and I’d been cleaning house for most of the morning, and decided that I needed a break. I grabbed my iPad and made myself a cuppa. I took my cup outside into our sunny courtyard, where I sat and browsed through my iPad.

I spotted the story I’d written, stunned that I could have forgotten it in such a short time.

I started to read.

I can remember my daughter Brianna finding me there sometime later. It truly was a beautiful day. I can also clearly remember how stunned I was, and that I could not have possibly written what I had just read – only I knew that I had. Brie asked me what ever was the matter with me, with a smile on her face and in her voice. I looked at her for a minute, and she said quite clearly too me, “Mum, you’re scaring me now. What is it?”

“Nothing, baby-girl. Just something I just read. Would you like a cuppa? I’m just about to make myself a fresh one.”
“I’d love one Mum.”
“Fine, how about you have a seat here, I’ll make us both a cuppa and be back in a minute. Oh, have a read of this. I want to know what you think of it.”
“Do I have too?”
“No,” I laughed, “of course you don’t. But I think you might like it, and as I said, I’d like your opinion. It’s just there, I’ll be back in a minute.”

Grabbing my cup, I went back into the kitchen. I joined Brie in the courtyard where she was avidly devouring my words. It made me smile.

I sat there with the sun shinning, enjoying my cuppa and waited.

“Oh my God Mum, this is fantastic,” she said. “Who’s the author, what’s the name of the book, I really want to read it.”

I sat there, I’m sure, with my mouth open, and then I gave a short laugh.

“What do you mean who’s the author. You know who wrote it!” I declared. It was at this point that I thought that having given her my iPad to read it on was perhaps not the best idea, as obviously she had cotton’ed on to the fact that I had, in fact, written it myself. I thought my girl was playing with me. How little did I know.

“Seriously Mum, who wrote it?”

Once again I just stared at her, for once completely at a loss for words. slowly contemplating the idea that perhaps she didn’t know.

“Mum?” I could tell my baby was now beginning to get annoyed with me, and the idea crept into my head that perhaps she truly didn’t realise that I had written it.

“You mean you really don’t know?” I asked.

“Now why would I ask if I knew?” she said clearly irritated.

Fair enough, I thought. Well here goes nothing. “Umm, I wrote it Brie.”

“You what?”

“I wrote it.” Once again that big grin of mine just plastered it across my face, because all of a sudden I realised, my girl had just confirmed that what I had read, was every bit as good as I thought it was.

For the next hour, there was much discussion held in our courtyard.

Suffice to say after that my husband read it, then my sister-in-law, my best friend and, well it took a fair amount of convincing, but eventually I began to realise that truly, I had nothing to lose. I just had to get it out there for others to read, a quote that I stole from my daughter by the way.

Seriously, I do believe in the end I published it just to stop my family and friends from harassing me.

I was lucky that I had been born of an age where information on publishing was only a click away. I did much research over the next few months all the while, honing my story and craft. I had nothing else to do, so I figured why not. In doing my research I realised one very pertinent fact, that I had access to millions upon millions of people. All I had to do was locate a beta team to read the manuscript objectively, an editor (because during that period I discovered I can edit others works, but not my own), an artist to make the beautiful cover that you’ve seen on my novel, and the most marvelous piece of research of all? I came across the most fascinating piece of information that effected me personally – that an ancestor of mine who passed away in 1849 and who, yes was a doctor, was also a published writer of that time in the west.

The artist in me no longer felt alone within the family.

I was lucky enough to visit him this time last year not long after I discovered his existence. I am rather a tactile person, and really felt the need to connect with him. I took with me flowers from my garden which I placed upon his grave in thanks. For his very existence as a writer in the family before me, gave me the final impetuous that I needed. It gave me faith at the time that was much needed, and today I was back to thank my ancestor for the faith and hope he had given me, and to share with him and celebrate my hitting the number one spot on Amazon for my genre. True, there were other people in my family that had helped me get here. But this family member deserved more from me than a mere thought.

I removed the dusty and now pale flowers that I’d placed on his grave last year, and replaced them with a fresh bunch of flowers – once again from my garden. He knew I was there, I could feel it. He also knew I’d be back again next year… for I knew now that there would be other stories to tell him about, and I knew he would appreciate being included in the family once again.

Family, and those that inspire us should never be forgotten.

The End.

Inspired.

I was lucky enough today to have received an email informing me about a blog by one Neil Ostroff. After doing a quick scan of the email (as you do), I was interested enough to have followed the link to his blog. Suffice to say I learnt so much from that one blog that it blew me away.
I realised that I’m not alone in writing the way that I do, that it’s okay to write the book and then edit it over a period of months all still without an ending in sight!
Only last night was I editing my book once again, and at the back of my mind was the eternal exercise wheel for hamsters churning around, with the same thoughts going through my head that have been there for a long time now. Will I ever finish this book? Will it ever be good enough? Should I just put it in a drawer and forget about it (tried that one by the way, it didn’t work). I haven’t even finished it yet! And so on, and so forth.
So to read on his blog that he himself never has the ending, even after months of editing and tightening up what he has already written was such a relief.
So, I must remember to send Neil a quick ‘thank you’ if I ever do finish it, and publish it too.
Smiling now, my heart is a happy place. May yours be so too!

An Interview with Verna Hargrove (aka Summmer Lee)

Okay, ‘bare with’ as my girl would say! I’m still new to this wonderful world of blogging.

Loving my family and friends, and books and authors, there are things that I want to share with you from time to time – also, in pleasing them, I also please myself. So, this wonderful interview is something that I wish to share with you for obviously a whole raft of reasons.

I hope you find it insightful and inspiring as I did.

Here is an interview with Verna Hargrove (aka Summmer Lee).

The Garage

It was a hot day. The traffic was thick, I’d forgotten that coming out at this time of day was a bad move. This road led to the city and was a main arterial route. Worse, school was out, so Mum’s were running amuck on the streets in their four by fours and people movers. It was chaos. Worse, I was low on fuel. The little light flashed it’s incessant message at me. Blink, blink, blink. Warning and I had better heed its advice. Small it may be, but the very idea of running out of fuel on this road at this time of day under a burning sun was enough to make me decide that I would get fuel asap. Thinking of what lay ahead of me, I knew that the next major intersection held two fuel depots. Both on the other side of the road, and each on a corner of the major intersection. Getting into one would mean crossing the oncoming traffic just before the lights, and although it was a reputable fuel supplier, you could only go in one way, fuel up in that direction and then leave. This proposed some difficulties for me getting back into the flow of traffic to head for home.
SIGH.
The other fuel depot was less reputable, but I could use the green arrow at the lights to turn into it. Fine, that would have to do. Making my way through the occasionally hazardous traffic, I finally made it to the intersection where said light finally turned green and I was able to zip into the driveway of the garage, with the jerk tailing me just missing the derierre of my wee car.
I pulled up at the first available pump, and after popping the fuel hood jumped out of the car, wallet in one hand, stuffing keys into my jeans pocket with the other, walked around the back of my car. It was then that I realised I wasn’t exactly dressed for the public eye. I had a pair of boot legged jeans on, a pair of my favourite purple thongs on my feet, and a mauve singlet with no bra on underneath, and no over-shirt.
So sue me, it was a hot day dammit, and I hadn’t planned on making any stops.
Looking at the pump I realised that there was nowhere to select the dollar amount of fuel I needed to buy. Having to stick to a budget was slowly becoming something that was a pain in my arse. Still, I couldn’t afford to fill up my tank like I was used to doing in the distant past. Looking at the pump once again, and recalling that I wasn’t using the best supplier of fuel, I choose the more expensive type of fuel for my car. Hoping as I did so, that it would be the equivalent quality of the cheaper fuel across the way.
Twenty dollars and two cents later, I put the pump back on the machine, effectively shutting it down.
Walking into the cool air of the garage I scanned the area for the register. Ah there it was. Over in the opposite corner to where I expected it. Circumnavigating the ice-cream freezers and not even tempted to put my hand in and reach for an ice cream I placed my money down on the counter and stated “Number six thanks.”
“Number six?” the boy behind the counter queried.
“Yes, number six thank you.”
“Are you sure it’s number six?”
“Yes. It’s number six.” I was starting to get seriously pissed.
“It can’t be number six.”
“It can and it is. I checked. Number six please.”
He queried my selection two more times before finally accepting my cash. Honestly, if he didn’t snap out of it… then again, if he so much as hinted at requesting five cents to cover the two cents over that I’d pumped into my car, he had another thing coming.
I may be old, but really I did know which pump I’d used.
Receipt finally in hand, I turned away and crashed fully into six foot seven inches of male. Backing up I apologised profusely and stepped around the man of a mountain. I heard an appreciative, “G’day.
My response? “Cheeers,” as I waltzed out the door.
Really, a person asks me if I’m having a good day and I walk off saying cheers? That bump must have scrambled my brains. Half way across the drive ways heading for my car I realised with no small amount of shock on my part, that the guy had been about to hit on me.
That never happens anymore.
Well let me put it this way, it happens so rarely that I don’t even recognise it when it does happen. Point in case.
Finally reaching my car I hope in, put my belt on (habit), and lean forward to put my keys in the ignition as my window comes down to let in the cool afternoon breeze that has finally sprung up.
As I sit back in my seat and I’m just about to move off, a large hand lands on the sill of the drivers side window, and a larger than life body squats down on the other side of the door.
It’s man mountain, and he’s now at eye level with me.
OMG. Now what?
“Hello again.”
“Umm.”
“Sorry, if I made you jump. It wasn’t my intention to startle you at all.”
The guy is squatting outside my window, wearing high vis clothing, hair in disarray, and yet this cultured, gentle smooth as silk voice oozes out of him and my heart just melted into a puddle.
WTH?
“Are you okay?”
“Umm.” Okay now where the hell are my brains? Geez louise.
“I just wondered if you were doing anything tomorrow night at all.”
That startled a “Are you kidding me?” response out of me.
A deep chuckle emanated from him.
OMG. I’m screwed.
“No I’m completely serious. So, are you? Busy I mean.”
The sunglasses that covered half his face wrapped around his head so securely, I was certain that if someone hit him across the back of the head, they would stay in place. That thought didn’t help me much, but like most thoughts that entered my head these days, it just appeared – and didn’t help the situation any.
“Look sweetie…”
“Sweetie? Oh this isn’t going to be good is it.” he said as he glanced away from me, the smile slowly melting from his face, for the first time since he’d taken up residence outside my car door I might add. Hmmm.
I couldn’t help myself. I grinned. Reaching up to the top of my head I grabbed my sunnies, and slid them down onto the bridge of my nose.
Ah, misguided security. Safe from nothing except uv rays, it was misguided indeed. But at a time like this? I’d take what I could get.
“See this?” I asked as I swung my left hand outside the drivers side window, and waved it around madly.
“Hmmm, yes. I do believe… yes, yes. It’s a hand?”
This time it was my turn to chuckle. Oh stop it, I told myself.
Waggling my ring finger only, I continued on regardless.
“It’s a ring.”
“Listen,” he said, “I don’t usually give jewellery before the first date. I really think you might be worth that sort of bestowment, it’s just not something I was prepared for. You know, if I’d known that I was going to bump into you today, well, I would have been prepared. Will you take a rain check?”
This made me grin. What can I say? I’m weak where gorgeous males, and jewelry come together in the same time zone.
Pulling my head out of the clouds, my thoughts took a swift right hand turn. Where did this guy get off? It looked like I was going to have to be blunt.
“Look mate. I’m engaged.”
“Ah, so that’s a no then?”
“Yes!” thinking to myself, he finally gets it.
“That’s great. What time can I pick you up then?”
Arghhhhhh. Thumping my head back against the headrest of my car seat, I groaned in frustration. This guy was doing my head in. I was about to sit up, put the car in gear and move off, when I found my hand, THAT HAND, engulfed in his, and it was the size of a bears paw. He held my hand with the tips of his fingers, he then ever so gently wrapped my wrist in his other hand.
I found my hand completely secure.
I felt safe.
I relaxed.
Then three things happened instantly.
A ping of intense feeling swept up my hand, and filled my entire body.
I lost my breath.
I tried, and failed to snatch my hand back.
“Feel this,” he said as he pulled my hand gently forward and placed it, palm flat, against the middle of his chest.
His heart raced under my hand. He spoke once again, softly, deeply.
“That’s what you are doing to me. It’s what you’ve been doing to me since I first saw you stepping around the back of your car, and up to the pump.”
Okay, stalker alert.
The hot flush that had swept through my body immediately dissipated. Where the hell did I think I was for heavens sake? In the middle of a happy ever after story book. Good grief, this was life for goodness sakes. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in real life. Only I would land a stalker at a garage dressed like this.
Pulling my hand away from him, I shook my head. Picking his hand up from where it now rested on the door sill, and dropped it outside my car.
“Bye mate.” was all I said as I put it into gear and moved the car off. I was shaking like a leaf. Pushing all thoughts of my close encounter of the third kind out of my head, I moved my car to the other side of the garage. I needed to gather my wits, and I needed to check the air in my tyres. There’s no way he would know that I’d not left, as the garage itself sat in the middle of where I’d been, and where I was now. As far as he was concerned, I’d driven straight out of the garage and back onto the main drag.
Shaking my head at the crazy world I now lived in, I collected the the air hose and moved to the front of my car. Bending over I took off the cap and applied the nozzle, checking off the weight shown on the gauge currently in the tyre before applying anymore pressure. Yep, needed air. Plunging my thumb down, listening to the hiss of air as it was slowly being pushed into my tyre, my thoughts once again turned to the man that had just asked me out on a date. I shook my head in disbelief. A man I didn’t know from Adam, and who had tried to pick me up in a garage of all places.
Really? He must have been desperate. I started to chuckle, when something large landed with some force on my arse, and propelled me up and around where I immediately took up a fighting stance.
What the hell was that.
Ah shit.
‘That’ was a large hand being applied to my rear, by a large man.
“Hey!” (Yet more intelligence being shown on my part.) “What part of ‘No’ don’t you get Sasquatch?”
“Sasquatch? You know that’s not a very nice thing to say to a guy.”
“Are you for real?”
“Look, I just want to ask you out on a date. Where’s the harm?”
This being said all while he was slowly encroaching on my space. My back hit the front end of my car.
“You are not old.” He wrapped his hands around my waist.
“You are not fat.” He leaned into me, forcing me to either meet him chest to chest, or lean back.
I leant back.
“You are not married yet!”
He was serious. Husky his voice maybe at the moment, but there was deadly intent there. Read my message, it said, loud and clear.
My back met with the hood of my car, just as his chest met with mine.
Damn.
His hands had slowly made their way up my sides, touching nothing and yet touching everything in their wake. Raising my hands above my head, he kept them wrapped up in one oversized paw, with his other running back down my arm, to my face, where, holding it gently, he placed the most chaste of kisses on my mouth.
Damn. It. All. Now, I wanted more.
What could I say, it had been a dry spell. A very long, very dry spell.
Lifting his face away from mine, he looked me directly the eye. That’s when I saw his eyes for the first time. He had green eyes. Deep sea green.
I could get lost in those eyes.
I did get lost in those eyes.
Thank goodness I was draped over the hood of my car, as I’m fairly certain that my legs would not have held me up right about then. They’d gone all to goo.
“Now,” he said as he pulled me up, and then straight back into his arms. “I won’t,” he kissed the tip of my nose, “take no,” he kissed above one eye, “for,” he then kissed above the other, “an answer.” With that, he kissed me again. Still chaste, but longer, trailing it across my jaw, back up to my lips where he proceeded to nibble my bottom lip.
His lips were soft, he was gentle in his kissing of me, and I was completely lost.
With one arm wrapped around my lower back, and the other cupping my cheek he said, “here’s my card.”
His hand slid into the back pocket of my jeans.
OMG.
Call me tomorrow and let me know where you’ll be. I don’t care if it’s at a friends, a bar, the beach, or with people in tow, just tell me you’ll meet me?”
All this talk interspersed with his kisses.
If I moaned, I didn’t know it. I’m sure if I reflect on it later there will be a lot of moaning.
“Tell me you’ll meet me, please?” All in a guttural voice.
OMG
“Yes.”
“Yes what?”
“Yes, I’ll meet you.”
“Good girl.” Hugging me to him, he gave me one final chaste kiss on the lips, and turned and hopped on his bike. Pulled his lid on, and with a wave, roared onto the road and was lost in the traffic in a heart beat.
I got back into my car, started it up, and headed home.
Brain?
Nowhere to be found.
****

Notes & ideas.

20120828-175453.jpg

I’ve just finished reading the delightful blog by Jennifer Martin (link below), and I had to laugh. Not at the blog, nor even at the subject. Rather, at what was currently residing on the corner of the desk in my study.

Let me explain. Jennifer was reminding someone that notepads were quite a handy item to have upon your person. Especially for those times that you’re away from your technological writers tool of choice.

My mind instantly flashed to the corner of my study desk where a mishmash collection of notes, in a variety of shapes and sizes was currently sitting patiently, awaiting my time and attention. You see, although my tool of choice is my iPad and wireless Apple keyboard, I have a habit, good or bad, of writing any piece of inspirational thought upon the nearest piece of paper I have to hand. My notebooks are varied in size, and stashed in some of the weirdest places around my home. Depending on which handbag or purse I’m carrying will also denote which notebook resides within – I never change notebooks when I change my purse. I’ve also used serviettes whilst at a cafeĀ“and from time to time I’ve even used the backs of used envelopes. Any A4 paper that comes through my letterbox will instantly be recycled into A5 sized notepads, and these are scattered around the house, and also keep a couple in the glove compartment of my car.

The only problem I have with all the notes that I have made, is finding the time to collate them, and incorporate them in which ever story/tale I’m telling at the time.

I even make notes about possible new characters, books, chapters, names… you name it, I make notes about it.

So yes, I highly recommend note taking. I also recommend the processing of those notes sooner rather than later. Otherwise you too will end up with a box, or a desk corner just like mine.
Knowing this, you may now understand my POIYPOIY when my mind instantly flashed to that corner of my study desk that is currently holding my

http://jennifermartinauthor.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/writing-in-the-age-of-technology/