One Way Road: a short story.

Today was like any other day for Samson, except for the fact that today was the day that he had decided to tell Rachel how he really felt about her.

It was around 7 pm, when he decided to drive his old rusty pick up truck over to her apartment. He had pumped himself up for it all day at work, but now that he was executing his plan,  he was starting to have second thoughts.

Talking out loud to himself on the way over, he practiced his lines, “Listen Rachel, there is something I have to tell you,”

Too serious, he thought.

Maybe I should just be blunt, “Rachel, I love you!”

“Yeah, right”, he laughed, “she would flip out.”

Rachel was the type of girl who disapproved of even the word love. There had been a time in her life when she wasn’t so jaded, but heartbreak wore her thin and now she shuttered at the thought.

She was actually engaged once. They were together four years, but after she caught him cheating, the marriage was cancelled. She was never the same.

She would always say, “The only person I will ever love is myself. I’m the only person worth my time.” Samson knew it was just her way of avoiding the potential of  another painful break-up.

Over time she became the mysterious type, never had much of anything positive to say and refused to cloth herself in anything but black. Her explanation was that she felt bright colors to be “camouflage for her dark soul.”

But she wasn’t always this way. There was a time when the light in her eyes shined so brightly it could light up the room. Even now, if one were to look hard enough they would see a tiny glimmer of a spark hiding behind the scars of the past and the fear of moving on.

That is when he first fell for her.

They met through mutual friends in high-school, but never really spent much time getting to know one another. After graduation, she moved out west on a quest to find herself and he stayed behind and hooked up with his first love. She left him broken and bruised. A state he thought he would never recover from.

Until he ran into Rachel some years later. She was back visiting from one of her many adventures and just happened to show up at a party hosted by Sam’s best friend. The moment she walked through the door, he felt something he never thought possible again. How had he not noticed it before…the way her eyes sparkled when she smiled, the warmth that ran through his body when she laughed. Her nearness to him felt like home.

They spent the rest of the night side by side. Sharing stories of the past and all their future plans. She left that Sunday, not to return for another three years, when she considered herself ‘found’ and moved back to the town where it all begin.

It had taken eight years for him to muster up enough courage to tell her how he felt and for how long. He wasn’t sure how she would react, but he had to get it off his chest.

Pulling into the parking lot, his hands began to shake as his loyal mutt, now hanging his head out of the passenger window began barking.

“Gunner hush!” He scorned at the little pup. Gunner gave him a whimper of disapproval and began barking again.

Sam opened his door and took his first step onto the scalding summer pavement. He looked the same as usual, wearing black jeans and a white t-shirt just tight enough to show off his nipple piercings, something he was very proud of! His sleeves were rolled up in order to compliment his muscular arms and to serve as a place to hold his smokes. Rachel always teased him about that, “What? Do you think your as cool as James Dean or something?” she would squawk.

His long black hair was swept up in a tousled bun and a rugged goatee fit itself strategically around the metal skull piercing in his chin. As he opened the door for Gunner, his legs began to shake. This was it, the moment of truth.

He and Gunner walked up the driveway slowly, Sam’s stomach at his feet.

There was a large evergreen tree blocking the view of Rachel’s door until just before you reached it, so he took this time to psyche himself up in case she happened to be outside.

He knocked on the door quietly as to almost avoid her actually answering it, as he heard her yell, “Just a sec Sam!”

When the door finally opened, he found himself speechless.

He wasn’t sure if it was the build up from the ride over or the fact that in just a few moments everything could change, but in that moment she was more beautiful than she had ever been before. She was breathtaking, her long brown hair was pulled back in sheer chaos and the makeup around her eyes looked darker than usual, although her porcelain complexion may have helped to exaggerate it. She was wearing a low cut black tank top and skirt that just barely covered her knee-high army boots.

“Hey Sammy” She said with a monotone grin. “I see you brought Gunner, I swear you never go anywhere without that mutt!”

Samson shrugged and said, “Rachel, we need to talk.”

“Well come in you idiot, I’m not stand’n out here all day!”

Samson gulped, his stomach located a bit more uncomfortably now in his chest. He knew that the next time he walked through this door his life would be changed and the scariest part of it all was that he didn’t know if it would be for the better or for the worse. But he couldn’t keep living in silence anymore, so he put fear aside and followed Rachel inside.

Her apartment was as dark and dreary as usual, the radio playing some Gothic medley in the background and he noticed that Rachel seemed a bit edgy.

“What’s your problem Sam? Your making me nervous. Hit this and chill out,” she said as she playfully glared at him and handed him a freshly packed bowl.

Smoking pot was Rachel’s answer to everything. She considered it the cure for any ailment big or small and she exercised her beliefs daily!

Samson took the pipe and began lighting it. Wondering if it was still a good idea, he filled the chamber and cleared it. As he exhaled, he reminded himself that he would have to say something soon, before the drug took hold of his courage.

“Rachel, we have known each other for a long time right?”

“Are you trying to get to something Sam, cause you’re sure taking forever!”

“Just hush and lemme say this, smoke another and chill out.”

Rachel glared at him with her big green eyes, fiddled with the black choker around her neck for a minute and cashed out the pipe. “Okay, I’m waiting!”

“Would you just stop? I’m tryin’ to tell you something important! Why do you always have to be such a bitch?!”

“Screw you Sammy, you have no right to say that. You’re the one being an idiot. I don’t really give shit what you have to say!”

“Yeah well, I don’t have anything to say now, I was mistaken!”

“No one could love a self-centered bitch like you anyway, forget it”, he muttered.

“What did you say? Please tell me you didn’t use the L word in my presence. You know I hate that shit.”

“Well forget I said anything! I didn’t mean it anyway! It’s the pot talking”.

“No, you said something alright. What the hell are you tryin’ to say?”

And before he could stop himself, he blurted, “I love you Rachel! I always have, but I can see now that it is not even worth it”.

Rachel put her head down and began fiddling with her necklace again. “Ugh, you are so dramatic. I need a cigarette!” she huffed.

“Well then I’m leaving, good-bye Rachel!” Samson yelled and stormed towards the door. Gunner followed, but the door slammed before he could make it through.

Rachel dropped her head and covered her face with her hands.

Then suddenly, something inside of her snapped, the levy broke. Emotions she had fought for years to keep buried deep within her soul began rushing to the surface! The bricks and mortar she had pieced together around her heart, crumbled at her knees.

Not sure what to do, she peeled her hands from her face and looked up to see Gunner staring up at her. She smiled.

“Come on Gunner, let’s go after him!”

The amount of enthusiasm in her voice startled the dog, but once the door was open, he was outside faster than Rachel could move out of the way! Spinning backwards to avoid him, she laughed and turned to close the door.

She walked down the driveway slowly, her stomach at her feet.

Thinking she was quite clever, as she passed the evergreen she yelled, “Sam! You forgot your damn dog!

But it was too late. He was already gone. It was just Gunner, sitting in the tire tracks he left behind.

She knew he’d be back eventually. It wasn’t like this was the first time they had argued.

Besides, she thought to herself, he loves me! She smiled, and…I love him.

“Come on Gunner! Let’s go call that goofball and tell him he forgot you!” She laughed.

She didn’t know it then, but this very moment would be the one that defined the rest of her life. It would be the moment that changed her. The one she would come to lean on for comfort in the days to come.

It would be the day she learned to love again, but it would also be the day she lost the love of her life.

When Sam stormed out of the apartment that day, all he could think about was getting as far away from Rachel as fast as possible. Far away from the rejection, the disappointment and the embarrassment of the last few minutes. Tears rolled down his face, his foot pressing harder and harder on the gas pedal with every sob. He drove and drove and drove until he was clear across town.

It was getting dark now and the familiarity of his surroundings was fading. He had no idea where he was going, but it was away from her so it was fine with him.

And then he realized, he forgot Gunner!

“Damn it!” he yelled as he hit the steering wheel with his fist. “I am going to have to go back and see her.

The tears started again…but…I want to see her again. There is nothing else I want more. What the hell? He thought as he laughed at himself.

Turning the car around now, he decided he would find the nearest interstate, drive back to her as fast as he could and demand she hear him out!

It was raining now and there was construction everywhere! Where was he? How long had he been driving? And then he spotted it!

Through the glaring lights of oncoming traffic, there it was, the sign for I75!

He cranked the wheel, slammed on the gas and in an instant, he was gone.

When the news came, it was from Rachel’s sister, Sarah. She and Sam’s best friend married a few years after the party where Sam first fell for Rachel. Sarah always knew how Sam felt and she also knew that Rachel felt the same way about him, though she would never admit it.

Sarah also knew that this was the kind of news you deliver in person and she worried that this may be something of which Rachel would never recover.

And although it did not break her fully, there was a certainly a piece of Rachel that died along side him that day.

However, what he left her with was so much more. It was not just the courage to love again, but the knowledge that tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

Had it not been for fear, the two of them may have had a love story like none other or maybe not.

Her greatest loss was that now, she will never know.

 

 

“If we deny love that is given to us, if we refuse to give love because we fear pain or loss, then our lives will be empty, our loss greater.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

 

 

Getting Back in the Groove

Let the new chapter begin!

Since September, my life has been in transition. I have had so many things going on that it has been hard to get back in my usual groove. I used to blog two to three times per week and most of the time I didn’t struggle much with what to write. A lot of the time, I would wake in the morning bursting with things to say. As if they had spent the whole night bubbling to the surface. More recently that has not been the case. Call it a rut if you will, but whatever is going on, I needed to find a resolution.

I think a lot of it is that I have been traveling so much. I am never in one place for more than two weeks before it is on to the next. It was exhilarating at first, but after three months I am over it. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling when it involves exploring the places I have never been.  But let’s be honest, I had my fair share of that growing up with my mother.

Perhaps that is why I somewhat treasure the routine, those quiet moments in each day that hold familiarity and comfort. Waking at dawn, conversing over coffee or a simple pause to catch my breath. I have great respect for those who can manage such a busy lifestyle. I guess you never know until you try and now I know that it is just not for me. Traveling once every two months, sure, but every two weeks? Ya not my cup of tea! However, I value the experience, for without it I would have never known.

I hold great excitement for the months to come. For I have redefined my life. I have taken charge just as I said I would and everything finally seems to be falling into place. And now, it is time to get back in the groove!

What a better place to start than to pick up where I left off in the research for my 2nd book. Three months ago I wrote to you in regards to the challenges I was facing Playing Detective.

My mother is still currently missing as she was during the time the second book takes place. Not a word from her to anyone in over 4 months. At the end of Insane Roots: The Adventures of a Con-Artist And Her Daughter, she had left for what would end up being over 4 years, one of her longest disappearances. It is almost as if the timing could not be more perfect, as if we have come full circle.

I know that if I do see her again, it will not be for many years. And much like now, pinpointing her whereabouts will be dependent on determining what name she was using at that time. And not until after her reappearance will I be able to back track through court records and sift through her aliases to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Unlike my first memoir, this would be the first time she had left me behind by choice. There are no memories to fit together, no stories from relatives or friends to help formulate a picture of that time.

The only information I have to start with is the day she left and a rough estimate of the day she reappeared. So far, I have managed to link several names to corresponding lives and a multitude of stories she has told me over the years. I created a timeline of my own life during that time already in which I plan to incorporate these findings.

My original plan was to write the book in tandem,  by using journal entries from my younger self partnered with the “adventures” of my mother.  The basis of this format was drawn from the fact that the journals I kept at that time were essentially a letter to my mother, hence the working title: Dear Mom.

However as the writing process continues, I am not quite sure that this going to work. First of all, have you ever read a teenage girls high school journals before or your own for that matter? It can be very sobering. Granted, I was going through a lot at that time, but if I am being honest, I was extremely dramatic. I guess we all are at that  age though!

Anyway, I decided after the first few pages that perhaps my original plan was not the best one. I still like the idea of including some of the journal entries to give the reader the raw sense of what I was feeling at that time and how I overcame it, but maybe just not all of them.

Then comes the challenge of finding out just what my mother was doing during the time she was missing. I think that maybe I should just keep my focus on that for now. After all, once that is done then all I really have to do is put it all together and write from my heart. Which is what comes natural to me and gives me the greatest joy.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. I contacted the US Marshall’s office about getting a list of aliases, but no one ever called me back. Not surprising considering they most likely have more important things going on. Although she is a federally wanted fugitive, so I thought they might consider it helpful to have someone else on the trail 🙂

Either way, I am not going to rush it. I am sure it will all fall together when the time is right. So for now, I will just keep pushing forward.

Weekly Inspiration: The One Dream

What is the one dream you have that you just can’t stop thinking about?

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I think we all have one of these, am I right? I don’t know about you, but I spend a great deal of time day dreaming, so this was an easy one 🙂

For me it is not just one thing, but rather how I envision my life will turn out…an ideal day in the life I have always dreamed of.

My day begins, waking up next to my love, our legs still intertwined from the night before. Slowly lifting the covers, I stretch into the day as my feet grasp the crisp wood floor beneath them. The room is dark except for the sun barely peeking through the shades. Quietly, I make my way downstairs.

This is  my favorite part of the day.

The earth barely stirring, the events of the day yet to unfold. There is great inspiration in these moments, a time to be treasured.

” The morning has secrets to tell, don’t go back to sleep…” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Armed with a fresh cup of coffee, I slide on my fluffy brown slippers and step outside. My imagination racing with plans for my next adventure as I leisurely stroll through the yard. Making my way to its farthest corner, where, tucked behind the flora is my art studio. A peaceful place of comfort and creativity all of my own.

The exterior resembles a small mother-in law house with a three season porch along one side. The interior containing a designated space for writing & painting with a dark room in the back and a small lofted area in the rafters. I have dreamed of it for so long I can almost take myself there if I think about it long enough.

I will treasure the day when I can live and thrive doing only what I love with those I love. I see myself exploring new places and sharing them with the world. Immersing myself in the vast variety of this earth. The people, the places, the experiences, I want it all!

I have always wanted to buy a classic VW bus and travel around the US. Maybe not all at once, but little trips at a time. I would stop in various towns, experience the culture, give back to the community in some way and then be on to the next place. Doesn’t that sound amazing?!

I am a writer and a photographer, so I guess it’s pretty obvious why something like that would appeal to me 🙂

The dream of this place, this life and this love is a dream I will never stop thinking about.

Life is just too short to limit ourselves. Why not reach for all that we have ever wanted? The experience is in the journey anyway, so in my opinion I really have nothing to lose!

What is the one dream you have that you just can’t stop thinking about?

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

I think the question I am asked most as a writer is where I get my inspiration? It’s a great question and one that is not always that easy to answer. There are times when, without explanation, an idea will jump into my head and I am stricken with a deep need to express it.

Often it is just as I am stepping outside. As the air hits my face my mind becomes filled with poetry! I can not tell you how many poems I have written during my breaks at work 🙂

Other times, I am in the mood to write, but I just can’t seem to get started and/or narrow down a topic. Good ole writer’s block…an author’s worst nightmare! In the midst of one of those moments, I remembered a gift a very dear friend of mine gave me not too long ago that I thought would be helpful to share with anyone else who may have a case of the dreaded block!

She sent me a notebook, along with 50 or so tiny pieces of paper about the size of the ones found in fortune cookies. Each one of them containing a writing prompt.

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I have not read any of them except for the one on the very top of the stack, “A list of things you’re thankful for”

So…I thought it would be fun to start a feature where each week I will pick one of the prompts from the bowl and write about it. Sort of a weekly writing challenge if you will 🙂

I look forward to reading the posts from anyone else who wants to take the challenge with me!

 

And on that note…

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Today’s pick is…

 

 

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“A skill you want to learn”

 

 

Okay, good one. There are many, but if I had to only pick one it would definitely be the one I am currently working on mastering; public speaking. Something I have avoided my entire life and I mean intentionally avoided too!

College was really hard for me in that respect. Just raising my hand meant I had to speak in front of the class, which made my skin crawl, so I just never did it. I was the girl in the very back corner who never spoke…the phantom student…lol.

I try not to have regrets, but if I had it to do all over again (knowing how important that skill would be to me now), I would have tried to tackle my fears early on. I never imagined there would come a day when I would be scheduling book signing/reading events. I mean I dreamed of publishing a book, but I am not sure I thought too much about all that comes along with it.

Thankfully, the more events I do, the more comfortable I feel. It’s easy when your heart is in it. I find that my passion out weighs my fear on most occasions! Plus, I am speaking about my life and my mother, two subjects I am pretty well versed in, so that helps too 🙂

I look forward to the day when I can confidently walk  on to a stage or speak to a group of people and inspire them in some way!

I know I will get there someday and until then I am going to relax and savor the journey ahead.

What about you? What skill would you like to learn?

Throwback Thursday!

Gotta love Facebook! Today it reminded me that on this day two years ago, I wrote the following post. It was only my 2nd blog post on Insane Roots and now it resides (edited version of ‘course)  in the pages of a book that will be on shelves everywhere in less than a month!

Insane Roots – A Memoir: The Adventures of a Con-Artist and Her Daughter to be released February 2, 2016!

It just goes to show you if you put your mind to something, there is no stopping you!

I will always be thankful for my crazy mother, my insane roots 🙂

My Crazy Mother

January 14, 2014

They say a mother’s love is the most generous love of all. But what if the love she has for herself is so much more important that she forgets about everyone else? Is it possible that her actions may merely be the result of her regrets from a life she never had a chance to live? The only living result of which she can claim no credit for; her daughter. Strong, resilient, and determined. All qualities that may not have been taught to her by her mother, but surely hold themselves the result of her actions. A life-time filled with pain, deceit, and unanswered questions.

Trying to find oneself amongst a past that is scarcely dim with truth, yet sturdily iridescent with hope, oh where to begin! I do have fond memories of our time together, yet every time they begin to take me away I end up bumping into the grief of their vagrant existence. A little girl so filled with hope her eyes sparkle, only to be let down, by the one person she needed to lift her up. I have always felt somewhat less like a daughter and more like a convenient addition to my mother’s con-schemes; no one would suspect a mother or her sweet little girl.
Looking back I revel in the amazement of how oblivious one can be to the ridiculous behavior that is so obviously displayed in front of them. It is amazing what one can chose not to notice or find a way to justify from the need for normalcy. Sometimes the painful truth is just too much for a child to handle.
The more I begin to write, the more I begin to remember. The hardest part of trying to begin my story is coming to grips with the reality of its truth. Putting it into words, somehow makes it more real than it ever was while I was living it. At the time I was experiencing it, I was focused on getting through it. Now that I am reflecting on it, I am having to really understand the gravity of it all.
In the best description, I spent my early childhood as a fly on the wall of my mother’s crazy life.
Have you ever talked to a fly? I bet they would have a lot of interesting things to say!
I know I do….

My mother is so many different people and if anyone knows the real lady underneath all the baggage, it would be me. Keep in mind however this is a women who barely knows herself and therefore the ‘real’ deal is sometimes hard to find. But I was a fly on the wall of my mother’s life and although my time with her has been limited, I would never change a thing. I am who I am as a result of her actions. I like to think there is a little good in everyone and I hope this book can give insight and understanding to those whose lives she touched in some way; good or bad. I have been blessed with so many wonderful people in my life that I would never risk losing just one of them for the changing of a moment. Life is an adventure and she just made it so much more interesting than the ordinary turmoil’s of childhood. We had adventures and met a million friends along the way!

If my mother had been more straight edge and wholesome, I may have missed meeting the people I now hold dearest to me. My life might have been less chaotic, but I am not sure I would be the person I am had it been any different. Please enjoy the tale of our excursions and remember the phrase, “You can’t choose your family”. It has so much relevance.