October 17, 2015

Not What You Thought

I used to write stories all the time when I was younger, and it's something I've been meaning to start doing more often. We shall see if that resolution holds, for the time being... enjoy a little something I wrote one night as I was driving home from work. (In my head. Don't write and drive y'all.) 

Le complot des Ombres by Mon-artifice
h/t mon-artifice.deviantart.com

 I have a recurring nightmare. In it, it’s one month after the wedding.  You knock on the apartment door, and I let you in.  Your face is lit up in a huge grin that somehow doesn’t sit quite right. “Clarie!” You shout, grabbing me in a hug.  “Just wait until you see what I have to show you.”
    You take my hand and lead me back into the bedroom.  There is blood – so much blood.  Blood on the carpeting and up on the walls, covering the bed.  I can see that there are two bodies, but my gaze narrows until I can only see my own head and shoulders sprawling from behind the other side of the bed.  I back away, feeling sick and I bump into you. I turn, and your eyes are boring intently into mine.  You look so concerned, so desperate for my approval.  “See, Claire? See what I’ve done for you?”  Earnestly you beg me to understand.  “Now everything is alright.  No one can hurt you again.  You’ll be safer this way.”  
    That’s when I wake up.  I can still see your eyes, imploring me to listen. Hoping I’ll understand why killing me was the best thing you could do to keep me safe.
    I told you this dream, the first few times it happened.  You laughed, pointing out that you were right in one instance – you can’t get hurt when you are dead.  After the fifth time, I stopped telling you about it. Because by then, you had found out, and your laughter was more for show. I know why you want to keep me safe.  Why you’ve done what you’ve done.  And now you’re going to find out why you are the one who is bleeding on the floor, and not me.  Because the thing is, I’ve always been safe, even when it seemed like I was going to die.
    I knew the kind of man I was marrying.  I knew that he was going to beat me; that he would come home in a drunken rage and fire shots around the house, narrowly missing me more than once.  You yelled at me to leave and couldn’t understand why I stayed.  You tried to tell me what I already knew, about the murders, and the robbery and the crime.  Oh I knew all that before I even met him, before he even knew I existed.
    A lot happened in the eight years since I ran away from home.  You could have come with me, but you didn’t. I asked you to. At the time, you didn’t believe what I was going through.  I tried to tell you about the nights I lay hiding beneath my covers, scared to hear the sound of footsteps.  The words wouldn’t ever come out right and I couldn’t say what I wanted to, so I hinted the best as I could and you just couldn’t get it.  So I left, and then you found out the truth.  You feel guilty, I have seen it in your face every day since I came back, and I know that you were trying to protect me to make up for the time when you didn’t.
    When I came back into your life, spinning my story of how I’d found Jesus and set out to save the lost souls of the planet, you jumped at the chance to play the part you botched up.  I could hardly make a move without you checking on me, wanting so desperately to fill the holes in my life that I let you think I had. I can see the confusion on your face now, and I’m sorry to hurt you like this.  I do care for you still, in a way, but your little sister has grown up a lot since she was fifteen and there is so little that you know about me.  
    It’s only by chance that I let you back in my life at all, actually.  If you hadn’t happened to live in the same town as my going-to-be-husband, I wouldn’t have contacted you at all.  But it’s a small enough town that I couldn’t avoid you, and so I figured you would work out alright as an addition to my storyline. As it turns out, you worked with my husband and so it gave me an even better excuse to meet him, so I could fall in love and find a burning desire to save his soul from damnation. You didn’t know what he was like then, and it was only after I couldn’t hide the bruises that I could see a change happening behind your eyes. You saw the chance to redeem yourself for brushing me off when we were children, and you weren’t going to let me down again.
    And that’s how we got to here.  After one too many times of finding me unconscious on my floor, you decided that the only way to keep me safe was to kill me.  All through tonight, I’ve been wondering – where my dreams a warning of your plans? Or did you get the idea from my dreams?  Honestly, what sane person decides to keep the sister they love safe by slitting her throat?
    Don’t worry, you aren’t going to die.  But I would advise laying still until an ambulance comes for you.  Moving around might aggravate the bleeding and I can’t promise that you’ll make it if you lose more blood.  The cops will come and pick you up once they’ve got my husband in custody.  You nearly upset the plan you know. You’re lucky we thought this out well enough that they could operate without me being there, if it came down to it. Otherwise I might have been ticked enough that the gunshot wound in your chest ended up a few inches higher.
    Are you really that confused about what’s going on? I could cut you some slack, I suppose. You did just get beat up and shot by the woman you thought was your Bible toting little sister. Didn’t I say not to try and get up? I knew exactly what I was doing the whole time, although I do admit, you coming here tonight to try and kill me was something I didn’t see coming. I didn’t have a death wish, by refusing to leave a man we both knew is a murderer and a wife beater.  Look, here. I’ll show you.  See this badge? It says Claire Prayne, FBI.

October 13, 2015

Sometimes a Wrong Turn is Right

Taking a wrong turn isn't always a bad thing, or an inconvenience. Sometimes a wrong turn is exactly the right turn that we needed to make, and we can look back and see that God meant for us to go out of our way to be in the spot where we ended up.

A little over two years ago, I was driving down the interstate, approaching a rather confusing interchange with another highway on my way home. I wasn't very familiar with this route at the time, and I realized too late to move over that I had gotten in the wrong lane and was on the ramp going towards east towards Chicago instead of west towards my home. I got off at the first exit to turn around, the same exit that my grandparents live off of, and as I did I thought I would stop in and say hi. It had been a little while, and I was in no rush to be home.

They were happy to see me of course. I caught my grandma napping when I came in, but we sat and talked and eventually my grandpa came up from the basement and greeted me with a "Well, what have we got here?" It was short, and sweet, and one of my most treasured memories... because I didn't know it at the time, but that was the last time I got to visit with my grandpa.

A few weeks later, two years ago today, he passed away. It was so sudden, and completely out of the blue that the two days in the hospital couldn't come close to preparing any of us.  The medical staff there was incredible, and let all about twenty of us take over the hall outside the ICU for the whole day. But by the time I went to the hospital, he'd already been in a medically induced coma, and he didn't wake up.

It was hard to remember the good things at first. Everything hurt too much, and I spent weeks of crying, feeling guilty for not going to visit more, hurting every time I drove past their house just off the highway. I still can't listen to conversations about anything remotely medical without feeling sick, and the two times I've been in a hospital since then I passed out in the first, and then got dizzy again in the second.  Hundreds of people came to his funeral, and while it was incredible to see just how many lives he touched, it at the same time seemed to only reinforce what a wonderful part of our family we were losing.

My grandpa loved to laugh and joke around, and it wasn't long before the good memories became stronger than the difficult ones surrounding his death. It still hurts, and I miss him, but its easier.  I'm lucky I know, to have had such a wonderful grandpa, and to have had him as a part of my life for so many years.

I've become much more familiar with that highway interchange now that I drive that way every day for work.  I don't think about it every time I drive that way, but it is very often that when I see the sign for the exit going to Chicago I remember, and I am glad that I took that wrong turn that day and got to visit with my grandpa one last time.

I love you Grandpa.

October 1, 2015

Who Said No White?

Hello my bloggy people... it's been so long, and I've been so busy and simply not in a writing mood.  And yet here we are with a style post!

I must admit, this was an outfit taken several weeks ago, but it is so cute that I might pull it out again before the autumnal season ends.

 Who said you can't wear white after Labor Day?

White Dress // J.C. Penny
Denim Jacket // Khols
Yellow Scarf // Thrifted
Yellow Jewelry // Borrowed from my mom and sister (Charming Charlies?)
Brown Boots // Payless Shoe Source

And not to be outdone, Sister # 4 jumped in for a few shots with her cute new bob haircut. 

Black top // Khols
Pink top // Wal-Mart
Black skirt // thrifted
Hat // gift
Shoes // Payless Shoe Source