Sunday, November 23, 2008


While slowly releasing myself from Charlie's arms, I took a step back, looked up into those familiar, blue eyes and said, "Where did that come from?"

He smiled that broad smile of his, and I'm sure I saw his face flush slightly. He replied, "Well Liz, I thought I'd get the ten twelfths out of the way, it's been a long time coming."

With my eyes still focused on his, I smiled back at him and could feel the warmth in my face as it turned red. I knew what he meant because we had talked about it during a phone conversation. He was referring to one morning on our way to the school bus, when he blurted out, "It's my birthday today, aren't you going to give me a kiss?" I froze for an instant, then turned to him and planted a kiss on his lips. "Happy Birthday," I said with a chuckle in my voice, "I hope you have a great day."

"I will now," he replied with a wide grin, "I'll be walking on air after that present."

"That was nothing," I chimed back, "It was only two twelfths of the kind of kiss I have to give."

That was Charlie's senior year in school, he had turned eighteen that day, I was sixteen. When our yearbooks came out at the end of the year, he signed mine and wrote in it, "When am I going to get that other ten twelfths?"

After his graduation our lives took very different paths. He joined the Navy, along with Paul and Ange, his two best friends, and I didn't see or hear from him for years afterwards. Not until I happened to be in contact with Ange, through email, and he asked if it was alright to give my email address to Charlie. Of course I said yes, and heard from Charlie that very night.

I learned that he had earned a living driving a truck for a while, but then started his own import export business later on and was doing very well. He loved the excitement of the business and enjoyed the travel. He had two offices here in the states, one on each coast, one of the west coast and another one in Europe. The excitement in his voice when he spoke of the business was easy to recognize. I was happy for him.

Angelo, we called him Ange, lived two houses away from me, before my mother's death. Ange, Charlie and Paul, often hung out in our garage, with my brother, Joe, while he was working on one of his cars, so I was in their company a lot and always considered myself, 'just one of the guys.' This also allowed me to feel very comfortable around the opposite sex. But I never though that they saw me any other way, other than Joe's little sister, who he got stuck keeping an eye on while their single, mom worked.

When I moved into my mother's, parents house, after she died, I then lived right across the street from Charlie and his family. He was an only child and lived with his parents on the second floor, while his grandparents lived on the first floor. I did hear once, that Charlie and anther girl who lived in the neighborhood, where caught having sex in her back yard, by her mother. A few months later she and her family moved away and I never heard anything about her again.

During our email exchanges, Yahoo Chats, and phone conversations, Charlie and I filled one another in on our lives. He had gotten a girl named Anne pregnant, shortly after his tour of duty in the Navy, they married and had a son. I knew Anne from school, she lived in the same town as us after she and her family moved here from Scotland. She and Charlie had a rocky marriage, Anne started drinking, pouring herself straight shots of whiskey, glass after glass. It seems she just couldn't deal with Charlie's traveling for his business, and he couldn't afford to just let the business run itself.

Charlie explained how Anne started with strange behavior, when she saw a Cardinal in a tree, in their yard, and said that it was a sign that Charlie was having an affair with a redhead. After years of many such episodes, the final one came when there was a block party with their neighbors and he went into his house to use the bathroom and grab a sweater. He had some sunburn from playing golf earlier that day and was feeling chilly. She saw the closet light go on and started yelling, right out there in the middle of the street, that he was sending a signal to someone to meet him. She was later committed to an institution in the highlands of Scotland, where she remained until she took her own life. He further explained that he had business connections there and she still had some remaining family in the area. He didn't want his son 'socially marked' because of his mother's illness, so he chose to take her to her homeland for treatment. She hung herself in her room, with the belt of her Tartan plaid robe and was found by one of the other patients. Charlie told me that, he found out that after finding her, the man ran down the hall playing his bagpipes and yelling, "Party time everyone, we're having a funeral."


Blue Muse said...

D, you're a natural. Do I see a book in your future?!

While I have you, congratulations on winning the contest over at Artie's blog! YAY! It was so deserved! I can't wait to hear about the prize book!

Much love,

jerseygirl211 said...

I doubt if I'll ever write a book, maybe I'd attempt one if I had your talent. But thanks for the nice words.

I did start to write a journal 'of sorts' a couple of years ago. I've found that I have so many questions about my family, who had all passed when I was young and that now there is no one to ask. So I started to write my account of things I remember, just in case my children have the same questions as I do.

I am pleased that our projects went over well, but I honestly don't feel comfortable accepting the book. Do you think I'd sound ungrateful if I asked Artie to send it to a young woman who may not have much. I do like Martha and get her books/magazines and had even written to her when she was in prison. It was just so happy that he thought our work was worthy and that is all the reward I need, plus I made a copy of the wonderful words of praise that he posted,I feel that is enough.


Gollum said...

I'm still grappling with my Tartan vignette--but you! YOU! This is wonderful. The part with the redbird/affair with a redhead is such a keen insight into your character (the one who took her life). I hope you will keep writing.

Mary Ellen (megardengal) said...

"D" I think you have written stories before! I didn't even know where to start with Gollums post though I thought it might be fun if I had the time to do it-

Congrats on winning Arties contest. You certainly had my vote- you guys are so talented!


Donna Marie said...

Hi there, I really enjoyed your story! You did a wonderful job with bringing your character to life. I hope to read more in the near future.

If you need tips or help with researching family history, don't hesitate to ask. I have done extensive research on my family and have been quite successful with the help of no one. I traced my family back to 1754, Scotland.

Donna Marie