Not sure how it all happened. After all, it was just a group of ladies like me with stories to tell. Stories of triumph and disappointment. Stories of pain and recovery, stories from our heart.
None of us are professional writers. We just sit around the long rectangular kitchen table covered in two different colored plastic table clothes in a Frank Lloyd Wright style home in a small enclave nestled next to a busy freeway.
Our writing coach, Anne Randolph, a former director of several opera houses, holds court at the head of the table, her every word laced with southern charm from another time. Many times, our group has no idea where our writing will take us. Put our time together always starts by reading a poem out loud. The poem soothes out of our business, settles us into the mismatched chairs, the weight of our world shifts, our chatter subsides, and we go deep into our stories.
Here is an excerpt from my story in Stories Gathered at the Kitchen Table.
My own experience in this realm, when my dreams of the “Knight in Shining Armor” turned to disaster, just recently became a short story called “A Slow Leaving” and can be found in the collection, “Women’s Stories Gathered at the Kitchen Table” (2014)
.It has been a very long time since my second marriage. I am older now and so are my children. One thing still remains; I’m still the mother of a special needs child – one who is now an adult.
So what are my chances at lasting love? What are yours? After reading Katie’s blog, I believe that they are alive and well for all of us and ready to be realized.+
Here is the condensed version of a A Slow Leaving, my Knight in Shining Armor story.
A Slow Leaving
The cart stuttered and stalled; its wheels catching on to the gray carpet as he rounded the corner to the front door of our high rise apartment. A trail of sweat dropped, twisted and turned falling onto the back of his dull white Indy 500 T-shirt. His appetite for extremes had left its mark, his expanding belly stretched the boundaries of the knit fabric, just has he had stretched the boundaries of our marriage.
Slow and deliberately, Frank picked his way through the narrow hallway with the last of his meager belongings dumped into the shopping cart he had brought up from the basement earlier this morning. He was soon to be a memory, stuffed into a Tiffany’s aqua blue gift box, tied with a white ribbon with the rest of remnants of loves lost. With every step he took towards the door, he faded into my past. The truth was Frank had been fading for a long time. His jet black beard now is mostly gray. The once full head of hair, his lion’s mane, has receded like his love. What remained were long strands of peppered white hair straggled together into his leftover, can’t cut my Hollywood pony tail. Like a night blooming jasmine love was exotic, intoxicating and short lived. For a while, I was the queen of his night. But sensuous love often fades, the petals fall slowly, one by one until the day comes when nothing remains.
Single parenting and caregiving had taken a toll on me as I tried to carve a place in the world for my family, especially for Mikelle. Friends and family doubted I would ever find love again.
Time slowed. Painfully, morning turned to afternoon. He was still here. Once again, he was in control. I wanted to be free of him and his constricting hold on my life. I sought relief, to breathe free, to wash my soiled heart clean. Relief stubbornly refused to come. How could it? As with everything Frank did, he did with a flair for the dramatic. In our separation scene, he was the producer; I was an actor in his personal movie. After working for years in Hollywood, his imagination had become his home. There he could produce his own cinematic scenes of life.
The first act was romance and seduction. The second act he wrote and directed with care, casting himself as the hero, the rescuer of the damsel in distress. The perfect man enters the imperfect world an imperfect family and saves them. The act would end in this “Hallmark” movie with a miracle. In his script, Mikelle walks walk down the aisle of the old adobe chapel built on the bluff overlooking the valley facing west towards Pikes Peak. Mikelle would walk down the aisle of our wedding chapel with his assistance; heads would turn for he was the one, in his ivory colored Great Gatsby dinner jacket and black silk tie, who rescued the single mom, the young boy and the little girl who couldn’t walk. All eyes would be on Mikelle and Frank. He was the hero of the storybook romance.......