Welcome to Take One of May’s Secret Subject Swaps. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and the fantastic Karen from Baking In A Tornado assigned each a secret subject to interpret in our own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.
My “Secret Subject” is:
How many serious boyfriends did you have before you met your current spouse/partner and did any of them break your heart? How did you handle it?
It was submitted by: http://menopausalmother.blogspot.com/
W-e-l-l, I don’t publicly dish about my ex husband.
We both made mistakes. We both have worked exceptionally hard to achieve goals and be great people since. We’re good friends and support each other completely. I just don’t feel comfortable ripping apart something we’ve carefully and respectfully mended over the years. There no hot scoop there, just a bunch of hard working people keeping the kids first. It makes our family trees look a bit nuts but it’s a heck of a lot easier to embrace the crazy and enjoy the big ol’ family.
However, I have a story for you and it’s absolutely better than my life, while also being an extension of me at the same time. It could be no closer to me if I lived it. I do believe it fits my excellent Secret Subject. Thank you Menopausal Mother!
I humbly submit to you the first chapter of the first book of a series I’m writing. “The Sweetest Of Woods” will be published on Late Spring 2014 as a whole but until then you can enjoy the fist few chapters online!
Chapter One: The Cessation Of Perfection
The sun started to chase away the dark shadows of the night as it crept along the wooden floors where the shade had not been drawn all the way down. He stirred under the handmade quilt his sweet wife had made him for their twelfth anniversary. One by one his favorite old t-shirts were transformed right under his nose into a work of art that warms them both. Inhaling deeply, floating down the hallway the smell of her almost famous waffles and the scratchy sounds of her slippers gently shuffling across the wooden floors. He could tell by the sound of her gate that she had not had enough coffee yet and had undoubtedly had stayed up all night again watching over their daughter who had been sick with bronchitis. She always said she would wake him when she needed to rest but every night she stood watch for the both of them. He was grateful that she supported his strange hours, odd passions and loved their family so fiercely.
“Ash, grab the syrup please. Don’t forget the note needs to be turned into the office today.” Her voice drifted into their bedroom like music to his ears. High school sweethearts and all these years later they were still madly in love. This morning their love story involved waffles and if he didn’t hurry, he’d miss out.
He raced to get dressed in the hopes he’d catch his family still around the breakfast table.
“I was just about to wake you.” Bridget said to him as she tucked a tin foil covered plate and silverware into a bag. “Fallon, you’re going to be late if you play right now.”
Her warning came too late as father had his son squirming in a teasing headlock while ruffling his carefully styled quaff. The boys always seemed to be wrestling and trying to tackle each other. In an effort to tickle the weakest spot to get free, Ash’s wild elbow caught a full cup of orange juice launching it all over the table, the guys and on to a rather offended cat that happened to have paused in the wrong spot to have a bath just then. The orange juice pooled around the tip Fallon’s steel toed boot.
Everyone sheepishly turned to Bridget, half expecting a good lecture about playing in the house.
“Don’t move… I’ll get the glass.” She said turning for the dust pan and paper towels.
When she returned she wore an expression that spoke volumes; she was not amused.
She looked deeply into her husband’s eyes and couldn’t hold back any longer.
She had a laugh that grabbed everyone up and forced them to laugh long and hard too.
“Well, I don’t see any reason to cry over spilled orange juice but I do expect some of you people with extra energy can manage to clean up the mess before it gets really sticky.” she said with a smile.
The father exchanged sheepish grins with his son, both knowing that if given the chance they would do it again. Fallon mopped up the orange juice while his son scurried into the next room to retrieve the sticky feline. Out of nowhere Bridget started singing exactly one line of a popular song from the radio and then hummed the rest of the tune as she buzzed about cleaning up the breakfast dishes. He smiled. She always did that when she was distracted and happy. Chuckling he shoved the soaked paper towels into the garbage, leaning around to kiss the neck of his lovely wife while she scrubbed the griddle pan.
In return she handed him a damp sponge over her shoulder indicating that his clean up job was not yet over.
As he bent to wipe up the last of the spill, their eyes met. Her eyes danced like an ocean filled with sparkling diamonds that dazzled in the light and pierced directly into the soul. Those gorgeous eyes always smiled in a way that made you think she had the greatest secret in the world and she was about to spill it.
“You’re amazing.” He says to her gently as if to say he was sorry.
“I know and that’s why I make the big bucks.” She says with a grin. “Hustle up. Christine asked if you could see her brother this morning. She mentioned him needing a ‘life oil change’ but I told her you would be in first thing. I bought the stamps you needed and the book about koi fish came. It’s in Kendra’s room; she’s felt so crummy I let her read it. You owe her three marbles today.”
Fallon promised to do the marbles when he returned home, kissed everyone goodbye and walked out their front door. The day was bright and the sun danced off the dew in the patchwork of colored flowers that his ladies had lovingly planted, making the front yard seem like a magical place for fairies and dreams to reside. He had put in the little white picket fence by himself the first summer they owned the house. It seemed like just the right touch that made their house look like the Craftsman Bungalow that fell into the magic perfect bubble of enchantment, complete with purple flowering vine that was woven through the archway above the gate.
He laughed getting into his truck. He had been spending a lot of time with their little Kendra, while she was under the weather. She’d ask him to tell her stories of things that are happy and magical. Daddy would curl up with her to spin a magical tale, and then she would draw detailed pictures for such a little girl and make up spells that needed to go along with the tales.
He treasured this game that they played together. Her lungs have always been a problem and keeping her often cooped up in the house for a length of time recovering when she catches even a minor cold. They had devised a way to pass the time in a beautiful way. For every day that Kendra spent cooped up, her daddy would go out to the part of the fence that her bedroom window overlooked with his drill and skillfully put another hole into his perfect dream fence.
Inside each hole he placed a glass marble in the color that best represented the day to her. Her mood fence twinkled and sent colorful rays of light shooting in various directions, spilling rainbows across the yard as the sunlight provided a daily laser show of colors throughout the neighborhood. It had become a work of art.
It made him look at the dew in his yard with wonder and awe. She even convinced her daddy to put in a small koi pond because she said that in heaven everyone would have a waterfall and a pond. This might be the closest thing to heaven on earth, he thought to himself. He looked down at his phone as the truck warmed up and thought that he might need to schedule some guy time. The past several years Kendra had added more glitter and sparkles to his wardrobe and his life but he wouldn’t change a thing.
It might be endearing to see a guy in mechanics attire dusted with a layer of glitter, he thought but then again, it’s a small town and people like to talk.
The front door burst open and Bridget stood there for a moment as her eyes adjusted to the light. She was waving wildly with one slender arm and holding a sack in the other.
Standing there with her over sized fuzzy Wal-Mart special slippers that she wanted for Mother’s Day, wearing the flannel pajamas with sock monkeys on them, hair piled up in a messy bun on top of her head.
“You almost forgot breakfast,” she said jumping up on the side of the rig and passing it through the window.
She leaned in next for another kiss. “I’ll see you for lunch. Love you…”
She shuffled her monkeys back into the house to hustle the little guy off to school and get her girl settled in for a breathing treatment.
Even in her over sized flannel pajamas she looked like a model that just happened to be selling the sock monkey line this month. Still trim and even more beautiful than the day he first saw her on their first day of high school.
Putting the truck in gear, he rumbled down the street in his tow truck to start his day.
Half past noon Bridget carefully slid out from under her daughter’s sleeping head. She knew the drill; slide pillow in as she snuck out. Fortunately it seemed as though Kendra was feeling better and had fallen into a deep restful sleep. Such a curse as a parent to worry so much about their little souls entrusted in their care.
She slipped into the kitchen and fired up the oven.
It had been awhile since she had made him his favorite bacon wrapped chicken. She worried about his health but every so often wouldn’t hurt to have an extra bit of bacon she thought smiling to herself.
She pictured the look on his face when he walked towards the door and suddenly caught a strong whiff of the special meal she had prepared. Lunch was a special time they enjoyed spending together. Since he changed his practice his hours became longer but he’d never been happier.
Dr. Fallon Chadwick had moved into town with his lovely new bride many years ago. He set up his practice right smack in the center of town. He thought it best to pay for premium office space that would be highly visible.
The funny thing about a small town is that everyone knows everyone else’s business. He couldn’t figure out why not a soul ever dared to grace his doorway until the milkman cornered him as he went to leave for work.
“Doc. Could I talk to you?” said the clean cut man dressed in a vivid white uniform.
“Here’s my card.” The good doctor said excitedly. “Come by the office and we can chat.”
“I thought maybe we could talk here, you know the fabric store looks just over the front of your offices and I’m afraid that the whole town would know the moment I opened your door.”
Dr. Chadwick was taken back. So that’s why his practice was failing.
He took this gentleman into the garage to “work on the car” and to talk out the troubles.
After a few weeks of soul searching he decided that he wanted to help people in another way. He decided to combine his love of cars and people. Bridget was not at all surprised when he announced that he wanted to purchase the local auto garage and tow service.
Several times a week, people would stop by the shop to work on cars and work out what it is that’s troubling them. He joked that he was still in the business of therapy but now his sessions were held on the side of the road or under the hood.
The Chadwick’s became a special part of the little city. Fallon took pride in his business and in his beautiful family. From his truck and during oil changes he repaired relationships, counseled people and invested in all of his clients.
Bridget turned off the oven and opened the door. If the chicken cooked any longer it would be as dry as jerky. She looked at the clock… he should have been home fifteen minutes ago.
She felt a burning in her stomach that caused her to almost double over in pain. Worry ripped through her every nerve and made her visibly shake. Dismissing her feelings as too much coffee, very little sleep and she couldn’t remember when she has actually eaten something herself. He could hear his voice in the back of her mind chastising her for not taking proper care of the most important thing in the entire world to him… her.
She recalled a time that she had called the police thinking that something horrible had happened to him when he was many hours late for dinner.
The police called back to report that his truck was found at the Copleman Farm. He was being force fed pie and stories of yesteryear from the sweet little old lady that was lonely and had car trouble. It was just like him to always do the right thing. It became the punch line of plenty of their personal jokes from then on. Look out for pie!
He usually called when he was going to be so late but he could be out of range.
She sat at the table and watched the clock.
Exhausted from many nights of staying up with a sick child, she was soon slumped over, face nestled into her folded arms a top the table, fast asleep.
Almost an hour later, the click of the front door awoke her.
“Fal…” she started rising to see that it wasn’t her husband but her best friend Rose and her husband Derek, dressed in his sheriff uniform.
“Honey, “ Rose started and her voice choked with tears and she rushed to her friend.
Bridget put her arms out stopping her friends embrace. “He’s late because he got stopped for pie. Derek…” she pleaded, “please go out there and tell him we need him home.”
“He was hit by a car while he was clearing the Rutherford cows off the road. He’s gone. I’m sorry. ” He said gently.
Asher could see his house from where the school bus dropped him off. Even though he was old enough to make the short walk alone, his mother was almost always waiting for him in their front yard just inside the little white fence. She always acted like she was out there for some other reason or would say that she was watching out for his little sister but he knew it was just something moms do.
Mom wasn’t in the yard but Uncle Derek’s truck was in the driveway. Ash started to run down the street eager to hear what Dad and Uncle D had cooked up for them to do. It was surely something fun!
As he reached over to unlatch the fence, he heard a sound that will forever haunt him.
“Pie! Piiiiieeee!!!!! He’s just got stopped for Pie! Listen to me! He wouldn’t leave us! He’s just having pie!” his mother screeched repeatedly in a tone that only capable of the physical embodiment of one soul splitting from its perfect mate and a heart being torn into tattered shreds.
Auntie Rose took care of the kids and Uncle Derek had to take mom to the hospital for a few days.
Kendra thought mom might die of a broken heart but she came home the day of the funeral.
The whole town was washed in a wave of grief and they processed the loss of the glue that connected the little city. Everyone holding onto each other a little longer than needed.
We were all sad but mom missed him the most. We had to live and move on but our hearts would never fully heal.
We no longer ate pie.
Chapter 2: Muted Magic…
If I publish more chapters here, it’s up to you. If you’d like to read more leave me a comment and let me know.
Now sit back, get comfy and get ready to check out some amazingly talented bloggers participating in Secret Subject Swap:
http://www.BakingInATornado.com <— The super hero that makes Secret Subject Swap possible
http://menopausalmother.blogspot.com/ <— The awesome blogger that gave me the subject this month