She was only four and a baleful of consequences started to be part of her new life. Sometimes non-comprehension and other days flying by the seat of her pants. She had started to feel inured with the harshness of this new man in her life.
Nick on this evening was incensed that she wasn’t eating the food prepared for dinner that night. She remembered his screaming, his hissing, his evil eye. She looked at her mother for support but her mother didn’t dare look her way. Nick was utterly incredulous in front of her eyes and the disbelief of such idiosyncratic behavior led Lorie more and more to dislike him. Her aversion to him only became stronger. It would be a long while before they tolerated each other.
He Was Broken Open
She Saw The Flush
Of His Face
Rise From His Fists
Evil Bringing His Horror
Then she started gagging and that was enough for him. He banged the table with his fists and her body flinched. She was scared. His deplorable impatience only gave rise to the ridiculous as he went on ranting and raving. He stood tall as the green giant and said in Spanish (translated to
“Vamos ah mirare el television con Bonanza, y tu tienes que comel todo tu comida, mien tiendes.”English).
“We are going to the living room to watch “Bonanza” and you will stay here until you finish your food, do you understand me?”
She nodded with a sad face.
“So they left, I think I was glad. No! I know I was glad.”
She looked down at her plate full of food and tried a few more times and gagged with each attempt. She wished the food would disappear. She couldn’t eat it. Her taste buds rejected the nourishment from good homegrown vegetables. This was a direct blow to Nick’s ego since the vegetables came from the farm Nick grew at his father’s ranch. Then she started to think. She looked around carefully. There was the trash can but that would be too obvious. The kitchen cupboards were not the answer. Then she noticed the small removable steel plate at the bottom of the short, wide refrigerator; very different from the refrigerator the Kings owned.
In her impulsiveness without weighing the consequences this seemed like a perfectly good idea to solve everyone’s problems including hers. She was barely four but already showing irreverence and promise. She slowly tiptoed over and removed that steel plate without a sound traveling to the living room. The noise of the TV with Bonanza airing was to her advantage. She took the food and scraped it off the platter into the compartment and replaced the steel plate. She didn’t think about the consequences. This was an act of deception that she had just committed.
“Now that I think about being caught in the act. I shiver and my heart starts pumping faster as if I’m 4 years old again. If I had been caught it would have dangerously tipped the scales and God knows for the lack of a better term what would have happened to me.”
However, this wasn’t the case and she was rather proud of herself for she had solved some of Nick’s frustration, infuriation and more importantly her suffering. She called out in Spanish “Yah Ca Ve”, “I’m done”. She took her jello with whipping cream out of the refrigerator and happily went into the living room to join them. They looked happy. She was happy, feasting on dessert and watching “Bonanza” on television.
It was a small apartment for a family of three with hardwood floors in perfect condition. She noticed the shine and luster of polished wood. Wood floors now added to her list. Even at such a tender age, it seems the finer things in life always caught her eye. It was a one-bedroom apartment. And as years would pass it wasn’t until she was a teenager, she would finally have a bedroom to herself.
At four, she was walking and observing this new space. This apartment was all they could afford or so she thought. The bathroom was all white, something she never knew existed comparing this bathroom to the outhouse on her grandmother’s property with the Sear’s torn catalog pages used as wall paper in the outhouse.
She ran her hands on the shiny clean surfaces of the sink, a toilet with a handle. She flushed and bent forward to watch the water go down the toilet, thinking to herself that was a good idea. She was full of good ideas like the food that was now rotting in the small compartment at the bottom of the refrigerator. The white shiny tub had a shower head and a plastic shower curtain. The shower curtain felt cool to the touch and rubbery, unlike her grandmother’s white cotton curtains with an embroidery design hanging on all the windows. There was a window in the bathroom. Using the handle, she opened the window to the outside and peeked through the window. There was dog barking from the neighbors backyard. She loved dogs.
The kitchen was white, compact in size with a metal table and 4 steel chairs with vinyl red cushions. That table would be where her first battles with a father named Nick would begin and follow. The outdoors of the apartment was warm on sunny days with the warmth from the same sun she remembered on her grandmother and grandfather’s property. That would remain a permanent memory.
The front yard had several trees blossoming with pink and white baby blossoms and pretty flowers along the neighbors back wall. Later, she would identify those flowers as red and yellow tulips. It was the color combination she would purchase years later. The roses she often purchased to put in a beautiful crystal vase. The sun was endless, lending the warmth and richness to this front yard. This was her very own playground. The feeling like she owned it.
It was a beautiful place where an artist like Monet would paint and share the memory forever. There was flagstone laid in a creative pattern and green grass between the cracks. A brown stucco wall on the east side with a gate made of stained wood. The yard was spacious and safe for her to play throughout the day. Though the apartment didn’t seem big enough for Nick, Janis, and herself.
The neighbor’s back door was part of the front yard. Mr. and Mrs. King lived there and were the landlords of the small apartment.
Mr. King was tall and hunched over, especially when he walked. His hair was gray and thinning with light eyes, not dark brown like most of her family. He was a friendly man. She liked smiling and waving to him. He reminded her of her grandfather in Barranc
When she would visit the Kings, they offered her milk and an assortment of delicious cookies. She remembered the ones covered in pink frosting. The Kings made her feel special, but that was true of most adults she came in contact with. At that age, she started to notice and understand the socio-economic status of wealth and poverty. She compared the apartment to the Kings home; clearly their house was bigger and filled with the finer things in life.
In their house, everything was in its place. They had a formal dining room and a living room with fancy silk curtains accentuating the large window which lit the room. She listened to the ticktock of a large grandfather clock, something she had never seen before. She would say to herself ticktock, ticktock when playing outside and the first time she heard the large grandfather clock chime her eyes opened wide and the music was beautiful to her. The bedrooms were always made and neat. Matching night stands on each side of the bed, long silver shades covering the lights. There wasn’t really anything out of place. The furniture was beautiful and elegant compared to the furniture in the apartment. The whole house had an opulence to it. She dreamed of living in a house like this one day. The Kings appeared to her to be a King and Queen in their palace.
“I was not shy but an inquisitive voracious child who knew how special she was to herself. That feeling was innately inherited because of the secret.”
The next photograph passed through many hands and was seen by many eyes. Only now she understood how she had managed to preserve this as a keepsake dear to her heart. She was the little girl on the right next to her grandmother with a white reflective light above her head. Does this white light mean anything other than the glare when the photograph was taken?
“I won’t speculate on that. Well, maybe I will. That would be something if I had a guardian angel and maybe I did.”
She remembers the pink taffeta dress worn on that day with her hair in rizos, spiraling ringlets of curls, and white socks with black patent leather shoes.
May I Strengthen
For If I Resolve Them
I Can Aspire
To The Dreams
I Hold In My Heart
Now we come to the unfortunate part where body pain surfaces its ugly head for Nick, Janis, and Lorie. The clashing of demonstrative narcissism where there is no room for being reasonable, rational or finding peace within. It was coming, the dark, grey, portentous and unforgiving; the revival of anger in Nick and Janis and the fear in her. Oh, the symphony of wind, hail and lightening; she would brave it to remain who she was …
No Matter The Risk
We Adapt To Survive
We Transform To Confront
No Matter The Villain
No Matter The Sermon
To Convert Into
In The Emptiness
Of Severing The Last
Glimmer Of Hope
Suspended In The Dark Crevices
Of Tumultuous Sorrow
Prescind To Survive
Janis and Nick were forced to keep a child from Janis’s past.
“That child was me, unfortunately.”
This was not a blended family for them or for Lorie. It was clear the two adults, Nick and Janis, lacked the experience and maturity to do Lorie justice. Instead of nurturing this little girl who was lovable by all accounts, they seemed more intent on remaining irredeemable and deplorable in her young eyes.
Without a doubt in their minds, they wanted to cover up an earlier mistake; starting anew with a skulking facade to conceal the past, live in the present, and change the future. Hoping and praying that soon, with time, a new baby would be born to signal a new beginning; a child that would come from their combined DNA.
“I would continually play in the shadows of a distant past memory they were trying to cover up. At this innocent age, I was more enamored with life. Like a ludic kitten bouncing and skipping here and there and anywhere; my imagination was immensely happy and curious and I knew that was a gift for as young as I was and it would remain that way for the rest of life. Because some of us are simply made that way. A blessing.”
Until then, all of us were twisting ourselves uncomfortably for the sake of appearances. The only thing I knew at that age, was that I was their real daughter. I remember at the age of five, I had an epiphany while Nick and Janis were in a heated argument.
“I remember thinking ‘these people are crazy, they hate each other and when I grow up, I want my life to be different; with hope, happiness, and peace.”
The reliving of their constant battles was laying a foundation for emotional scars.
“Children hate to see and hear their parents fight. They don’t feel safe or happy and when it’s constant they start to wish they belonged to another family; another home. This would become my eternal fantasy.”
“Universe help us all, exposed to the slow bane of infuriating tongue lashing out and spitting evil cursing and still, I can hear it; distantly.”
I Knew I Was Different
When Demons Were Screaming
Inside Of Me
I Watched Their Demons Clash
With Each Day
On and On
An Outer Shell
Of Flawed Immaculate
Exposed To The
Of The Dirge Of Flesh
Weakening The Soul
A Radiant Frenzy
Trying To Cover It All
That special child that everyone anticipated for, that prayed and hoped for, would come but not soon enough, not for Lorie or for them. She knew that another child would take the spotlight off of her; exit stage right. That sounded extremely appealing to Lorie. She knew that all their negative attention would turn positive toward the new baby. Then at least, she could revel in their happiness; vicariously.
Lorie didn’t remember being told to use Nick’s last name. She was never adopted and that didn’t matter to them but it would eventually matter to her; deeply. It was Mrs. Stark who ultimately made her understand and showed her how to write her last name. Mrs. Stark and herself assuming this was correct and not understanding that she already had a past and was a ‘made up’ little person; like a character in a play. The Social Security office and everyone else went along with this cover-up. It all blended itself into one big charade.
With each passing day, she was getting closer to the truth but not soon enough. When chasing after the truth, she remembered the first time she looked at the birth certificate with the real last name that was given to her when she was born. The name hung there suspended over the birth certificate as if it didn’t belong there. Lorie felt none of the affinity as she dreamed she would and then it jogged her memory of another copy of the birth certificate with Nick’s last name. His last name seemed to fit better perhaps because she wished it so.
In witnessing Nick’s drinking, she became distinctly aware of his recklessness and dysfunctional behavior. Nick would get harsher with physical, emotional, and verbal abuse. While Janis lost herself in a negative bank of emotions, abandoning protection of her only daughter; her only child for seven years. That became the saddest part and would ultimately drive a wedge in the relationship between her and her mother. The proximity of living in the same household with Janis was continually abandoning Lorie emotionally. Janis did this almost daily, without any warning, those spiteful comments could hurt her daughter deeply and that never changed and neither did Janis.
The Stolen Years
Was All That
Was Left of Her
A Negative Bank
The Love Went
Into Thin Air
To Put It
All Behind Her
I Can’t Imagine
The Dying Fire
Of All Her
Dreams and Passion.
But I Watched It.
To Learn From This.
Nick had a good job as a draftsman engineer for the State Highway Department, they were not poor. His career would grow and Janis worked when she wanted to. During the apartment days, Janis was a homemaker, keeping the small apartment clean and in order. She was a seamstress for Lorie. She made Lorie beautiful dresses. To this day, Lorie loves fashion.
Janis loved to put Lorie’s hair in a ponytail with silk colored ribbons.
“I remember that ponytail was so tight, that my face and eyes were stretched like I had a facelift.”
It had to be tight to remain tight with all her long, dark brown hair. All this primping bothered Nick, so he would lash out with cruel insensitive remarks in Spanish.
Nick would say in Spanish, “La mandas a la escuela que se parece como unaprincesa aque trie las F’s.”
“You send her to school looking like a princess and she brings home F’s.”
Of course, she understood. But he didn’t know her at all; she would prove him wrong. In her defense, Nick or Janis didn’t sit down with her to help her with her homework or how to pronounce English with proper enunciation. Because if they had she would have remembered it.
They never discussed the fact that she only knew Spanish as her first language and English was a foreign language to her. Having to learn a whole new language would set Lorie apart from the other children who spoke English naturally. There were a few who did understand Lorie and came from Spanish families. But, by second grade, Lorie came up fast, really fast and Mrs. Mason her beautiful Black American teacher gave her the confidence and the opportunity to prove herself.
“I was well aware at a young age that knowledge was going to make the biggest difference in my life; and so it did. Of course Nick was singing a different tune then and then he stopped. Boy did I show him.”
Janis chose to marry two alcoholics one after the other, blaming her choices on others and those others were, unfortunately, Lorie, Nick, and his family. Later, when Lorie was finally told the truth the question continually surfaced in Lorie’s mind; why had Janis made the choice to marry Nick? It was more than a streak of bad luck. I suppose that her temporary kalopsia when she met Nick was ultimately what affected her and she made up her mind and married him.
But there was one crucial virtue Nick did have above and beyond the other sister’s husbands, he was a hard worker and could support his family; me and Janis.
Those who drink often feel more bravado and intensity toward their life when their drinking, but the underlying anger and dissatisfaction; swarms above the surface. At least that is what she noticed as the years went by.
Lorie now prepared herself for the fight of her life. Nick’s pent up aggression was her first experience as a child abuse victim. It started to make her feel that everything was her fault. This is not uncommon for children who have suffered child abuse and neglect.
Feeling the warmth of a relaxed Sunday afternoon, she was playing and using her imagination as all children do. Nick’s destructive impulses
He started walking towards her and grabbed her little arm and he hit her; hard. Not once, not twice, but several times. She was crying while emptying the mailbox of all the rocks. She had never been hit before. Her grandparents had never done this. Her grandfather would have defended her and made her feel safe. Right at that moment she began breaking inside. Now the abuse would start based on Nick’s laden and misplaced anger.
A child should be protected not abused. How would Nick have felt, if a grown man had come up to him at a grocery store and started hitting him for putting something on the incorrect shelf? Nick would have defended himself because he could. He was a grown man, not a child. He would have felt that this man was attacking him for a simple mistake. Why couldn’t Nick have explained to Lorie in a calm, rational manner that what she was doing wasn’t right and that the mailbox belonged to the neighbors? And then helped her remove the rocks. That would have been kinder and more mature. This was wishful thinking on Lorie’s part. After she grew up, it made her so angry to think of it.
An even better alternative would have been for Nick to have gone into the apartment, taken a plain sheet of paper and helped Lorie write her name and put it in their mailbox. But that too was wishful thinking and so it never felt as if they were proud of her. That just never crossed their mind.
Wishful thinking became a big part of her life at the tender age of four. She dreamed of belonging to a family where there was peace, safety, and happiness. Instead she found herself alone, lost and hurt but still with a resilient heart to one day distance herself from these people who never deserved her in the first place.
In Their Madness
No Beloved Tears
Licking Defense Wounds
Constant Burning Edges
Death By Craving
Every Full Moon
On a day that was quiet and uneventful, she played outside. Nick was nowhere in sight and she wasn’t in school making Ms. Stark’s day miserable. This was another story that had its purpose soon to be told.
Lorie came in from the outdoors feeling she was alone in the apartment. She was hot and thirsty. No lemonade or iced tea to quench her parched throat so water would have to do. The Kings would normally offer lemonade or mint iced tea in their home. She pushed one of the chairs from the kitchen table to the sink, climbed on it and ran water from the faucet into a cup to drink. Drinking the water was refreshing. She made a satisfied “Ahh!”
Her hands were small but her fingers were long. She was wearing a white cotton dress with a pink floral pattern and lime green leafs, a color Lorie would come to love; green. Her hair was in “rizos”, long spiral curls, as her mother enjoyed styling her long dark brown hair. After getting off the steel chair and pushing it back in place, she wandered about. The door to the only bedroom was closed. She innocently placed her small hand on the knob and turned it; the door opened enough to reveal what she saw. Janis was naked on top of Nick naked. She remembered Janis’s head turning with her hair disheveled, completely surprised. Nick raised his head to look at her. What she saw looked very strange. Very disturbing. They shouted at her and she froze for an instant. She doesn’t remember closing the door behind her and she probably didn’t; hurrying, running outside. Her heart raced with adrenaline not knowing what to do.
Neither Janis nor Nick came to explain to her what she had seen. Instead she carried the blame for what had happened. Why didn’t they lock the door? Why did they scream at her? It was terribly confusing and she remembered feeling awful. It was an unexplained ghastly scene to her at that age. She herself took the blame for this too.
Billie Joe Moses and Lorie
“I was within walking distance to the elementary school called Acequia Madre.”
“When I grew up I placed a lot of loyalty and commitment in my friendships with women. This was because it came from a place of loneliness, and the loneliness was there in the apartment but not in Barranco.”
Lorie enrolled with the important documentation; her immunization records. There in first grade Lorie was looking up and down at Ms. Stark. She was a tall lady and her first grade teacher. She remembers Ms Stark who always wore black; which Lorie thought was odd. Her dark hair was always pinned back in a bun. She looked like a governess from a foreign country. Which country? It beats me. She was a tall and strapping woman.
The first grade room was a beautiful space filled with the sunlight that came through the huge bay window looking outside to the trees full of blossoms. All of the student’s arts and crafts were pasted on the walls. The chalk board was on the right with the letters A through Z above it. I remember the vowels a, e, i, o, u. I remember her constant enunciation of each vowel. I remember the books and suddenly at this very moment the stories of Jeff. Jeff can sit, Jeff can eat, Go Jeff Go, Run Jeff Run. Run was the word precisely! Lorie wanted to run away from her frustration learning a new language. She only spoke Spanish with her grandparents.
It appeared to Lorie that Mrs. Stark was frustrated trying to teach her English but certainly not as frustrated as Lorie was. On the good side, she met a friend named Billie Jo Moses. Billie Jo Moses understood Lorie quite well. Lorie learned more English from her than from anyone else. They had established a bond of trust and lived on the same street. Billie Jo kept inviting Lorie over to her house to play. She couldn’t wait to go. Finally, on Sunday, on a bright summery day, Nick and Janis were washing the car outside. The music was blasting on the car radio. Lorie was terribly anxious to ask if after school she could go to Billie Joe Moses’ house to play. She asked Nick first and he nodded yes, that was good enough for her.
On that Monday morning, there was a sweet flutter of anticipation. Their excitement was palpable. Lorie remembers wearing her maroon striped dress. Before school broke up, the first grade was asked to line up like small soldiers to take their first grade picture together. The photographer said, “Let me see everyone’s happy smile.” It was a great day because she had a true friend named Billie Jo Moses.
At three o’clock, the school bell rang and everyone picked up their books. She and Billie Jo Moses looked immediately for each other and started holding hands, happily leaving the school and walking to Billie Jo Moses’ house. They were full of chatter and excitement.
Billie Jo’s house was built of beautiful red brick. Just like in the tale of the Three Little Pigs. Remembering the words, “Then I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down,” said the big bad wolf. This was who Nick who was a lycanthropic silver werewolf with menacing blood-shot red eyes, especially when he was drinking and angry. But no wolf could huff and puff and blow Billie Jo’s house down because it was made of red brick.
They walked into the house and Lorie immediately assessed Billie Jo’s socio-economic status comparing it to her own. Billie Jo had her own bedroom. She owned a Suzy Easy Bake Oven, a children’s table and chairs and a pretty porcelain tea set with pink roses. As Lorie looked around she noticed a small book shelf filled with children’s books. This was the one thing that made the biggest impression on her. She was willing to bet that Billie Jo’s parents read to her and she read for them.
Lorie looked into the small treasure chest Billie Jo opened. There were dresses, hats, and shoes for grown ladies. Billie Jo picked out a dress for Lorie and one for herself. They put the dresses on over their clothing. They put hats on and giggled. Billie Jo took Lorie by the hand and they looked at themselves in front of the mirror as Lorie smiled and laughed.
“It reminds me of the scene in the movie “The Color Purple”. Shug Avery dressed Celie and she looked at herself in the mirror and she was smiling and in that one precious moment boosting her confidence. You never forget those who totally believe in you. Like my college professor Brother Bob who taught me Calculus 1,2,3 etc… for my math degree. Brother Bob believed in me and my potential.”
They sat at the table like young ladies having tea and began a conversation. Billie Jo’s vocabulary was obviously more advanced than Lorie’s, especially the enunciation. It sounded precise. Lorie repeated everything she heard. After what seemed like mere minutes, at least an hour had flown by. Later in years, Lorie made sure her pronunciation and enunciation of English was perfect and without an accent. It was important to her because she didn’t want to be stereotyped.
There was a knock at the door and Billie Jo’s mother walked in explaining that Lorie’s mother was waiting in the living room for her. Lorie understood that very clearly, no translation was needed. Her heart started to beat fast and her palms were sweaty. She took the hat and long dress off, then walked into their living room to see her mother standing there looking half-crazed as she screamed her name, “Lorie!”. Her mother took her hand and didn’t give her the opportunity to say goodbye to Billie Jo Moses. This was a lost opportunity if Janis had only hugged her daughter relieved she had found her daughter.
As they walked off the property, there was a lilac bush where her mother cut a branch and skinned it. It was obvious what was on her mind; this did not look good. Janis used it as a switch to hit Lorie’s little legs. If only she had been wearing pants she would have felt the sting with less pain but she was wearing a dress. Janis started swatting her exposed legs and it was painful. Lorie started crying and tried to explain that Nick had given her permission to visit with Billie Jo after school. But it didn’t matter to Janis, she wanted to teach her daughter a lesson with the switch.
She had always assumed Nick was her father. He just suddenly appeared in Barranco. Somehow in her mind, she couldn’t separate the transition of living in Barranco with her grandparents, then moving to Santa Fe and Nick just suddenly being there in Barranco. She had had no contact with her biological father that she remembered. The ridiculousness is that everyone in this huge family kept the secret, except for her cousin, Patty. She was the teller of all secrets.
They were climbing a tree together and Patty
Patty loved divulging secrets. People, who like to gossip, don’t usually have enough substance in their own life or they need to escape their lives with someone else’s problems or burdens. The tabloids know this. Needless to say Lorie didn’t believe her. But she did remember it. She stored it in the back of mind under “ambiguity”.
But the little person in Lorie was smarter than Nick would have ever given her credit for. At the age of four, she had already demonstrated this to Nick by hiding the food in the refrigerator compartment behind the steel plate numerous times. Sometimes she thought of herself as a little superhero fighting the lycanthropic big bad silver wolf with blood-shot red eyes. She instinctively understood; she was the good guy fighting the bad guy, and that bad guy was Nick.
Remembering she was a laden child the significant details were hidden away, some merrily, others frightening, sometimes feeling ashamed, others not visible or so we think; but they’re all there piling on top of each other till the day that the past comes rushing forward.
The Deaths In The Family
Around this time, two deaths occurred in the family. One being the most tragic for Lorie. Her grandfather had passed away. She remembered kneeling in church; some of the attendees were crying and everyone was wearing black. In this small town, it was strictly black in those days. No colorful dresses and suits marching to a band celebrating the life once lived.
Her grandmother was wearing a plain black dress and a black lace veil covering her head and shoulders. Lorie watched her applying the magic powder to her face, her complexion looking smooth and flawless then the lipstick. She was carrying her rosary.
There It Was In A
A Little Lipstick
Pretty In Pink
Everyone knelt at the church and the Spanish rosary started; family determined to get through the praying in Spanish. “Santa Maria Madre De Dios.”
“I never knew what my grandfather died off. I just assumed it was long term battle with diabetes that must have contributed to his poor health and eventual death.”
He must have been in his late sixties. Seventy at the most. That was too short a life but he left plenty of his genes through his daughters and grandchildren. All of their young lives would go on and evolve in his absence; as the patriarch of the family. Lorie would lose him at the age of four. Josie at the age of twenty-six. Her grandmother was in her mid-sixties.
It wasn’t explained to her that her grandfather had died. Later Lorie realized that if her grandfather had died in France during World War I, I wouldn’t be writing this story. It was good luck that he survived the battles of World War 1; it lead to all our destinies in life. There were six daughters and one son plus all their spouses and children. It seemed to Lorie as if the whole town attended her grandfather’s funeral.
In church, Lorie walked to the open coffin and saw his face wearing his wired glasses. She thought this was probably so he could see better in heaven. He was dressed in a navy blue suit and tie. He looked alive, not dead, like he was taking a nap. She almost called out to him “Abuelo, estoy aquí, es la Lorie” “Grandpa, I’m here. It’s Lorie.” She expected him to turn and smile at her.
After the funeral service, everything else seemed like a blur to her. Only the red fruity punch stood out in her mind. During those days, funerals and wakes happened more often with the time going by in Barranco. There was a progression in this small town; everyone seemed to be dying. The next thing she remembers is not having her grandfather’s presence in Barranco.
The kitchen was where it felt the strangest and the loneliest. It would take time getting used to this fact. Death is so final. Grieving is literally heartbreaking. But she didn’t remember anyone crying. If her grandmother did, it was in her own personal time when no one was present. One thing that did come from their marriage was ten
There was a silence in the kitchen. Gone were the conversations her grandmother and grandfather had in the past during meals. In her grandmother’s lament, she must have missed him the most when in the kitchen. It seemed her grandmother started to age faster. She and her grandmother would continue with life together, as it had to be, being by her grandmother’s side felt the most natural and important. It was always comforting to be by her side.
As the years went by, it seemed to Lorie as if Barranco was shrinking in size. The fruit trees stopped bearing fruit. Lorie remembered the heat from the sun and dry dirt, dry trees, dry adobe walls, dry tears for all that was changing. The only familiar things were the bumps on the dirt road along the way to the property. And there was a particular pot hole where water would run through the narrow creek to irrigate people’s gardens. That never got fixed; it was there out of necessity.
One weekend when visiting with her grandmother, Janis dec
She would go on an expedition to capture the most interesting and hidden creatures. Baby horny toads were the cutest but not common. On the higher ground of her grandparent’s property, there were two large rooms attached to each other; sharing a middle wall. She walked behind the rooms and there they were; beautiful black spiders with a red dot on their tummies. She put some dirt and leaves into the jar. Lorie found these creatures amazing because they could leap at least six feet. She caught two of the black spiders with a stick and placed them in their new home. She was ecstatic and ready to show her grandmother and mother. This should brighten everyone’s day.
She went into the house and made the announcement,
“Mira Lo Que Pesque, Bonitas Aranias.”
“Look what I caught, beautiful spiders”.
Two beautiful black spiders. Proudly, she showed her mother. Janis shouted her name “Lorie”. Then she showed her grandmother. Her grandmother opened the fires of hell in the black wood stove, opened the jar and threw the spiders into the fire. Lorie heard a crisp burning sound and they were gone; her two black widow spiders. In one moment of feeling so proud of her black spiders their lives came to an end. Like that end of grandfather who was a part of her life.
The second death in the family was quite sudden and traumatic because it was an accident. The story was printed in the Phoenix newspapers. Aunt Maggie’s husband died underground in a manhole. It collapsed and caved in and they couldn’t save him in time.
Aunt Maggie and her husband had lived all their lives in Phoenix, Arizona with their two children. Lorie overheard the family discussing his death and the picture of the manhole was in the newspapers. It was sudden, tragic, but real.
The church was white, big and beautiful. Lorie remembered the tall, striking stained glass windows. The sun’s brilliant white light intensified the colors of the windows. She and Nick were standing at the back of the church. Nick wasn’t the kind of man to sit still for very long. He was fidgety and was constantly busy with his garden. It was no surprise that everything he grew was fresh and tasted delicious.
“Unfortunately, my brother and I never inherited his green thumb. I couldn’t even keep plants alive that I had bought. Excessive watering and then the plant rotting. I watched Nick tend to his garden and work on the farm at his father’s farm.”
,As Lorie and Nick stood at the back of the church. someone was coming down the left aisle to exit the church. For the first time, she saw a midget, a diminutive tiny man walking down the aisle toward the doors. Hurriedly, he left the church and Lorie without even thinking she followed him trying to keep up with his pace. She was so enamored by his stature and he was a real live person.”
“Pescan me ese nenito
“Catch me that little man, I want to play with him.”
Lorie was all heart; an altruistic child with a whimsical enlightenment. The faster the little man walked, the faster she walked to keep up with him. You can imagine that scene in your mind. Of course, she was all dressed up with her trademark hair in rizos, her long dark brown hair spiraling down. She hurried as her black patent leather shoes tapped faster on the concrete to keep up with him. Then, he stopped abruptly, he opened his car door and she noticed the driver’s side was different, the drivers seat was raised high and the stirring wheel was different. He hopped in, unaware that she was chasing him down, started the car and left. Nick was following her and he got a big kick that she was so enamored with a little person. She knew he was a grown man in a little body, therefore assuming he liked to play.
After seven very long years Nick and Janis FINALLY! had another child; a baby boy named Miguel. When Nick and Janis brought Miguel home they laid him down on the bed. She was by their side trying to get a good look at her baby brother. They still lived in the apartment but not for long. One day, her mother asked her to watch Miguel as he lay on the sofa. She was curious and wanted to hold him. She picked him up in her arms but then dropped him. This was panic to the nth degree. Luckily, the sofa was very low to the floor. She was so scared; she didn’t know what to do. Finally, she picked him up and put him back on the sofa and he started crying which made her feel happy and relieved.
“What had happened was very serious. Had Miguel broken his neck or died, Nick would have killed her. No doubt about that. He would have planned something and called it an accident. A life for a life! I even hate to think of such a thing. But I wasn’t a cherished child. I only knew that to well.”
You can listen to “Defied Them All” by Natalie Keshing on SoudCloud click here: https://t.co/ggI9FS66xp
The Poem of Verses 1 “Defied Them All”
She Carried The Secret
Wearing The Dresses
Of A Princess
But Not A Princess
Her Hair Was Dark
Ringlets Of Curls
Her Little Self
To Strike And Defy
Silver Wolf With
Blood Shot Red Eyes
Who Came By
The Black Angels Eye
Only Too Real
To Watch These Two
Want to Kill Each Other
She Had The Mind Set
Of A Prisoner
Believing In God
Was By Her Side
But Now A Woman
What I Survived
I Was Resilient
And Purposely Me”
To Be A Mess
Only To Take
And Damning The Rest
Who Were They
To Show How Kind Heart
They Were Not
Now I Think
Of All The Verses
Clearly All Experienced
From The Stepping Stones To A
Oh It Was More
Than 6 Minutes
X A Billion
She Thought Of
Nameless & Silent
Eating a Succulent
In Her Trembling Hands
And Tender Yearnings
For A Better Life
Not To Tell The Truth
Were The Flood Gates
In Her Mind
She Started To Remember
Smells, Tastes, Sounds
& Relived It All
At Last The Woman
Defied Them All
But It Wasn’t
The Last Chapter
Far From It