“I don’t want to wake up an old hag and have to say, ‘I don’t know because I was too scared to ask.‘ The regrets of a coward I choose not to own.”
They were Annabelle’s words committed to page nearly 20 years ago. She believed in them then, but now curled in a fetal position on her bedroom rocking chair, she wondered if she still did. She sat there rubbing the corner of the page between forefinger and thumb, a translucent veil separating her two worlds. In her hands rested the only account of this tale, leather bound and clasped with intention. For the first time in 20 years that clasp had been opened without her permission. Fresh tears of betrayal filled Annabelle’s eyes as she remembered seeing her book slip out of Junior’s bag, landing on the kitchen floor like an unwanted piece of garbage. With each tear a different memory surfaced. Annabelle was no longer ashamed of her tears. She thought of them like the rain needed for growth. They moved along the contours of her face with familiarity, one after the other, forming small streams and rivers that converged at a common meeting point on her chin. The water collected there and dropped into the crevice of her bosom like a waterfall.
Outside her bedroom window she saw the blur of a rising moon, round and full, reflecting off the riverbed like candle flames in a dark room. Inside a mixture of anger, disappointment and rage surged through her veins, raising the temperature of her blood to a slight boil. Junior’s words replayed in her mind with a vengeance:
“You protect this story of yours as if it were a golden treasure. You run around this hippie town preaching honesty and love, asking others to share their intimate stories while yours remains hidden under lock and key. And they all listen to you, they all trust you. But you’re a phony! Putting on false airs as if you were something special and the worst part is you don’t even know it. How do you think you are ever going to get the kind of love and respect from a man like Tucker, when you can’t even share your story?”
Junior paused to laugh. It was the deep and bitter laugh of a young man who just discovered he’d been lied to since birth.
“Annabelle, you are a hypocrite, a liar and a COWARD.”
The words were thrown like sharp knives penetrating deep and piercing the sensitive skin that protected her heart and soul. Cutting and slicing out bits of her for mere sport, because it felt good to direct the anger somewhere. Annabelle remembered standing there in her own kitchen biting down on her tongue until a rust taste of blood swished around in her mouth; forcing herself to listen instead of speak.
Annabelle knew Junior was using her own words to challenge her. He wanted her to make copies of her Great Dream book; he wanted her to publish the story and share it freely with the masses. Her own reluctance enveloped her in a murky cloud of doubt and fear.
More to come,
A Warrior Princess