Oak Island Chapter 3: Cassie gets some advice.

Oak Island Chapter 3: Cassie gets some advice.

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
"

Cassie gets some advice. (Originally Tinder Island)

"

Chapter Three


Saturday afternoon Ezra and I finally got home at three, laden with the fruits of our errands. I hung his shirts and my dry cleaning while he put several bottles of wine in the wine rack. We put away the groceries together. When the kitchen island was clear, Ezra invited me to try the Cabernet he chose to go with the steak au poivre he was preparing tonight. I perched on one of the stools at the island and he leaned against the cabinets opposite. It was a lovely wine.


I'm going to Cheryl's tomorrow for lunch.”


Ezra's mouth twisted. “What do you want to spend time with that loser for?”


She's not a loser. She is a successful business woman with her own salon and four stylists working for her.”


A glorified barber shop. Hardly something to brag about.”


This line of conversation was going nowhere so I side stepped it. “I'll be spending the afternoon with her. Do you want to do brunch at Nickles in the morning?”


No, let's sleep in and make waffles or something.”


***


I woke to Ezra sensuously stroking my arm. “I love you Cassie. I want to keep you all to myself today. Let's stay in bed.”


It was ten before Ezra and I got up.


As I made the french toast, Ezra filled me in on Susan and John's news.


John, that lucky b*****d, got the promotion he wanted when some guy in the finance department decided to retire early.” Ezra and I and all of our friends either worked for large corporations or prestigious firms. I was content in my accounting position, half way up the corporate ladder. I didn't feel a drive to work my way up further. It seemed like it would be the same numbers and figures, just more stress. Ezra was never satisfied, always angling for the next step up.


They're trying for a baby, too. With this new position for John, they can afford for Susan to take some time off.” In a small trickle, our friends were beginning families. These were prime time baby making years, and I anticipated a flood in the near future. Ezra and I had never discussed children. We hadn't even discussed marriage. That was fine with me. My mother had me at 38 and Aunt Pam's twin sons, her youngest, came when she was 35. I was in no hurry.


The tiny part of me that foolishly believed in soul mates, finding Mr. Right, knights in shining armor, stirred with this news. Why was I in no hurry to marry and start a family? Was I unconsciously waiting for Mr. Right to come along and save me from a passionless marriage? Because there was little passion. I loved Ezra dearly, but I didn't feel the same passion for him that I saw other couples felt for each other. We all find happiness in different ways, though. I told that tiny part of myself to shut up.


***


Cheryl lived in an older part of the suburb, developed in the 30's and 40's, an attractive working class neighborhood. Her house stood in a neat yard shaded by an oak tree, with asters and mums rioting in her small flower beds. I ascended the few steps to the porch and rang the bell. This would be a nice place to have kids. The house was a generous size and I glimpsed a back yard at the end of the driveway.


Cheryl's hair was still tomato red when she answered the door, but in soft waves rather than spikes. I thought that might not last long.


Cassie!” She gave me a big hug, a real hug. “Come in. You look great. That dress is beautiful.” I was wearing my pale yellow linen dress.


I entered a very handsome living room done in muted silvers and greens. I was impressed. Someone with a good deal of style had put together this room. Cheryl led me back into the kitchen. It wasn't as large and luxurious as the one in our apartment, but it was well equipped and far more inviting. There was an old fashioned Formica table under the windows and a clutter of items on the table... fruit bowl, napkin holder, butter dish, pencil cup, notepad. The ordinary kitchen table clutter that Ezra forbid in our apartment. I was allowed a single fruit bowl. The effect here was inviting. This was a place where you could be yourself.


Something smelled wonderful. Cheryl peeked in the oven to check on her quiche.


I was late getting started, so we have a few minutes before it's ready. Sit down, make yourself comfortable. You want something to drink?”


I was given a glass of rich, freshly pressed apple juice, the kind you can get at the farmer's market during apple season. Completely unsophisticated and delicious.


We chatted about fashions and food and men. It was the sort of companionship I had been missing since finishing college. It felt like no time had passed since our senior year in high school. Janine and Cheryl had kept in touch.


You should join us for a girl's night out. We get together with a couple of other ladies and run wild.” That sounded fun. Ezra would probably sneer and call them losers, but it was my life, not his.


Our pleasant talk continued through our quiche and into coffee and a delicious pecan pie. When Cheryl had cleared away our plates, she sat down and seriously asked me, “How are you doing, Cassie?” She meant my mother.


Actually not that great,” I confessed. Understatement of the year. I had totally flipped out twice in two days.


I remember your mother. She was really hard on you, and had a terrible temper.”


I nodded.


Ted's dad recently gave me some very good advice. He told me if you have something you need to say to someone, you'd better do it now because you never know when you might lose them. Ted's mother had a heart attack and she pulled through, but it was touch and go for a while.”


My heart fell. I had hoped Cheryl would understand, and here she was like Aunt Pam, trying to make peace.


Cheryl must have seen something on my face. She leaned forward. “Whatever you might have to say, good or bad. Hug her, yell at her, do whatever you need to do to find peace. Because once she's gone, she's gone.”


Cheryl straightened up and lost her intense attitude. “There you have it, folks, the wit and wisdom of Cheryl Bonright.”


In a brisk manner she said, “You know who you should talk to? Leo. He lost his dad two years ago.”


Not long after that we said good bye. I made a stop on my way home. I went to Riverside Park. I sat down on my favorite bench and watched the river as it flowed past. Did I have something I wanted to say? My feelings for my mother were a festering ball of emotions I didn't know what to do with. So I stuffed that ball down deep into myself, as if I pushed down enough I might push it through to some other plane of existence, where it would go away for good. But it never did.


And why did Cheryl tell me to talk to Leo? I considered that. He loved his father about as much as I loved my mother. Growing up, Leo and I accepted that girls are continually yelled at by mothers and boys are frequently hit by fathers. We had no frame of reference, no idea of “normal.” It happened to us, so to us it was normal.


Had Leo felt as conflicted as I did when his father died? When I had to deal with my mother, I felt like a huge mess, a continually collapsing kaleidoscope of scary emotions. Did Leo feel the same? It had been so long since we were inseparable, since we shared everything.


It had been too long, we were too far from that time, I had no claim to his attention. We had gone our separate ways.


***


A week went by and I managed to keep all the crazy emotions and scary thoughts tamped down, managed to function. But my mind kept going back over Cheryl's words, kept jumping back into memories of my mother. That ball of emotions pulsed and burned below my layer of control, trying to break out.


I was at work when Aunt Pam's call came. I let it go to voice mail. I couldn't talk to her here. I finished up quickly, leaving some things for the next day. I could catch up tomorrow. I got home safely, despite my erratic driving. I was finding it hard to do simple things or keep my mind focused. That ball of emotions was trying to work its way back up from the depths.


Feeling like a prisoner walking in to meet his fate, I returned Aunt Pam's call.


Have you thought about things, honey?”


I had thought about things, against my will. I hadn't thought anything good about my mother, I hadn't felt any desire to be in her presence again. But, once again, Cheryl's words came to me. I didn't know what to say.


Cassie? Hello? Are you there?”


The seething ball broke loose. “You don't know. You don't know what it was like with her. She was all sweet when you were around, but the minute you left, she would scream at me. She told me there was nothing right about me, that I was a mistake, she never should have had me, she wished I had died. I wanted to die. Dying was better than living with her. Dying was my only escape. Do you understand? Death was better than being a mistake that never should have happened. The only reason I am still alive is Leo. I didn't even care about her hitting me, being utterly wrong was worse.” I was gasping, out of breath from yelling.


There was silence on the other end of the phone.


Don't talk to me about being kind. She doesn't deserve it!” I stabbed the end call symbol. I threw the phone across the room. It hit the cubist print and bounced to the floor. The glass cracked.




© 2017 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any comments welcome.

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Reviews

I know how she feels I parents that treated me poorly ... I think she should dump Ezra and find some else. awesome writing I am really enjoying this.

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

9 Months Ago

I think she should dump Erza too, lol. Thanks for reading and reviewing.
The depiction of Cassie's internal thoughts feels real especially towards the end. Wow. It was very powerful.

I am still wondering if we need to see a bit more fondness for Ezra.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
SweetNutmeg

2 Years Ago

Thanks for reading and reviewing. I'm glad you were affected by her thoughts and feelings. That's a .. read more

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Added on April 25, 2017
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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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