A Fateful Journey

A Fateful Journey

A Chapter by C. Rose
"

A story of a women struggling with her past and the unsure future she is walking into.

"
Previous Version
This is a previous version of A Fateful Journey.



 

I was once told by my father that my mother wanted to name me Pearl in honor of the most precious object ever created by nature. She always had a way of turning life into a vignette, somehow more of a picture than actual living, breathing energy. This was her way of coping, well that and the drink. Even on her death bed she looked at me, a young, fifteen year old girl, and said, "Please make sure they show me like the first magnolias of spring darlin'." It was the last thing my mother said to me, no final sharing of love, advice or friendship. Simply a request to keep her story in tact. I believe now that my mother's entire life was a story in her mind. She wasn't an active participant, more-so just an observer through her own cloud of addiction. To my mother, appearances were so important that many, even some of those closest to her, did not know her struggles with alcohol until after she passed at only thirty seven years of life. I suppose I could hold some sort of anger or resentment toward my mother, but I do not. She was who she was and in all honesty I loved her anyway. I kept my promise and she looked as beautiful on the day we buried her as the day she walked down the isle to wed my father. It seems an eternity has drifted by since I sat with my mother on her death bed, watching her life slowly drift away.


My childhood changed dramatically after my mother's death. My father, unable to cope with the loss, sent me to live with my Aunt Virginia in Chicago, Illinois. It was an odd transition living in this metropolis compared to the slow days of that small town in Georgia. I used the only thing my mother taught me, my story, to make friends and coast through much of the occasions that fill the life of a teenager. My father and I tried to stay in touch, but he was never the same after her death. I believe he blamed himself for my mother's passing, feeling that he could have prevented it somehow if he could have given her more. In truth my father was a good husband, it was my mother that could not see the treasure life bestowed upon her. It was not that she was frigid or heartless, but only that she had never learned to feel in her life and I do not believe she would have ever moved beyond the thick wall she spent so long building to keep everyone out. She never seemed to realize that while she worked so hard to keep out the hurt, she then lost the experience of feeling true joy and happiness in her life. My aunt, carrying much of the same insecurities and traumas as my mother, seemed to cope by seeking attention rather than dreading it. She was full of nervous energy, spending it all on maintaining her pecking order in the social circles of the wealthy in Chicago. Always out in attendance, willing to criticize her host and protrude herself into the lives of others, my aunt was a true social vulgarity compared to my mother, who preferred to keep a distance from judging realities. This shift in my environment made it hard to relate to my aunt and so my time in her home was mainly spent laying around my room emersing myself in art and literature to pass the time. It was my eighteenth birthday when I saw for the final time the very disconnect that would exclude my aunt from being able to fulfill the void left behind by my mother. I wanted so desperately to have a role model, someone that could teach me wisdom and educate me all those haunting details of life before they were to pound at my door demanding my attention. Unfortunately my concerns that my Aunt would not be the role model I was so desperately seeking became quite evident the night of my birthday celebration.


It was a warmer than usual time in Chicago, still recovering from an exhaustive heat wave, my guests were sauntering about the backyard of my Aunt's estate on Prarie Ave., coalescing about the latest high society gossip with the formality of art, literature and politics peppered into the discussion. It would be more appropriate to explain that the guests were my Aunt's more than mine. It was not that I didn't make friends in my time at school in Chicago, but they were never those friendships I have heard people talk about. I never knew what it was to have sleep-overs or share secrets about my dreams and desires. I simply never connected with anyone on that level, because of that I never knew what I was missing. I always felt there was something more meaningful coming in life and everything up to that point was just scenes that I was passing through. There was no need to worry if I did not enjoy the storybook teenage life everyone seems to desire. I wanted to write my own storybook and I knew that at that time in Chicago, my story hadn't started yet, or at least I thought. I watched as the group debated a new artist that was being shown at my aunt's gallery, some happy with his emerging recall of the great artists of the early 1900's, others annoyed with the lack of nuance and detail believed needed of such impressionistic work. It was never long into these debates that my Aunt would endure before always throwing in a loud and final word to change the topic to something that was more entertaining. She held no passion for art, owning the gallery only to spite her second husband in a bitter divorce, my aunt used the gallery solely to rub elbows with the elite and keep her stake in the social pools she desperately sought to waft within.


"It is not without it's merits, this new vision of work, and that cannot be argued." Aunt Virginia announced to her quarreling guests, quickly ending the contention. "Now on to more lovely things, did anyone happen to see Mrs. Dawnberry leaving Mr. Hampton's estate in the early hours of Thursday by chance? Well I did...", the conversation took a tail spin back to the incessant chatter of gossip and rumor that seemed to intrigue them beyond all other debates or exercises in acumen. This party was the exodus of my youth into adulthood and I had no one to talk to, no one to share my anxiety or excitement with and no one to give me the advice I so desperately wanted. It was then that I met the acquaintance of Mr. Davison.


"You don't look like someone excited for the journey ahead." Came a voice from the bar behind me. I turned to see the bartender staring at me waiting for me to provide some sort of response. He looked to be in his forties, which I thought was a bit old to hold the position of a youthful career like bartender. My judgment quickly dissipated upon realizing he carried the experience and lessons of all those that sat before him behind his eyes. I was happy to have someone that seemed different than my aunt and her cavalcade of sycophants to distract my attention.


"How is that supposed to look?" I asked.


"There is a special gleam of the eye you see in someone that is starting their new journey." he explained. "I don't see that gleam with you, mind you there is something there, but it seems more enigmatic. Do you know what you plan to do next?"


"Actually I am traveling to study abroad for a year in Ireland." I responded, proud that even though I didn't have this special gleam I at least had a plan at the ready.


"Ireland? Beautiful country. I spent some time there years ago when I was a much younger traveler of the world. What do you plan to study?" he inquired.


"It is a year abroad to study art and literature. Then I return to finish my studies in the states." I explained.


"It seems shocking that you would head to Ireland as an arts and literature student, wouldn't areas of culture in places like Italy and Paris be more suited to experience those topics." he inquired.


"Actually, there is a really good program in Ireland that covers world art and literature, and I have always wanted to see the country, it is part of my heritage on my father's side." I began explaining. The conversation stayed on topic for a time as we discussed the basics of traveling in Ireland and I was happy to get a least a few suggestions on how to handle myself in the world. I was easily distracted into conversation with Mr. Davison, watching as he refilled the glasses of the party guests while telling me of his travels as a young man abroad seemed to be exactly what I desired. It was not odd to me that the best conversation and advise on this special night was coming to me from a stranger. When my mother passed any basis of family died with her and I lived knowing if I didn't consider the advice of a stranger then I would rarely hear any at all. Our banter became playful and must have alarmed my Aunt as she approached the two of us with obvious concern.


'"Bartender, excuse me, could you please make your way to the kitchen and ask my chef to prepare more hor'dourves please, I believe we are running low." she requested.


"Yes ma'am." he replied and excused himself into the home. My aunt waited until he was in the home and looked at me in a way that indicated she was not pleased with my newest acquaintance.


"Pearl, I honestly do not know what has gotten into you today. I know you are a grown woman and off to start your life, but please dear, you mustn't spend so much time chatting with the help. I swear it appears as if you are over here flirting with the poor man. Now be a good girl and mingle with your guests." she scolded.


"They are not my guests and I do not understand why it is so wrong to have an interesting conversation with Mr. Davison, even if he is the "help"", I quickly snapped in rebuttal. She was in aghast that I had not only been chatting with the help, but it was topped with the direct defiance and sass that I responded with. The other guests had heard our argument and were staring, waiting for my aunt to respond in some way to my insolence. It was then that Mr. Davison returned with a platter of food to the silent and tense patio. He must of noticed that the argument was about the time I was spending chatting with him and how it displeased the elitists in our midst and broke the silence.


"Here you are ma'am. I asked the chef to prepare more of the caviar for you and your guests, it is a fine import, some of the best beluga in the world I believe." he explained as he presented the guests with the platter. It seemed to cause enough of a distraction that my Aunt and her guests were immediately taken into conversation of travel and cuisine as they shoveled the fish eggs into their gullets. I was amazed at how simple it was for him to divert their attention back into the things of wealth and society that I cared so little for. It was within moments that they all retreated back into their usual party banter and I was back chatting with Mr. Davison.


"I'm sorry about my Aunt." I tried to explain, "She doesn't seem to connect to humanity much, unless you are wearing the appropriate label that is." I laughed.


"Do not apologize for that Pearl." he responded, "I am not so new to this world and things like that do not bother me. I am just a being, as is your aunt, she just hasn't figured out the meaning yet is all." he said in a curious way.


"Meaning? Please do not tell me you are one of those "meaning of life" people. I honestly abhor people that think somehow you can unlock a riddle and have all the mysteries of life revealed to you. Short of being able to travel time to witness the future I believe any "meanings of life" to be an easy way to not feel the existence of the present." I exclaimed.


He responded only in laughter at what I can assume is what he thought was my naivety. In fact, he responded in such a way that for a moment I thought maybe I was wrong, maybe there is a possibility that some people do understand the meaning of life, as it were. It was his next comment that made me realize I wasn't completely correct in my earlier conjecture.


"No, no I am not speaking of any elaborate life riddles or codes. I am merely speaking of understanding ones own purpose. People like your Aunt there, they only flutter about ordering others around and hide behind their stacks of money because they do not know their true purpose in life and so they turn to what they know best, wearing a mask." he explained.


It was his comment about wearing a mask that intrigued me. It made me think of my mother who I do not believe ever even felt she had a purpose. Her mask was always in tact and never disturbed. I didn't want to go through life that way. He must of seen the worry behind my eyes as he immediately tried to sooth my obvious discomfort.


"I believe you will find yours though Pearl. Do not worry it will come in due time. Just remember that you will not find it if you stop looking." he stated as if it were a final warning.


It was one of the only real conversations I had ever had up to that point in my life and I wished it could go on forever, but it could not, my Aunt would make sure of it. Once full of caviar she quickly carried me over to her guests and distracted me from consorting with the help by making what felt like an unlimited amount of song requests for me to entertain them with at the piano. Playing like a show pony was how I spent my last night before heading out into the world and what I hoped would be a more fulfilled adulthood. I made a promise to myself that night, I promised that I would ever compromise for appearances again.


The next day I was off to experience a new world and new studies. I arrived in Dublin, Ireland and immediately felt like my life had officially started. My stay was with a rather wealthy family living on the south side of the city giving me quick access to the Dublin Writers Museum and the Hugh Lane Municipal Art Museum. I did not spend much time with my host family as they seemed to be dispensing with the niceties of life in the aim of success in business. I instead filled my time attending classes and wandering the streets of Dublin, sometimes for what felt like days, hoping to find the inspiration I so desperately needed in order to add my soul to the long history of artists before me. I walked the streets aimlessly, staring into the faces of those that I passed hoping their eyes would change into windows opening their world, giving me some insight into their lives, desires and even secrets. I sat every day scribbling into my journal wishing that somehow I would finally scribe that poem, thought or doodle the character that would put me at my moment. Finally immersing me into that moment when an artist transfers his creation out of mind and soul and onto paper, bearing it's purity for all others to absorb. I never felt so lonely as I did on the days that nothing would come. I questioned myself, I carried the burden of emptiness in my heart and felt the excruciating frustration that can only be described as a spirit lost, detached from the very flesh that it longs for without end. There was a moment however, a time that started so simply and developed into what would become one of the most impactful times of my life. Typical of the days consuming me at that time, my coffee and journal in hand, I sat and waited for something to happen. I would stare at the utter blankness of the page, my pen hovering waiting to attack, but again the thoughts would thwart my every effort to control and tame them onto the awaiting paper. I cannot recall how long these studies in absence would go on, but I can say it felt to be an eternity, that is until something snapped me out of my trance one gray morning.


"I do believe you might be forcing it a bit." came a voice from the void of reality surrounding me.


I looked up to see Tim Sullivan standing before me with that look of confidence he seemed to carry effortlessly. I had met Tim, whom I was immediately corrected to call Sully, several weeks prior while meandering through some of the working class neighborhoods on the north side of Dublin. Although my student abroad sponsor advised me against coming to some areas of the north side alone, I found it to be a comforting place to visit. There were no put-ons or falsities about who people were and where they were from. They were their work and their family and I found myself more connected to the human spirit among them compared to the wealthy people I had been exposed to in my life. I met Sully at a local pub I had stopped in one afternoon and although I did not get to know him well before he was gone, he stayed in my mind for the weeks following. I had never met anyone so full of life and I must admit I was taken by his infinite beauty both in flesh and spirit. I even had a small breakthrough the day I met Sully and was able to write a small poem to capture that feeling in case I never was able to grasp it again.


"I saw a light in the distance.

A curious beam of energy piercing into my soul.

I saw harmony fill the air.

Tones of joy poured throughout my heart and mind.


I saw you before me.

Your eyes marking my spirit with an awakening of freedom."


"Oh, I guess I was caught up in thought." I said as I clumsily tried to close my notebook and rise to greet this unexpected visitor. "How are you Sully?" I asked.


"Well I suppose I am just fine, but I could always be finer. What say you and I make a day of it Pearly?" he extended his arm as an escort and smiled.


Pearly. It made me think of my father, who had been the only one to call me Pearly in my life, I missed him and wondered if he would be proud that I was here in the homeland of his father, or if he even thinks of me at all anymore, but I never liked to think of my parent's for too long and found myself looking into Sully's eyes. I smiled and happily replied, "I would love to!", and with that I was trotting through the city and surrounding villages that gave way to the Bay of Dublin.


Sully was like a character out of a good story, he was handsome with dark hair and eyes as green as the hillsides surrounding me, but it was not just his captivating demeanor that I fell in love with, it was how he was composed with a piquant sense of humor and a heroic spirit that made me feel entirely safe no matter what adventure in the city he would guide me into. When I was with him I felt alive, bursting at the seems of my very flesh with an enchanting energy. Our first few dates were classically romantic. Never doing more than sneaking a kiss from time to time, he unveiled the true beauty of Ireland to me and I knew then what it was to feel like a true lady. We continued to see each other almost every day for the next months, traveling to the most beautiful places that had ever graced my eyes. We shared ourselves, our passions, our fears, all the things you wish to keep secret less you be judged too harshly by those who would hear, but we shared it all and it was effortless. I am not exactly sure of the moment I fell in love with Sully, but I was and I never wanted it to end.


One of the first nights of Spring we traveled to a secluded shoreline and watched never-ending waves crash against the rocky beaches below us. We felt the smallest wisps of saltwater tingle against our skin as the wind carried it up the cliff's edge. It was in the magical mist of that moment that Sully turned to me and told me, with pure honesty in his eyes, that he loved me. It was as if I had been given a serum of joy and I felt it traverse my veins, warming them and all I could do was smile. With that smile, we embraced and there on that shore cliff we connected in a way that I never connected with another person. Our flesh became one entangled mass as we heaved ourselves into each other. Our energy pulsing together as all control was released into the vibration of our two bodies. My mind was flooded with a menagerie of flashing colors and emotions and peaked to a climax that felt inescapable. It was mystical that night and I felt as if my life were suddenly charmed with a gift by a spirit greater than any mortal being could bestow. For the first time in life I sent a prayer into the universe that this moment in time be kept safe.


Time is perpetual though, it never stops, not for any amount of love, desire or passion. It continues on it's path never even slowing down to let us enjoy the gifts it delivers. My time with Sully was extraordinary and we had soon made plans to stay in Dublin and marry. It was the night we were celebrating our engagement that would prove how unforgiving time is. It was a typical night filled with friends, food and spirits in the city. I felt true happiness as I watched Sully make no mystery of his love for me that night. After the final of his many toasts we began to walk home in the early morning hours, still living on a buzz from the festivities, I hadn't noticed our route until we were in an area of town that was not favorable of this type of jaunt.


"Sully isn't this area bad to walk through." I asked him, feeling a sense of sobriety take over. There was hardly a soul on the street, but the few I could see were masking in the shadows in an ominous way.


"Alone yes, but you will be fine with me." he said reassuringly as he pulled me close to his side.


We walked with a brisk pace toward the next street and I felt a sense of foreboding with each step. My eyes were moving from one part of the street to the next trying to foresee any potential threats or dangers. It was the first time I ever felt scared when I was with Sully and it was not without his unflinching courage. Sully never walked or spoke in fear, he loved living and felt that fear only stifled life. It was with that same confidence that he escorted me down that dark street, but the feeling that something was about to go very wrong was unyielding in the pit of my stomach. For the first time I felt the real feeling of dread. I tried to speed the pace, but Sully carried his stride without change. I could only hear my breath pound in my ears. My heart throbbed in my chest and then the moment I was so afraid of was upon us. I started to hear voices from ahead that were escalated and I could feel Sully's pace quicken indicating he heard them as well.


"It sounds like someone is fighting up there. Please don't get involved okay." I pleaded.


"If people didn't get involved Pearly we would all still be beatin' our dinner over the head with sticks. Don't you worry now it is probably just a couple of townies arguing over the last johnny." he said with a chuckle.


As we approached we saw two men arguing, but it was unclear as to why. Sully made a gesture for me to stay as he approached the two men. As he walked toward them my heart sank into my stomach.


"Good mornin' there gents" he called out as he made his way toward the two men. Their argument continued as if they didn't hear or care to acknowledge Sully and he edged closer trying to get them to change their focus to him. I saw as one turned something shine in his hand and I shouted out to Sully.


"Sully!" I screamed and at the same time heard an explosive bang ring in my ears. I watched as the two men scattered off into the shadows and Sully standing their motionless. The sound of their tattered souls scraping into the wet asphalt in a diffident flee will forever be burned into my memory.


"Sully!" I shouted again as I ran toward him. He was just standing there, not speaking or making any motion. I reached him as he fell to his knees.


"Oh my god! Sully please!" I cried out as I tried to comfort him in my lap. I screamed for help, but the streets were quiet and I didn't know if anyone heard my cries. I looked down to see him staring up into my eyes. It was all in there, his love, his passion, all the things I fell in love with were there staring at me through those green eyes. Blood covered my hand like a glove as I pressed it against the wound on his chest. We both knew it was the end. The city streets around us disappeared and we were floating in the mist together one last time. He was never able to say a word to me, but I didn't need any. In that moment our souls spoke without words. The silence was broken with the roar of sirens, called by someone that either saw or heard the incident. I suddenly was ripped from the last moment with Sully by a burly looking officer.


"Ma'am, please come with me so the medics can look at him." he directed.


"He is gone." I said. It was the last words I would utter for weeks. I had been given the gift of genuine, true love and as quickly as it entered my path it was ripped away leaving me alone and empty. I couldn't feel anymore, everything inside of me died that night with Sully and I was a shell of a being. It wasn't long after Sully was buried that I left Ireland and returned to the states. The streets of Dublin were nothing but images of those brief moments in time I had with my love. The reminders of him and the pity in the faces around me was unbearable and I took my only option at the time and moved back into my Aunt's home on Prarie Ave. I found her there still dawdling about her social circles, living on a diet of gossip and vodka tonics. She tried to comfort me for my loss, but she was incapable of knowing what it was that I lost. I was angry at everyone and everything and had no outlet. My writing stopped that night with Sully's heart. I struggled through and finished my education, but never intended to put it to use. How could I ever create again now that my muse was gone from this world forever. I spent several years in Chicago working at odd jobs and barely acknowledging life as it drifted past me each day. The trance that I was left in that night took complete hold and I was only living in wait of my own death in the hopes that maybe in death I would see my Sully again.

~*~*~*~


I had watched two people I loved die in front of me in my short time on this world and I was now witnessing my own living death. I remember sitting in my room one of many sleepless nights staring into the mirror. My eyes were vacant, shallow of all color and void of any emotions. I was entranced by my appearance, gaunt and pale, I looked like my mother as she approached the end of her life. I believe now that the image of my self resembling my mother at her death frightened me to try and feel once again. It was then that my gaze turned from my invidious image to the antique vanity table I was sitting at. It was one of the only items I brought back from Ireland with me, a special gift from Sully's mother and I promised to always keep it safe. I began cascading my eyes along the intricate carvings in the dark wood and the delicate angles of each joint and edge. The details were dancing before me as if I was being born into a new light. The drawer pulls, carved from mother of pearl, felt cool against my fingers as I caressed them gently. I sat for a moment with my hand tense against the hardware and then I slowly inched more pressure and watch the drawer slowly open to reveal Sully, looking up at me with that mesmerizing smile. I never knew of the existence of this picture, likely placed for me to find by his mother, I was not ready to see it before that moment. I left it in the drawer, only daring to touch with the smallest hint of my fingertip. I talked to him that night for hours. I talked about how sad and angry I was. I yelled at him for even interfering with those fools in the first place. I said all the things I was robbed of that night and as the sun rose and pushed its warm beams through my window I was peaceful. By no means was I over my loss, but I knew that he would want me to live my life, live without fear.

I started trying to get back into writing by taking odd freelancing jobs and weekly newspaper column that was on an "as needed option" basis. My writing was still lacking the passion I used to try to capture. Most of the freelance jobs were technical writing and my newspaper column was called the "Cheesemonger Persuasion" and featured different types of cheese that I would describe and recommend. Cheese is a weird passion, but it was always one of mine and I needed any passion I could cling onto to keep myself from sinking back into the abyss I was so desperately trying to escape. I was making enough to live on my own, barely, but it was far better to live in my little studio than with my aunt any longer. My life was mediocre at best, I spent my nights trying to write, but mainly sat and stared at the picture of Sully. I never cried anymore, I just did not have any tears left, but my heart endured an unbearable ache. As time sped along that unforgiving path I tried to move forward a little each day. I held onto all the good times I shared with Sully, no matter how cliche it seemed. I could carry those memories from my minds eye and relive them every night, feeling the joy of his laugh and the warmth of his embrace. I felt as if I would just try and get through the rest of my time here until I could move into wherever it was that Sully would be waiting, but life had very different plans for me and I would discover that one autumn morning in Chicago.


I enjoyed the city in the fall. The last of the summer's humidity begins to trail into a brisk breeze that reminded me of the shorelines of Ireland. I was walking to the offices of the magazine editor I published "Cheesemonger Persuasion" with to submit a new article and hopefully talk my way into a more concrete contract. I practiced my talking points and checked my appearance in the stainless steel elevator doors. As I arrived to my floor, the doors opened and I was amidst a flurry of activity. Trying to obtain directions from random employees bustling about the maze of cubicles, I finally made my way to the office of my editor, Paul McClellan.


"Pearl, come on in and have a seat." he said as he quickly ended a call at his desk. "I'll have to call you back." he said as the receiver was almost hung up. "We loved your article this week Pearl, you have become a nice edition to the magazine. Are you focusing on any other work at the moment?" he inquired.


"Just some freelance stuff, mostly technical really." I responded. I knew I couldn't come across as desperate for this contract so I tried my best to play it cool although I don't think the death grip I had on my shoulder bag was sending a very convincing sense of calm.


"Well we may have something more permanent if your interested. Would you like some coffee or tea?" he asked as I finally released my grip and set my bag and coat on the chair beside me.


"I would love coffee, thank you. Just cream, no sugar." I requested as I looked around his office. It was more of a view than an office. The brilliance of Chicago architecture never ceased to amaze me. I starred at it's beauty not really listening to anything Paul was telling me as he was pouring my beverage.


"Pearl? What do you think?" he asked curiously, assuring me that he realized I was not paying attention.


"Oh, I'm sorry, I was taken by the view you have. I must of let my mind go somewhere else." I apologized hoping he would forgive my transgression and restate the offer.


"Ah, yes. I guess that is what I deserve for leaving the blinds open when a writer visits. You all do tend to have a way of drifting off into your own worlds. As I was saying, I would like to offer you a contract to write weekly for the magazine. We like the direction you have taken the column thus far and feel we can turn it into a good relationship. I can cover all the terms with you, but I wanted to gauge your interest first." he said ensuring my victory at this meeting was in hand.


I agreed and we discussed terms and details of the contract. It was enough to upgrade my lifestyle somewhat, at least I could afford a place that didn't have a bed in the middle of the living room anymore. This was the sad part of life now for me, every time something good happened to me I wanted to share it with Sully, but couldn't. It left even joyous occasions empty and pointless. I tried to muster up the celebration I deserved with this latest accomplishment and agreed to attend an event that was being hosted by the magazine that night. With every step I took after leaving the meeting I began to dread the "event" more and more. What was I thinking? This was the worst way to step back into the world. I hated these environments, the mingling of those trying to get higher than the other currently reigning above them was unbearable. No one ever seemed genuine or real and I knew it would be wretched, but I made my commitment and I would attend. I decided to buy a new dress since it was a black tie affair and bought the first dress I tried on to get out of the store filled with gushing beauties as quickly as I could. I didn't care what I picked as long as it fit it did not matter. Tonight I would just wear my mask.


I arrived at the same time as Paul and he happily escorted me inside the event and I found a corner table by the bar to hide the rest of the evening. From time to time Paul would bring editors and other staff by to introduce me as a new writer and the conversations were that of generalities. I sat and wondered that night why people talk about the weather when they are uncomfortable to speak about anything else. I instinctively reached to my side to start writing my thoughts about it in my journal when I realized that I hadn't carried it with me for since I left Ireland. It was almost a year since Sully's death, it was almost a year since I had written my scribbles in that journal, it was almost a year. I watched the party goers move around the room interlacing conversation with the occasional dance or toast. Most didn't seem to carry a ounce of pain or worry in their eyes. Beaming with hopeful ambition and ignorant conformance, I wondered if any of them felt anything. I thought about the last year without Sully and how my eyes must speak incredible anguish. What would become of me? I had only dealt with this hell and torment for just a year, how could I take a lifetime of this pain? It was then that time interrupted again.


"Pearl" Paul called my attention as he and another gentleman approached. "I hope you are enjoying yourself, I wanted to introduce to you Fisher Tenson."


A man approached that was of obvious wealth. He was adorned in an elegant tuxedo and was fairly simple in attire except for the flash of his ruby cuff links, glistening in the lights as he reached to greet my hand.


"Nice to meet you, I read your column whenever I can and was happy to hear you will be writing for the magazine full time. Congratulations on your success." he commented and greeted me with a gentle kiss to my hand.


"Yes thank you, it is nice to meet you." I replied thinking how odd it was to greet in such an old fashioned manner, but it was endearing and it made me smile. It was a genuine smile, it felt like an eternity since I felt the corners of my mouth raise out of instinct and for that I was happy to entertain his company for a time.


Fisher spent most of the evening sitting at the table occupying my attention with conversation. He was an architect and loved to talk about his inspirations for the buildings he has designed. It was nice to spend time with another artist. It had been so long since I spent time with someone with passion and creative drive. For the first time since that fateful night I wasn't reminded of Sully or re-discovering the pain in a new form, for the first time I was sharing time with another person and I was completely in that moment. The weeks following that night Fisher pursued me with vigor. I was receiving flowers, cards, chocolates and large amount of phone calls all including dinner invitations. I declined them all until the evening I was walking home from the market to find him sitting on my doorstep.


"Good evening Pearl." Fisher said as he stood to greet me.


"Good evening Fisher." I replied. "What has you here this evening?" I asked knowing the answer already.


"Why simply you Pearl. It would appear you are my motivation for most things these days." he commented as he took the bags from my arms.


"That is very sweet Fisher, but I am just not..." he interrupted, "Pearl, I am only asking for one dinner. We can just do that can we not?" he asked with the most pleading of looks in his eyes and I could not refuse.


Fisher took me out that evening for dinner and a few drinks and I actually enjoyed myself. I knew that I would never feel the way I did in Dublin and maybe the acceptance of that became easier with Fisher around. It is hard to feel bad when someone tries so hard to make you happy. We continued to see each other in the proceeding months, it was not an epic romance, but I wasn't expecting it to be,unfortunately Fisher was. My life now had a difficult complication with the torment that was fueled by Fisher's desire to have me love him the way he loved me. It is an odd thing, the way the heart loves. I believe that we often think we can somehow control love with our minds, but I knew that my heart was connected to another and no amount of logic, discussion, effort or even time would ever break that connection. My absence of the kind of love and emotion that Fisher desired from me placed a tremendous amount of pain on him. I cannot even look back and blame him for his anger or even rage, I knew the pain of not receiving what is so desperately desired, I understood his anger. I watched as he became obsessed with our obvious disconnection and struggled to understand how to break into my heart. Time again flowed like a river taking me along it's current without regard to the debris being demolished in it's path. I watched as Fisher went from gentle and kind to bitter and demented. It was saddening to watch this happen and I knew that I could not provide what he wanted from me, that I could not feel the intense embrace of love anymore. It was a year ago today that the breaking point of this strain would surface, collapsing everything like a house of cards and time would once again demand my attention.


I knew I had to end it with Fisher, but I could never get the courage to speak to him about our troubles. I was scared of Fisher now, he was obsessed with earning my affection and it was turning into an ugly display of vexation. It was a typical evening at his home, Fisher already drinking to mask his pain, myself trying to keep the topic of conversation light and pleasant.


"So Paul was telling me you are going to start writing a weekly column on architecture Fisher. I think that is great." I complimented.


"Well maybe if I can become a writer you will start to open your cold heart to me." he said as he poured more whiskey into his glass. "God knows nothing else I have ever done for you has worked." he mumbled staring at the counter as if he was trying to pierce it through with his gaze.


"Fisher, please." I quietly pleaded. "I think maybe I should go." I moved for my coat and bag, purposely kept close to my side.


"Your not going anywhere!" he declared as he moved to block my exit.


I was more frightened looking into the depths of his eyes that night than I ever had been of Fisher. He looked haunted, unwilling to dwell in the pools of ration and sensibility, ready to unleash his fierce anger on me. I tried to stay calm and determine the best way to safely get away from him and decided that I would have to play a game of trickery to gain my exit. I dropped my bag and coat from my hand to the floor and brought my hands up to Fisher's face. I stroked my fingers against his cheeks and gently pressed my lips to his. He must have felt my tension and immediately called out my masquerade.


"If you are going to kiss me then you had better kiss me." he said in an angered whisper.


The room was silent for only a brief moment and in that second of silence I became very aware of the danger I was now facing. Fisher was now a man possessed and there was no amount of reason or games that would end this situation. I made my move by quickly trying to grab my things resting at my feet, but Fisher grabbed me by my arms and threw me to the couch. I knew what was about to happen. I knew that right now in this moment this man was going to rape me. Time cruelly began to move like molasses, as I felt him tear at my clothes, exposing my skin, anger began to fill me like warm liquid. I decided then and there that I would not be a victim of this, Sully would want me to fight. So I took all the strength I could gather and began to fight. My arms and legs started swinging wildly in an attempt to hit any and every crucial area on him I could. Never skilled in any type of combat and prone to prefer the peaceful solutions in life, I was amazed at my own vehemence as I felt each one of my blows striking him in objection to this violation. My fury must have been unexpected as I could feel his grip on my arms lesson and I knew it was my chance to get away. I made a final blow with all my might to his groin and he began moaning, curled in pain. I crawled for my coat and bag and ran to the door. My escape was victorious and I ran as fast as I could home without ever looking back to see if he was in pursuit.


When I arrived back at my apartment I was shaking from a mix of fear and adrenalin. I could barely latch the lock and swipe the chain on the front door, still unable to fathom what had just occurred. It was an odd mix of emotions I experienced as I sat on my couch trying and calm down. I was horrified, scared, angry, disappointed, and proud at the same time and it made me miss when I couldn't feel anything at all. I fought with assuming the blame for Fisher's madness. I fought with the guilt of turning him into a beast. As I allowed my mind to glide through the warped reality I was drifting in I found solitude in my strength. I found solitude in the truth that Fisher was responsible for his torment, it was not my blame to hold. I dwelled in the history of honesty that I had always given him. There was only the grace of knowing that I saved myself, no one needed to do it for me, when the time came and I was threatened I found the way to save myself and with that conclusion I turned to see the sun rising above the Chicago skyline and beaming a small light onto the table in front of me. The small strand of light coaxed me from my trance and my only focus was on what I needed to do next to keep myself safe. I debated on going to the police, but after all I had made my escape without any injury and I felt at that point calling the police would only exacerbate the tension rather than correct any behavior Fisher displayed. This was for him to live with, this was his burden to carry. I assigned my freedom from the issue and moved my thoughts towards the logistics of living in the same city as Fisher. Chicago was, of course, large enough of a city to get lost in, but when someone violates you in this way I don't think any city is large enough. I knew that Fisher and I would see each other at the magazine, where we both were writing weekly columns. I knew that I would have to see Paul who would inevitably try and aide in a reconciliation between Fisher and I. In the presence of that beam of new day's light I made the decision to leave Chicago and try and regain some happiness in my life. I quickly started moving about my apartment, excited with the thought of being so cavalier in life. I tossed some of my clothes into a suitcase and loaded a shoulder bag with my journal, two favorite books and a the picture of Sully. I stood before the vanity that was given to me by Sully's mother, Mrs. Sullivan, I knew how upset she would be if it didn't stay with me. It was the hardest thing to leave behind, but I could not realistically make my trip with a large piece of furniture. I decided to leave a note with my landlord with the final month's rent to save it for me in storage and I would send for it as soon as I was settled. It was a long shot that I would ever see it again, but I felt better knowing that at the very least I was doing what I could to keep it.


I took a final look at the picture of Sully. I did not know what I was heading into or even where, but I knew that as long as I had Sully by my heart I would be okay. With the last of my things packed and on my shoulder I headed onto a new horizon. I was suddenly in the chill of the morning fall air. I made my way to the closest bustling intersection, the entire time telling myself not to look back, fearful if I did I would never leave. Now lost in the myriad of business men and women hurrying to start their day, I flagged down a cab and with a grunt and screech of the dirty, marred taxi I was off to the train station leaving behind only a cloud of exhaust along with my past.


~*~*~*~



I had been at the Chicago Union Station a few times before, but only for events with my aunt. It is a far different world when you are there as a passenger and not some gala attendee. The architecture was beautiful still, but here and now the faces of the people around me were different. Not there to wine, dine and mingle, this crowd surrounding me was much more determined and at times frantic. There was a sense that everyone around me had a focus and a place to go, while I stood there vacillate and truly scared. I felt absolutely overwhelmed by everything I was facing, it all started to build into a panic in my chest. I needed to be calm and rational so I dug deep into myself and pulled all of the pragmaticism I could forward and began breaking down my situation analytically, removing all emotion as I walked from the concourse to the ticket counter. First I needed to pick a location, but it was a challenge. I wanted to go somewhere obscure and distant. I wanted to go somewhere tucked away in the world where no one would ever think to look. I stood at the ticketing area looking at my options, watching all the words melt into just randomly placed letters in obscure patterns, I realized I was no longer actually reading anything, but just staring into a alphabetical fog.

"It can be hard to decide sometimes, don't you think?" a voice came from behind.

I turned to see before me a unique looking man dressed in what seemed to be predominantly handmade clothing. At first I felt like I was staring at a circus clown due to the sheer amount of color obscuring his very own silhouette, but as I gazed upon him I realized he was only wearing shades of brown wool with an orange tie, that was more of a bloused bow than a tie, and a small vibrant green handkerchief. I was amazed as I stood before this person that seemed to exude a rainbow of color with his mere presence. I realized I was just standing there staring and wanted to somehow break into an actual sentence, but his eyes, his eyes were dark a drew me in like a magnet and I could not lose focus once I met them. They were as dark as midnight but telling and honest. I felt captured by them as if I was looking into a crystal ball waiting to see a hint of my future revealed. It did not seem to bother him that I was standing there staring at him, frozen like a statuette. I finally shook my eyes free of his grasp and was able to push out somewhat of a muddled hello.

"Decision are laborious aren't they. May I be able to provide some aide to you?" he tried to once again initiate a conversation.

"Um, yes it can be hard, but I'm okay. Thank you." I said trying to end the interaction. I do not know why I was so anxious to end my conversation with this man. I was completely in awe over his manner of dress and speech. He seemed to be colorful in all dimensions and I felt quite comfortable in his presence, but for some reason I just wanted to run away from him as much as I wanted to stay and take his help. I turned back toward the destination choices hoping he would leave me to my decision, but I felt him move to my side, standing there silently making it clear he was now going to be part of the process.

"You know, there are several ways to make a decision. Process of elimination using something like a pro and con system is useful to a degree, unless you are like me and tend to see the good with the bad so your lists always end up even. Rock, paper scissors is an option, but I would only recommend that if you are deciding between simpler things, like whether to have chips or popcorn. My name is Hap by the way." he extended his hand toward mine.

"I'm Pearl, nice to meet you. Hap? That is an interesting name." accepting his handshake.

"It is short for Happenstance, my parents have a loving bond with concept of fate." he replied. "Now for this decision may I be of counsel my lady?"

"I don't suppose I could stop you so, why not." I said reluctantly. At this point the level of anxiety over the decision was exhausting and part of me just wanted to let go and allow this stranger to guide me. I wanted to have a path placed before me so I could be like all the people around me with a place to go.

"No, I do not suppose you could." he replied as he contemplated the accuracy of my response. "Suppose I were to tell you of a place, a place that exists in a quaint reality innocent from the vicious gaze of commercialism and greed. Does that interest you?" he inquired.

"I would have to say it interest me yes, but I do not believe it exists solely how you describe it. I doubt there is such a place that exists with pure innocence anymore. Trust me, the vicious gaze of which you speak exists everywhere, lurking and waiting for each of us to be vulnerable enough to be taken into it's grasp. No one is safe." I drifted off as I began to think about Fisher and the monstrous night I had endured.

"Well I suppose it is good to see you are not so gullible as not to understand the important parallel that the pure and the tainted play as symbiotic roles. So I will admit this place is not without it's nefarious dwellers, but the good, the good is so wondrous that it's influence can be felt vibrating through your very skin." bursting with excitement, Hap grabbed my hand and twirled my in a circle like my father had done with me as a child.

My cheeks became red with embarrassment as I realized how much attention we had called to ourselves in this display of youthful affection. Realizing that I was still in Chicago and not yet free from immediate danger of something going wrong with my escape plan I tried to settle the display by dropping my hand from his and turning toward the ticketing lines.

"I am looking to go somewhere that is small and as quiet as possible. I am kind of starting over and well..." I turned toward him to try and explain my situation without sharing any actual information and he was gone. I wondered if I had offended him when I took my hand away and ended the moment we were sharing. I looked around and saw no sign of him anywhere. It was as if he had dissolved into empty space. It was such an odd interaction and he was such a unique man that I was disappointed that it ended so abruptly. I stood there for a moment to allow a chance for him to pop back into existence, but I stood alone. I had to shake off whatever that was in order to make my decision and get out of town. I looked over the ticketing signs trying to decide which place to go, I wondered what city Hap had spoken of, I wondered if I would somehow pick it as my destination. As I moved closer to the front of the line I was still scanning all my choices, trying to muster my plan before meeting with the ticket agent.

"Next in line please!" rang like a gong in my ears as I realized I was next. I moved toward the annoyed agent that continued to shout "Next please!", knowing I was approaching. As I came within a few feet of the agent I extended my identification and was about to request a ticket to the next location my eyes connected with when I felt a tug at my sleeve pulling me out of line and off toward the departure concourse.

At first I did not even see who had grabbed me, I prayed it was not Fisher, but as I looked to my side and saw Hap running along side of me toward a boarding train. I didn't know what to think in that moment. Was I being kidnapped? It didn't feel that way. I felt myself instinctively run in unison with him as if I had been the instigator. We ran with alacrity and as we approached the train I screamed "I don't have a ticket!"

"Yes you do, I have it with me." he replied as if it were obvious.

"But where are we going?" I shouted in reply as we came to a slow and began our approach.

"Morristown. You said it interested you." he explained as he handed two tickets to the agent. I resisted his pull causing Hap to stop as he lept onto the steps and turn toward me. "What is wrong?" he inquired.

"I don't know about going. I do not even know where this place is or if I can live there. I wanted more time to make my choice." I pleaded my case to the world standing there frozen with fear.

Hap looked at me for a moment and then simply extended his hand toward me. "You have already made this decision Pearl. It is time to start looking again don't you think?"

"Looking?" I said. "What do you.." my question ended as I suddenly recalled why it sounded so familiar. I remembered being in my aunt's backyard talking to Mr. Davidson the bartender. I remember sitting there so flippantly as he told me I would find my true purpose as long as I kept looking for it. I looked to Hap standing on the step to board and realized I could not argue or at least I did not want to. It made me think of the fearless courage of Sully and how he would get on this train. I felt that maybe if I did I would be able to see him again and at that moment the souls of my shoes released their suction to the ground below and I glided onto the train. There was a rush of exuberance flowing through me knowing I was taking such a risk. I was living in it now, I gave myself the chance to see what happens on the other side of that choice and it was brilliant. As soon as we boarded we began making our way to our seats when I noticed the train was somewhat more unique then I had pictured a basic passenger car to look like.

"What kind of train are we on?" I asked Hap, who was walking ahead preoccupied with the movement of the other passengers in the car.

"I'm not quite sure." he replied. Perhaps we can meet the engineer later and he can tell you." commenting as we collided in a common isle with a rather bovine woman who was exploding out of her couture and adorned in overdone jewelry and make-up. She was obviously wealthy, brandishing it like a badge, showing she is above rank of those around her and all should behave accordingly. She had a cold presence, one that sent a chill throughout my skin when I looked into her eyes. They were ice blue and piercing.

"Please stand aside." a man beside her requested in a scolding way. He carried the demeanor of a servant to her wealth. Obviously dressed with wealth, but he was frail and gaunt in his features. I stared at this creature wondering what if any soul he had left as I felt Hap's arm gently press against me moving me to the side of the isle. The two past with no benediction for our courtesy.

They continued on through the car and as I watched them move away I began to look around at the other passengers. It was odd, the place I found myself standing in, those around me seemed to be from a different time. Some, like Hap, appeared that clothes were simply a means to an end and not significant to their life. Others, like the rich woman and her attendant seemed to be consumed with their shell, embellishing it with enough proof of their wealth to ensure their place on the upper echelon of society. Aside those differences, not one of them looked to be from current time and I began to realize that amongst all the oddity, I was the one that stuck out like a rock in a bag of marbles. In fact, as I stood there I began to notice, that nothing looked modern. The amenities, people, and even the light were eclectic, emitting a faint sense of nostalgia that hovered around my flesh and filled me with a euphoric medley of sensations. I felt as if with that leap onto the train I had entered another time or reality. No longer in the world that I once knew I was now a drift in something more celestial. I do not know how long I was standing there, it felt like time stood still for me so that I could absorb this new found reality. I felt a tug at my sleeve and time returned to the movement of the passengers and my focus returned to Hap.

"Lets get to our compartment, then we can submerge ourselves in parley about your trip." Hap said as he held my hand and guided me toward our seats.

I barely gave an acknowledgment still consumed by my surroundings. We arrived at our seats to see that Hap had booked us on a private compartment. I tossed my only carry on bag toward the upper storage shelf and sat across from Hap wondering what my destination would hold for me. I soon decided to write about what had happened to start processing the days events. As I pulled my journal from my bag, another passenger entered the compartment. She was another unique looking figure, beautiful and possessing a whimsical grace, she was familiar with Hap and immediately began greeting him like an old friend.

"Well Happenstance McFinley, it is fancy meeting you here." she said in a coquettish way. It almost reminded me of the coy behavior the women in the South used when greeting gentlemen callers.

"If it isn't Rose Tippenny! What part of the world were you cavorting through this time?" he asked her as she fumbled to get all of her bags into the compartment. Hap rose to aide her with her luggage and quickly got her settled next to him in the car.

"Well, I had to go out for inspiration and so I am returning from a trip to Montmartre, Paris." she said.

"Ah Montmartre! Tre Magnifique!" he exclaimed.

As the two continued to talk about this city of Montmartre I felt as if I was suddenly invisible. I wanted to know more about this place they both seemed so thrilled and inspired by, but I could not get the gumption to interject myself into the conversation. Instead I took my normal course of action and opened my journal and began writing about the bold gesture of independence I had just made. It was a difficult to write as the two chatted and I found myself only staring into the blank page. I continued to give them time to confer on all the latest details of each others lives trying to listen without appearing to eavesdrop. It was then that Hap lured me into the conversation.

"Oh and my poor urbanity!" he digressed from the conversation. "Rose I want you to meet a new friend of mine, Pearl. She is going to Morristown for the first time today." he explained.

She and I met eyes and shook hands. "Well now a newcomer to Morristown! How long will your visit be?" she inquired.

"Oh I am not sure. I am really looking to get settled somewhere and Hap here seems to think Morristown is the place for that, so we will see how it goes." I tried to explain realizing that most people would think me a drifter or vagabond with that type of story. I worried that I should begin preparing a back story for my travel reason. Just as I was about to add to my explanation, she responded in somewhat of a terse way.

"Well I wouldn't get to comfortable with the idea of settling in Morristown. We don't have much room and try to reserve it with those that can contribute to the cause." she explained as if I should know what she was referring to.

"What cause?" I inquired.

"Rose," Hap interrupted, "did you see that fine looking gentleman in the dinner car this evening? I do believe he would be quite taken with you. Why don't you go reserve us a table for this evening and take yourself a look at him."

"Oh, I will do that!" she said immediately distracted from our odd, first encounter. With that she was grooming and exiting the compartment and off to the dinner service. I knew that Hap wanted to change the topic of conversation from this "cause" of Morristown, but being such a curious person I had to understand what Rose meant by what she had said.

"So may I ask what the cause is?" I inquired.

"There are many causes in life my lady. All a valuable gesture of the struggle to make the world a better place." he answered.

"Right, but what is the cause that Rose was referring to? Why is there only room for people who can contribute?" I asked, insistent on getting information from him.

I could tell that Hap did not want to share the details with me, but I didn't know why. Did I come across as a person unable to grasp the complexities of social struggles? Was I not trustworthy yet? Here I risked my entire future by taking the leap onto this odd train with an even odder person, yet I was not trusted to share this information with. I became a little annoyed at his lack of response. It seemed like he was hoping for any distraction to enter into our compartment to get off this road that I was most determined to travel.

"Hap, I trusted you and got on this train." I stated firmly.

"I know Pearl, and you made the right choice. This is complicated for a few reasons: First; Rose tends to be a bit dramatic and doesn't like to see other women move to Morristown as she hates competition, Second; Morristown is a complex menagerie that doesn't lend itself to the type of explanation you are looking for. All I can tell you is to please just enjoy the ride and all will be revealed to you in time." he explained.

"I will tell you this, the more I hear about Morristown, the more baffled I am. I will drop it for now, but I do hope that you are not leading me into a nightmare." I replied.

"A nightmare no! A fantasy, maybe." he said in a curious way and changed the subject to dinner.

We made our way to the service car for dinner and sat at a table that Rose reserved for our compartment earlier. Sitting with Rose was the man I assume Hap eluded too in our travel compartment. He was already completely enamored with her and barely noticed Hap and I join at the table. I looked around as we waited for the attendant at all the people dining that night. The car was not full, but seemed busy as the waiters seemed preoccupied with serving the first class guests. There was a man drinking alone at the bar that seemed to ooze depression and a woman at his side who was using every female charm to get his attention with no success. A table of young men next to us was load and boisterous with toasts and jeers. Listening to them share their escapades with gay applause made me miss Sully and the night of our engagement. I turned my attention to not allow myself to dwell on that memory and met eyes with the rich woman that I encountered earlier in the isle and her stare burned through me and I quickly turned to Hap to inquire more about her.

"Who is that woman?" I asked as I made a motion toward the woman being waited on by three of the attendants as the rest of us waited with no service at all.

"That is Agnes Thirtlemeyer Pearl, one of the nefarious dweller's of Morristown I spoke of before. Rich and cruel that one is, you would be wise to keep your distance." he remarked. It was that comment that broke Rose out of her gaze and into the conversation.

"The entire Thirtlemeyer family is evil." she said with disgust in her voice. "You better listen to Mr. McFinley and keep your distance, unless you like the wicked." she said as if she was trying to determine if I was kin to such a type.

"Well I have had quite my fill of the wicked lately, I do not believe avoiding it for the time being will be too difficult." I responded.

"Time being?" Rose asked.

"Well I simply mean that there is no world or life that can completely avoid the wicked or cruel. We all have to face them in due time." I tried to explain, but saying it aloud made me feel like a hypocrite. Here I was touting the importance of facing the wicked and I was the one that ran from every wicked moment that had tormented my life up to that point. My anxiety must have been palpable as the rest of the table sat there looking at me curiously when Hap broke the silence.

"Well put fine lady! Although discussing the wicked and evil things of the world is not what I prefer as my dinner colloquy so lets discuss which morsels we plan to devour tonight." Hap inquired about the table as I gained relief that the attention was no longer on me or my comments.

The dinner service picked up once the attendants were no longer distracted with the wealthy woman and I must admit as we dined that evening I enjoyed myself. I was anxious to make it to Morristown and see what my new surroundings would be like and had a hard time relaxing back in the passenger compartment. Hap and Rose seemed to not be bothered by the fact that I chose to read for the rest of the trip to keep myself calm, they carried on about art, music and philosophy and I knew that if this was an indication of the rest of the town I was in for an interesting experience. It was nightfall and I could no longer see the scenery through the compartment window. It had seemed like a long trip already and I wondered when we were to arrive at our destination.

"How much longer until we arrive?" I interjected into the conversation.

Hap pulled a gold pocket watch from his coat and peered at the time. "It will be soon" he replied and went back into his conversation with Rose.

"I'm sorry for interrupting, but may I ask exactly where is Morristown?" I inquired realizing that I had not gained any knowledge about where geographically I was heading. I felt annoyed with myself that I hadn't bothered to gain this information sooner, knowing that know I was really at the mercy of a person I knew nothing about.

"That is an magnetic inquiry." he replied and looked toward Rose as if he was looking for help in the explanation. The two looked completely baffled by my question and it made me feel uneasy as I was starting to realize that the prospect of me heading anywhere normal to start my life over was in fact itself over. They both started talking over each other with odd explanations of where Morristown was. There was nothing familiar about the information they provided and I began to feel overcome with fatigue. My eyelids became instantly heavy like iron curtains and no matter what I tried I lost the fight to keep them open. I remember right before falling into a deep slumber I thought to myself that somehow Hap and Rose caused me to feel so tired, but that thought drifted listlessly away into other dreams, dreams of being in Dublin with Sully.



© 2010 C. Rose


Author's Note

C. Rose
This is the first chapter of a fiction novel that I am working. I would love to see this book published and have a structure of 12 chapters outlined. I am posting this first chapter on the cafe for reviews to see if I have captured the right essence of the story and characters. There is surely some grammar issues, but I believe it clean enough for some reviews. I would like reviewers to honestly share if they felt connected to the story, characters and where this chapter leaves you. Do you want to read more? It is rather long so I appreciate those that can take some time to read/review. Thank you.



Featured Review

Unlike the previous reviewer, who I have noticed is rude and not entirely correct on all matters, I am not going to assault your work. I really noticed nothing wrong with it, a few errors in places, but we all make those. It is an interesting piece. My only advice is be wary of the outline, while outlines can be productive they at times stilt the story. My belief is always been to let the story take me where it will, that I know as little about the outcome as everyone else. I'm saying it's wrong to use one because several mainstream writers use them everyday. But it really all comes down what makes you comfortable.
I do hope you will send me more of this as you post it. Curious to see where it goes.


Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews


I like character driven stories and I see this as an example of one. It is nicely laid out with early character descriptions and consequential information. I do feel the town of Dublin in particular could be developed more. I enjoy details, many of them, whenever a city is a center point and it seemed this was a little short on specifics. However, it is apparent you have more to tell in upcoming segments which should be quite entertaining to read.
Very nice work...!

Posted 8 Years Ago


This is definitely a work in progress, but it has immense promise and, when you've done all the re-writes and gone through the excruciating process of of accepting CONSTRUCTIVE (I put that in all caps for The Perfectionist) criticism, it will be beautiful and compelling. The idea of Morristown is rich and opulent and you have the power to take it far and make it great. Please take everything The Perfectionist said with a grain of salt. Through my years of writing and having it reviewed by professors and other hard-asses, I've never read something so starkly rude and insulting and it's even more flagrant that he attempts to make it better at the end by insisting he just expects better. You have amazing potential and I enjoy and look forward to any of your future writing. Hope to see more of you around the literary world.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Unlike the previous reviewer, who I have noticed is rude and not entirely correct on all matters, I am not going to assault your work. I really noticed nothing wrong with it, a few errors in places, but we all make those. It is an interesting piece. My only advice is be wary of the outline, while outlines can be productive they at times stilt the story. My belief is always been to let the story take me where it will, that I know as little about the outcome as everyone else. I'm saying it's wrong to use one because several mainstream writers use them everyday. But it really all comes down what makes you comfortable.
I do hope you will send me more of this as you post it. Curious to see where it goes.


Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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I am going to call someone I don't like a 'social vulgarity' soon, I think.

As far as the story goes, at least so far, you talk a bit too much. One of the advantages (in fact, I would say it's even the biggest advantage) to third-person narrator is that you get to know everything, to tease the audience with what you know and they don't. Like all power, however, it can be misused. You enjoy having it too much, and showing it off (subconsciously, anyway). Virtually every second paragraph either gives something away completely or makes a very obvious hint at what's about to happen. It's fine occasionally, but with the amount you do it, it feels like the equivalent of poking the reader and going, "Wanna know what happens next?"

Yeah, we do. Stop rubbing it in.

There are a couple minor grammatical issues, a missing comma here, an incorrect possessive there, but nothing too serious. Your spelling is good as well.

At time of writing this paragraph, I have just finished reading about Pearl's adventures in Ireland. So far, this is just a paint-by-numbers story. There's nothing particularly original or interesting about Pearl's life so far, just writer's cliche #476. That's fine, cliches became popular for a reason, but I'm hoping to see more in the rest of the chapter to woo me.

Okay well I'm nearly done now and not much has changed. I've seen a few more grammar and spelling errors, endured more of your incessant desire to showcase your omniscience, and dragged my way through the endless cliches. I hope to God there is something worth salvaging in this story besides your excellent English.

Done now. My hopes have been squished. Pearl is a standard female lead (or one of the standards, anyway) and the men in her life flit in and out so fast I never get time to give a damn about them. Not that you really give them enough screen time when you are so centered on your main character.

When your chapter is long enough that I had to devote a significant amount of time to reading it, I had better come away feeling like it was time well spent. Instead I just feel kind of cheated out of my last few minutes by a massive piece whose only mystery is which cliche you're going to pull on us next.

You are setting up Morristown very obviously to be the centerpiece of your work, at least at this point, and that's definitely an intrigue for the reader, but if it's anything like what the rest of this chapter was, it's just going to be another disappointment.

Let me know when you post the next one.

By the way, lest you or anyone else misunderstand, the chapter is by no means bad, it's just average and I was expecting considerably more from something of this great length and writing skill.

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 4 people found this review constructive.

Wow, I'm in total awe at the moment! You have without doubt captured the characters, the atmosphere everything! You have a great flow and you really get the reader to understand the characters. The sorrow and grief she feels for Sully were masterfully described and I love that the insecurity she feels after his death. At the end of this story I began to wonder whether it's all real or just something she's made up in her mind, it reminded me of the story Abigail I wrote about a patient in a mental care facility who thinks she's Cinderella.
I have nothing but praise for this great first chapter, although an advice would be to divide it into smaller chapters here on the cafe if you want more to read it.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Wow such an amazing story. I am left wanting more. Wanting to know more about Morristown. Wanting to know more about Hap and Mrs. Rose. I had tears in my eyes when Sully died even though I was expecting it to happen. You never get involved in other peoples problems my parents have always told me that. Keep to yourself and keep walking. I could feel the characters pain through the words. You write flawlessly and from the beginning to the very end I was hooked on every word. To love someone so much and then lose them is heartbreaking. Then the question I have is it better to have loved and lost or to never have loved at all. I really enjoyed this. I hope to read more of Pearl's journey to Morristown. Send a read request anytime.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Rose,
I thoroughly enjoyed this and really connected with Pearl and even Pearl's mother the way you describe them wearing masks. Sometimes I get caught wearing my own mask, and reading this story reminds me that taking the mask off to have fun and experience mystery and adventure is important, we only have one life after all. I thought you did a SUPERB job with the story of Pearl falling in love with Sully and time eventually taking that from her. Her downfall after was masterfully displayed through her emotions. Bravo.
I think you could have eluded to Morristown more throughout the story or just let the reader know(in a subtle way) that the story was headed towards a fantastical direction.
This reminds me a lot of "The Talisman" by Stephen King.
I connected Pearl's Aunt and Agnes Thirtlemeyer to each other, almost as if they were the same person, just different realities.
Great story though.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 3 people found this review constructive.


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Added on January 28, 2010
Last Updated on January 28, 2010
Tags: novel, fiction


Author

C. Rose
C. Rose

Albuquerque, NM



About
I am a poet and writer that pens under the bohemian dogma; "Truth, Love, Beauty and Freedom" and believe any form of expression is precious. I am a thirty something, living in the American Southwest .. more..

Writing
Want Want

A Poem by C. Rose



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