Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Chapter by Krystle Lewallen

Katy learns an important lesson and meets someone who helps sooth her pain. Note: talks about suicide very briefly.



Chapter Two


I do wake up. Faye is gone, and the sun is shining through the window pane bouncing off the mirror above my dresser. Everything looks illuminated. It was too bright, so I squinted until my eyes could adjust realizing that someone had already been in to open my curtains.

I could hear the birds chirping their beautiful song outside like a tiny symphony had taken up residence in the trees.

Trying to move my body was difficult. It was stiff from the inactivity, and my mouth felt like it had been stuffed with cotton and set on fire. There was a new tray on my nightstand with a bowl of oatmeal, strawberries, and a glass of water. Knowing exactly what my body needed, I sat up and reached for the water wincing as my back made several crunching noises on the way over.

Water had never tasted so good. Beautiful, crisp, delicious water. It was perfect as it slid down my throat cooling the fire. I sighed in relief after finishing off the whole glass. Setting it back on the tray I notice an orange pill bottle. Curious, I pick it up to examine more closely. Antidepressants.

Something I never thought I would have to take. My mother took antidepressants when my dad died. I remember her yelling at Collin, "Get my pills!" At twelve he was curious so, of course, he handed them to her and asked, "What are these for?"

"Magic pills," she had said bitterly. We were such an inconvenience to her. "So I don't have to deal with everything." That's what she said, she didn't want to deal.  I have to admit, that would be the easy way out- taking the pills and dulling the pain. But I was NOTHING like my mom, NOTHING!

The thought of needing something like this made me angry. I didn't want to be like her. A drunk who popped pills and didn't care for her kids. She didn't care if she lived or died, so why would she care about us? Suddenly, anger rises in me and bubbles out over the surface. Throwing the bottle across the room in my fit of rage, it hits the wall, opens, and scatters all over the floor.

How dare my Aunt try to medicate me! It's been two days since my grandma pa*sed away. I am entitled to my grief. I start to wonder if my Aunt had been the one to suggest medication to my mom when my dad died. And look how that turned out.

Furious, I get out of bed. My anger fuels me, making it possible to ignore my stiff joints and weakness. I want to tell my Aunt exactly how I feel. Before I can get any further then the end of my nightstand; she comes bursting through the door.

"Katy! Are you okay? I heard a loud noise," she says worriedly. Walking quickly over to me she notices the open pills scattered on the floor and her brows furrow. "What happened? I thought you fell."

I stand there, fist clenched, trying to put the most vicious look on my face. "Pills Aunt Rita. Really?" I say behind tight lips and closed teeth. She looks shocked by my anger but quickly recovers. The anger feels strangely good, it's better than the pain.

Walking over to the pills that lie on the floor she starts to scoop them up. "I thought they might help. You were scaring me." There is a hint of frustration in her tone. "You didn't want to come out of your room, didn't want to be bothered, wouldn't talk to anyone, and didn't want to eat." Scooping the last of the pills off the floor she stands, puts them back into the bottle, twists the top back on, and sets them on my desk.

"So you thought the answer was to give me a pill that would make me forget her?" I knew that didn't make any sense. The pills wouldn't make me forget her, but that's what it felt like to me in this moment. She was trying to make me forget my grandma. I didn't want to forget. I wanted to remember her smile, her laugh, and her hug.

My Aunt walks over to me placing her hands on my shoulders. Quietly she says, "I would never want you to forget her." I consider apologizing but my anger outweighs my compassion at the moment. So I settle for an angry comeback.

Leveling my eyes with hers I say as cruel as I can, "You may want to forget her, but I never will. You can take those pills and swallow them yourself." Stomping off to the bathroom I leave her with another shocked look on her face.

Closing the door, I lean up against it as weakness takes hold of me again. Feeling dizzy I slide down the door and sit there with my head leaned back and my eyes closed. My bare legs sprawl out in front of me on the cold floor.

I know what I said to Aunt Rita was beyond cruel. She must have been in the same pain I was in. It was her mother who died, but she was like a mother to me too- had been for the past eleven years.

Hearing the door to my room close a few minutes later I stand, my legs wobbly and my head spinning. Barely making my way back to my bed I sit on the edge. Picking up the oatmeal I take small bites slowly not wanting to overdo it. There is nothing worse than shoveling food into your mouth just to have it come back up. I regret the thought immediately because there is something worse, I just experienced it a couple of days ago.

After a few bites I can't eat anymore. So I set the bowl down and head to the shower. It feels good to be moving again after two days, but my body tells a different story as it aches with every move. After the shower I get dressed in the most comfortable clothes I can find then step over to my dresser.

Reaching into my jewelry box, I pull out the necklace Grandma gave me when I first came to live with her. It was a beautiful sapphire, heavy at the bottom, peaking at the top to resemble a teardrop. Surrounding it was a thin silver band of diamonds, but the band didn't meet at the top. Instead it opened up, and away from the sapphire at its peak. The chain connected to the band on each end.

The day Grandma gave it to me she had just picked Collin and I up from school and took Collin to baseball practice. We sat in the car watching him play in the rain. She pulled out a blue box, opened it, and placed the necklace in my tiny hand. At six I hadn't appreciated the beauty nor had I appreciated the gift as much as I do now. But it was pretty and shiny, I remember thinking. Those were the thoughts of a little girl who had never had something so beautiful before.

"I'll always catch your tears," she had said. "Until the good Lord decides that I no longer need to be the person to do that Katy; I will always be there for you." I knew she was telling the truth as my heart swelled that day and bloomed with so much love. It was the most precious thing I owned. Putting it on I held the teardrop in my hand for several moments and closed my eyes, willing the memory to go away because the memories caused so much pain.

Thinking about what I will have to face when I leave my room is giving me no motivation to actually leave. Taking my time, I throw my sandy blonde hair into a messy ponytail. I push myself out of my room and peer down the hallway only to find the house empty.

I don't hear anyone either. All of the doors in the hallway are closed so, I turn left and make my way out to the living room. The room is empty. Walking over to the window that overlooks the front yard, I see that Aunt Rita's car is not parked in the driveway.

Taking a deep breath I turn around. Grandma always kept a clean and orderly house. Everything was still in its place just the way we left it on Tuesday morning as I hurried out the door to go to school and Grandma hurried out the door to visit the doctor. It was kind of ironic that she had visited the doctor that morning. When my Aunt came over to visit her that afternoon, she had found her lying on the kitchen floor. She had a stroke, one of many. I had no idea. She never wanted me to worry about anything, so she never told me these things. The doctor said she didn't feel much pain. Instead, the pain was left for us.

The bright yellow calla lilies still sat in a vase on the small table by the front door. They were her favorite. We would go to the market every Sunday and pick them up. They were beautiful, sitting there next to the dish with Grandma's keys in it. The keychain hung out of the bowl with my soccer picture on one side and Collin's baseball picture on the other. Next to that sat the Urn. My stomach twisted.

It was too much, I had to get out of here. Without thinking another thought, I grab my keys sitting next to Grandma's and jet out the door. I jump in my little blue beetle that is parked at the curb and take off. I am not really sure where I am going, so I just drive. After a good thirty minutes, I end up at a little diner named Mel's. It seems like a good place to be alone. There aren't many cars in the parking lot, so I pull in for a cup of coffee.

Stepping into the diner the smell of bacon assaults my senses and my mouth starts to water. That's probably a good sign since I only had a few bites of oatmeal just over two hours ago, which is the only thing I have eaten in the past two days. Taking a seat in an empty booth I try not to think about my grandma or anything, but it's impossible not to think.

I'll be eighteen in three days and my plan had been to attend college two states over in August with Faye. It was important to Grandma that I go to college and do something with my life. My mother never did and my dad worked a factory job. It was hard work but he did what he had to so that we had food and clothes.

Mom lived off the two hundred and fifty thousand dollar life insurance that dad had left her, but it went quick. Spent mostly on booze and drugs, it was gone within three months. Two months later, we were taken from my mom and placed in the foster system.

Grandma always told me she wished she had gone to school to further her education. She wanted something for us to be proud of her for. She wanted something that her kids and grandkids could look back and say that what she had done inspired us. She wanted to set a good example. But she was a good example on her own without that. There was so much I still needed to learn from her.

I didn't know what I would do with the rest of my life. I still wanted to go to college, I think. But everything else was so uncertain now.  I didn't even know what I wanted to major in. With tomorrow being the last day of school, even though I hadn't been since Tuesday and would not be going back, it would seem more real that I was on my own, especially with Grandma's absence.

Graduation was coming up on Saturday and there where graduation parties I had been invited to. There was no way I could go, not that I wanted to. I didn't even want to be here, now.  I opted out of the graduation party myself, because Grandma and I had discussed the possibility of me going to New York for the summer instead. She hadn't agreed to anything yet, and I'll never know what her decision had been. Not that it matters, I don't want to think about New York and strokes.  I don't want to think about my uncertain future and the absence my heart feels. I just want to stop thinking altogether.

Luckily the waitress chooses that moment to come over. She seems worn out in her beige button-up collared shirt, her black apron was tied around her waist with straws sticking out. She has her order pad and pencil at the ready.

With a forced smile she asks, "What can I get for you honey?" She is chewing a piece of gum loudly and it's annoying. I have a hard time ordering with the constant smacking noise, and it makes me want to reach over and smack her silly.

"I'll have a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on toast, and a cup of coffee." She writes it down in her little book continuing to smack her lips. I don't think I have ever wanted to hurt someone more than right now. I quietly contemplate punching her in the mouth and walking out but she walks away saying, "I'll be right back."

I have never been a violent person, so the direction of my thoughts this morning has taken me by surprise. It seems I am taking my anger out on anyone who is in my path. I wrap my fingers around the sapphire hanging around my neck and breathe. When I was a kid sure I got into a few fights but someone else always provoked them. Sitting here thinking about knocking out the waitress for chewing her gum too loudly is uncharacteristic for me. I have a suspicion my anger is fueled by grief.

I've always tried to do the right thing, be a good person and not hit waitresses, but then you get your legs swiped out from under you, not just once but several times, and it makes you this angry person. How do you get past something as terrible as losing a loved one? I understand better now than I ever did what grief did to a person. When my dad died I wasn't this heartbroken. But as you get older you understand more and more, and it makes things harder.

Grandma use to always tell me, "Life's not always sunshine, but if it was, what kind of lesson would that teach you? You have to take the rainy, cloudy days just like you take the sunny ones." I don't know what kind of lesson her death is supposed to teach me, but I was quickly realizing that life was made up of a bunch of heartbreaks and disappointments.

The waitress returns with my coffee and sandwich sitting it in front of me. Thankfully she has lost the gum. I stir cream and sugar into my coffee and bring the cup up it to my lips, but it's too hot to drink just yet, so I sit there with it poised and ready.

Putting too much cream and sugar into my coffee had always made Grandma make this funny face. Her nose would scrunch up and her lips would purse. She would joke with me asking, "Would you like some coffee with that sugar and cream?" She drank it black, sometimes putting a small teaspoon of sugar into it. I could never drink it that way; I tried to drown out the actual flavor of the coffee because it tasted like dirt. But I liked to sit down in the mornings and have a cup with her in the sunroom or under the gazebo. I missed her so much it hurt. Almost every memory was good, but they were also like a punch in the face because that's all I had left of Grandma, just the memories and right now they seemed like more of a plague than anything else.

"You look like your grandma," a smooth deep voice says. Startled by someone standing so close to me and even more startled by his statement, I look up quickly. A guy with messy brown hair and bright blue eyes is standing at the end of my table. He's wearing a brown leather jacket and a small smile on his pretty face.

Recovering from the shock I ask, "Excuse me, what did you say?"

He looks uncertain as he repeats his statement. "You look like you could use a friend." Oh, that's not what I heard. Apparently my mind was playing cruel tricks on me.

"Umm, no I'm fine." What I wanted to say was "go away."

"Well, you don't look fine."

I start to feel the anger claw its way back out. "What makes you say that?" I ask a little annoyed.

"Let's see," he says, sliding into the booth in front of me. "You have been sitting here with that cup of coffee," he points to my cup, "held up like that for at least ten minutes." He leans forward and says quietly, "And you're getting your sandwich all wet."

Not understanding what he means I look down at my sandwich. He's right- it's wet and soaked with my tears. Embarrassed, I set the cup down and use the back of my hands to wipe my wet cheeks dry. But, when I look up at him, he doesn't have a sad look on his face like I would expect. He just looks puzzled, like he wants to ask me questions. Only he doesn't, instead he just sits there waiting for me to talk.

"I have allergies and this eye condition," I mumble, continuing to wipe my tears. I don't think he is buying it though. Not to mention, as far as excuses go, it wasn't very original.

That small smile tugs at his lips again as he offers me his hand. "I'm Caleb." Reaching out to put my hand in his I think twice. It's still damp from my tears. I hesitate, but before I can completely retract, he pulls my hand into his. He doesn't shake it, instead he simply squeezes it and I feel something that I haven't felt in four days, energy. It's like a shock to my dull system. I don't understand it?

"I'm Katy." I finally respond. I wonder why this guy is even here? Then I realize that he has been watching me for at least ten minutes. "You're not some creepy guy who watches girls then stalks them are you? Because I should warn you I know Krav Maga."

He chuckles quietly, releases my hand, and sits back in the booth. "No," he shakes his head, "but I happen to be very efficient in Aikido. You, Katy, do not scare me," he says, grinning.

"I can be very scary," I insist. "I dressed as Britney Spears for Halloween once. Very scary," I say, horrified. He laughs deeply. I have spent the last two days mostly in silence or surrounded by people crying, upset, or just plain mad. So the laughing seems...foreign. It's contagious, so I smile a smile I do not feel.

Picking up my cup of coffee, I take a sip. But it's cold, so I set it back down. "So, Krav Maga, huh?" Caleb asks.

"Yup. I can kick some major posterior. Don't mess with me," I threaten seriously.

He puts his hands up in surrender. "Trust me, I won't. How did you get into that? It's a very intense martial art to learn."

The last thing I want to do is tell this stranger, this story. My grandma was the only reason I started Krav Maga a year ago. She had encouraged me to learn something that I could use to protect myself. She even gave me mace every year for my birthday stating that, "If you ever get attacked this will disable your attacker so you can run." Of course last year when she had given me the mace I had to ask, "Then why have I been learning Krav Maga?" She gave me this stern look and said, "You can never be too careful." Shoving the mace into my hands she turned and walked into her bedroom, closing the door behind her.

Trying to avoid Caleb's question I simply say, "Just wanted to, no reason why." But his searching eyes can see that there is more. He looks at me suspiciously but moves on.

He waves for the waitress who comes over looking irritated. "Can we get another cup of coffee? This one has gotten cold." Caleb hands the cup to the waitress. "I think we need some more cream and sugar as well, these are getting low." He knows how I like my coffee?

"Certainly, anything else?" the waitress responds disinterested. Caleb shakes his head and looks at me. The waitress looks my way expectantly.

"No, thank you." She nods once and walks away returning a few seconds later with another cup of coffee, cream, and sugar. I fix it up how I like it and look back at Caleb. "You are a creepy stalker guy. How is it that you know what I like in my coffee?" I tease.

He taps under his right eye. "I pay attention. It's part of my job."

"Sure it is, and do tell what is it that you do?" I cross my arms over my chest and wait patiently for his answer.

"I'm in private security. Being attentive to my surroundings," he gives me a leveled look, "is part of my job. It's very important. I lose that and," he slaps his hands together loudly making me jump out of my seat, "bam! Someone dies."

He is obviously very serious about his job, so I don't question it any further. Instead I make a joke about it to lighten the mood. "Who do you secure, the president?" He just looks at me intently, but doesn't say anything. Maybe he does secure the president, and he's not supposed to tell me. Maybe I could get in trouble just for the insinuation. Fear starts to creep up my back, and I feel my face heat. Caleb starts laughing; a deep rich sound that's oddly comforting. Then I realize that he is joking with me.

Immediately I scoff at him. "That is so not funny. My grandma thinks that if you even say something negative about the president someone will come and get you. Like big brother is always listening. I was seriously nervous." I explain. The thought of my grandma makes the sadness start to seep back in like a dark, murky cloud. I talked about her in the present tense, but she isn't presently here. She's gone from this world; her physical body is nothing but dust that can blow away in the wind.

Caleb must catch on to the sudden shift in my mood, no shocker there, because I feel his warm hand wrap around mine. Looking up, he is watching me closely. "Did your grandmother pass away?" he asks soothingly. I nod my head yes, but words don't seem to come out. "You were close to her," he says, seeming to understand. It's more of a statement, a fact, than a question. I don't want him to know this about me, or see how broken I am. So I try to bury the feelings under the surface and say as little as possible.

"My grandmother raised me since I was six. Losing her was like losing my heart," I try to explain. There is no sadness in his expression like I thought I would see. There is something about him, something different.

"When did it happen?"

"Tuesday." I pull my hand out of his this time and pick up my cup of coffee, taking a sip I find that it is cold again. I sigh inwardly and put the cup back down.

"Do you want to know something about me?" He leans back.

"Please." Blowing out a breath, I am relieved that he is changing the subject to himself.

"When I was twelve, my mother was diagnosed with manic depressive disorder. She had been secretly cutting herself for years." I can feel my eyes widen at his omission, but he just continues. "It started when she was a teenager, but she supposedly had quit when she met my dad." The look on his face is intense as he recalls the memory.

"The doctors said that she hadn't quit, but it had actually escalated over the years. My dad never knew anything about it, she seemed normal to him. She hid her depression very well, and my dad worked a lot. I noticed sometimes that she would lock herself in her room only coming out when she had to. When I would listen at her door just to make sure she was okay, I would hear her crying." Stopping for a moment, he clears his throat and looks me in the eyes.

"I told my dad about it, but he said that women just did that. They cried all the time, so that's what I believed. He was my dad, and I didn't question my dad. On a Friday night my mom had dropped me off at a friend's house. I was going to spend the night and go to my baseball game with them in the morning. My parents were supposed to come, but half way through the game when neither of them were there, I started to get upset.

"After the game I told my friend's parents that I wanted to go home , instead they took us for pizza and putt-putt. I was there until the following day when my dad came to get me. He looked like he hadn't slept in days. His face was drawn and he had dark circles under his eyes. He sat me down on my friend's front porch but didn't say anything. I asked why he looked so sad.

"He said that my mom had been very depressed, and then asked if I knew what that was. I told him yes. I was twelve; I thought I knew everything, of course. But, that was nothing. What he told me next, I let it define who I was for a very long time because I didn't understand. I still don't understand.  My mother had hung herself. Her depression had won in the end. It was the single worst moment of my life." As he finishes he leans in closer to me. "I will never understand why she did it, or why things happen like this, but I accepted it. It took me a very long time, but I did."

I didn't know what to say about that, so I just said the only thing I could think of, "Caleb, I'm so sorry. That's horrible." It was the same thing that people had been saying to me for the past two days.

"Yes, it was," he agrees. "But it happened, and I moved on with my life. I realized that there are bigger plans in life for me. I just had to make the right decisions that would lead me in that direction and embrace them."

I felt like I should tell him more about my life after that. He had shared a piece of himself with me, this almost stranger. But I couldn't go there yet. The loss of my grandma was too fresh in my mind.

We stayed at the diner and talked for a couple of hours after that. He told me that he attended a local community college for two years before he decided it wasn't for him. That was when he opened his own private security business. I couldn't bring myself to tell him anything else personal about my current situation, but I did tell him about my quirky best friend Faye and my brother Collin. As I talked about them, understanding started to rise up in me. I wasn't alone. A little of what I was going through seemed to dissipate.

Caleb looks at his watch and sighs. "I have to go. Not that I want to, it's been nice talking to you Katy." He gives me that small smile and my insides flutter.

I didn't want him to go, or maybe I didn't want to go home. But he was right, it was time. I felt better after our talk, and I knew I had to go back at some point.

"You really should stop sulking. It doesn't sit right with you," he teases. Pushing up from the booth he reaches into his jacket pocket. "Let me give you my card." Pulling out a card and hands it to me. "I teach self defense on Saturdays, mostly to women. You should stop by sometime."

Taking the card I smile, "Have you forgotten?" I point to myself. "Krav Maga." I don't tell him how awful my teacher was and how little I actually know.

"Yes, well this is completely different." He smiles crookedly at me. "I think you would like it." Throwing a twenty on the table, he waves once, turns on his heal, and heads out the door. I get up, ready to face the house that I lived in with my grandma. The house that holds all of those memories that I thought would only cause me pain. But maybe I could use those same memories as a tool to keep going.

I'm ready to apologize to Aunt Rita for acting the way I have, and I'm ready to act like the adult that I will become in three days. Heading out to my car I feel a weight lifted off of me. The ache of Grandma's absence will always be there, but I will try to live in her memories and not in her death.

With time, my heartbreak will cease to exist leaving in its place only the good memories.


© 2013 Krystle Lewallen

My Review

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Again, a really beautifully written piece. A few minor grammar mistakes, but nothing major. It feels like Katy may be moving on a little quickly, but if that's the direction you are going then it is all brilliant.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago

Krystle Lewallen

9 Years Ago

Thanks, I'll go back through and re-read it along with the next chapter keeping that in mind. I thin.. read more
I love Katy, she seems like a very vibrant character.
It looks great and reads better; I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago

Krystle Lewallen

9 Years Ago

Thank you. Katy is seventeen so she is struggling with her personality not to mention she lost someo.. read more

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2 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on July 5, 2013
Last Updated on December 2, 2013


Krystle Lewallen
Krystle Lewallen

Fernandina Beach , FL

Author of Fractured Heart, book one in The Redemption Series. Available now at Amazon and Smashwords. more..