Login   Sign Up 


The Truth Behind Eleanor`s Fiction

by janieruthryals 

Posted: 20 September 2008
Word Count: 6064
Summary: An aspiring writer visits an elderly writer for an interview.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

"Oh hey there, Darlin. I didn't hear you knock," Eleanor Chenney said.

She was propped up in her bed looking over some paperwork with a pair of expensive reading glasses perched on her nose. Her long silver hair was pulled back into a perfect twist and her lips were lined with a light shade of lipstick, an elegant contrast to the casual jogging suit she wore. Her presence there seemed almost scripted, as if she was purposely positioned that way by an artist preparing to paint her portrait.

Through a window beside the bed, the afternoon sun reflected a long fuzzy beam of light across the room, decorated with only the best furniture and trimmings. Everything was neatly displayed on shelves, photographs and knick-knacks intermingled with books. An eclectic mixture of belongings banded together in this small space with the hope of instilling a familiar comfort.

By way of a simple miracle, I'd managed to track her down to this nursing home where she'd moved from her large estate off Old Jefferson Road after she'd been stricken with rheumatoid arthritis. When I mentioned my grandmother's name, she immediately agreed to meet with me for an interview, though she'd never granted one in the past.

It's my second visit to see her. During the first, we planned the topics she would agree to discuss along with a heavy dusting of small talk. But even though I've been here before, I still couldn't seem to reach any sort of comfort level because there was enough evidence to prove a medical connection, from the hospital bed to the strong scent of industrial pine on the floor. The memories pushed a familiar pain through my temples, a queasy turn inside my stomach. My eyes traced the floral pattern on her bedspread while I mentally tried to find a place to store my dead husband's ghost.

"Jenna, are you feeling all right?"

I snapped out of my trance and quickly looked up. "Oh... yes, I'm fine, Mrs. Chenney. Are you ready to get started?"

"Ready as I'll ever be, I suppose," she said, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "But before we get started, why don't we go outside and sit on the patio where the view is much nicer. It gets a little dark in this room during the late afternoons and I sometimes start to crave the sunshine. It will take a little bit of time for this hospital bed to lower me down. Mr. Edwards tells me they have another one on order that will work much faster. He‘s the nice young man who runs this place and does a wonderful job."

The steady hum of her lowering bed instantly propelled me back again. Gary's thinning body lying in a bed, very similar to this one, while a nurse checked his pulse. It's so sad to lose someone this young.

I shook my head of the memories while Mrs. Chenney gathered the papers with her knotted fingers. "I just finished reading the story you left with me last week. It's very good. Your writing is well organized and you capture emotional responses into words so eloquently."

"Thank you so much." My chest warmed with her compliment, a relief to my nausea. I walked over to the bed to provide some assistance. "Now, I only need to find someone who will agree to publish it," I said, trying not to complain. "I'm just so appreciative that you've agreed to meet with me these past couple of weeks, especially when so many others have wanted to interview you."

"Darlin, the pleasure is all mine, I assure you. When I received your call, I was tickled to death. Clara Ann would be so incredibly proud of you."

Clara Ann was my grandmother, Ms. Chenney's housekeeper for several years back in the early eighties before her death. I was only a little girl when she passed and have very few memories of her. Would she be proud? I often imagined she would have been the first to brag in my honor while chastising others for not doing the same.

The whirling motor of the lowering bed finally stopped and Mrs. Chenney swiped her swollen feet into a pair of fuzzy bedroom slippers. "I certainly hope you don't mind my saying but I never would have expected this kind of writing from a tax accountant," she said, taking my arm.

"I imagine most people wouldn‘t." I laughed.

"How on earth did you wind up in that profession?"

"It's something that just sort of fell into my lap. Shortly after I graduated high school, I answered an employment ad for a summer job at a tax consulting firm. I guess they liked me well enough to keep me on permanently and offered to pay my college tuition towards a business degree."

As the daughter of parents who'd married straight out of high school, college was never discussed while I was growing up. It was only assumed that once I graduated high school, I'd get married and squeeze out a few younguns, as my stepfather liked to say. Of course, that was a plan that had gone terribly awry.

"When did you become interested in writing?" she asked, wincing as she pressed weight down on the tender joints of her feet.

"Before I moved back to Georgia," I said, purposely leaving in the blanks. I simply wasn't ready to discuss this sort of thing with Mrs. Chenney. I'd only gained a fondness for writing a few years ago, after Gary passed away, and during those years I'd successfully kept myself hidden in the fiction that I'd created. I intended to keep it up for the time being, wallow in it for a little while longer. "I just started writing on a whim one day."

"Have you written many stories?"

"I wrote quite a lot initially, including the piece you were just reading. I'm very busy during the week so I usually write early on Saturday mornings when everything is still quiet outside. But sometimes I find it difficult to come up with anything. It gets so frustrating that I feel like quitting sometimes." I clenched my teeth together, wondering why the hell these words were tumbling out of my mouth.

The forward shuffle of her feet stopped and she looked at me carefully. "But that‘s not really true, is it?"

I smiled at her innate ability to call my bluff. Like all writers, I'd fallen in love with it, craved the feeling of a keyboard beneath my fingertips like an addict craves drugs. I imagine she knew the feeling. "No, I guess not. It's just that writing isn't one of those things that fits perfectly in the world I come from. My family looks at it as some sort of unbridled fascination and I think that weighs me down at times. I often have difficulty finding my groove and the words seem to escape my grasp."

It doesn't feel natural speaking so intimately about my writing, a private corner in my life I'd self-consciously barricaded after several judgmental comments from my family. One night, after a discussion over dinner treaded over the subject, they all studied me as if I had three eyeballs in the center of my forehead. So you think you‘re a writer now, huh? my brother quipped while my parents looked away without comment. With the receipt of so many rejection letters, I'd begun to wonder if there wasn't merit to this reaction. Maybe it was naïve to actually believe that I could possibly break into print with no credentials to indicate an art for it. I had to try, though. The dream was too big and its shadow hovered over me, a large helium balloon waiting to break free so it could flutter up high where everyone could see it.

We were standing outside now and the crisp outdoor air seemed to brush away our present conversation so we could thankfully drop the subject. I took a moment to look beyond the patio to the large courtyard before us. In the center, a fountain stood there, surrounded by dogwood trees with long reaching limbs, still leafy green before the arrival of fall. A Japanese Honeysuckle ripe with late-blooming flowers released a fragrance that took me back to my childhood. As a youngster, I kept a regular habit of pulling the stamens from the buds and sucking out the nectar. That was until my brother, a skillful liar, told me the flowers were poisonous. For over a year, he had me convinced I would soon fall asleep like Sleeping Beauty and never wake up again.

"This is quite a view you have," I said.

She fell heavily into one of the cushioned patio chairs and, with the painful response of her feet abated for a while, her face softened into a peaceful smile. "It is beautiful out here, isn't it? You know, I've lived in this area my entire life and I finally found the prettiest spot in Athens when I signed up to live here about a year ago. You see that fountain over there?" she asked, pointing to the center of the courtyard where a collection of cherubs, green with moss, blew water from their horns into a pool of thick water. "Folks around here tell me it's been there for over a hundred years. I come out here nearly every day to listen to the sound of the falling water or watch the robins flutter from one dogwood tree to another. I think it's better than attending a beautiful ballet with a well-rehearsed orchestra, don‘t you?"

"Yes, it is." It was more of an unattached response than a true answer since I'd never taken the notion to attend a ballet before. I took a seat at the table next to her and began examining the tape recorder I'd pulled from my oversized handbag.

My grandmother's connection to Mrs. Chenney was a remarkable discovery. An interview could possibly pave a way into the magazines. But I found myself in unfamiliar territory since I'd never done one before. I tried to come prepared with the obvious equipment and questions, acting as if this were old hat - an awkward version of Barbara Walters.

"So where do you want to start?" she asked.

My fingers traced the recording features on the machine while I pondered my upcoming question, one I‘d practiced before. Just as I opened my mouth to speak, another thought entered my head. Jenna, his kidneys are failing. He‘s very dehydrated. I abruptly took another tact. "Mrs. Chenney, you‘ve written several stories where the protagonist loses someone, a ‘soul mate' if you will, and then goes on to meet someone else and fall in love again. Do you really believe it's possible for people to be truly happy again after losing their soul mate?"

I knew it was a mistake to allow a personal vendetta to take over the interview, asking a question an adept interviewer would probably never ask. Especially when Mrs. Chenney had made it perfectly clear she didn't want to discuss such silly corn pone nonsense, as she called it. But there it was, a question I'd often pondered while lying in a bed, cold and empty on one side. Maybe it was my evasive nature taking over, the appeal in the anonymity hidden in the folds of this interview, thirsty for an opinion from someone who had written about it. There must be a realistic layer there somewhere, the truth hidden somewhere behind her fiction. But the look on her face seemed to speak volumes and I immediately regretted the question. "Never mind, we can talk about something else__"

"You know, I've been thinking about an old Sinatra song lately. It‘s been playing along in my head all day." With a perfectly-pitched voice, she began to sing. Love and marriage... Love and marriage... Go together like a horse and carriage... This, I'll tell ya, brother... You can't have one without the -- ba-boom -- other.

We laughed together. "Everything else falls under the ‘unlucky in love' category, right?" I prompted.

"Well, I may have written about it, but I definitely wouldn't consider myself the leading expert on the subject. Given what my eyes have seen over the years, I often wonder why the tumultuous love stories seem to appeal to the larger masses."


"You know what I mean. The ones represented by an assortment of contradictions; sensual/painful, comfortable/scary, here today/gone tomorrow. The slippery kind people grip firmly with both hands until it finally washes away. Every television show out there capitalizes on these sorts of stories because it seems to be what people want to see. Happily Ever After doesn't exist anymore. Unresolved conflict is what makes the world go around these days."

"I take it you don't like watching today's television shows?"

"On the contrary, of course I do! Around here, the ladies and I meet in the commons area every Thursday night to watch one in particular so we can live vicariously through the characters and their angst-ridden love lives. Even the men come down and watch as well, though they'd never admit they‘re doing it on their own free will. Instead they'll moan and groan about their female counterparts forcing them to watch such girly S.H.I.T., as they like to say. We all know better though, don‘t we?"

I laughed. She reminded me of my Great-Aunt Nonie, the way she spelled her curse words or pawned them off as quotes from someone else. It seemed to be a common trait among the elderly southern ladies I knew, as if they were torn between the thrill of using a worldly language and the fear of being stricken by biblical lightning. "Well, I don't watch a whole lot of television because I usually work late at the office most nights__"

"You don't watch television? Oh Darlin, you don't know what you're missing! Well, since you're in the dark, I‘ll attempt to explain what I'm talking about with another scenario."

Just where the hell she was going with this, I couldn't even begin to guess. I braced myself for another long-winded diatribe, the type I‘d grown accustomed to during our first visit. "Okay__"

"Let's say we have Benny and Chantal, who meet under extraordinary circumstances and then, for whatever reason, it doesn't work out. Neither of them necessarily fell out of love. There just wasn't any room for it to exist. Now, if this were something on television, it would probably go like this: Ten years later, Benny is living the good life but can't seem to help the feeling that something is missing. He decides to go on vacation to get his head straight or -- my favorite -- to find himself. While on his trip, he gets hit by a car and sent to the nearest hospital. It just so happens that his long lost love, Chantal, is a nurse at that very same hospital. Lord have mercy, what a miracle! Maybe Benny gets better and they live happily ever after... or maybe not. The ending doesn't really matter since it's just another silly television show and it isn't real."

She stared at me with her dark brown eyes, nearly hidden among the layers of wrinkled flesh around them. I gave her my best gratuitous smile and started fiddling with my tape recorder again. "Well, you got me there, Mrs. Chenney. So, how about we just move on to the next question__"

"I have two ‘why's' for you, Darlin. One, why don't you call me Eleanor? I think we've passed the formalities by now. And two, why don't we just cut the crap, as the expression goes, and get real, shall we?" She placed a hand on top of mine, forcing me to turn off the tape recorder. "What do you do when you find yourself holding on to a love that‘s no longer in front of you?"

Somewhere along her casual banter, she'd begun paddling in a stream that paralleled my own. Saying nothing, I shook my head.

"I've never told this story to another living soul and am quite certain those who know me best would be shocked if they ever found out about it. It's about a time when I fell in love. However, in this story, there will be no boarding of a sailboat and sailing romantically off into the sunset. Instead, you could say we got into a little decrepit canoe and knowingly launched into the middle of a terrible storm. When the boat inevitably capsized, we swam in opposite directions, and I was left alone to fend for myself in an uncertain sea."

She paused for a moment and her eyes moved over to the fountain as if mesmerized by the flow of the water. "When it ended, the letters he wrote to me during our time together served as my life preserver. Now I keep them tucked away in an old, dusty box. Every so often, I'll pull them out and read them again so I can remind myself that it wasn't just some crazy thing I watched on a television show. That it was real."

Her voice grew froggy. She placed a cupped hand to her lips and cleared her throat. "Honestly I shouldn't need his letters for this purpose since I still can't seem to speak clearly when I try to picture his face or remember the sound of his voice," she said, patting her chest. "Even as I am talking now, I can feel the sensation of tiny pebbles twirling around in my throat until they finally fall down and churn inside my belly. After all these years, I figure something that still evokes such an emotion had to be real."

"Do you regret that it happened?" I asked, surprising myself with the sudden interjection.

She looked at me. "What's that, Darlin?"

"You know, since it didn't work out, do you regret__"

"Let's wait until after I finish telling my story before I answer that question, all right?" she smiled.

"Oh... okay."

So in the twilight of day, while competing with sound of chattering birds and trickling water, Eleanor Chenney began a story no one had ever heard before, perhaps the silly corn pone nonsense she'd hoped to avoid. I sat in a chair right next to her and simply listened. She was just Eleanor now, and she had blessed me with a call for friendship. There was no tape recorder capturing the event, nor was there a pencil moving along to the cadence of her spoken words. Just my eager ears to bear witness while I wondered exactly where we were headed.

"It all started during a very ambiguous time. It was November of 1950 and the Korean War was in full swing while memories of the Second World War were still fresh in everyone's minds. My father was already long dead and my mother had just died only months before. I was nineteen years old, not necessarily a child anymore but still too young to be without my parents.

"Shortly after my mother's funeral, a man I knew through a mutual acquaintance knocked on my door. He was looking for a courtship. I suppose he figured it was time to settle down and I was... conveniently located, I guess. Since I wasn't necessarily in a clear frame of mind, I failed to notice our vast differences and, long story short, I made the awful mistake of marrying this man... a man I most certainly didn't love. Then bad karma gave me a swift kick in the A-double-S because, as it turned out, he didn't love me either. I know this because of his repeated infidelities with another woman, evidence of which I found nearly every time I turned a corner."

Another parallel... another ghost invited to sit at our patio table. Nearly twenty years ago, after my father had taken off without a word, my mother married a man under similar circumstances, only my stepfather‘s lovers were in the form of whisky bottles. The experience left my mother completely transformed into a cold and bitter shell of her former self. "Why didn't you just leave him?" I asked.

"He was a well-respected man among the town and it wouldn‘t have been proper to leave after being married for less than a year. People would have surely talked. Besides, he wasn't a bad fellow."

I was surprised by her casual response. "He wasn't a bad fellow??? But why would you stay if neither of you loved each other?"

"What I mean to say is he simply made the same mistake as I, and I can't persecute him for that. Besides, maybe these days you could simply walk away when faced with such a dilemma but back then, times were very different. Being divorced was a shameful title to bear. Mind you, I'm not necessarily condoning the practice of staying in a loveless marriage and finding love elsewhere. But at the time, neither of us had the strength nor the ambition to fight a moral code that had been around for centuries."

"I... I guess I can understand that." I lied, still finding it hard to believe that a woman as sharp as Eleanor would give a damn about what other people would think.

"I tried to make the best of it. We lived in a house near the grounds of the university and every day, while my husband worked or was off doing only God knows what, I took up the habit of walking over to the campus as a way to forget my problems for at least a couple of hours each day. I first noticed him on an unseasonably warm day. He was a student at the university. He'd received a selective deferment from the military draft and would earn his diploma by the end of the fall semester. During my walks, I'd find him sitting on a bench and reading a book. I'd probably passed by him at least a dozen or more times without ever speaking a word. Then one day, he caught my attention by calling me beautiful. I'm not even sure why I was drawn to his obvious flirtation. If I had to guess, I'd say it was the gaze from his dark, adoring eyes that seemed to pierce through my skin and read my every troubling thought.

"Of course, if anyone ever found out about my infatuation with another man, I would have been crowned an adulterous whore and never been able to show my face in public again. Back then, a woman held a higher level of responsibility when it came to obeying the rules surrounding such matters," she said, then shook her head. "Despite all of that, I couldn't seem to resist my attraction to the man I'll call Mr. Darkeyes, and I made it a point to cross paths with him as often as I could. Fortunately, no one ever found out."

"What attracted you to him?" I asked, thinking about my initial attraction to Gary , his fingers moving along the strings of a guitar what seemed like a million years ago.

"It was the little details that enamored me the most; the smile he wore when he'd see me during the day or the way he'd reach up and caress my face when no one was watching. He was the type of person who would listen intently to everything I had to say with great interest and care." She placed a hand on her cheek and smiled. "But he often complained that I never talked. He had this way of looking at me that rendered me speechless! So during most of our time together, I listened to his stories, those he'd either read about or experienced. His words wore a cloak of intelligence and charm that flowed easily from his lips." Eleanor closed her eyes as if living in a daydream. "I can't recall the physical details of his face anymore, but I'll never forget the sound of his voice. It was rather deep, smooth as silk and perfectly inflected with a northeastern accent." She opened her eyes. "I could have spent my every waking hour just listening to him speak. But in reality, our love affair only consisted of impromptu conversations with a few stolen, intimate moments... always wishing for more but never having enough."

There was a sad loneliness to her perception, a finality. A feeling I found a connection to, shuddering in the chill of it. "Isn't that always the case with every great love story?" I asked.

"Well, it most certainly made the hunger for it so urgent and obvious," Eleanor mused. "I swear, sometimes I felt so crazy I wanted to run into the street and scream at the top of my lungs. Yet I felt so good I always crawled back and waited for more. But with anything like this comes a hard biting reality. It just can't last forever."

"No, I imagine it can‘t," I reflected. "So how did it end?"

"In February 1951, a little over a month after obtaining his diploma, he received his draft papers. And with this news, I would have gladly left my husband and fled to a place where no one could reach us. I even suggested it, though I regret doing that now. Asking him to disregard his obligation was truly a selfish act on my part. Still, I was filleted apart by the thought of losing him. He was everything I'd ever wanted... everything I needed, and I had to let him go." Several tears rolled down her face and she absently wiped them away before treading her fingers over the bumpy surface of the patio table.

"Eleanor? We don't have to keep going if you don‘t want__"

"No, no... it's all right, Darlin," she smiled, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief she had stored in her pocket. "The day before he boarded a bus destined to Fort Benning, he implored me to spend the entire afternoon with him alone," she said, studying her hands. "We'd never made love before that day, you see, and I knew how difficult it would be to accept such intimacy... to be as close together and connected as two people could possibly be and then go our separate ways. Every instinct within me screamed that I shouldn't go with him that day, that I should just back away and let go. But I couldn't seem to do that. The truth is, I wanted just as much to feel more of him... to have that memory of him."

She took a deep breath and continued, "So I told my necessary lies and drove with him that afternoon to an old, abandoned farmhouse near Winterville. We covered the floor with blankets and made love like only two people in our situation could; nervously, awkwardly... desperately. Stealing away the magic we'd hoped for, though I think we both recognized the potential that would have to go unexplored. When we finished, he closed his eyes while I watched the shadows surround our interlaced bodies as the sun made its inevitable descent. I never saw him again after that," Eleanor sighed. "And in the end, there are only my poems and his letters."


"It surprises you that I wrote poetry?"

"No, I don't necessarily find it surprising. I just didn't know that you had written any."

"Well honestly, it's an enigma I have yet to figure out myself. It was a relatively new practice I picked up shortly after my mother's death. Lord knows I had no intentions of letting anyone read it, nor had I planned to continue writing it over the long haul. Like you, the world I came from would never understand it. But as I mentioned before, I couldn‘t speak as eloquently as he could to me, so I decided to open that door when he showed an interest in reading it."

"Was it difficult? I mean, allowing someone to read your work for the first time?"

"Well, ‘difficult' isn't the word I would choose. Sharing my poetry with him opened a door within me. I felt such a revealing rush of adrenaline; like I could say whatever I wanted without judgment over the person I was or what I was feeling. I began writing more and more, my words spilling out and dotting the pages like fine particles of sand. I wouldn't call it my best writing, but it was definitely a start to something more. Poetry eventually led to short fiction, then to manuscripts of longer length."

"Was he also a writer?"

"No, but I often wonder if he ever considered it. His letters certainly illustrate an art for it. Each time he handed me the pages, it was as if he presented a piece of his heart to me. They are beautifully written on light yellow paper torn from a small writing tablet and his words are dynamic, candid and marked with naked feeling. In one, he revealed he was in love with me by casually inserting the word into a sentence. I still have it memorized to this day. It reads in part: ...when in love, you can't much improve on your obvious defects, of which I have many... When I read it the first time, my eyes stopped at the word ‘love' and stayed there for what seemed like an eternity. It was the first time I'd ever felt the energy behind it." She wrapped her arms around herself as if staving off a chill though the temperature outside was comfortably warm.

"Today when I read the remainder of the sentence, I have to shake my head because he was always doing that... always portraying himself as this overtly flawed human being not worthy of my company. In fact, in another letter he wrote that he'd most likely be a disappointment to me," she said, furrowing her brow. "I feel a knife jabbing my ribs every time I read it. How I wish I'd taken the time to tell him how completely wrong he was about that. The disappointment would only come in not knowing him at all."

"So, if I may interject my earlier question, as you‘ve requested, do you regret that it happened?" I asked.

"Darlin, I'm sure you've guessed the answer by now but, for the record... absolutely not! Never, ever will I regret my tiny speck of life with Mr. Darkeyes. Though we hardly had the time to really know each other, we made the most of what we were given. I will always value what we had together," she said, tapping the table in front of her. "Without a doubt, he's the reason I became a writer."

I looked up at Eleanor and allowed her words to seep into my ears. She continued, "You know, sometimes when love is elusive, it leaves in its vacancy proof of many remarkable truths that keep you floating long enough to paddle in another direction. That's really a fancy way of saying that my experience with Mr. Darkeyes enabled me to find where I belong in this world."

In the courtyard, the leaves of the dogwoods fluttered in the breeze. From a nearby patio, I heard the distinctive bell-like sound of a wind chime. "And you haven't spoken to him in all this time?" I asked.

"No, I haven't. I'm pretty sure he made it through the war because I once found his name in a phone book several towns away from here. I imagine he must have settled down with someone else, perhaps even raised a family."

"Aren't you angry that he didn't try to find you after he came back from the war?"

"Certainly not. He held no expressed obligations to me and I never held a torch at my window waiting for him. That's not to say being without him hasn't been painful at times."

"So what happened with your first husband?"

"In October 1951, he finally ran off with another girl. I heard they moved somewhere out in Kansas or Colorado, or some other place out west. After our divorce, I got a job working at the library on campus, where I met my Shawn four years later. He was a science professor with an old soul and a generous heart. We married and had a couple of beautiful children along with nearly five decades of wonderful years together before he passed away two years ago. Of course, I must admit that I initially felt guilty for harboring another love, now only evidenced in a few letters and obscure poetry, but I've come to accept that it's simply the nature of the beast. For me, there will always be the most common notion of love that is close and nurturing. The kind I experienced watching my children play in the afternoon sun while my husband stood next to me. Then there is my far-reaching elusive love that still quietly prospers, even while locked away in an old, dusty box. Who would have ever thought something so beautiful could result from a sin?"

Eleanor‘s eyes were alight with a confident satisfaction, having found magic in a brief affair her contemporaries would only view as tawdry or misguided. I thought about my own mother and what her reaction would be to something like this. Once, when I told her I had seen the movie "The Bridges of Madison County", she plainly replied, You mean that movie where the woman screws around on her husband? As for me, I couldn't let go of the unspoken possibilities or impossibilities... the truth versus Eleanor‘s comfortable optimism. What would have happened if Mr. Darkeyes had come back for Eleanor, and why didn't he? Did he ever really love her the way that she loved him, and still loves him now? Was this truly a fantastic love story or, to quote Eleanor, just a bunch of silly corn pone?

And, of course, there were other questions: What could have been had my father stuck around... had my stepfather laid off the whisky... had Gary not gotten cancer? In the end, do we really need the answers? It was obvious Eleanor didn't think so. Her love for Mr. Darkeyes had sustained through all these sorts of conflicting details. She simply chose to ignore the prickly circumstances and treasure the gifts left behind. Life's finite nature winning it all in the end. A calm washed over me when I finally got that, truly respected it.

"Do you ever wonder whether he's still out there somewhere thinking about you every so often?" I asked.

"Of course I do, but Darlin, it doesn't really matter what I wonder because the answers will always remain just as elusive as Mr. Darkeyes himself. Just know that the reason I've told you our story is because I recognize your struggle to make amends for certain losses, and that has most undoubtedly helped you find your ambition to write. As artists, we often have a catalyst for our beginnings. For me, it initially began with the death of my mother. But even more important, whether you're a painter, photographer, musician or even a writer, every artist seeks a special audience; the person able to channel through your creative threshold in a way that strongly persuades you to thrust it upon an empty canvas, film, a quiet room or blank paper," she smiled. "Earlier, you asked about the loss of a soul mate and whether one could be happy again after that. In my view, a soul mate is someone who influences you to live your very best, whether they happen to be with you along the way or not."

Leaning forward, she placed a hand on mine. "Darlin, in order to find your groove, as you call it, you must open your heart and reveal your passion for writing, be willing to let go of your uncertainties and recognize your own special audience. Do this and I'm certain the magazine editors will take notice," she said with a wink. "I have a feeling this is the beginning of a truly remarkable life for you."

Another breeze, then the wind chimes again. Perhaps the old ghosts leaving our table, clanging the metal pipes as they flew away with the breeze.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

No comments at present.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .