Chapter From Unfinished Novel

Facing an unplanned pregnancy, and fearful over her husband Neil’s dire illness, Matilda looks back at an incident from her past, and wonders about the future.

I went down in the basement of the house, where a lot of my old stuff was stored. I turned on the harsh overhead light, at all the boxes and tubs, and the other various brick-a-brack of my family’s life.

I sat down indian style, and pulled out a box labeled “CDs”. This was all the music I listened to in high school, all those earth shattering odes and laments that spoke to the loneliness and frustration and madness, that meant the world to me.

I open the box, and search through the CDs, before finding the one I wanted, Pope Rachel, “Garden”. The cover was a stylized paiting of a red headed women, whose long locks flowed and protected her modesty, standing before a tree with a ripe, crimson fruit in her hand. She looked unsure. The serpent was grinning wickedly, enticing her.

The Tree of Knowledge. The Tree of Lost Innocence. The Tree of Sex.

I could hear the voice of the singer Lanise in my head, even know, singing the bittersweet song that closed the album:

“And I gave it all to taste the fruit or paradise,

and I gave it all to know a touch to soothe tears.

But your love was just another lie and bitter vice

and the scars still burn in my skin, after all these years.”

His named had been Lyndon. Tall and sinewy and full of fire. I was vulnerable and lost. Always fighting and at odds with mom and dad. Filled with emotions that sent me from joy to anger to sorrow and back with no rhyme and reason. Looking for someone who understood me and loved me and chase away the demons.

I thought he cared. I really thought he did.

We bonded over our love of Pope Rachel. He looked me in the eyes that night at the party, and smiled so sincerely as he brushed away locks of my hair. He made me feel like I mattered and all things I felt were real.

He took my hand, and he led me to a the laundry room of the host’s house, the only not already occupied with revelers. He laid me on a pile of laundry waiting to be washed, and we did what I thought was making love, but to him was just sex.

After it was over, all that sweetness was gone and he left me alone, and never spoke to me again. Alone in the darkned room, naked and cold, I wept and wept and wept.

I touch my hand to my belly, knowing I was nurturing a new life, a new child who would come into this world innocent and full of love, who would be hurt and corrupted by this world, until all that innocence was gone, just like mine was.

What if this child was a girl? All the men who would lie and manipulate and take from her, who would feign love or just take by force what they believed was their right?

I could not protect her from this world forever? I couldn’t place her in a garden without seprents of Trees That Took. She would live in this world, and I wouldn’t be able to put myself between her and it.

I put the CD back in the box and pushed the box away from me. Why were we brought into this world, just to be broken?


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