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LeOmi's Solitude

BOOK: LeOmi's Solitude
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LeOmi’s Solitude

D. S. Curtis

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011 D.S. Curtis [Smashwords
Edition]

 

Edited by Dianne Hills

 

This book is dedicated to my loving
family.

 


Don’t be afraid. God is with us--Mighty
and terrible. The LORD thy God will send the hornet among them,
until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be
destroyed.”

 

 

LeOmi’s Solitude

 

Chapter 1

Have I Got You Riled Up
Yet

Three years
ago:

Momma! Momma!

LeOmi sat up, still fighting to pull herself
away from those last few seconds of the dream. Her eyes were wide
open but all she could see was the image of her mother as she
walked down the sidewalk and the curls of her long beautiful black
hair bouncing against the curve of her back. It was the same dream;
a snatch-of-time, the re-living of a memory. She even heard the
click-click-click of her mother’s spiked heels on the sidewalk as
she walked away.

Click-click-click.

The night’s breeze blew the thin sheer
curtains so that they pushed into the room. Cold air brushed her
damp hair back from her face and arms. She waited for the sounds of
footsteps—but there were none.

“Good, I didn’t want you to come anyway, and
I don’t care if you can hear me or not.”

There had been a time when a nightmare would
bring her mother running to comfort her. Not anymore, and her
father certainly would not come to her.

He’s too busy feeling sorry for
himself
.

In the dark, her eyes focused on the glowing
clock numbers. “3:15,” then she heard the click-click-click
again.

Parts of the dream were still so vivid in her
mind. Was it a premonition of something evil?

What a horrible dream.

“Oh, I can’t remember all of it.” She picked
up her pillow and threw it at the clock on the dresser. Some unseen
force held the clock firm in its vigil. Even sticking her tongue at
it did not make a bit of difference.

Dreams are so stupid,
“I hate them.”
They just make me remember things that I would rather forget and
make me want to do things that I can’t do.

Click-click-click.

That sound.

She got up with the intention of closing the
window—but now the cool breeze felt so wonderful.

Click-click-click. Her eyes followed the
sound.

A branch from the large camellia bush swatted
her mom’s old Volvo station wagon that was parked in the back
yard.

“You might as well sell that car. She’s not
coming back. Not this time. You know what they say; the third time
is a charm. This time, there is no way that she is coming
back.”

LeOmi picked up her hairbrush from her
dresser and threw it at the bush, wedging it deep into the
branches. Some of the flower petals fell to the ground.

Why did you have to leave?

I knew that it was going to happen. It was
just a matter of time. Grand-Mère said that you have gypsy blood. I
guess that means that I have gypsy blood too. Oh, why does it hurt
so much?

She has ruined everything. I can’t even
stand at my favorite thinking spot anymore. She has taken that away
too.
Things that might have happened or that could have
happened, that I hoped would happen.

“But now—now things are different.”

She turned to face away from the car and the
path.

“She doesn’t care about me anymore so I won’t
care about her. I can’t let her or anybody else hurt me like that
again.”

The breeze blew again. It seemed to console
her, it seemed to say—that’s right, it’s your choice, only you can
make these things turn out the way you want them to.

Is that what she was thinking when she left?
Couldn’t she see how black and evil that man’s heart is?

The breeze blew again.

Click-click-click.

The hairs on her arm stood up making goose
bumps jump out all over her arms. She lifted her arm to watch them
dance with the breeze. She stood and leaned out the window with a
large stretch of her arms grabbing and reaching for the wind.

When she settled back into the windowsill,
she glanced over to the station wagon, towards the huge old oak
tree. It swayed with such grace and beauty, its leaves flashing in
the moonlight. She followed the wind’s invisible course past the
steeple of the church towards the river. The moonlight glistened
off the waves, from there she could envision the breeze soaring
toward the bay and then down to the ocean. She could almost see the
swirls that the wind made in the sand and the sea foam being lifted
into the air.

“Salt, water and sand, fun in the sun. Why
would she leave this?”
How many times had we gone down to the
beach? She would say, “Pack up some towels and a book and lets go
waste the day away.”

“Waste.”

Now I know the meaning of waste. She only
wanted to pretend that she was someone else, living a different
life in those books that she read.

LeOmi laid her head against the windowsill
and watched.

On the other side of the church, down about
four blocks, stood the Naval Hospital pointing thirteen stories
straight up into the air. The Hospital was always busy and it had
so many bright lights in and around it at night that you couldn’t
even see the stars in the sky. There were always cars coming and
going into and out of the parking lots and it seemed like there
were always ambulance’s red lights flashing and bouncing off the
buildings and the trees.

Just past the church was the old hospital
that was built during the Civil War. They say that it’s haunted.
Ghostly women in long white confederacy style dresses and frilly
hats supposedly walk back and forth on the front steps. At night,
some say you can hear the moans of the Yankee prisoners coming from
the basement, which is where the morgue is now.

Norfolk Naval Base had been her dad’s home
port for the last eight years and in all that time LeOmi had never
seen or heard any of those things, but her sister Ruby had
certainly tried her best to trick her, “LeOmi look, there is one of
those ghosts.” She would run to the window and Ruby would say, “Oh,
you just missed her.” She would try so hard to see the specter that
she could almost be convinced that it was actually there—but she
knew that it was just Ruby trying to scare her. That was a long
time ago. Ruby had been gone away for six long years now. Her
brother Jesse had been gone for eight years. He left when LeOmi was
two. They didn’t spend much time here at home. They both usually
tried to come home for Christmas and summer vacations, but that
hardly ever happened. In two more years she would be old enough and
that couldn’t be too soon. The Seventh Mountain was and is “the
best.” There is none better. At least she hoped that she would
still be accepted.

They might think that I’m not good enough
now. I’ll show them. I’ll do everything the best that I can. I’ll
show them all.

Click-click-click.

“It’s your fault you know. I don’t care if
you’re not listening. All of it is your fault. That’s why she left.
Why couldn’t you keep her here?” LeOmi’s father has been employed
as a Naval Chaplain for almost twenty years. He had met her mother
in New Orleans just after he had joined the Navy. They had been
married shortly after. Now at thirty-nine, her father was still a
very handsome man; lean and tall with well kept blonde hair and
deep blue eyes, totally opposite from that man that her mother had
left with. Father was slim and light where that man is broad and
everything about him is dark.

“Are you weak, and he is strong? Is that what
drew her to him?”

Click-click-click.

Grand-Mère says that I look just like
her.
“Un petit Yvonne.”
Hair black as night and eyes like
jewels—
.

“Are my eyes like jewels Grand-Mère? My hair
like — oh, what do any of you know? If that is what I’m like then
that is where I’ll start.” The scissors were just over on the desk.
With no thought of the consequences and no sense of remorse LeOmi
grabbed some of her hair and snip.

With each cut she held the wad of hair out
over the windowsill and released it—watching as it was caught by
the breeze and carried away towards the water.
Maybe it will
make it to the beach
.

LeOmi grabbed another lock of hair. This time
she cut all the way up towards her ear, and again another handful.
It didn’t take long. When she was done her hair that once reached
all the way down her back was crookedly cropped just below her
ears. She hadn’t heard the door open and she didn’t know how long
he had been there.

“I should ask what you are doing, but I
see.”

LeOmi turned to her father and the scissors
dropped to the floor.

“What do you want...to tell me what to do?
Well go away.” She ran over to the bed, jumped in and pulled the
covers to her head.

At that, her father turned and left from the
doorway. She heard him yell as he walked toward his room. “Well
since I can’t tell you what to do, I’ll send you to your precious
Grand-Mère. Maybe you will pay heed to that wretched witch.”

She heard his door slam and felt what she
thought was the whole house rattle and shake. Her tears started
flowing. She angrily wiped them from her cheeks with the back of
her hands.

The last thing that her mother had said to
her was “You’re well on your way to growing up.”

What did that mean—that I don’t need you
anymore—or that you don’t need me anymore? I sure don’t feel
grown-
up
.

Click-click-click.

“I won’t be like her. I will not be like
her.” Angry sobs came out the window reaching the young woman who
sat concealed high up in the old oak tree.

The girl in the tree saw all of this and
sadly she took out her notebook and jotted down some notes and
silently stowed it away out of sight.

* * *

The next day, LeOmi was put on a bus. No
lengthy good-byes, no kisses and hugs. Her father only handed her
the old backpack that she always carried, a scarf that used to
belong to her mother, and a one-way ticket to New Orleans.

LeOmi turned and put her back to him; he
turned and got back into his car. He hadn’t spoken to her at all
since the night before. He was still sitting in the car when the
bus left the parking lot. He didn’t lift his hand to wave goodbye;
he just stared straight at her with those deep blue eyes. So she
just turned her head and purposely stuck her nose up into the
air.

That will show him.

In her backpack she had one of her mother’s
old books:
To Kill a Mockingbird
, her toothbrush, comb, a
couple of changes of clothes, her wallet, a few other odds and ends
and her cell phone.

A girl across the aisle smiled and handed
LeOmi a tissue. “My Grandma used to call them crocodile tears. You
know, like that Peter Pan story.”

She moved back a few rows to sit across from
where LeOmi sat, with her hand extended. “Hi. I’m Rachel. Are you
okay?”

The two girls were practically alone on the
bus. “I don’t like traveling alone, do you?”

LeOmi smiled with a slight nod.

Rachael continued, “I am going to a little
town just past New Orleans. I visit my great aunt a couple of times
a year. If we sit across from each other, we can talk and pass the
time.”

Rachel chattered for a while and eventually
the two began to talk. They ate lunch and dinner together during
the regular stops at key cities and towns. Finally, they reached
New Orleans.

Grand-Mère’s maid, Hannah, was in the grand
old Rolls. LeOmi nodded towards the car.

“That’s my ride.”

“I’ll walk with you.”

Rachel walked over to the car with LeOmi.
Hannah simply took out an envelope and said, “The return ticket is
in the envelope with your payment.”

Rachel smiled at LeOmi, shrugged and turned
away to go into the bus station.

LeOmi fought back the tears. She thought that
Rachel might have been a genuine friend, someone who cared for
her.

More things to pile in that basket, the one
that was labeled painful disappointments, something that her mother
had taught her to do.

They rode to the old house on Dorcus Avenue
in silence.

Her mother had grown up in this house. It
took up a whole corner, three stories—huge. It must have been very
grand in its day, but now it was just an old dusty place with
unused and locked sections.

Grand-Mère and Hannah’s life revolved around
just a few rooms and LeOmi didn’t know how many rooms there were.
Only once did the whole family visit and then not only did
Grand-Mère forbid any wandering—but mother had also. Early in the
morning was when Ruby and LeOmi had decided to sneak off and
explore. The huge rooms that could not be locked had grand
furniture and high ceilings, like those in old books—ballrooms and
beautiful chandeliers in the hallways.

BOOK: LeOmi's Solitude
6.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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