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Authors: Christine Lemmon

Sand in My Eyes

BOOK: Sand in My Eyes
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Books by
C
HRISTINE
L
EMMON

Sand in My Eyes

Sanibel Scribbles

Portion of the Sea

Whisper from the Ocean

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Published by Penmark Publishing, LLC
www.penmarkpublishing.com

Copyright ©2011 Christine Lemmon

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a newspaper or magazine, or on the Internet.

Distributed by Emerald Book Company

For ordering information or special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact Emerald Book Company at PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709, 512.891.6100.

Cover by Julie Metz. Book design by Carla Rozman.
Editorial production by Jeffrey Davis, Center to Page.

Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9837987-1-2

Ebook Edition

This story was written for my three children Jacob, Michael, and Julia
And dedicated to my mom
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I want to thank my husband John for the positive motivation he has given me during the writing of my three books. Through morning sickness, sleep deprivation, and many of life’s hectic moments, he has cheered me onward in my writing.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.


PROVERB

PROLOGUE

BELVEDERE

Dear Marjorie
,
After we talked, I hung up the phone and stayed awake, thinking of you, of all that is stressing you at college. I’m writing to tell you how proud I am of you, studying the way you are, and the grades you are getting. You are an ambitious woman and will achieve great things in the world. But more importantly, I hope you live a life that you love. There is nothing a mother longs to hear more than that her grown daughter is living a life she loves
.
This is not to say life is meant to be an everyday beautiful walk in the park. It’s not. But as you journey into adulthood, you will hear all kinds of advice and things said about life, and will experience them for yourself. In case you’re wondering, here are a few of the things your mother has heard, a few of the things she has experienced for herself:
Life is brilliant; life is dull. It’s easy; it’s hard. It’s about reaping wealth, about giving to others, about living passionately, about doing what one must to survive. Life is joy. Life is suffering. The bigger, the better; less is more. It’s a world of abundance, a world of scarcity, a beautiful world, an ugly world, a world moving toward peace, a world headed for destruction. People are good. People are bad. Ask for help. Do it yourself
.
I hope you rake through that which you hear about life. Some of the stuff, keep, but some, bag up and burn. As you work your way through this world you will see that everyone has something to say and is an authority on “life.” Me
?
I can relate to most everything I’ve heard. It depends on the morning I’m having
.

I stopped writing, then folded and dropped the letter to my daughter into my purse. My writing it was the act of a loony mother bird, one whose baby has left the yard for the first time. It had me awake at five, pacing the floor of the hotel room and worrying whether I had taught her everything she needed to know about survival and the world—how to find food, water and shelter; and to fly, of course, but more importantly, how to soar. Had I taught my daughter how to soar through life, so her journey is not all demanding, but breathtakingly beautiful, too?

“I don’t think I taught her that,” I mumbled to myself as I picked out a bouquet of flowers from a kiosk in the hotel lobby. “But if I pick her up and bring her back to me, she’ll only want to leave again. That’s where she’s at in life. She’s flown the nest.”

As I unlocked the car I had rented for the week and got in, I had to start accepting it, that it was my time now, and to focus on the very present and the trip I was on—the trip that was mine—the trip to southern Indiana!

They
say
convertibles are the best cars for women suffering hot flashes, but after opening the hood, trunk, and gas door I found myself sweating profusely by the time I found the button that makes the top go down. It made me want to pull out the letter I had started to my daughter and add a P. S. to it to tell her that life is frustrating, that, well into my fifties, I had wanted by now to have mastered the basics and to be going about philosophically,
spending my mornings sipping green tea in profound thought; not wasting precious time struggling to get the top down on a convertible!

But, oh well, it was a five-mile drive from my hotel to the nursing home and Indiana’s crisp autumn air had me forgetting my frustrations and thinking instead how wonderful life can be—until I picked up speed and my hair whipped across my eyes, making it hard to see the colorful corn stalks out in the fields.

“This is
not
the best car for me,” I muttered under my breath, questioning the guy who worked at the rental car agency, and all the other so-called experts of the world. “Who are they and what are their credentials?”

And because I didn’t want to miss the corn drying and the crimson maple trees and the big white birds headed south for winter after a summer spent in the Midwest, I pulled to the side of the road to buy a cup of apple cider and slices of fudge, and to tie my hair back with the silk scarf I kept in my purse, the one I typically wore around my neck to hide the telltale signs of my age. I then took my sunglasses off and put my reading glasses on, instead. I had taped the directions to the nursing home to the dashboard and would soon need to look at them.

I was on my way and feeling older than I did the last time I rode in a convertible—twenty years ago, through a wildlife refuge in Florida; a forbidden ride I have never told anyone about, my romantic secret that only the tri-colored herons witnessed, and I’m sure they haven’t told. And there were a few other birds looking down at us that day, but I can’t remember what they’re called, the ones that seem to be wearing golden slippers. Their name was on the tip of my tongue, lingering with all the other words I had been forgetting lately.

As I continued along the winding country road, I worried that if I were forgetting things at my age, what if the friend I had flown all this way to see wouldn’t remember me? I was the frazzled mother of three who lived next door from long ago. She was the elderly widow who, by way of her garden, lent me a unique way of looking at my life and the world. After all these years, I’ve never forgotten her, and I hope she hasn’t me.

Serendipity is what helped me in tracking her whereabouts when, recently, I turned on the radio and listened to a national story on butterfly
gardens cropping up throughout the country, at campuses, schools, museums, zoos, and institutions. I was captivated by the interview they did with a resident of a nursing home, by what she had to say, and, to my astonishment, I knew before they gave a name that it was her, my neighbor from long ago.

“It’s the life cycle of the butterflies that gets me to thinking,” she told them when asked whether the newly instated garden had increased her quality of life at the facility. “I’m old and frail,” she went on, “but like those butterflies need flowers, I need people. I crave the company of others.”

I glanced at the directions taped to the dashboard, the ones her son—Liam is his name—had given to me. After hearing his mother on the radio, I tracked him down and called. I had met him back when I was living next door to her, and it was he who took me on that ride in his mother’s convertible, the ride that gave the birds something to chirp about.

“Remember that silly little story about flowers?” I told him over the phone the day I called, the day I booked my flight. “The one I started way back when I lived next door to your mother?”

“The one you wouldn’t let me read?”

“That’s the one,” I said. “Well, I’ve been tinkering with it on and off for years now.”

“And you’re done?”

“Not quite,” I said. “That’s why I’m calling. I need to see your mother. I need her blessing before I move forward with the story, before I send it out into the world. After all, she’s the inspiration behind it, and so are you to an extent.”

“Is this story of yours fiction or fact?”

“A little of both,” I told him.

“Should I be worried?”

“It was a long time ago. You shouldn’t be. I’ve changed the names and made up a bunch of stuff. It’s hard to remember everything the way it happened.”

“How many years has it been, twenty?”

“Around that,” I told him. “I’m better off not doing the calculations.”

“Well, my mother is in a nursing home in Indiana—sharp as a whip mentally, but physically, she’s touch and go. I don’t know how much longer she can go on.”

I glanced over at the simple three-step directions he had given me to where his mother was living and felt remorse over the friendship I had let wither away—silently retreating over differing points of view one day—and for having lost touch, and for showing up now, after all these years of not making a simple phone call or sending a single letter. I had been feeling this way lately about several past friendships I had let fall by the wayside. It happens at a certain age. We question ourselves regarding things we once did and said, and more so over the things we didn’t do or say. It’s why I flew all this way to reunite with her and tell her, “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” for the ending we had.

BOOK: Sand in My Eyes
2.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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