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The distraction is gone. The day is slowly setting into evening. I, Arlene Millicent, am home after a busy day with Grandmother Pearl, home for the first time since yesterday, home for the first time since the sad news took hold of my emotions.
I am free to let it all out now-except for talking to Mom about it, that is. She’s on the phone, but for now, I can release as much of the rest of it as I can, the tears that I have suppressed all day long. And, by George, I do. The tears rain like a monsoon onto the sofa pillow as I just lay there in utter sadness and the puppy inquisitively jumps around (and on top of) me.
It’s been said that dogs can sense the moods of their owners. I guess it’s true because my puppy is acting as though her excitement is contagious. Perhaps it would be were my situation not as heartbreaking and not so torturous to my memory.
“Get off me, Clover!” I command as I shove her drooling tongue off the sofa. Normally, I wouldn’t act so irked, but I’m just not in the mood for her hyperactivity-or anything, really, other than talking to Mom. But she’s still on the phone.
I’m sure it’s been at least two hours since I came home, yet Mom has just now hung up the phone. I wish I was that far from loneliness.
Anyway, I have been reading more of my satire novel for a while, in an attempt to distract myself (which wasn’t very successful). The fictional plot, I, Arlene Millicent, have discovered, does not get in the way of resurfacing memories.
I summon Mom to the TV room. She first asks me about how things went with Grandmother Pearl, but I don’t linger on that subject.
“Mom, Grandmother Pearl doesn’t even begin to cover what my day has been like.”
Knowing that I’m talking about Maxwell, Mom suggests that I call Mrs. Fannin.
“I will, but I want to talk to you first.”
I shut the door behind me and proceed to gush everything that I remember, everything that I feel. Mom has never before heard most of the stories about me and Maxwell.
As I tell her of the many recollections from the past seven years, I realize that these are some of my favorite stories. Like the treasured legends of the Native Americans, these memories and all the rest of my history are my stories, my legends. They’re not the sort of stories you’d find in a book; they’re the ones you would hear at a campfire gathering or while on a road trip.
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Suddenly that quote from my e-publishing profile page makes even more sense to me. Maxwell never built an obelisk, a statue, a castle, a palace, or a mansion, yet he left an immortal influence that embodies every memory that I and all who knew him have of different times he co-starred in our lives.
Eighteen years and ten months is not a long time to live and certainly not a long time to create a legacy. Maxwell achieved both of those feats. Sure, Pericles would be proud, but no one can be proud of Maxwell in the same way that I am. After all, I was the only girl who came to fourth-hour gifted class every day and verbally jousted with him (all in good humor).
At the same time, though, it’s tormenting me that I can’t tell him how I feel.
“Arlene, I have an idea,” proposes Mom. “Since you speak so well in writing, how about you write a letter to Maxwell?”
Bingo. Why didn’t I think of that? The only problem is…no, wait, I can simply say a prayer about what is in the letter, and surely God would be willing to share in Heaven the good things that happen on Earth!
Only sleep can make my mind stop racing and the tears quit incessantly flowing from my eyes, but I don’t yet feel sleep infiltrating my consciousness.
The images play over and over in my head like a DVD on repeat, and it feels like the veins and arteries are being ripped from my heart one-by-one as they spew the ice-cold blood of melancholy. It’s too much, too overpowering, more than I can take. Surely it can’t get worse than this because this is by a long shot the lowest I’ve felt in a long time, and the last time I felt this empty was well before I became a Christian.
My next brain wave, though, proves me wrong. I nearly lose my balance due to the intensity of this epiphany, and the tear monsoon pours harder than ever before, all because I have just realized that the night I, Arlene Millicent, set free the truth of my dark past-Monday, March 24, 2008-was the same night when Maxwell was set free from his Earthly agony.
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."-Jeremiah 33:3, King James Version
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."-Psalm 119:105, New Living Translation
The present and future are not about who you were in the past-rather, they are about who you are and who you will become.
"Writing is truly glorious in that an author can put on paper the words that fear denies the voice to speak."-from my short story, "Set Free"
"...What you feel is what you are;
What you are is beautiful..."
-from "Slide" by the Goo Goo Dolls
Life surprises you! And I'm talking about the good stuff, because a bad surprise is not a surprise at all, it is just shock and horror. All of these good surprises, they are rewards, and the things that happen to remind you that you matter and that you should make yourself faithful so that you can be deserving of all of life's good surprises. Every wonderful surprise in life is a chance to flourish, so grab life by the horns-but don't ride, steer instead: life's horns are life's joystick. You can handle it, because your life's horns are made especially for you. If you don't give up, all of this will hold true and life will continue to surprise you.
Aubri, a. k. a. "Leopard Lady"