This is a whole copy of one of my stories. Hope you like!
Tomorrow is Yesterday
You know that desire to go backwards in time and do everything over again? If you truly could go back and really do it over again would you? What would you change? These were the questions I now faced. I had the opportunity to go back and do it over again. I was looking forward to righting many wrongs in my life. The best part is that what I know now I will know then. I will be able to make the life I wanted for myself and the life that was taken from me so many years ago. Though some miraculous chance the Fates choose me out of six billion people to grant the one wish everyone has. I had always made a point not to regret the decisions of my past but that does not mean I would not change things if I could.
Why the Fates choose me, I will never know. I am just an average girl with an average life. I work a nine to five job and have your typical condo with a cat. I really had a good steady life. It was so boring. I did not have to think about anything. I was so jaded from my past I worked hard to have a simulation free life. Perhaps that is why the Fates picked me. I needed to have more excitement, I guess.
My story starts just like any other day. I got up to a blaring alarm clock. It was 7:00am. I glowered at the clock. I hated waking up. I much rather stay a sleep in a dark fog that seemed to numb out all feeling. Tentatively I put my toes on the floor. The cold hardwood floor was a huge deterrent from getting out of bed but I need to be at work in forty-five minutes. I knew they would stay in business if I never showed up but they acted like the world would end if I were five minutes late. I dragged my self out of bed and showered in scolding hot water hoping to warm up my house. I quickly toweled off and blow-dried my long auburn hair. I stood in front of the mirror and highlighted my ash-gray eyes in black eyeliner. I had always kept my makeup to a minimum but I had always like making my eyes pop. I dressed in a black mid-thigh tight pencil skirt and silk red blouse.
I worked for a local temp service agency in their Human Resources Department. It was a great place to work. The office was small and drama was minimum. There was nothing more exciting then a company that needed a temp employee like yesterday. My boss, Jen, was my neighbor. She and I had been instant friends when I moved in and she got me the job at the agency. My instant messenger popped up. Jen pestered me about my lunch desires. With a sigh I posted back Normal. I never got anything different from our local café. I got egg salad sandwich with chips and orange Fanta drink. As I child I had drank so much orange soda that I did not like it any more but there is something about fountain drinks that make it so good. My stomach growled as I thought about the egg salad. My mother had got me hooked on egg salad as a child and this café’s salad was perfect.
Jen picked up lunch form the café and we walked outside to eat in the warming sun. I watched cars go by as Jen discussed weekend plans. We were going to a “Movie in the Park” showing of Casablanca. She and I both loved old black and white movies. The city played movies all the time at the park by our apartments. Jen lived directly across from me and we spent a lot of time together. I had never spent so much time with one person since my divorce. Unlike most people who annoyed me to no end Jen some how got me. She was the kind of person who I told things that I did not even tell my self. She was much more extraverted then me but sometimes needed a little nudge in the right direction. I was always there to make sure she did not do anything too crazy.
On days, like today, she knew to let me mull over my thoughts. Jen kept up random conversation about unimportant things. Today was the anniversary of my divorce from my abusive ex-husband. Though I was glad that I was no longer in the relationship I tended to spend too much time thinking about what I should have done differently.
After lunch the office was normally slow and I was able to catch up the work I procrastinated this morning during our weekly meeting. I was in charge of setting up the accounts for our venders and the temp workers. I also manned the front desk. More or less I was a glorified secretary but it was a good job. Though Jen was technically my manager we worked like a single person. She needed things done in a certain way and I was able to put everything into “her” language.
I finished my work as the radio played a local classic rock station. My mind was a million miles away. I was already at home eating dinner watching my TV show. Soon I was actually at home. Dinner was cooking on the stove. The smell of cheese and spices filled my tiny apartment. Marra, my cat, snuck around my feet and I added ingredients to my concoction. I had Jack Johnson playing in the background. I had loved him since my childhood. My dream had always been to spend time in Florida or some tropical place and listening to Jack made me feel like I was on a beach with sand on my feet and ocean spray on my face. Regardless of the song I was always happy daydreaming about sun and surf. Marra got under my feet bringing my attention to the present to avoid tripping on her. Cursing under my breath I shooed her out of the kitchen. I hummed contently to myself as I pulled lasagna noodles out of boiling water. I slowly began to build my lasagna adding mounds of Rosetta, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese. I added tomato sauce, spiced ground beef, and a myriad of spices. I ended up with a huge over stuffed pan that I struggled to set into the oven. As it baked I made garlic bread and a salad with fresh strawberries and almonds. I loved to cook. I enjoyed making big meals but since it was just me, and sometimes Jen, I only made big meals once a week. I never minded eating leftovers. They were always so good. I had spent a few hours making this huge dinner that I was going to eat by myself. Jen had been busy tonight but promised me she would help me with the leftovers tomorrow. For tonight, though, I was on my own.
Marra curled up on my lap and I used her as a dinner tray. We lay on the couch and watched the new episode of our favorite television show. I was not much into reality shows. Normally my channel selection was between Animal Planet and TCM. Marra and I watched an episode of a nature show about underwater ecosystems. I was always fascinated about the ocean. I wished I had spent more time in the water swimming and snorkeling. Perhaps one day I told myself. At a decently late hour I went to bed and read a few chapter of the latest bestseller. Tonight my favorite pastime, reading, was not keeping me awake. I was emotionally drained from the day and wanted to slip back into my fog. Yawning I rolled over and dropped my book to the floor. Marra curled around my feet and purred sleepily.
My dreams troubled me. I saw images from my trouble past and I tried to run but like all dreams you always seem to run in mud. I could not get any speed and my past was catching up. This time there was a new person in the dream. I could not make him out. The shadows of my past clouded the person out. I tried to work toward the stranger. Suddenly in a bright light he was right in front of me.
“Do you want the past to change?” The directness of the question sounded odd to me. Do I want the past to change? Of course I do. Does not everyone want the past to change? But you could not change the past. I nodded to the stranger.
“Yes, I want the past to change…” I was dreaming after all no point in pretending. I smiled at the stranger. He nodded and motioned to a door that I never noticed before. The stranger pointed at the door and I moved toward it.
“You will find yourself ten years earlier with all of the knowledge you have now.” I nodded somewhat bemused. What about paradoxes? I knew that if I were to meet myself in the past that the world would end or something like that. Right? This could not be real. The stranger just smiled and motioned toward the door. My brow knitted in concern. I knew something could not be right but with sudden urgency I rushed through the door.
I found myself at my parents home, ten years earlier. I was standing frozen in the middle of the dinning room amazed at what I saw. The downstairs was still the color I had painted it. Five years ago my mother had painted over my hard work. It was dark outside but I could still hear the silence. I had always thought the silence was loud in the country. I had lived in the city so long that the lack of car horns, dogs barking, and the neighbors overloud televisions made me notice the silence more. I scanned the old furniture and felt my world tilt. I could not believe that it was really ten years earlier then it was this morning. It was a weird feeling that I could not fully wrap my head around but my mind was on different things. I was trying to figure out what the date was and what I was doing ten years ago.
“Happy New Years dear!” I startled at my mother’s voice. I turned to see her coming out bedroom that was tucked back and out of the way behind the kitchen. I smiled and walked in to the kitchen. I walked straight for the refrigerator and rummaged through the shelves like I always did when I did not know what to do. My mother put a few dishes away and grabbed a mixing bowl.
“I am making cookies. You wanna help until Tom gets here?” My face must have gone white because she stopped gathering supplies for cookies. Tom, I always hated the shorten name, I always called him Thomas. My blood raced making my ears throb. I forgot about Thomas my ex-husband. I had married him right out of high school. Mistake number one. As headlights from outside caught my attention memories flooded in to focus making be dizzy.
“Bitch, come back here!” he yelled. His strong fingers bit into my flesh as I tried to run away. He laughed as he threw me down. Silent tears fell down my cheeks as Thomas forced himself…
Hate and anger flooded though me. I had spent ten years trying forgetting about him and his bruises that never faded from my heart. I had never been a violent person but today might be a good time to start. I vaguely knew my mother was starting at my back. No one ever knew he was abusive. I never told a soul I just left one day and never came back. I did a quick calculation of the date and what we were doing in our relationship. New years, my mother had said. It was New Year’s Day ten years earlier. Wow! I thought, it’s six months before we get married. Just before things got really bad. Ohhhh! My thoughts were only seconds long. The car had stopped in front of the house and I just heard the door slam. He was coming.
“Heya, babe!” The voice was sweet and loving but I knew better. I stood rooted to the spot feet from the front door. His eyes, piercing blue, looked questioning at me. I knew I must still look white. In slow motion he stepped toward me. He looked like he was about to hug me. Before I knew what I was doing my balled up fist struck his startled face. I felt his skin spilt under my knuckles and his cheekbone tear into my hand. Within a fraction of a second my right hand came around and hit him again. This brought him down to the floor. I began kicking him as hard as I could. I wanted to give him every bruise he gave me. I wanted him to have the two broken ribs that I, at one time, had. I wanted him to suffer like I did. I was yelling profanity at him but barely noticed. Someone’s arms wrapped around me and held me tight. I was being pulled backward away from my punching bag. One more perfectly aimed kick struck him between the legs. Thomas stopped moving and lay on my parents’ floor bleeding and weeping. I realized someone was talking to me.
“Jessica! Jessica! Are you OK? What are you doing?” my father’s voice. I did not even know he was home. He still held my arms pined to my sides. I took a deep breath and let out a slow sigh. My throat was raw but I did not remember screaming.
“What did he do? What happen?” My father pleaded with me as he turned me to face him. I shook my head and stared at Thomas on the floor.
“You…you bitch. You fucking bitch! I will kill you.” Thomas was slowly getting to his feet. His eyes were fierce. I had seen him this mad once or twice before. The last time I was the one with the broken ribs. I remember ever time he touched me. I remember every night he came home drunk and smelling of the bar.
“Leave! Never come back here.” My voice was quiet and calm. My demeanor startled me. I had never been out spoken. I never spoke my mind. I was the quite one that always stood in the shadows. I was slightly amused as the saying, “it’s the quite ones you have to look out for.” My smile was small but my eyes were stern. Thomas stared at me wide-eyed, blood running slowly down his chin. With a shaking hand he grabbed the door handle and walked out without a word. The smile widened as I realized I would never have to live through his beating. Again, it was an odd thought to be back in time to change something that I once lived through. I dimly wondered about paradoxes and if I was messing something up. I looked at my stared parents. I sheepishly smiled at them and shrugged. I knew that I would have to give them an explanation. If I told them the truth what would they think? Would I shame them?
“He…tired to…to…” I stammered not able to say it. For the first time tears sprang to my eyes and I broke down. My father’s arms wrapped around me though this time gentler and held me. My mother was cooing and murmuring and patting my head as I completely broke down. In the past, or I guess present, I would have never let my walls down and let my parents in. I had walled off everyone from my life because of Thomas. I could not tell anyone that I was being abused and I could not bring myself to tell my parents I had made a mistake. I was proud and stubborn. I wanted to make my own way and I worked hard for ten years to make my way. A pang of regret went through me as I realized that I had given up ten years of hard work.
I murmured sorry to my parents. I told them I was wrong and they were right. I should have told them that they should have known better and tried harder to keep me away from Thomas. A few years after my divorce my mother, intoxicated, told me “I never liked him. Tom was never right for you. He was too protective of you. You should have listened when I told you that…” I could never remember my mother telling me he was no good for me but I was blinded by teenage love. I should have told them a lot of things but my walls were still there. Today’s breakdown was not a complete breakdown just a start I guess. I wiggled out of my dad’s arms and walked out the back door.
I walked out to the barn. My parents had some acreage in the back woods in Virginia. I had a horse training business that I started back twelve…I mean two years ago. I had worked hard to get my name out and prove that I had what it took in a male dominated industry. I mused on the past and what it meant for me to be back here. Aimlessly my hand patted my horses. Everyone had his or her heads hanging over stall doors vying for my attention. I wondered through the barn not paying attention to my surroundings when I heard a sound that brought me to my knees. My horse, the one I bought with the money from my first job, the one who died two years ago in a riding accident, she stuck her head over the stall door and nickered impatiently for me to come pet her. On the isle floor I gaped at her. Even through my tears she looked exactly like I remembered. Her star was a perfect diamond that was off set between her eyes. She tossed her head and looked questioningly at me on the floor. I struggled to stand and staggered to her stall. I quickly let myself in and wrapped my arms around her. I could tell she was confused. I always knew what she was thinking. She was a very expressive horse. I buried my face in her auburn mane and cried. I had missed her so much. I would make sure the accident never happened. I told her over and over again.
I woke up with straw poking me in the back. I stretched and encountered resistance. I could not fully stretch. I opened my eyes. I was cradled against my horse’s side with her legs holding me on the other side. I smile. She looked down and nuzzled me.
“Breakfast, girl?” I rolled away from her and slowly got up. I was stiff from the cramped position I had slept in. I got up and started to feed everyone. I went into my office and looked at my lesson planner. I was so glad I wrote everything down. I was able to track what lessons were scheduled this week and where we were in their training. I had two lessons for today and three more the rest of the week. It felt weird to pick up my life from so long ago. I needed to get away from here. I needed to go far away so that Thomas would permanently stay out of my life. The problem was I was a senior in high school and I did not have a car. Hmmm. Where could I go? Who did I know from ten years ago? I was not sure what I could do. I needed to find the backpack that I brought with me. I knew there was one thing I must do.
The nice thing about being home schooled is that I got done really early and if I traveled, as my family did often, I did not miss school. I finished my chores. Then went inside to start my first class.
“Hey there, hun. Do you want breakfast?” My mother asked me tentatively. I knew I must have been a mess with hay in my hair and puffy eyes from crying.
“Hey! I will get some cereal. Do you care if I shower before class?” My mom murmured ascent and I threw down a bowl of granola. I knew my mom wanted to ask about last night but did not say anything. Perhaps this is why there were no open communication lines between us. It sort of made me sad but I did not want a prying mother.
“Where is dad?” I asked
“He flew out this morning.”
“Where now?” I knew my dad traveled a lot all over the United States. He could be anywhere.
“Dallas. He has been going there every week for three months now. Maybe we should move there too. I don’t know. I…” She trailed off. I knew she would never leave the farm. She would never survive in the big city. She did give me an idea though. I walked to the start toward my bathroom. It was weird having people living in the same house. I had lived alone for two years. I loved it. I showered and wrapped my wet hair in a towel. I went to my desk and started my first class. They were on DVD and I watched a teacher and students like it was a soap opera. As my English teacher droned on about Shakespeare as I braided my hair. I always styled my hair as I watched my classes; I had to keep my hands busy otherwise I could not focus. I formatted my plan as we discussed MacBeth.
“Father please! I won’t be any trouble. I just can’t stay here right now. Please. “ I begged over the phone. I pleaded my case and I knew he would give into my demands. Daddy always gave into my pleas. I smiled. He told me that he would talk to mother about it and let me know. I knew that was a yes. Excitement ran through my veins and I looked around my room and marveled at all the things that I had given up over the years. It would make picking out the things I wanted to keep that much easier. I had already lived without most of this stuff.
I packed my clothes and the little personal items I wanted to keep. I surprised my mother that I gave away all my childish things. I told her that my sister could have my room. That was another surprise for I had been very protective of my room. Told my mother that there was no point in it being empty if I was living with dad. I felt the subtle change from my parents. They looked at me from the corner of their eyes; they watched me behind my back. I knew they were slightly worried about my mental state. I also knew they were happy that I was going in a more productive path. I still had one more thing I had to do. I was nervous.
I drove my mother’s Dodge Charger downtown. It was a small town not far from the capital. We had the draw of country without the draw back being in the country. I threaded my way downtown. I turned down a familiar street that I realized I have never been down—not for another three years. I smiled at the silliness of if. I parked at the edge of the road in front of a huge historic home. It had large pillar and a yard only big enough to have some edging around the structure. It looked so out of place. I was very anxious now as I got out of the car. I hesitatively walked to the front door and quietly knocked. After a moment I heard the chain being removed and the door crack open.
“Umm…Hello Mrs. Sheppard. Ah… Is Michael in?” My heart broke as I looked at her. She had been so good, too good to me. The love she had shown me during the three years Michael and I dated was totally undeserved and unconditional. She was my real mother. I almost broke down there, knowing she would never know how grateful I was of her love and kindness. Mrs. Sheppard nodded, smiled, and turned in to holler for him.
“Won’t you come in Miss…?” She asked
“Jessica. And no Mrs. Sheppard I will wait here. I promise not to be but a moment with Michael. Thank you.” My thanks could not portray my full appreciation. Just then Michael’s footsteps caught my attention and I saw him. Memories of three years came flooding back all at once. There had been some good times and some bad and towards the end they were all bad times. I sighed.
“Hey Michael,” I said like he would know me but a flash of confusion clouded his face. I knew I had to make it quick. Mrs. Sheppard the wonderful woman that she was instinctively left the doorway for us. I motioned Michael outside.
“Hi…I know you don’t know me but I have something important to tell you.” I was not sure what to say really or if he would believe me but I had to try.
“This is going so sound pretty crazy but please hear me out. I am…well I am from the future and…now wait until I finish. I know this is crazy but we date for three years but because of my…ummm…stupidity I destroy our relationship and you. You were always too good for me and you were so wonderful. I just wanted to say ‘sorry’ for all the trouble I caused and I am so happy that…” I trailed off. I had just changed the happy times we would have had but I knew this way was better. Toward the end of our relationship the damage Thomas had done was destroying my mental health. George Barnard Shaw said, “If you begin by sacrificing yourself for those you love you will end by hating those to whom you have sacrificed yourself.” It was so true. I was scared to stand against him and it made me hate him and all men. I was always angry and scared and attacked everyone around me. Michael got the majority of my outbursts. He, loyally, stuck by me longer then I would have. At our three-year mark I added the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I accused my wonderful Michael of cheating on me. I knew he was not but I blew up anyways. I yelled and scream and he weathered my storm with dignity. Afterwards he came to me and said that he could not live like this and was leaving. It tore me apart.
Michael stood somewhat awestruck in front of me. I knew he did not believe a word and probably thought I was crazy now. Maybe he was right maybe I was crazy. I looked up at his beautiful green eyes and wanted to cry. Instead I smiled and reached up to place my hand on his cheek. I leaned in and kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear.
“The sex was awesome!” I whispered. I smiled as I withdrew. As I turned to leave I handed him a picture. The picture was of us on a beach in Hawaii. It was taken six months before we broke up. It was one of my favorites. On the back was written in his mother’s hand “Michael and Jessica, Sunset Beach, Hawaii.” I walked back to my car tired. I felt like I had run a race. I was almost to my car when I remembered a warning I meant to give him.
“Oh hey, when you move out take Rascal with you. She’ll go crazy mad if you leave her behind.” Rascal was Michael’s dog. She was a wonderful Pit Bull. I loved her dearly but when Michael and I moved into an apartment we could not take her. She went a little crazy not having Michael around to play with. She ended up attacking another dog and because she was a Pit Bull they put her down. It broke Michael’s heart. I smiled at the wonderful memories that only I would have of Michael and with a last glance I got in the car and drove away.
I had promised my mother that I would stay on top of my schoolwork. I promised her that I would be back in May. Then I would go to college in the fall at the local community college. These were all part of my plan and I knew they were promises I could keep. I stared out the window of the plane as we crossed over the Appalachian Mountains. I was excited. I haven’t been to Texas in years. My grandparents lived in south Texas. We used to visit but then stopped the more my dad traveled. We stopped doing a lot of things once my dad started working more, I thought sadly. I sighed and let the drone of the engines lull me to sleep. Little did I know as I slept Fate was playing with my plans. Fate was twisting things just ever so slightly.
Michael was curious about my speech and the picture I left him. He, for reasons beyond his own, did not believe I was crazy. He actually believed me and wanted to know what actually happened. On one hand Michael was grateful for me trying to be noble and spare him the trouble he believed I would cause. On the other hand he knew I was someone he loved or would have loved. In the picture that I had left with him he knew that he loved me and I, him. Michael wanted to find out why.
“Is Jessica there?” Michael asked.
“No she is not? Who is this? Are you one of her lessons?” My mother’s voice was polite and wondering. She knew I had notified all my students that I would not be at the stables for a few months. The statement from my mother confused Michael. He knew very little about me. He had spent two weeks trying to figure out how I was. It was a by chance that he found me, or my number at least. I was home schooled so I did not have many friends but of the few I did who would guess they would run into Michael but one day while sitting at outside of the public high school the most interesting thing happened.
“Whatcha got there, Mikey?” Sam asked. He was one of my closest friends.
“Oh, Nothing just a picture.” He showed Sam the picture and Sam’s eyes grew big.
“Since when did you and Jessica go together?” Sam asked incredulously.
“What! You know her? No, we aren’t going together.” Michael replied excitedly. He questioned Sam about me and for my number. Sam was very forth coming with some of the information on me but did not tell Michael that I had left.
“Ummm… No my cousin is a student…ah is she in?” Michael stumbled. He should of asked Sam for more information. Michael was very nervous to talk to me but he wanted to know what happened.
“No she left with her father for Texas. I am sorry I thought she told everyone she was leaving and would be back in May.” My mother replied.
“Oh… my cousin did not tell me…well… ah… thank you.” Michael stammered still unsettled about the whole situation. So I would not be back until May. He would wait.
The plane landed hard and quickly taxied to the gate. I was stiff from sleeping sitting up. I got up and followed my dad out down the narrow isle of the plane. I dragged my feet as we made it toward the baggage claim. I gathered my two suitcases full of my meager possessions. Almost everything else I had given a way. My sister had wonderful time going through my giveaways and doubled her wardrobe. She now needed my old room to have room for her new treasures. Goodwill also was very appreciative to my donations.
My father’s company had rented us a two-bedroom apartment that was close to his work and the airport. The airport also provided great cliental for grocery stores and other shops. This was perfect for me I would be able to walk to any store that I needed. I spent a few days looking for work at these stores but there was not much work for a horse trainer. About two weeks after moving to Dallas I went back to the apartment somewhat dejected after a rather long day of trying to find work. Walking up the stairs toward my apartment I ran into my neighbor. Mrs. Kathryn was our only neighbor. The way the apartment building was designed each floor had two units. This way the only walls that were common were the kitchen walls. It was the best way to keep from annoying the neighbors. She was a sweet middle-age single mom. She worked at the hospital as a med tech. I liked her and she had always been kind to me so I baby-sat for her on occasion. I would spend some time helping her with the kids homework and making dinner while my dad spend long hours at work. I saw her just above me on the landing carrying groceries.
“Hello Mrs. Kathryn,” I called politely. She turned to look at who called her. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. Her eyes were puffy and her face was drawn with worry.
“Oh. What’s wrong?” I said rushing to her side.
“Its nothing…” She sobbed and broke down. I grabbed the bags of groceries and helped her to her door. She mumbled thanks and let me into her apartment. I carried her purchases to the kitchen. I began to take the items out and place them on the counter.
“Please tell me Mrs. Kathryn. I will help if I can.” I let her open up on her own. I fumbled through the kitchen and put the items away. Mrs. Kathryn, in a trance, helped me put things away. She seemed comforted by the menial task of putting things away. I slowly watch the tension release.
“Thank you Jessica. You are such a sweet girl. If I didn’t know better I’d say you were a grandmother. Your patience reminds me of my grandmother. She was so kind.” After a moment she continued. “I just found out that I am getting a different shift and there is not daycare that late. I do not know what to do…”She trailed off looking like she would start crying again. I knew that the stress must be immense to be a single mom in Dallas. This city was not as forgiving as some.
“Well that’s kind of perfect actually. I have spent all week looking for a job that will work around my school schedule. How ‘bout I baby-sit for you?” I was excited that I could possibly have an income. I knew things were fitting into place. I knew this was exactly what I had been waiting for. I had baby-sat the children a few times on the weekends to give Mrs. Kathryn time to run errands. The children were wonderful. I would be hard pressed to find another five and seven year old who was as well behaved. “Really? I never thought about that. That… well that would be perfect. But, of course, I would have to talk to your dad. That would be perfect. Oh! Jessica you are a Godsend. What would I do with out you?” Mrs. Kathryn immediately livened up. She began busying herself to make dinner, as the children would be home from school soon. I reminded her that I was leaving in May and this was only short-term fix. She assured me that this would give her time to find the right alternative.
So this is how I spent my time in Texas. I would do my schoolwork and then meet the Alice and Matthew when they got done with school. We all did our homework together and then we made dinner for my dad together. They loved making food with me, and both Mrs. Kathryn and my dad had an endless supply of desserts. I made sure my dad did not eat junk food. I felt like I was ten years older. Here I had two young children and took care of my absent-minded father. I laughed at the silliness of the situation. I actually was ten years older. I tried not to spend too much time thinking about the intricacy of coming back to fix my mistakes. I sometimes found myself reminiscing the last ten years that I was now reliving. Three months went by quickly and happily. The emotion was new to me and I reveled in it. I think my father took noticed of my joyful moods. I knew he had never seen me so satisfied with life. For ten years I had lived in the shadow bad relationships. The time came too quickly to go back to Virginia. I debated about staying with my dad in Dallas but I had a plan and I wanted to follow through with it.
“Why, Jessica? You just got back. Are you not going to train anymore? You know your students have been calling.” My mother complained. I had just told her that I was going to Florida for the summer. I would spend the summer in No Name Key just south of Key West.
“Mother,” I began. “I have already decided. And who has been calling? I told everyone I was taking a year off?” I was confused to who was calling. I had sent my students to my friends at other stables. I had worked everything out and “tied up” my lose ends. I spent a lot of time working out the details. I knew all of my students had been taken care of.
“I don’t remember his name but, Jessica, you can not go!”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be back in August when college starts. I am leaving for Florida Monday.” I did not stay to hear her complain. I went up to my room to unpack and repack. I was so excited about going to Florida. I was still curious about who she was talking about. Who would have called me? I had taken care of my students and told my few friends that I was going to be gone. They were used to me traveling around. I tried to travel with my dad as much as possible. Since I was home schooled I did not need to worry about missing class. My school followed me wherever I went. As I was thought about being a high school graduate my phone rang interrupting my thoughts.
“Hey, Jessie Baby! What’s happening?” Sam said. I was surprised to hear from him.
“Sup, How did you know I was home?”
“I didn’t but Michael said you were going to be home in May. So I thought I would try ya. How was the big T?” I was speechless for a moment with shock. Michael was looking for me? Why? I told him…
“Oh! Umm… well I am back only for a few days. How was…school?” I really did not know what to say. I was angry with Michael. Didn’t he realize how hard it was to talk to him? I could not understand why he did not leave me alone. Sam and I talked about trivial things. He wanted to know everything about Texas and where I was going. I told him about the Alice and Matthew. Sam was excited that I could cook now. He made me promise to cook for him the next day. I told him about Florida and my plans of sunny days and sandy beaches. He was intrigued about my need to spend my summer living it up. He was convinced I was going to spend every night in a club partying it up. I assured him I was going to spend every minute as possible in the water, night and day. With great mistrust in his voice he agreed with me.
“Really, Sam, what do you think I am going to do?”
“I don’t know Jess. Who spends time in Florida’s water? Its all about the Miami night clubs!”
“Silly, I am not going to Miami. I’m going to No Name Key. It is so much better.”
So I spent the rest of the evening explaining why the beach is better then the nightclubs. I promised to find Sam the biggest conch shell I could find. We both laughed and I disconnected the line a lot happier about my trip.
I had spent my remaining days in the stables. The pain I felt losing my horse was quickly replace with renewed love. I was so happy she was well. Perhaps in this timeline she will live a full life. I, at least, was going to try. I was half way to Florida in the car that I knew my parents would get me for graduation. This time I knew a lot more about cars then I did ten years ago and I would not blow any head gaskets. Traffic was light and I was making very good time. I had spent last night sleeping in my car. I remember I used to sleep in my back seat instead of going home. It was my own place away from everything that troubled me. It was a wonderful feeling. I spent the last few hours watching the landscaping change from pine trees to palm ferns. I noticed the humidity grow and at one rest stop I changed into lighter clothes. I had been to Florida before and was always surprised how the surroundings felt like a sand dune with house build on the sides. I knew people would build anywhere no matter how harsh the environment.
After a lifetime I came to my destination. I did feel like a lifetime had passed me by. I had spent so many years dreaming about being in Florida. I invested so time in something that never happened. I was tired of life and I wasn’t even middle aged. It was crazy how life flowed. For me it flowed backward and erased so much pain. I knew that I would never been able to deserve what happen. Happiest that I never knew filled me up over welling from my heart. My chest swelled and I was elated. Elated… I now truly knew what that word meant. I feel like I was floating and the world finally was bright and sunny. Everything was colorful and bright. The feeling hit me a few miles south of Miami and I knew this is where I was suppose to be ten years ago. The last few hundred miles disappeared with out time moving. I was finally in a place I had dreamed about for over ten years.
No Name Key was so low in elevation that you feel that the world was truly passing you by. “Island time” had new meaning here. Everyone took pride in living on a spit of land in the beautiful Caribbean. I drove down Main Street looking for the beach and taking in the culture. Toward the end of the street I found what I was looking for. No Name Key was unusually forested. It was probably the only thing that kept the island from being washed away. I turned left onto a side road that went into a dense stand of trees. I found a place to park and got out stretch. I left my shoes in the car and took in the warmth that seemed to radiate from me. I followed a trail that was marbled with shade to the edge of the water. About fifty feet from the water the trees ended and the land dropped a few feet down to the beach. The beach was pure white in the midday sun. A breeze ruffled my hair like a long lost friend tussling my hair. I smiled and tried to see farther then the horizon. It was perfect. I had daydreamed about being in this exact spot. My stomach growled and reminded me that I had been in the car most of the day. I walked back to the car to grab some cash then walked to town. I was looking for a hole-in-the-wall, native restaurant. This is where I will find a place to do some under-the-table work. About a mile from where I parked I found exactly what I was looking for.
“Hey there, welcome to Mike’s Marina,” said the bartender. The bar was pretty much a shack with no sides. There were a few tables were surrounded by plastic chairs. The bar was on the wall that was shared with the marina. I walked up to the bar keep. He was dark, blond, and very handsome. In the back of my mind he was vaguely familiar but I did not know from where. I grabbed a beat up stool a few down from a true fisherman. The fisherman was shaggy and shirtless. His jeans had grease stains and holes at random places. In his hands was a half drunk beer and he was talking to his neighbor about the huge one that got away and no one ever saw. I smiled. It was so perfect.
“Whatcha want?” The bartender asked me as I scanned over a menu.
“Everything is pretty good. I like the grilled chicken.”
“Mmmm! Grilled Chicken.” I said in full Homer Simpson style. I knew this was going to be the best place. The bartender smiled and slightly rolled his emerald eyes at my childish humor. I ordered the chicken.
“Fries or onion rings? You want anything to drink?” I got fries and a beer and started some small talk while my food cooked.
“How’s the season starting?”
“It’s going well actually. Enough tourists to keep the bills paid but not enough to annoy the locals. Where are you from?
“That obvious that I am not from here? Virginia. I am staying the season if I can keep myself entertained long enough.” I smiled because I knew that I would have no problem keeping myself entertained.
“Yeah, well you are not very tanned… not that you look bad…”The bartender quickly backtracked blushing. “Virginia is quiet a drive. What kinda entertainment are you looking for?” I smiled not offended in his blundered. It was fun to see someone shyer then me. He was cute!
“I will have to work on my tan I suppose. It is still cold up north. Yeah I wanted to get away from the rush of Virginia. So are there any local bands? I could work for my tickets.” I felt so smooth trying to hint at my goal of finding random temporary work. I wanted to do random work for people and just bum the summer away. I knew I must be crazy if bumming a summer away sounded like fun.
“Yeah you won’t have to work hard at a tan. We are actually having a show here tonight. Jack Johnson lives a few islands away and comes by to play at random times. I could actually use some help. Mikey decided to go off to college this year so I could use an extra hand.” Perfect I thought this was exactly what I needed.
“OH! I like Jack Johnson. His songs always make me smile. Jessica.” I offered my hand.
“Eric.” We shook hands and I knew that I had found my guardian angle. My food came and I ate in silence. It was delicious. I was wrapped in warm sea air sitting in an open bar as the sand and wind played tag across the floor. I finished my meal and told Eric I wanted to check out the town but I would be back when he needed me. He gave me a time and suggested I stop by a few shops. I thanked him and set off with a happy heart and full stomach.
I spent a few days helping Eric out and getting acquainted to the locals. There were a half dozen boat captains that all wanted a pretty girl onboard. I knew that would only lead to trouble. I met the other shop owners and had a few people offer me some temporary work. I was assured that I would never go hungry and if I need a place to sleep I was welcome at most of their couches. I thanked them from the bottom of my heart and worked hard at any task they offered me.
At night I would wonder back toward my car, a little tipsily, and curl up under a tree by the edge of the beach and watch the stars come out. I have never seen so many stars as I did on my nights on the beach. The soft hum of the waves hummed me to sleep. It was heavenly. I surprised a few people that came across my wallow but on the whole no one bothered me. In the morning I would take a swim and play with the fish on the reef. I got better and better at free diving. I was able to borrow, then buy a pair of fins. My skin darkened quickly and I quickly became leaner and stronger. After looking for new fish and shells I found an outdoor shower at the park and washed the salt water off my skin. My auburn hair bleached and became strawberry. These changes all took place with in three short weeks. I wished my time here never ended.