Deleting Martina – Chapter Thirteen

Martina rubbed a little “help” on her gums and it wasn’t long before she exhibited the familiar signs of euphoria.  “Wow,” she said.  “I think I see fireflies.”

Callie said, “see?  I told you.  It sharpens the mind.  Get out your book and I promise that you will start to understand things you read in an entirely different way.”

Martina reached for her book and looked at Callie.  “Did I tell you that mother wanted to be a ballerina?”

Callie had a blank look on her face and then they both started laughing hysterically.  It was the first time Callie had seen or heard Martina laugh out loud.  Callie said, “what happened?  Did the Devil’s ‘Corps de Ballet’ not have any room?”

Martina suddenly stopped laughing and said, “that was evil, wicked, mean and nasty…but then, so is mother.”

Callie jumped up and said, “look.  I’m a ballerina.”  She started turning around as if trying to perfect a pirouette.  When she lost her balance and fell to the floor, another round of uncontrollable laughter overtook them.

After a few hours, the effects began to wear off, and Martina was feeling sluggish and tired.  When she expressed concern about being able to stay awake during class, Callie said, “if you do, meet me at the coffee shop.  If JB is there, I’ll introduce you, but don’t be offended if he’s a little leery at first.  He has to be careful, you know.  You could be a potential customer or an undercover, but I’ll vouch for you.  And whatever you do, don’t tell him about your family.  He’ll start smelling real money, real fast.”

Martina managed to struggle through her classes.  Her better judgment told her to forgo the coffee shop, and just get some much needed sleep, but that feeling of blissful intoxication the “help” offered, was overpowering.  She had once heard the quote, “I can sleep when I’m dead,” and that seemed like a good idea to her.

Weeks went by, and then months.  Callie introduced her to JB and Martina became one of his best customers.  She had a new found happiness and energy.  She was able to focus and her mental alertness became more and more acute.

The Middle Of Nowhere had become her “center of everywhere.”  One night, while waiting for Callie to get off work, a man came in and sat down beside her.  He said, “hello, Ms. Hamilton.  Fancy seeing you here.”

In a polite but surprised manner, Martina said, “well, if it isn’t Randall Taylor.  What brings you to this neck of the woods?”

He said, “I stopped for a cup of coffee and saw you sitting here.  I must say, your venue has changed dramatically.”

Martina, speaking as if she was trying to win a contest for the most words spoken inside a minute, tried to explain the course her life had taken.  Her bubbly and interactive behavior was a loud signal to Randall that something was amiss.

Her pupils were dilated and the reddish hue of the sclera, led him to a suspicion that he, for the moment, kept to himself.  Treading water carefully, he innocently asked if something was wrong with her eyes.  Her immediate response was, “I’ve been studying and burning the midnight oil, as they say.”

“My parents and I had dinner with your folks the other night and I asked after you,” he said.  “They told me that you were going to college, of course, against their wishes.  He chuckled.

“So, showing up here wasn’t happenstance,” Martina said.  “Did they send you to spy on me?”  Randall shrugged, tilted his head slightly and said, “yes and no.  They said they hadn’t heard from you since you left, and they’re a little worried.”

Martina mockingly said, “oh, mommy and daddy.  They can’t stand the fact that they no longer have any control over me.”  Randall said, “I don’t think it’s about control.  I think it’s about what I said.  They’re worried.  You should call them.”

Like a switch had been flipped, Martina became hostile.  “I’m not going to call them.  They will try to talk me into coming back home.  They want me under their thumb.  They want power over me.  They want me to become some dull appendage of a rich man…some rich, boring man like you.”

Randall smiled and said, “you’re not fooling me, Martina, and you don’t have to be rude.  I don’t know what you’re using, but whatever it is, you need to stop before you ruin your life.  Here.  Take my number.  If you need help or need to talk, call me.  I don’t care what time it is.”

Martina said, “thank you, but that is a call you will never receive.”

 

To be continued___________

Deleting Martina – Chapter Twelve

Martina looked around Callie’s room and half-jokingly asked, “what kind of help?  Do you mean you have a tutor?”

Callie laughed and cavalierly said, “it’s called blow.”  Martina, clearly confused, said, “you mean as in blow pop?”

Callie impatiently answered, “no, silly.  Coke.”  Martina, once again showing her naivete, asked, “you mean Coca Cola?”

Callie said, “oh my God.  I forgot that you are about five years old when it comes to the real world.  She rolled her eyes and said, “cocaine.  You have heard of cocaine, right?”

When Martina repeated the word rather loudly, Callie scolded her and asked, “how do you think I manage to go to class, study, and work every night at the coffee shop?  I need a little pick-me-up, and a smidgen of blow does the trick.  There’s nothing to it.  Just rub a little on your gums and voila!  And, doing it that way doesn’t screw up your nose.”

“But aren’t you afraid you’ll get caught?” Martina asked.  Callie said, “are you kidding me?  I doubt there’s a student in this entire school who doesn’t use something to help them.  Uppers, downers, pot, heroin, shrooms, cocaine, crack cocaine…but I’d stay away from the crack cocaine. That’s some bad stuff.  There’s also LSD, but it’s not as common as it was in the seventies…or so I hear.”

“Where do you get it?” Martina asked.  Callie smiled impishly and said, “I have a source.”

Like a parrot, Martina echoed, “you have a source?  What does that mean?” Callie said, “child.  You would try the patience of Job.  It means that I have a way to get cocaine.  I get it from a guy everyone calls Joe Blow, or ‘JB’ for short.  I have no idea what his real name is, and I don’t care.  As long as old JB comes through, I’m golden.”

“Is it expensive?” Martina asked.  Callie said, “it is, but when times are lean, JB will sometimes trade for a BJ, if you know what I mean.”  The blank look on Martina’s face told Callie she didn’t have any idea what she was talking about.  Callie said, “never mind.  Besides, for you, money wouldn’t be a problem.”

Martina didn’t know what to think.  She looked at Callie and said, “I’m really tired.  Aren’t you?  Maybe we could get together tomorrow afternoon.”

Callie said, “no.  I’m not tired, and I have to work tomorrow afternoon. So…do you want to try a little ‘help’?  I guarantee you won’t be tired afterward.”  Martina said, “I probably shouldn’t.  I’ve never even had a sip of wine, and if mother found out…”

Callie raised her voice and said, “for Heaven’s sake!  You have got to let go of mother’s apron strings.  How in the world is mother going to find out? Are you going to tell her?  Do you think you still need her permission to do anything?  What is wrong with you?”

Martina shrugged and said, “okay.  I’ll try some.”

 

To be continued________________

 

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Eleven

The first few weeks were hectic for Martina.  She had never lived on her own and was caught between the exhilaration of her new-found freedom, and the homesickness for the familiarity she had known all of her life.

She scurried around campus, peering around every building, glancing at every park bench, and inconspicuously peeking into every open door, hoping to see Callie.

After the third week, she went to the coffee shop.   A smile came to her face when she saw Callie, flitting around, waiting on tables.  Callie finally saw her and came over.  Before she could say anything, Martina stood up and said, “I did it.  I’m going to college, I have an apartment, and look.  I’m wearing jeans.”

Callie looked her up and down, and said, “oh my God.  Your jeans are….no. Seriously?  No.”

Martina asked what she was trying to say.  Callie said, “your jeans are pressed!”  Martina said, “yes, mother had all of my clothes pressed for me.”

Callie said, “you don’t wear pressed clothes in college, and you certainly don’t have a crease in the middle of your jeans.  They should be faded and torn and look like you slept in them.  And your t-shirts should be wrinkled…clean but wrinkled, and have some clever saying on them…like ‘I’m married to Mick Jagger’ or something along those lines.  When you go back to the manor, tell your mother to stop ironing your clothes.  You’ll never fit in looking like that.”

Martina said, “I told you that I have an apartment now.”  Callie said, “oh yeah.  I forgot.  Well, I’ve got to get back to work, and then I have a mountain of studying to do.”

Martina said, “could we do it together?  I have to study, too.”  Callie said, “sure,” and walked off.

She was acting strange.  It was like she was running on high octane fuel or something.  Martina knew that Callie was a go-getter and had the determination and ferocity of a Honey Badger, but she wondered if Callie still cared about her anymore.  She wondered if Callie thought she hadn’t yet paid enough penance, and that was the reason for the nonchalant quip when she asked about getting together.

Taking a chance, Martina walked up to Callie and asked, “do you want to come to my place to study tonight, or would you like for me to come to yours?”

Callie looked at her like she was seeing her for the first time.  Finally she said, “oh, yeah.  Come to my room around 10-ish.  Building 201, upstairs, second door on the right.  And don’t be too obvious when you come in. The RA is a real bitch.”

Martina said, “Ten o’clock?  Isn’t that a bit late?”  Callie said, “I don’t get off work until 9.  Don’t worry about it.  It’ll be fine.  I mean, it’s not like the nanny is going to spank you if you stay up past your bedtime.”

Martina though that comment was cruel, but didn’t say anything.  Being punctual, she got to Callie’s room at exactly ten o’clock.  Callie opened the door and said, “first things first.  What classes are you taking?”  Martina said, “the basic core classes, I guess.  Math, Science, History.”  Callie said, “and what are you taking for fun?”

“For fun?” Martina asked.  “Yes,” Callie said.  “Something like ceramics, or pottery, or…cooking, maybe.”  She and Martina both laughed at that suggestion.  Callie said, “you probably don’t even know how to boil water, do you?”

Martina said, “I don’t know how to do much of anything, but I’m learning. I know how to make my bed…well, mostly.”

Callie said, “how about drama?  That would be good for you.  Sort of…get you out of your shell, so to speak.”  Martina was aghast.  “Drama?”

Callie said, “you know how, in a book, you can go places you’ve never been, and do things you’ve never done?”  Martina nodded.  “Well, in drama class, you can be somebody you’ve never been.  You already know how to be rich, but as a actress, you can be poor.  You can be a queen.  You can be the first woman to walk on Mars.  You can be a serial killer…and you can get away with it, because you’re only acting like a serial killer.”

Martina said, “I wouldn’t dare.”

Callie impatiently said, “then what are you doing here?  Still playing it safe?  Still living by the ‘high society code’?  Still playing by mother’s rules?”

“That’s not fair,” Martina said.  Callie looked at her and said, “I’ve got a big news flash for you.  Life isn’t fair.  Life for most of us isn’t about butlers and chauffeurs, and swanky dinner parties.  Life for most of us is real, and hard and we worry about whether or not our next paycheck will be enough to pay our rent and buy groceries.  I don’t want to hear about what you ‘wouldn’t dare do’.  I want to hear about what you would dare do.”

Callie sat down and said, “are you ready to study?”  Martina said, “it’s awful late.  Aren’t you tired?”

Callie said, “I don’t have time to be tired.  Besides, I have some help.”

 

To be continued___________

 

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Ten

Mother gave Martina her approval, and offered disingenuous encouragement.  “You will be living at home while you attend this place, yes?” she asked.

Martina said, “no.  I’m going to live in an apartment.  I want to experience real college life.”  Mother, momentarily forgetting herself said, “to do that, you would have to go to a real college.”

Martina’s mother wasn’t the only one who could give icy cold stares.  “It is a real college,” Martina said.

Mother quickly apologized and asked if she could help pack her belongings.  “As long as you don’t try to tell me what I can and can’t take,” Martina said.

Mother asked if she had given any thought as to what classes she wanted to take.  She seemed to soften a bit when Martina sat down and almost beaming, said, “anything.  Everything.  I want to know how it feels to sit in a big room, listening to a professor whose sole job is to teach us what the real world is like.  I want to experience how it feels to be treated like an adult who could someday, possibly change the world.  Do you know what I mean?”

Mother smiled and acquiesced.  “No.  I don’t know what you mean.  All I’ve ever known, just as you, are governesses and etiquette and how to take my place in society.”

Martina asked, “did you ever think about what your life might have been like if you had gone to college instead of getting married, and just becoming a rich man’s wife?”

Mother surprised Martina when she said, “to tell you the truth, no.  Being the wife of a successful man is very important, and your father has been very good to me.  I have a wonderful life, and that is all I ever wanted for you.

“But,” said Martina.  “Didn’t you ever want more?”

Mother smiled and said, “I don’t believe I’ve ever told anyone this, but when I was a little girl, I desperately wanted to be a prima ballerina assoluta.”  Surprised, Martina asked, “what is that?”  Mother said, “it’s a title awarded to the most notable female ballerinas.  It’s a rare honor.”

Martina asked, “what happened?”  Mother said, “I grew too tall.”

Martina said, “you can be too tall to be a ballerina?”  Mother said, “yes.  I was already 5′ 10″ when I was 14.  My teacher said it would be difficult to find a male partner, who would have to be at least 6′ 3″, so I was cut from the class.”  She looked at her feet and Martina saw a brief look of sadness when she said, “I still have my shoes…somewhere.”

Mother suddenly began to look a little more human to Martina.  She had everything anyone could possibly want, but she once had a dream.   A dream that was never realized, and if that dream left a hole inside her, she had filled it with money and social status, and patched it with acceptance.

 

To be continued___________

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Nine

Martina was looking at Callie.

Like a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, Callie was moving from table to table, leaving a trail of infectious laughter that seemed to take form and bounce around like a pinball.  She had everyone’s attention, which didn’t surprise Martina, and seeing her was like breathing a breath of fresh air.

As Martina watched, her mind was racing.  Almost in a daze, she was wondering if she had made a mistake in coming there.  Should she walk over to Callie?  Would she speak to her?  If she did, what would she say?

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted when she heard a voice say, “well look who it is.”

Martina stood up and uncharacteristically gave Callie a hug.  Callie hadn’t lost her sense of humor when she said, “you’re either drunk, or you’re lost.”

When Martina asked what she meant, Callie said, “you’re standing in The Middle Of Nowhere.”  She smiled when she said, “pun intended.  This is a little outside your milieu, isn’t it?”

Martina asked if she could sit and talk for a few minutes.  Callie said, “I’m working, and then I have to study for a big test, but maybe…sometime.”

Martina was disappointed, but said she understood.

She had by default, more or less abandoned Callie.  Her all but brief touch of rebellion had withered away with a whimper, and most likely in Callie’s mind, Martina had made her choice.

Callie had invaded her world, and now Martina wanted to invade Callie’s, but she wasn’t sure how.  She was virtually unarmed.

Martina quietly walked out without a backward glance toward Callie.  It was obvious that things were different.  That special bond they once had seemed to be broken, and she had no one to blame but herself and possibly, unfairly…mother.

When Mr. Morton arrived with the car, she asked him to take her to Neiman Marcus, and wait for her.

When she walked in, it was like landing on foreign soil.  She had never been in a store.  A salesclerk walked up, introduced herself as Carmen, and asked if she needed help.  Martina said, “yes.”

“What can I help you find?” Carmen asked.  Martina smiled and said, “everything.”

Carmen laughed and said, “Okay.  Are you looking for formal wear, or casual wear, or maybe lingerie?”  Martina said, “I want what they are wearing in college.  Blue jeans, t-shirts, and some kind of strange-looking footwear.”

Carmen again laughed and said, “so, you are looking for a complete wardrobe makeover?”  Martina said, “yes.  I want to walk out a completely different person than I was when I walked in.”

Armed with bags full of new clothes and shoes, Martina motioned for Mr. Morton to bring the car around.  He said nothing as he loaded the items into the trunk, although she did catch a silent opprobrious look.

As soon as she got home, she put on a pair of jeans, an over-sized t-shirt and her brand new Doc Marten boots.  When she went downstairs to the parlor, she asked Mr. Bradley to summon mother.  With is familiar “harrumph,” he agreed.

Mother walked in and seemed to freeze in mid-step.  “What is this?  What are you thinking?” she asked.  Martina said, “this is my new look.”  Mother said, “not in this house.  You will go back upstairs and put on your proper clothing.”

Martina stood up and said, “no.  I won’t.”  Mother was outraged.  She said, “I shall speak to your father about this.”  Martina said, “good.  When you do, tell him that I enrolled in Balfour Community College.  I begin classes in two weeks.”

Mother raised her voice and said, “I will not allow it!  A community college? Can you imagine the shame you will bring on this family?”

For the first time ever, Martina raised her voice and said, “this isn’t about YOU, mother.  It’s about me.  It’s about what I want…not what you want, or what you think is going to be shameful.  You can posture all you want, but I am eighteen and I can make my own decisions now.  I will decide what I wear, what I do, if I go to college, and where I go to college.”

Later that evening, mother spoke with father and pleaded with him to dissuade Martina.  “She has these grandiose ideas and she’s an innocent. She knows nothing of the world outside ours.  That Callie creature started all this, and she is most certainly behind Martina’s sudden defiance.”

Father said, “we’ve talked about this before.  Let her go to college, and I can almost promise you that she will be back home within the first month. If you try to stop her, she will resent you for the rest of her life, but if you support her, she will be grateful that you allowed her to have the chance.”

“But what will all of our friends say?” mother retorted.  “I mean…Community College.  How embarrassing is it going to be to tell them that our high society little girl is going to be mingling with the ‘great unwashed’?”

Father spun around and said, “don’t you and your friends volunteer at homeless shelters every Thanksgiving?  I would call that mingling with, as you so delicately put it, ‘the great unwashed’.”

Mother sat down and said, “yes, that’s true, but this is going to be so very difficult.”

 

To be continued_____________

 

 

 

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Eight

It was six months later and life had gone on in the Hamilton house.  Martina graduated, but with the usual lack of interest or fanfare.  Neither she nor her parents attended the ceremony and her diploma was held hostage until someone who actually cared, arranged for its retrieval.

For a while, mother would make comments about Callie.  Martina quietly grieved and asked her to stop talking about her friend as if she, and they had escaped some kind of plague.

One day, mother excitedly called Martina into the parlor.  “Dear.  We are going to be entertaining the Taylor family this weekend, so you must be on your best behavior.”

Martina politely nodded affirmation.  Mother smiled like a proud mother hen as she said, “they have a son named Randall.  He’s a bit older than you, but he is one of the most eligible bachelors in town, and I think the two of you would hit it off famously.  He’s the sole heir to their fortune, you know, and I hear that he’s looking for a proper wife.”

Martina had faded back into the quotidian, routine world that Callie had so desperately wanted her to escape.  As if she had finally surrendered, she smiled and agreed as mother told her which dress she should wear.

The Taylors arrived and Martina was properly introduced to Randall.  They were placed side by side at the dining room table, perhaps to inspire some lively conversation which could lead to further interest in getting better acquainted.

Martina listened as Randall boasted about the family business.  She immediately found him to be obnoxious and annoyingly arrogant.  There was nothing remotely attractive about him physically, at least not to her, and he seemed to be quite full of himself.  She listened for what seemed like hours, as he offered his rendition of his future role in the family business.  “When father retires, I will take over the business and instill a newer, more modern view of how it should be run,” he said.  “Then, I’ll marry.”

Martina asked, “and will your wife help you run the business?”  Randall, seemingly amused, chuckled and said, “good heavens, no.  Women aren’t business minded.  The roll of my wife will be to give me as many heirs as I desire and, of course, keep me happy.”

As Martina began to fantasize about life with him as his wife, she surprised herself when she interrupted dinner with an unusual and loud, very unladylike-like laugh.

It was clear by the icy cold look from mother that Martina had embarrassed the family, and a quick apology was demanded.  Martina obliged by saying, “I do apologize.  Randall just reminded me of a story I once heard about a woman who set her husband on fire while he was sleeping.”

Unsure of exactly what to say, everyone at the table rescued Martina by joining in the laughter.

Martina sat quietly for the rest of the dinner, but smiled as she thought of Callie.  The remark she made was exactly the kind of thing Callie would have said.  She realized how much she missed her quick wit and biting badinage.

As the visit neared its end, Randall came over to Martina and said, “it was charming to meet you, and I hope you will grace me with your presence again in the near future.”  Martina watched the cheeky grin slowly leave his face, when she smiled and said, “I’m sure I would rather be put to death than spend another minute with the likes of you.”

Insulted, but being a gentleman, he said, “may luck be with the unfortunate sap who next encounters such a wretched soul as yours.”  She was impressed with his cleverness.  He reminded her of Callie.

“Touché,” she said.  They both smiled and for some strange reason, Martina thought they might indeed become friends some day, but not yet.

Later that night as Martina looked at herself in the large, ornate mirror that hung over her dressing table, she thought to herself, “is this really who I want to be?”

The next morning, she summoned Mr. Morton to the parlor.  “I would like for you to drive me into town.”

“Very well,” he replied.  “And where do you wish to go?”

Martina said, “there’s a place called ‘The Middle of Nowhere’.  It’s in the center of Pack Square.”

Mr. Morton was aghast and said, “does Mrs. Hamilton know where you want to go?”  Martina looked at him and said with a smile, “no, she doesn’t, and you will not tell her.  Do you understand?”

Mr. Morton begrudgingly agreed, but Martina wasn’t sure that he wouldn’t betray her to mother.

The Middle of Nowhere was where all the college kids hung out between and after class.  She was entering unfamiliar territory and nervously sat down at a small table near the door.  She had never seen so many young people at one place.  It was different than high school.  All of them dressed the same, and were contained in a small room, pretending to listen to a boring teacher talking about even more boring subjects.

These people were different.  Their bodies were decorated with tattoos and parts of their faces had strange piercings on them.  No one was dressed the same, except for blue jeans and various tops.  Martina had never owned a pair of blue jeans.

Suddenly, someone caught her eye.

 

To be continued____________

 

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Seven

Mother smiled politely, got up and left the room.  Taking a page from her playbook, Callie acted as if nothing had been said.

“We need to start applying to colleges,” she told Martina.  “The National Field Archery Association Foundation is offering scholarships, but there’s only one drawback.”

“What?” asked Martina.  Callie said, “it is only granted after two years in a community college but your acceptance into a University is guaranteed as long as you have a 2.5 grade point average.  I know I can beat that, and so can you.  What do you think your mother and father would think about you going to a community college for a few years?”

Martina looked down and almost whispered, “father will hate it and mother will forbid it.”

Callie said, “you will be eighteen as soon as we get out of high school. You can do whatever you want without their permission or approval.  Not only will you have the right to make your own decisions, you have an obligation to yourself to at least try to be something more than just an echo of them. Isn’t that what you want?”

When Martina didn’t answer, it was suddenly and painfully clear to Callie that old tradition and money and expectations had been too ingrained into Martina.  She had tasted a tiny bit of freedom in being a part of Callie’s world, but Martina had never known how to dream of what might be, or what might have been.  Her world of privilege was all she had ever known and there was comfort, albeit pedestrian, in that affluent world.  The outside world…Callie’s world…was too frightening for someone who didn’t even know how to make her own bed, and fear of the unknown would take Martina too far from her comfort zone, even with Callie as her muse.

Callie gave Martina a hug.  Martina slightly resisted.  She seemed to instinctively know that it was a goodbye hug.  Maybe not forever, but she and Callie would soon drift apart as Callie spread her wings and Martina’s slowly fell to the ground.

 

To be continued___________

Laurel With Wolves – By Ogden Fahey

Ogden Fahey is a painter of ladies and other things.  Recently, he painted a picture of a woman with green eyes, named “Sweet Loretta.”  I teasingly commented that I loved her green eyes but my name wasn’t Loretta.

That comment led to his offer to paint me.  I sent him two pictures.

He responded, “those are amazing.  I had no idea you looked anything like that!”
Of course, being a curious woman, I asked what he thought I looked like.

The following is the hilarious response I received.

“I didn’t give it too much thought what you’d look like, cos I knew I had no idea, but I had 2 versions in mind.  1) A pretty, butch looking, manly type with dark eyes and a heavy brow, or 2) A bush-wacker type [who] lives in the woods, chases people off who come by, wears an old red dress, has bushy red hair to match!  Both pretty eccentric types, I don’t know much other than the characters in your stories, and that you come from the South, so I’d imagine you spit a lot of tobacco and blast people with an old shotgun if they try any ‘funny stuff’.”

I was laughing my eyes out.  Now, I do know that a lot of people think Southerners are “gun totin’, Republican votin’, cigarette smokin’ yahoos and there’s no gettin’ around that.
Sure, we flatten our “i’s” and drop our “g’s”.  We’re slow talkers and say things like “lawdy mercy, and bless your heart.”

But…not all of us.  Some of us would rather be put to death than end a sentence with a preposition, and using double negatives is just as bad.

I’ve lost a bit of my Southern drawl, due to having been dragged all over the states, but I’m still an i flattener and a g dropper.  I do own a gun but I don’t tote it around with me.  I don’t even know where it is.  As far as politics…that’s a definite conversation stopper.

I never discuss politics.  It’s too volatile.  Hell, it’s volatile when you don’t.

A few years ago, a friend of more than 30 years, ended our friendship…not because I disagreed with her political views, but because I told her again, that I was not going to discuss politics.  That led to the accusation; “you’re an ignorant, uneducated piece of trash, just like all the rest of those South Carolina assholes.”

(Whatevva did she mean?)

To clarify, her husband works in S. C. and she blames the folks in that state for just about everything that goes wrong in their lives.  Bless her heart.

I’m not from South Carolina, but I do agree that there are a few assholes there.  (Smiling wryly.)

Back to the pictures…I think the inclusion of the wolves is great.

Thanks Ogden!

 

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Six

The next few weeks were awkward for Martina.  Callie continued to come to the house, and Mr. Bradley continued to show, in his polite manner, his utter contempt.

One afternoon, mother again strolled into the parlor.  She sat down and smiled as she said, “Callie, dear.  Tell me a bit more about your people.”

Cool as a cucumber, Callie said, “as you know, my father works at a convenience store.  My mother works at a motel, and I find it truly remarkable that they were able to come so far in life.”

Mother, a little confused, asked what she meant.

“Well,” Callie said with a delightfully devilishly twinkle in her eye, “as soon as my father was paroled, he walked into that convenience store and was immediately hired.  I think people find him irresistibly charming.  When my mother became a bit too old to turn tricks anymore, she was able to land that prestigious job at the hotel, and let me tell you.  Not everyone can fold the corners of a bed sheet with her expertise.”

Mother, clearly not amused, said, “you remind me somewhat of my dear lamented mother-in-law.  They say that she was, as I suspect are you, a bit of a rebel and balked at tradition, but she was eventually tamed.  Then, she did something extremely rude.”

Martina looked at her mother and asked, “what did she do?”

Mother smiled and said, “she died.”

Callie being Callie, said, “you want to know what’s even more rude than dying?  Not living while you’re still above ground.”

Mother said, “I imagine you are referring to Martina’s life, or what you perceive to be Martina’s life.”

Callie said, “she could be someone.  Don’t you see?”

Mother said, “Martina IS someone.  She is a member of high society.”

Callie’s voice softened to almost a whisper when she said, “yes.  And she’s numb.  Just like you.”

Mother raised her voice and said, “who are you to come into my house and speak to me that way?”

Callie asked, “has she ever had a skinned knee?  Has she ever had a dirty face?  Has she ever had a crush?  Has she ever known how it feels to have a broken heart?  You have a home full of butlers and maids.  You have a home full of things that money can buy.  Things that are mostly invisible and only get attention when they need a quick dusting.  Things.  That’s what Martina is.  Her life will become as mundane as yours…worrying about which china to serve dinner on, or which candelabra to place in the center of the table, or which expensive silk dress she’ll wear to the next party.  All she has ever known is how to just be another ‘thing’, and not everyone wants to be TAMED.”

As if dismissing everything Callie said, Mother said, “you have quite the vocabulary, Callie.  Tell me, do you have unnatural feelings toward my daughter?”

Callie looked at her and said, “tell me, ‘MOTHER’.  Would you be asking that same question if I was a card-carrying member of the money club?”

 

To be continued____________

 

Deleting Martina – Chapter Five

After Callie left, Martina overheard her mother speaking to her father. “How can Martina even consider being friends with such a low-class creature?  I mean, this Callie person may be a nice girl, but she’s no better than trailer trash.  Really.  Her father works at a convenience store and her mother scrubs toilets? How much further down the food chain can you possibly get?”

Martina’s father said, “you’re being a little harsh, don’t you think?  Not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and Martina needs to be somewhat exposed to regular people.  Besides, this is her last year of school, and this unsuitable misalliance will soon have run its course.”

Mother angrily said, “I raised Martina to be proper and appreciative of her social standing and this girl is filling her head with notions of unreasonably unobtainable things like…a college education.  How ridiculously selfish is that?”

Father said, “College?”

“Yes.  College!” Mother said.  “You know the only reason this girl has latched onto Martina is because she is smelling money.  She comes from nothing.  She is nothing.  She will always be nothing, and she thinks that if she ingratiates herself to Martina with her grand notions, we’ll foot the bill. Like I said, ridiculously selfish.”

Father said, “I don’t think it’s ridiculous, nor do I think it is selfish, and who mentioned ‘footing the bill’?  Did Martina or Callie ask for money?”

Mother said, “no.  Not yet, but I feel it will be forthcoming.”

Father said, “if, and when that comes to light, we’ll address it.  In the meantime, it’s good to have dreams and goals.  Face it, our lot dreams of the good life and money, and making more money.  If Martina wants to fantasize about college life, I say let her.  She’s fairly intelligent and frankly, I think it would be good to see her try.  She will fail of course, and when she does, she will, as you say, have a better appreciation of her social standing and its importance.”

Mother stood up and slammed her hand down on the table.  “I forbid this nonsense!”

Father said, “you will not forbid it.  Martina is our only child and if she wishes to briefly see the world through different glasses as it were, she will.  You have to remember, there are princes and princesses who go to land mine sites and visit war-torn countries, all in the name of good-will. They do it and still retain their prestigious status.”

“And one more thing.  This is Martina’s home.  If she wishes to have Callie visit, you will welcome her without qualification or prejudice.  Do you understand?  The harder you try to push Callie away, the closer you are going to pull Martina toward her.  It’s human nature.  Now tell me that you understand, and then go talk to Martina.”

Mother went to Martina’s room but before she said anything, Martina stood up and said, “I am not going to listen to a lecture, mother.  You can posture all you like about how Callie isn’t good enough and her parents aren’t rich enough, and cleaning toilets is gutter work.  We’re never going to be on the same page as far as what you perceive as an appropriate acquaintance.  We’re not even reading the same book, but Callie is my friend and you will not tell me who my friends can and cannot be.”

Mother said, “are you finished?”

Martina quietly said, “yes.”  Mother said, “good.  I was actually going to apologize and tell you that Callie is welcome here any time she wishes to visit.  I was wrong, and I probably need to try to be a little more sensitive to you and your needs.  I never want to say things out of anger, although it may seem so.  I just want the best for you.”

“I understand,” Martina said.  “But what you think is best for me is really what’s best for you.  Being seen with a girl like Callie, to you, is a huge social blunder.  If you would just take the time to get to know her, I think you would find that she is funny, kind, smart and she wants a better life than her parents have.  She may be a little unconventional but she’s the only person who has ever treated me like I was more than just ‘the rich girl’ and I don’t think she gives a whit about my ‘social standing’.  She’s never asked me for anything except to come out of my shell and see my true worth as a human being.  To see that there is more to life than knowing how to sit properly, or carry on a conversation with boring people who know nothing of the real world.”

“Don’t you see, mother?  She thinks I can be something special, and I want the chance to see if she’s right.”

 

To be continued__________