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Clarisa’s Brave Entrance

Rainbow Agate stone pendant with accents of Rainbow Jasper and pink pearl beads.

Rainbow Agate stone pendant with accents of Rainbow Jasper and pink pearl beads.

Her nerves shook both her hands and her confidence, yet Clarisa smiled at the woman in the reflection. Time hadn’t been kind to her – you need only look at the wrinkles, bags under her eyes, and expanding mid-section to see the result – yet she still saw a beautiful woman reflected in the image before her.

Opening night always meant excitement, jitters, and anticipation even when she wasn’t the one on stage. Tonight, she would cheer on her former colleagues with as much joy as she could muster. Oh, how she had hoped to be a part of it all. This could have been her opportunity to return to the stage that she loved so well. She had rehearsed her monologues again and again, studied up on the role for which she was auditioning, and walked into the casting office with her head held high.

“‘Twas not to be”, she supposed after much contemplation. Yet it didn’t take away the sting every time she saw another positive critique about the show that could’ve catapulted her back on top. She’d made her choice, left a successful career in order to raise her children away from the hustle and bustle of the city. She’d expected a welcome return once she’d decided to come home, but too much time had gone by. Friends of old retired to make way for fresh faces and ideas. She didn’t have a connection left to introduce her to a public that wasn’t waiting.

She’d chosen a burgundy dress that showed off her best feature – tall, muscular legs – and accented it with a caramel-colored cashmere scarf that had been a gift from her former mentor. She wrapped the gift around her bare shoulders and let the frayed edges accentuate her hips. She clasped the Rainbow Agate stone pendant that hung around her neck and closed her eyes. “Please let tonight be a new start.”

Clarisa heard her husband call for her and knew she was ready to make an entrance.

CeCe and a Shore Thing

Multi-colored pendant with accents of blue, green, and ivory

Multi-colored pendant with accents of blue, green, and ivory

 

CeCe wished she knew how to swim.  Then maybe she could join in on all the revelry down by the water.  Instead, the prone-to-sarcasm teenager stayed up by the blankets and umbrellas, listening to her friends’ parents drone on and on about irrelevant topics: “Did you hear that so and so got a new car?” , “I’m thinking of dying my hair blue tomorrow.”, “I don’t believe that cats really have nine lives.”

She grabbed the nearest beach towel and plopped back down on the tattered blanket to tune out the nonsense.  Day one of her week-long vacation hadn’t turned out nearly as interesting as she’d hoped.  Was it too much to ask to just lay on the beach, read a book on the balcony, and play some video games?  Why were her friends insistent on visiting every single shop in this rundown beach town?  If you’ve seen one store filled with broken shells, boat replicas, and corked bottles you’ve seen them all.

“CeCe, you’re not seriously just going to lay there all afternoon are you?”

“I am,” her muffled response.

“Get up.” Monica pulled off the beach towel and tossed it aside.  “Come on.  You don’t have to actually get in the water, you big baby.”

The bad part about having friends who know you so well is that they know you so well.  CeCe glared at her best friend and attempted her most serious of scowls.

“Not working,” Monica retorted with a wave of hand.  “Let’s go.”

“Fine,” CeCe relented.  She rested on her forearms and sighed.  “What?  Am I not moving fast enough for you?”

Monica raised an eyebrow.

“I hate you sometimes.” CeCe brushed the sand off her body, taking a little longer than normal to do so.

“No, you don’t.  You may not like me but I can deal with that.”

CeCe laughed and gave a half-sincere smile.  “Better?”

“Yes.  Okay,” Monica yelled to the girls kicking water at one another down by the shore.  “I’m coming!”  Her I-mean-it glare only made CeCe laugh more.  “Two minutes, Cecelia.”

As her friends played, the shrieks of laughter  extinguished some of CeCe’s annoyance.  She listened to the waves crash against the shore, the seagulls call from above, and children giggle behind her.  She wrung her hands in an attempt to calm her fears, and took a few deep breaths.

“OMG, I saw the funniest video about a dog playing the piano yesterday…”

“Wait for me,” she called. CeCe tossed her hands in the air and ran towards a new adventure.

 

Persie and a Soaring Heart

Persie

Her wings took up a lot of space in the room.

“I can’t believe I listened to her. ‘The costume theme is Fantasy Garden.’ That’s what she said.”  Persie glared at Brooke and hoped her one-time friend sensed the anger from across the room.

Persie should’ve known better than to trust Brooke, but she’d been sincere in mending their torn friendship.  They’d been friends too long not to try to repair the damage caused by stubbornness and pride.  Apparently, that pledge was only one-sided.

“What are you supposed to be?”

She rolled her eyes and plastered an insincere smile on her face.  “Clearly I got the wrong memo.”

“Haha!  You think?”

Hank walked away laughing, and Persie fought against the fury boiling within.  She didn’t listen to her gut instincts when Brooke came to see her yesterday, pleading for a fresh start and imploring her to come to the Halloween party.  Persie was uncertain if she should go, but after thinking about all the years past, she decided to give it a shot.

“Oh, Pers.  You talked to Brooke, didn’t you?”

The pity in Felicia’s voice held a hint of laughter too, but Persie knew that her long-time friend was more concerned than amused.  It was a particularly ridiculous situation, to be standing in a room full of flappers and “mobsters”.  She’d considered staying in her car and driving right back home; however, she’d seen Paul enter the pillared entrance and her pride drove her to park that car.

Unless her imagination played a trick on her, which it tended to do in stressful situations, Paul had to be here somewhere.  Thankfully, he’s not currently witnessing her embarrassment.

“Stupid, right?”  Persie shook her head out of annoyance and smiled at Felicia.

“Don’t be too harsh on yourself, that’s my job!”  Leave it to this model-esque femme fatale to break the tension and make Persie  laugh.  “Brooke is an…”

“Shh! This room is full of eavesdropping gossips.”

“I don’t care.  Let her hear me!”

Persie pulled Felicia into the hallway when her friend’s raised voice brought unwanted attention.

“Come on, Lici.  Not tonight, please.”

“Fine,” her friend acquiesced, “but if she so much as says your name wrong, I’m entitled to drop kick her.  Just so you know.”

Felicia winked and Persie knew her loyal confidante was only half-joking.

“Thank you.  I owe you one.”

“Technically, you owe me a couple, but fix me up with that lawyer you work with and I’ll wipe the slate clean.”

“Who’s getting fixed up?”

Her heart fell to her feet, and Persie felt the fluttering in her stomach.  She waited a moment, sensing him behind her.

“I’m fixing Persilla up with a cousin of mine – a handsome doctor.”

“I thought I heard you say ‘lawyer’.”

“He’s both.  What do you think? Wouldn’t Persie make a stunning doctor’s wife?”

Persie guessed her cheeks were as pink as the heels on her feet, and she didn’t turn to face her ex-fiancé quite yet.

“She’d make any man a happy one.”

She spun around, smacking him with one of her wings and followed it up with one across his cheek.

Anne and the Spirited Crowd

Multi-colored stone with accents of black, silver, and red.

Multi-colored stone with accents of black, silver, and red.

Jealousy. Ferocity. Passion. She struggled with all as she stared out at the crowd. They blamed her. Doubted her. Scorned her even. Yet, they had no clue. No sense of the truth. She’d never tell them. Wouldn’t admit how much they rushed to judgment. They believe d what they wanted without hesitation.

 Now, here she stood, angry at all she lost and grieving for what taken from her. Her child, now being raised by the friar and his wife. Stolen out of her arms in the name of God and all that was holy. Because clearly, she was not.

 He was here, the man she loved. Yet, he chose to stand beside a woman that offered normalcy and prosperity. She could provide him neither. Despite his cowardice, she loved him still and hoped that afterwards he’d realize the error of his ways.

 The heat intensified and the crowd’s anticipation flooded her sensibilities. The fear stabbed at her with as much strength as the ropes that bound her to the post.

 They gagged her mouth, refusing her the courtesy of any last words. But she didn’t need sound to get her message across. They would suffer for this choice but not because of any actions she took. Their hatred and closed-minded perspective would lead down a path of misery until they succumbed to the pain and frustration. She wouldn’t haunt them nor curse them for eternity. She pictured her daughter and said good-bye.

 The smoke filled her nostrils, and she coughed through the handkerchief. The crackling grew louder and the first touch of fire scourged through her every muscle. The pain seared not only her skin and clothing but her spirit too. “Make it quick,” she pleaded. “I’ll move on to a new life. Just hold on, it’s almost over.”

 The sky blazed in an orange haze, and her spirit flew home.

Rosa and Those She Loves

Rosa

Rosa didn’t want to go; however, the time had finally arrived. She stared at her grandfather’s pocket watch and counted along with each tick-tock.

 

“Come now, Rosa, we’ll be late.”

 

She accepted the hand offered to her and smiled in response to Patric’s pleading eyes. She’d loved him at first sight and knew without a doubt that they’d spend the rest of their lives together. Here they stood on the precipice of a life-changing choice. If even one of them hesitated, well that was something she had no desire to contemplate.

 

“Let’s go,” she replied. “I just needed one last look.”

 

“You spent your childhood here,” Patric said as he wrapped her in a supportive embrace. “We had a lot of great memories here.”

 

She laughed when he whispered in her ear. “Remember how you hid under the bed when my parents came home?”

 

“Yeah,” he said. “I can’t believe she knew I was there the entire time.”

 

“That was quite a revelation to announce to us during our engagement party. I thought you were going to turn purple.”

 

Being near him brought her comfort mixed with utter joy. She rested her head back against his chest and gazed up at her bedroom window. “You think they’re okay with this? Really.”

 

“Hey,” he said, turning her to face him. “They love you no matter where you live.”

 

“It doesn’t hurt that they love you too.”

 

“Eh, yeah, that doesn’t hurt.”

 

“I love you more though.”

 

“You better,” he replied through a smirk.

 

Rosa kissed him softly and brushed the hair from his eyes. “Always.”

 

“I’ll give you another minute.” He kissed her forehead and slipped his hand from hers, not before giving it a squeeze.

 

Memorable moments from her 30 years of life flashed before Rosa’s eyes. The peeled paint on the siding refreshed and the flowers bloomed as she recalled her father teaching how to ride a bike. She remembered the day her parents brought home the German Shepard that became her best friend. Rosa grabbed her remaining piece of luggage and rubbed her fingers over the “For Sold” sign before joining her fiancé on the beginning of their journey.

Bridget: Eire She Goes

Bridget Bridget sat on the bench and cried.  Not three hours earlier, she waved goodbye to her parents and grandparents as the ship left County Cork.  She didn’t know what to expect when she arrived in America.  Had no clue whether the photos her aunt and uncle sent were accurate representations.  She was going to care for her young cousins, be their nurse and caretaker.  Her aunt recently got involved in societal organizations while her uncle worked very long hours.  

It didn’t take much convincing for her parents to agree to their daughter emigrating to America.  In fact, they’d have one less mouth to feed, body to clothe, and person to house.  She’d miss them and they her, but this was best for all involved.  Didn’t mean she wasn’t terrified of the choice she’d made.  As she sat alone on the massive ship and stared out at the water, she wondered if she’d chosen correctly.  

“Bridget Keily.”  

The brash male voice stumbled over a last name that was common in Ireland.  It will take some getting used to, she realized.  She clutched tight to her woven satchel and walked toward the stairway.   

“It’s Kelly,” she explained.  

“What?” the man replied, clearly uninterested.  

“Kelly.  It’s pronounce Kell-ey.  Not Keel-ey.”  

He merely looked at her over the rim of his glasses and jotted down a note on his pad of paper.  “This way,” he said.  

Bridget noticed every detail of the damp, cramped stairwell.  Dark and dreary, the light faded more and more with every descent.  The wooden stairs creaked and the boat swayed, causing the young emigrant to grab hold of the cold, metal banister.  

“In here,” he instructed.  He pointed towards a stark, white room filled with cots and medical equipment.  “Hand the woman at the door this,” he said as he put a folded paper in her hand.  “Then, wait your turn until the doctor calls for you.  When you’re done, someone will direct you where to find your luggage and then your room.  Safe travels.”  

And with that he was gone, as distant a sight as the homeland now so far away.  Bridget sensed the emotions building inside of her and shook them away.  She was seventeen years old.  Old enough to get married, according to her grandmother.  Definitely old enough to travel by herself to an unknown land.  “You’re pretty enough,” her grandmother told her before she left.  “You’ll marry someone decent.  Just don’t ruin your reputation before then.”

 Bridget laughed at her grandmother’s “advice”.   “Marry someone decent,” she repeated with a shake of her head.  She walked towards the door and slammed right into a handsome doctor.

 

 

Calipea and the In-Flight Surprise

Peacock pendant with accents of turquoise, orange, silver and blue

Peacock pendant with accents of turquoise, orange, silver and blue

Calipea boarded the airplane, her carry-on luggage a little larger than normal.  As she struggled to make it fit in the overhead compartment, a friendly flight attendant grinned and said, “We have room further down.  I’ll handle it for you.”

“Great,” Calipea thought.  “Now I’ll have to wait for everyone else to clear out before I can walk down and get my bag.”  Her headache continued to increase in intensity, and she longed for the lights to dim and the flight to take off.  She found her window seat assignment, pulled out her eye mask, and tucked her messenger bag tight under the seat in front of her.  She rested her head back and took one last look at the snow-capped mountains to the east.  Raising her hand to the window, she pressed it gently, closed her eyes, and whispered, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome!”

The unexpected, yet familiar, voice startled Calipea enough to slam her elbow against the armrest.  As she rubbed the soreness from her now tingling funny bone, the soon-to-be West Coast resident glared at her one-time boyfriend and evidently, her flying companion.

“Brayden, what are you doing here?”

“I’m headed to California.”

She struggled to keep her voice low.  “Why?”

“Why  not?”

And that right there was one of the main reasons she’d ended their relationship.  He played emotional games more than any guy she’d ever met but could always come off seeming charming.  It annoyed the crap out of her.

“You expect me to believe,” she replied with anger brimming, “that you decide to visit California the same time I’m moving out there?”

“I didn’t say visiting.  You said visiting.”

Her head pounded with enough ferocity to make her ears throb.  She rubbed her temples and closed her eyes, hoping this was all some horrible nightmare.

“Still here,” he retorted.  “I’m exhausted, though.  Can we catch up later?”

He laid his head back, sighed, and closed his eyes.

Calipea watched him for a minute, making sure this was actually happening.  Inching closer towards the window seat, she tried to distance herself from her ex.  She glanced down at the turquoise bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother and sought strength from the wise elder.  Though Calipea always had a fascination for the city of Angels, she never swayed from the rich Native American culture that provided wisdom and spirituality.  Looking at the man asleep in the seat next to her, Calipea knew that she’d be in need of both very soon.

*Interested in purchasing the necklace and a copy of the story? Visit my Etsy site.*