It’s finally finished! Following months of headaches, pondering rewrites and edits, my first book, Tying Up Loose Ends is now available thru Amazon as an ebook. Whether you’ve read some of the early chapters I posted here and you’re curious what happened to
Sheri and Brian, or you’re completely new to the story, you can use the link on the book cover and purchase a copy before they run out– kidding, it’s an ebook — they can’t run out!
In any case, I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think and oh yeah, tell your friends!
Sheri awoke the next morning to her cell phone ringing. She looked at the display screen. It was Martin. “Did I wake you? I should have known when I didn’t get an early morning email from you today that you’re growing accustomed to a life of leisure.”
“Yes I was still sleeping. I’ve been keeping some strange hours since I’ve been up here, but no worries, I needed to get moving. How are things going in my absence?” Sheri asked.
“Things are running smoothly, but certainly not in your absence. You’re as productive working out of the office as you are in the office. Speaking of which, the reason for my call. The pieces you sent yesterday. They’re fabulous. They were all from one person? Even the accompanying art?”
“Yeah,” Sheri explained, “He’s very talented. I’m not sure if he realizes how much talent he has.”
“Well I want to run those in the next issue. Send me the release forms as soon as you can.”
“I don’t have the release yet. The artist isn’t sure he’s ready to publish his work yet. He simply asked me to take a look at it and give my opinion.” Sheri couldn’t believe here she was lying to Martin, but didn’t want to get into the details of what she sent him and where she got it. In fact she wasn’t even sure why she sent Brian’s work to Martin in the first place. It wasn’t hers to share with anyone and it’s not like she’d ever be able to get any release forms signed. Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends – Chapter Fifteen”
Unable to sleep, Sheri pulled on a pair of sweats. She grabbed the keys hanging by the back door and walked outside. If not for the starry sky, visibility would be impossible without a lantern. Stepping out, the sounds of crickets chirping and toads calling out from the pond, reminded Sheri of all the summers past. It took physically being here to remind her of how much she did truly miss this life. Swatting at a mosquito that buzzed past her ear, she unlocked the apartment and went inside. She recognized the reason for insomnia, and not fight it, she sat down and read through more of Brian’s books. She came across another sketch of coastline, though unlike the one from her honeymoon, she didn’t instantly recognize the place. This drawing too included a written passage:
My brain knows I wasn’t at fault but I wish I could have taken your place. I know I was only a child, but I was the one in charge. You strayed much too far trying to keep up with me. The undertow was so strong that day and before I knew what was happening we were both caught up in it. I tried in vain to reach you, to drag you close, but the ocean proved too determined to pull you from my grip. Once you disappeared from view, I didn’t want to go back to shore alone, but I knew I must. I often wonder if I return to the sea would I still feel you there? If I cup the water in my hands will I feel like I’m holding your hand again like I used to when you were learning to walk? If I toss a stone into the waves will you pick it up and throw it back? If I kick at the waves and splash will you do the same? The second worst day of my life was when we moved away. I felt we were giving up on you, moving far away to forget those memories. But what if you needed us? What if you made it home and I wasn’t there for you again?
She thought to herself, “My God, what happened to you in South Carolina and who did you lose?” Sheri gathered up several of his books and brought them with her to the makeshift office on the porch. As she read through the pages, she began making notes and marking passages with sticky tabs. While she was up she decided that she might as well get some real work done too. Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends – Chapter Fourteen”
“Time to get back to work,” Sheri thought, “Hopefully I don’t unearth more ancient artifacts. I don’t know if I can handle many more shocks.” Thinking Ida needed privacy as she read through her grandfather’s journals and she had a good handle on the items left upstairs, now it was time to see what she was in for with the studio. She grabbed a drop cloth and took it from one the easels. She gasped at the sight of what she uncovered. Shocked, Sheri saw the picture Brian was working on shortly before he left. It was the one from their honeymoon. It was a perfect rendition of the beach where they exchanged their vows. This was the one he said wasn’t quite right. To her it appeared finished. I wonder what he thought was missing.
Sheri uncovered other pictures on the easels set up throughout the room. The rest were all only partially finished works. She covered them back up to protect them and she redirected her attention to the shelves filled with sketch books. He left so many here, but she guessed they were too heavy and cumbersome for him to take. She has assumed that Brian only used them as rough sketches for ideas he had for paintings or drawings and likely would have had no use of them after the piece was complete. As she flipped through, she saw that he not only did they contain pencil drawings of works he had finished long ago, but also, pages of poetry and other insights into Brian’s head. While they were together she always respected his sketch books in the same way he respected her journals. This was sacred ground for both of them and neither would have invaded the other’s privacy. Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends – Chapter Thirteen”
“Hey, Cow Town. Look, I think I see one of your kind. Cute blonde straight ahead wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt,” Jimmy teased his easy-going roommate. The two had lived together since freshman year, and the good-natured teasing went both ways. Jimmy was from Indiana and Brian knew he gave his share of grief over that, his personal favorite insult was calling him “Slim Jim” as in the skinny beef like sausage stick.
Brian Harrison had gotten used to the cow town talk. He had hoped though by the start of his junior year, the clowns he called friends would have moved on to something or someone else to make fun of. “Seriously, there is more to Wisconsin than just cows.”
“If I drive you home, will I see cows?” Jimmy quizzed.
“That’s not the point. If I drive you home, will I see any homes not built on wheels? Besides aren’t there cows in Indiana?” Brian tried to make a point, but knew he was losing the battle with that argument. So what? There were a lot of cows in the town he lived, but there were plenty of other things too. Ah, who was he trying to kid? There were a lot of cows, farms, cranberries, and deer caught-in-headlights. Brian thought to himself, Jimmy was right I live in a sleepy little farm town through no fault of my own. When Brian was ten his father took a job in Milwaukee and moved the family from South Carolina. Brian had lived in South Carolina since birth. It was an easy transition for his parents who grew up in the Midwest, and for his sister Sara who was seven years younger than him because she didn’t know the difference, but for Brian it left him feeling restless. For the eight years he lived there before college, he never felt like he truly fit in. He found himself frequently wishing that life could just go back to the way it was, but he knew that it wasn’t possible. Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends – Chapter Twelve”
It was Monday morning and again, Sheri was up with the birds and the sun. She had much to accomplish today. Grabbing clean clothes she walked to her bathroom. She skipped a shower, instead just washed up, pulled her hair back and got dressed. Seeing her image in the mirror she realized that she didn’t look as drained as she had for the past several months. She returned to her room to get her laptop and files before heading downstairs.
Ida was already awake and had started a coffee, “Well good morning! You’re up awfully early. I expected you to sleep in a bit after the bombshell I dropped on you yesterday.”
“No,” Sheri replied, “I took the weekend off from work, but this morning I need to check in with Martin and respond to the dozens of emails that I no doubt have in my inbox. I want to deal with all it this morning because I’m anxious to get back to the apartment later.”
“Well then, how about a hearty breakfast to begin your day?”
“Thanks, but I think I’ll stick with just coffee for now. Would you mind if I set up my things in family room?” Sheri asked. “That way it’s out of the way, but I can still run in to check it throughout the day. If I don’t connect with Martin soon, he’ll think I abandoned both him and my job.”
“Of course you can but I do have a perfectly nice office set up in the den that you can use while you’re here.” Ida wasn’t surprised when Sheri said she preferred the family room. She knew that Sheri loved that space since she was a child. Richard had transformed the old rickety back porch into a comfortable extension of living space many years ago. He added more floor space, and not only put in screens, but full casement windows and a black cast iron stove for chilly days and ceiling fans for warm summer afternoons. Ida filled the room with comfortable sofas, large chairs and a large round table for meals, games or as a work space as Sheri was going to going to be using it as. Ida thought back to long ago, when Sheri sat there doing homework or art work.
Sheri set up her computer, pulled out her noted, calendar and the other supplies she brought along to transform the space into her office for at least the next few days. “First things first,” Sheri thought to herself as she drafted an email to Martin: Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends – Chapter Eleven”
“It was the spring of 1950 and I was a senior in high school. Richard and I dated on and off for four years. Weeks before school ended we had gotten into a silly argument over nothing that was important. I told him it was over between us. He got angry, stormed off and we didn’t even make eye contact on the day we graduated. I didn’t care, in a few short days I was going to be flying to Virginia to spend the summer with my cousin Linda. She too had just graduated and had a job in a small beach town a few hours from where she lived in Richmond.
Linda and I met for the first time when we were toddlers. My family held a large reunion every year and we’d spend a week together every summer. As we got older we became pen pals. I must have received a letter from her at least once a week, and I was answering her letters as soon as I got one. My parents knew how badly I wanted to spend the whole summer with her. So as my graduation gift, they bought me a round trip plane ticket. I was free to stay as long as I wanted, but it was understood that I would have to pay my own expenses while I was there. Linda was able to get me a job at the same beach front diner where she worked. There was a rooming house in town that rented rooms to the summer help that came to work every year. I was so excited. This was going to be the best summer I ever had. I had never been on my own before. Linda picked me up from the airport, and we were on the road to our new adventure. As we drove, Linda told me that she had been thinking that my name Ida sounded too mature. She said I should use my childhood nickname, Dee Dee for the summer. She thought it sounded like a fun name. I agreed it was a great idea. My goal was to enjoy every moment of the summer. Once I went back home, I was going to enroll in secretarial school at the local college, but for the next few months, I would be Dee Dee. Continue reading “Tying Up Loose Ends – Chapter Ten”