APtS: Chapter 4 Page 1

Just when things seem to be lower than low, there’s a turn in Rhae’s life. Today, we have the first page of chapter 4. The chapter in which our main character picks up the pieces of her life and Goes Home.

     I set my feet on the floor. The hardwood is cool and feels nice against my toes. It is too hot to sleep very well. Still, I need to get my head moving this morning. I stumble into the bathroom. Carefully running my fingers through my knotted hair, and pulling it into a high ponytail that lets the ends tickle the back of my neck. I wash my face and brush my teeth. Steeling myself for what I might see, I look up into the mirror.

     Not so bad. I think I have been getting a little better every day. My tears ran dry a few days ago. Only minor dark circles remain under my eyes. My body is slowly recovering from the ache of crying so much. The aches have given me something to focus on instead of using pills or liquor to numb myself. This is a good thing. I didn’t need to chemically numb for too long. I dress in a familiar pair of cut off shorts, and a newish tank top.

     Tip-toeing down the stairs, careful not to wake my niece Jillian, or Jess and Connor.  I make it to the kitchen and start a pot of coffee.

     Having a routine is the only thing keeping me going every day. It’s automatic. I don’t need to think to do it. Make coffee. Make a bagel with strawberry cream cheese. Make very large cup of coffee with half & half, and no-cal sweetener. Sit on the back porch to eat. That’s my routine, and has been for the month or so I’ve been living with Jess.

     Settling myself into a chair at the patio table, I fold my feet under my butt. The sun isn’t up yet, but I look forward to watching it rise. The beauty of a peach, pink, and blue sky, scattered with a fringe of white clouds reminds me of the joy this world can hold. I need the reminder.

     Cradling my coffee cup in both hands, I let the warmth sink into my skin. Taking a tentative sip, the creamy goodness spreads across my tongue. I let out a ragged sigh. This is a good life. All pain and misery aside, I could live like this. Couldn’t I? Jess and Connor would let me stay forever, right?

     Who am I kidding? I could stay here another six months and not be ready to go back home. Fact is, I need to be out on my own. I take a bite of bagel and chew over my food with my thoughts. The toasty flavor of the bagel makes me remember how I had introduced Ryan to my favorite breakfast. Well, second favorite. Mama’s eggs, bacon, grits, and biscuits would always hold number one in my book. Ryan had never eaten a bagel before we met. He was a little boy in his food choices. I always did my best to improve his options.

     “Aunt Rhae?” I hear a small, sleepy voice. I turn to see little Miss Jillian stepping through the patio door.

     “Hey sweet girl, what are you doing up?” I’m always stunned by how fast she’s growing up.

     “I smelled breakfast. I can have some?” Oh that smile. She is the sweetest, freckle-faced little girl in a pink nightgown anywhere.

     “Of course. Come here.” I bring her up on my lap and let her have a drink of my coffee first. “Did you dream good baby girl?” I ask as I sweep her little bangs to the side and tuck them behind her ear.

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