Mourning Dove Road – A Butch/Femme Tale

18 Sep

Part I


Before leaving a flat fine line to the west, October’s sunlight burns down to fragmented dots and dashes infusing color to the liqueur bottles standing like soldiers behind the bar at Restaurant 518.  Familiar are the scents of bread and tomato sauce as I witness the cooks in the kitchen labor through the cacophony of pots and pans. One cook mans the larger stove replacing lids to the escaping steaming water. Steam charges his face with every lid he removes as he takes his apron to wipe the sweat pouring from his forehead. He catches my stare, nods, and manages a smile.

Launched from speakers set high off the corners of the ceiling come the breath of a soprano’s voice and the dramatic timber of a baritone.  As I stand beneath the glow of an amber light, I wonder if the other patrons knew that in opera some divas go mad, some leap to their death, some are stabbed, always in some tragic fashion, over immortal love?  Maria Callas, one of opera’s great sopranos, said, “When the curtain rises, the only thing that speaks is courage.”

Waiting for Katherine, I felt fearless.


 It was early Saturday night and Katherine and I settled into a booth near a brass railing. I rested my arm on the rail and lit a cigarette. She leaned in to smell the flowers   arranged in a glass vase for the table centerpiece, then moved the unlit candle to the side, then pressed both palms into the linen to lay flat any unwanted wrinkle, but there was none. “This is so nice, Jo,” she said.

I lit the candle and sat quietly admiring Katherine’s face; her blonde hair fell in curls to her shoulders. Her jewelry was simple but elegant and her nails were polished a translucent pink.  Under a white blouse her camisole revealed a lace border. “You look lovely,” I told her, “and your blouse is beautiful.”

At a height of 5’ 8” Katherine was long-legged with a fast walk that spoke of certainty and happiness. Voluptuously built, her breasts full and supple, one night I asked her why she wore a bra to bed. Smiling coyly, she revealed that she “didn’t want the ‘girls’ to sag.” Blessed with a good sense of humor she’d call herself “The Burberry girl.” She carried around a big Burberry bag and in it she carried everything. She wore Burberry sunglasses and a Burberry scarf and when she wore her hair up, she’d shake her big gold hoop earrings making sure they didn’t catch in her hair. She’d wear sandals or boots but never wear socks because her feet were always warm; she liked going barefoot. She never threw off airs and never thought about her looks. I told her she was a ‘lady’ for never having gossiped, never having an unkind word to say about anyone, her modesty didn’t allow comfort with even the slightest compliment.  She was a shy girl who could pout and cry in a moment’s notice and she would explain, as if it were any consolation, that she was “just feeling emotional,” and then, by that admission, she would cry again.

I loved her company, she was exciting and loved doing anything.  I loved watching her dance. Her dancing was a mix of American erotica and Middle Eastern belly dancing, a siren’s song, a dance I’d never seen before. When I’d tell her that her dancing made my heart race, she’d say,

“Oh, I probably look like a fool up there. My daughter’s friends must think I’m crazy. Come on, I’m forty-one. I don’t care. I just dance. But I’m glad you like it,” she’d say, and kiss me.

Katherine had no idea how beautiful she was – she never kept to the mirror, never felt beautiful, felt her looks only adequate, sometimes she felt pretty. But in her soul, in her heart – her deep-down beauty, the beauty I had seen in Katherine, the goodness that she couldn’t hide, that which radiated from within, that which she could not contain, had taken front and center as I watched her turn heads in Restaurant 518.


                        The month of October is sun-kissed and cooled just enough from the remains of summer’s heat and a weekend away in early fall has always been a welcomed favorite of mine. It was Columbus Day weekend and I had Monday off. I woke early to pack and gave Romeo, the cat, food, water, treats, and a clean litter box. I nuzzled him close and kissed him goodbye, “I love you.  I’ll be back Monday.”

Asheville from Raleigh is about two hundred fifty miles east. It was a blue and clear fresh morning and I had an early start. I was spending the weekend with Katherine!  Katherine had rented a cabin in Asheville every year booking for the same week – Columbus weekend –  a year in advance. Because she had expressed that the cabin was her retreat – a place where she could wind down and be alone (and I suppose, nurture her soul), I was reluctant to join her at first. But she encouraged me to go by sending links of the cabin, various museums, antique shops, restaurants – even directions, and with these assurances I decided to join her.

‘We only know each other a week’ I told myself on the drive out.

How I came to find Katherine at all, came only just a month before on Labor Day. It was a quiet holiday, and I began searching different dating sites and found one called Curve Personals. I limited my personal search to North Carolina and found Katherine’s profile. Her status read, “Seeking friends/pen pals.”  She described how she “loved the fury of the ocean in a storm,” that intrigued me, so I wrote her saying that I had grown up on Long Island, near Jones Beach, and walked the beach in many a storm. When she finally responded on her birthday from a hotel computer, her e-mail began, “I’m here with Chris and I’m here writing you, this is not good or is it?”

Everyone has issues.

I was going through menopause. I liked not having my period anymore, but I was going through night sweats and would often wake up soaking wet. I didn’t like my mood swings either. I was very touchy, edgy, and would become strangely melancholy. This behavior had affected me professionally and was costing me my livelihood. I didn’t want to tell Katherine – it was too early to say anything. I blamed it all on being butch and not being able to voice my sensitivities.

When I arrived at Willow Woods in Asheville my thoughts settled. The air was free of clouds with big skies, and I swallowed hard to clear my ears because of the mountainous elevation. When I arrived Katherine was in bed. I guess I arrived too early. She answered the door, smiled, took my hand, ushering me inside, and then ran back to bed because the cabin was so cold. I undressed and got into bed with her.

We had taken a picture together on the cabin couch near the fire, posing cheek to cheek. We were so clear-eyed and hopeful. The next day, Sunday, we took a walk, got lost, and walked two miles out of our way. We laughed it off. We’d found a good tree to carve our initials “JB & KP” inside a heart and wrote the date. She carved in the date but carved the wrong month:  11/06, when it was really 10/06.  “Oh, Jo – why didn’t you say something?” she whined. “I don’t know,” I said. “It’s okay.”.

She gave me the picture in a frame and took the complimentary cookie tin from the cabin and used it to hold autumn leaves from our walk and sent these to me with a card saying how she loved our weekend together. We made love in the hot tub outside, on the couch, on the king-sized bed, and on the floor in front of a roaring fire. In the middle of the night, with her hands touching mine, exchanging caresses and kisses, stroking every line, every curve, licking my fingers, sucking them into her mouth, our hands made love for a long while until I nearly orgasmed from her touch. It was hard leaving her that weekend, but there was never enough time between us.

The Affair

            Katherine and I began our love affair in the fall of 2006, and when I’d suddenly and completely became so involved, I realized I had wasted my time with everyone. Nobody was like Katherine. She was sexy, sassy, a whore in bed. She loved that I talked dirty and I loved the way she gave it up. She allowed me everything: spanking her, pulling her hair, throwing her down, fisting her, nipple play, anal intercourse, love bites, hard kisses, strap-on sex for hours and she loved my butch cock. She would suck it and love me for it. I was in a beautiful Dom role that I hadn’t been in for years. She was a beautiful submissive. I was so horny all the time for her. She loved sex and I loved sex with her. Then we’d lie down and she’d rest her head on my shoulder, playing with my hair. We’d exchange soft and sweet kisses. I’d touch her hands and tell her how beautiful her hands were, how beautiful her body was, that her body was a ‘gift’ and she should love her body.

She’d say, “Why do you love my body so much?  You really think it’s beautiful?”

“It’s a fast car.. It’s such a beautiful body, you just don’t see it.”

She tapped her stomach, “Even with this kangaroo pouch? Come on.”

“That’s a beautiful sweet belly,” and I’d kiss her.

She’d smile and we’d continue to lie in bed talking, sharing secrets. She had the softest skin. “Jo, I love you. I love you so much, baby. You’ve made me so happy.”

Through November and December she visited Saturday afternoons, stay twenty-four hours, and leave Sunday.  We’d share every other weekend together. It was a promising love and I was ready to give her what no other had woman ever seen in me. We had exciting sex and shared a deep warm chemistry. She assured me she loved me over and over again. She’d write loving e-mails, send romantic cards, and call nearly every morning and every night saying how much she cared and loved me. She got a Star Registry Certificate and named a star after us in the Constellation Drago. She planned on getting a tattoo with our initials, we talked of marriage, she wanted to marry and have a baby with me, she gave me a ring on Valentine’s Day, and her card read,

“You are my life, my love, and my friend, and that’s forever, baby.”

We fit in bed like puzzle pieces. Katherine was a dedicated and loyal lover. She was kind and consistent. She was the only woman who never tried to change me. She never nagged me. She’d found me ‘perfect.’ I was lost in her in so many of our lovemaking sessions.

“Jo, I want to have your baby,’ she said over the phone.

I said, “How are we going to do that?”

“With one of your first, closest male cousins.”

“You’d sleep with one of my cousins?” I was astounded. “You would do that? You’d get pregnant because I like kids?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I’d do anything for you, for us. I love you that much. I want a part of your lifeline in me.”

Katherine spoke of love all the time. Maybe she needed to speak the words to remind herself of how love could be, maybe she needed to say them in order to have them returned, maybe she’d miss tender words because she was going through a divorce and Tom had treated her so cruelly in their marriage. I didn’t know what it was. I trusted Katherine and believed her.

When her floral bouquet arrived at Halloween, her card read,

“Jo, you love me so well.  Thank you for loving me.   If you could see my tomorrows, you would see yourself in every one of them.  You wreck me, your holiday, your Wifey, Katherine”


            One weekend in early November, Katherine arrived on a Friday evening with her children. She packed their bicycles into her SUV, along with a camera, firewood, a model car kit, and the game of Twister. It was a time to bond with Katherine’s children. The first thing I did was get out an old football because I didn’t want to corner the children into conversation, but I knew a game of catch was an ice-breaker, so that’s how we began.  We went out for pizza, rented a scary movie (where I was the most scared), we rode bicycles, pieced the model car together and decaled it, saw a Saturday matinée, made Smores – which I’ve never made before –  and played the game of Twister where I nearly wrenched my back, even falling backwards on purpose, just to get a laugh.

Patrick chased Romeo in circles around the couch, and the cat looked forlorn as if to say, ‘help.’ But he never scratched or hissed and even let Patrick pick him up. I think Romeo liked the attention. Neither of us had much company and that weekend our lives had been satiated with love and laughter.

I didn’t realize when the children left that I’d never see them again.

Katherine stayed during weekends in October and November and part of December, arranging schedules with her ex-husband to be, making sure her son, Patrick, 9 and Jessica, 12, would be okay until she returned on Sunday afternoon. Tom had the children on weekends, but it seemed every time Katherine wanted to leave on a Friday to visit me one day early, he’d always throw a wrench in the plans, having to work late or some other engagement would pop up out of the blue, and she’d call to say,

“Baby, I’m sorry. Tom is being a prick. But even though I can’t come tonight, I’m dropping off the dogs at the kennel tomorrow–early, and I should be to you no later than one o’clock.”

I felt like shuffling my feet when I’d say, “Ah, it’s okay.”

“Don’t be mad.  I love you. And baby, I can’t wait to see you. Jo, you are everything to me and I will do whatever it takes to see you.”

Sometimes I felt like a mistress, I really did. I’d never been to her house; I’d never seen the way she lived. I wanted to, but I never pushed the issue. Her house in Charlotte did look pretty in the pictures she’d sent. It looked like a big house, lots of land, pretty nicely furnished. It would have been easier for me to travel to her, but she never invited me. And since she was still technically married, soon to be divorced, I didn’t think it appropriate for me to stay there. I didn’t want to upset her divorce proceedings or get in the middle in any way.

When Thanksgiving rolled around, she’d gone with Tom and the children to New Jersey. I felt badly, but I never said anything. “Next year, baby, it’ll be different,’ she said.

“I know, sweetheart, its okay. Did you enjoy your holiday with your family?”

I always tried to be on her side. I just couldn’t find it in my heart to be unkind to her.


She told me in a crying jag one night that she was bulimic.

“That’s why my teeth are so bad, Jo.”

“You’re bulimic, Katherine? You throw up?”

“Yes. But I’ve never thrown up at your house.”

“Is that why you don’t eat, or you eat very little with me?”

“Jo, if I feel like I’m eating junk, like fast-food, I purge it.”

“Wow.  I can’t believe it.”

“Look, I’m sorry I told you, “she said indignantly.

“I mean, you’ve been doing this since …how long? Have you gotten any help?”

“See, this is what I get.  I’m sorry I ever told you. You don’t know a thing about bulimia.  You don’t know a thing about it!”

“Kath, I—“

“I’ll call you tomorrow. And don’t write me an e-mail telling me how you’ve got to think this over.  I don’t want to hear it. I am the way I am. You don’t have to like it.  But it’s my life. I thought I could tell you, talk with you, but I see I can’t.”

I was just listening; I didn’t know what to say. I mean she had an eating disorder and for three months I didn’t know. I didn’t know anyone who was bulimic, until Katherine.

“Kath,” I said, gently, “I would have found out if you didn’t tell me. I would have noticed.”

“No, you wouldn’t have,” she snapped, “Tom lived with me for 16 years and he never knew.”


The first Saturday in December I went to Flowerama and bought a dozen red roses then headed to a local jewelry store and decided to buy Katherine a ring. It was a beautiful ring in silver with a misty topaz stone cut on eight sides and beveled high so that when you viewed the ring, it shined green, magenta and turquoise. I wasn’t sure of Katherine’s taste in jewelry but I had chosen this type of ring because it was how I felt my love should be: bright and bold, out in the open, willing to change colors, and one of a kind. I would present the ring today because she was spending Christmas with her family and I probably wouldn’t see her until New Years.

When I returned home I was beside myself with excitement and before Katherine arrived I called Laine.

“Laine, I’ve got something to tell you!”

“Well, if it’s about Katherine, I don’t know about her, Jo.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I don’t know…but I just get the feeling she wears a mask.”

“What do you mean?  Laine?”

“Seriously, Jo. I don’t even know why I’m saying that, but I just get that feeling.

“I’m not calling to complain, Laine. I love this girl.”

Her voice was calm. “I’m only telling you this because I don’t want to see you get hurt. Jo, you’ve been down this road before. Remember Sharon? You have a house that you bought for Sharon and she’s not even around. You always give too much too soon.”

“Don’t worry about anything, please. After her divorce goes final –– Laine, look, this girl loves me. She does. I just bought her a ring.”

“You bought her a ring?”

“It’s beautiful. I’m giving it to her today. She’s coming this afternoon. I can’t        wait.”

“Oh, Jo, I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Laine, I love her. You don’t know her. But she’s everything to me. And she         loves me. You know something?”


“She’s getting a tattoo with our initials.”


“Well, this is what she told me, she said:  “’Jo, you are my love, my life and my     friend and I’m going to get a circle of that on my back with those words.’”

“That’s gonna’ be some big tattoo.”

“Well, it’ll be something, right! But, Laine – can you believe it?  She loves me!”

“And I love you too, Jo. Just be careful. How much was the ring? Wait…don’t tell me.”


After I’d hung up with Laine, Katherine arrived wearing her hair up in a French twist with her sunglasses, tight jeans, boots and she smelled delicious with her signature scent, Burberry.

“Oh, baby! Come here,” she said, “God I’ve missed you so much. I want to make love right now. Please can we go upstairs?”

In bed I said, “Kath, I’ve got something for you. I know it’s a little early in our relationship, but I can’t help it. I know we won’t be together for the Christmas holiday and I want you to have this.”

The jewelry box was purple with a pink bow and bagged in black lace. I handed it to her, at first I thought about slipping the ring on her finger, but I wanted her to enjoy the presentation, I wanted to see her face when she opened it.

“What’s this? Baby…” she said coyly.

“Honey, I love you.”

As she untied the ribbon and opened the box, the ring sparkled as the afternoon sun shined through the bedroom window.

“You got me a ring?”

I took the ring and said, “What finger should we place this on?”

She had bought herself a ring after Tom left and she had worn it in place of her band. She took off her ring. “It goes here.” She put out her hand and I placed the ring on her left ring finger.

“Oh, Jo! I love it!”

“Do you?”

“Oh, I love it. I love you, oh, Jo, baby…”

She and I sat outside on my deck as the afternoon sun melted away in our eyes.     “Do you really like it?” I asked.

She sat and stared at the ring, flashing it all ways, bringing it back to her face and pushing out her hand. “Oh, it’s beautiful, Jo, really. It really is.”

“Kath, I didn’t know what you liked, but it’s—“

“It’s perfect, it’s perfect.”

“I know we won’t be together for Christmas, but I wanted to let you know that I’ll           be there, in spirit. Wear my ring, that’s a sign of my love.”

“I will, baby. Always.”

“I’ve got to get this Christmas tree up, want to help?”

“You better believe I do!”

We decorated the tree and it looked beautiful. Something about the way she decorated it made my heart lift. I hadn’t had any help decorating my tree since living with Linda. The tree went up in less than a half hour. She said,

“Now that it’s all up, I’ve got something for you! I’ll be right back.”

She ran out to her car and she came back with two boxes, both wrapped pretty and neat. One box was smaller and I thought, “God, how come femmes wrap gifts so good and I can’t?”

She placed the two boxes under the tree. I smiled, “Are those for me?”

“They are! Open them now!”

“Can’t I wait for Christmas? I won’t have anything to open Christmas morning if I open them now.”

“Oh no! You can’t. Please open them now. Please, please, please? Honey, this        isn’t just it, they’ll be more. But please open them now, please?”

I opened the small one first.

“Katherine, you got him a toy?  God, I can’t believe you remembered him. That’s so nice of you, really.”

We placed the toy in front of Romeo, spun it around and toyed with the ball and feather contraption, teasing him, taking it back and forth and moving it around in circles. He batted the feather a couple of times then went back to sleeping. “Oh, you old man, “ I said, “now if Angelo were here, my once great former mouser, he’d be all over this ball.” I picked up Romeo, kissed him and he licked me on my nose, “Okay, go lie down boy.”

“Kath, that was so nice of you, really. Thinking of Romeo.”

“I like Romeo, babe. He’s the coolest cat. He’s the only cat I’ve ever really liked. …Now open the big present.”

I was wondering what could be in such a big box. I hadn’t asked for anything. For me a gift is good enough if it’s got socks and underwear, maybe a car wash certificate, but she had gone overboard and felt I’d deserved it. The wrapping was perfect, but the gift was better, “Wow! You got me a CD player?!”

“It’s from the kids, now mind you.”

“Kath! You knew I needed a CD player! Honey!” I immediately put the speakers and wires together and programmed my favorite radio stations.

She commented, “You’re reading the manual?”

“I always read the manuals. Actually, this one is written pretty well.”

“Oh, God,” she said and started to laugh.

That night we danced in the kitchen while The Stylistics CD played, one that I hadn’t listened to in a while, I began to sing to her as I held her close,

“You are everything and everything is you, whoa-oh, you are everything and everything is you…you are everything and everything is you.’


            Katherine and I would go out to clubs and she’d order a “Jack, back.”  I’d ordered several of those for her one night, not knowing what I was ordering, but the bartenders knew. Jack Daniels and Coor’s Light. Her drinks came in at $10 bucks a pop, and between my Chardonnay at $6 bucks a glass and her drinking requests, we’d spent a small fortune many nights when she was in town.

When Katherine came on New Year’s Eve day it was a slow day in Raleigh, there was no traffic anywhere. I had gone shopping for some special groceries the day before.  I bought shrimp and scallops and good cheeses, dips, and a bottle of champagne. I was planning a nice meal with the uncorking of the champagne to toast at midnight. She had arrived early, before noon, and she had packed very little. She had the clothes she was wearing and in her overnight bag, her make-up and a lingerie.

I asked her if she’d like to go to lunch, get something to eat, but two places that I’d chosen were crowded and we wound up at a bar and grill called the Bull and Bear. We sat and talked at the bar and watched some football. It was the last day in 2006.

I don’t know why I took her there except that I could blame it on my own melancholy that day. Suddenly I’d become sad on the last day of the year—even with Katherine’s company, and I wound up in a dive bar with her, without even ordering a burger. So she began with the beer and chasers and I sipped a cheap glass of wine.

We then proceeded to drink some more. We went back to my place, made a little love, and I asked her if she wanted to go to Cinelli’s, a local restaurant, one that we’d both been to before. Before we left, I made the scallops and shrimp, and put out a cheese platter, but she didn’t want to eat. “Let’s eat later,” she said.  So, I refrigerated everything and we left for Cinelli’s.

It was raining and on the way into the restaurant Katherine tripped and fell on her leg. She didn’t get up readily. I was half-drunk but she was drunker than me. It was New Year’s Eve and we were celebrating. I watched her fall in the rain, wearing my borrowed shirt, I asked her, “Are you okay? Baby?!”

“Oh, I’m all right,” she said.

Inside Cinelli’s the music was playing, and there was a good singer doing his very best at Karaoke. Everyone there was dressed nice, except Katherine and me, with our rag-tag jeans. But she was pulling out the credit cards and I had some cash, ‘Fuck it’, I thought, it was New Year’s Eve. We were sending out 2006 with a bang. On the dance floor she started her hypnosis on me, gyrating into my groin with her ass. She and I were both deliberately out of control. We were fucking each other on the dance floor in front of a bunch of white Anglo-Saxon Protestant people and then started making out in front of them. We ordered a round for a couple of people we knew and I placed a party hat on Katherine and she placed an Hawaiian lei around my neck.

When we were leaving Katherine’s arm had caught the door and she tripped going out the door. The manager followed us, holding an umbrella, yelling through the rain, “Are you okay?!” Are you sure?!”  It was pouring. I told him, “Glen!  We’re fine!  I live just around the block!”

When we returned home I said, “Are you hungry?” and she said, “Yes, I’m starved.”  Of course we both were—we hadn’t really eaten anything all day.  I gave her a plate of Gemelli pasta with shrimp, scallops and mushrooms, and she took the plate upstairs to the bedroom. I stayed in the kitchen making my plate, finishing up a few things before joining her. But she had eaten fast and came running down the steps saying, “Can I have seconds?  Baby, I’m sorry I finished so fast!  It was good!” and off the last step into the living room she had fallen.

I looked at her lying on the floor. She had fallen three times in one night. She was holding the empty plate. I never thought she was fooling for a second. I knew immediately something was wrong. She said, “Jo, I can’t get up.  My leg really hurts.”

She laid there in her underwear and a top. I went from being half-drunk to sober in a matter of minutes and called EMS. I dressed her in a pair of green sweatpants and put her in a new air cast I had purchased for my own ornery ankle that was prone to sprains, just three weeks before.

The driver drove slowly and I followed behind in my car. We arrived at the emergency room and she went in right away, but everything after that, the X-rays, the diagnosis, the doctor coming, the wrapped leg, the paperwork, took long. We were told at 4:30 a.m. that she had severely damaged her leg but they couldn’t operate because of her insurance carrier being in Charlotte, so they bandaged her up, gave her a few pain pills and I drove her back to my home in Raleigh. She was given a prescription but it was New Years Day and it was hard to find a store open to fill it.

I didn’t know what to do. Katherine said, “Jo, I’m going to have to call my mother. I’m going to have to call Tom.”

Through the phone his voice was loud enough, “Were you drinking?” he said, “Were you?”

I left the room. I didn’t want to hear it. I knew she was drinking—we both were. I had not taken care of my lady. I did not watch out for her. I had let her down. I called her mother, entering the number for Katherine, never having spoken with her mother before. “Hello, Elizabeth?”

“Yes?  Hello.”

“Happy New Year. I’m calling for Katherine. This is Jo.”

“Happy New Year,” she said.

“Hold on, Katherine needs to speak with you.”

“Mommy?” Katherine started crying.

I left the room again.  I went downstairs looking at the step where Katherine fell.  Romeo was sitting and staring into his food bowl, it was dinnertime for him. I fed him, washed a few dishes, took out the garbage and washed my hands and face. When I went back upstairs to my bedroom where Katherine was now laying, she said,

“Mommy’s coming. Can you please call her back and talk about some things?”


            At Terminal A in RDU Airport, bag handlers were busy with the last-minute rush of holiday travelers. I pulled my car close to the curb where she was standing; it didn’t seem to faze her; I knew it was her standing there lanky and lean, dragging long on her cigarette outside in the wind, as the terminal police stood by, eyeing me for any violation, waiting for my departure.

“Hi, I’m Jo.” I greeted her as happily as I could, hurrying to load her bag into the trunk.

Her first words, “Mind if I smoke in your car?” took me back.

“No, not at all,” I said, politely. “How was your flight?”

“Expensive.” She stretched out a hand and awkwardly shook mine while my left hand took the wheel, “Nice to meet you, I’m Katherine’s mother Elizabeth.”


            On the evening of January 3rd, I called Laine. My Christmas tree lights were shining and I had heated up some left over pasta and shrimp and scallops from the night before.

“Laine, it’s me, Jo.”

“Jo! Happy New Year!”

“Happy New Year, but it ain’t so happy, Laine.”

“What’s the matter?”

“Well,” I began slowly, nearly choking on the words, “on New Years Eve Katherine broke her ankle, kneecap, fibula, and tibia. And today Katherine’s mother flew from New Jersey into Raleigh..”

“Are you kidding me? How?”

“She fell in my house, she fell down the last step, Laine, it’s unbelievable.”

“Is she going to sue?”



“Are you crazy? Have you completely lost your mind?”

“Jo, hey, you never know.”

“Look, I didn’t get much sleep last night, I’m a little aggravated. We were at the emergency room till four in the morning. Last night, New Years Eve, we were both out of control, but she was worse than me and she broke her friggin’ leg because she was so damn drunk! …Laine, do you know what a ‘jack-back’ is’?”

“Yeah, it’s a chaser of Jack Daniels with a beer.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Jo, this is not your fault.”

“In a way it is,” I said.


            Katherine left the morning of January 3rd.  I gave her a comforter, two pillows and a pair of green sweat pants. I kissed her goodbye. I laid the comforter underneath her on the backseat and propped up the two pillows. Her mother sat in the driver’s seat adjusting the mirrors for the ride back.

“Are you comfortable?” I asked Katherine, “are you sure?” “Yes,” she said. “Baby, I love you. I love you so much.” And she’d said that right in front of her mother. I said,

“I love you. I will call you. Okay?  I’ll call you tonight.” I tapped the door and said to Elizabeth, “Drive safe.”

I said goodbye to her on Mourning Dove Road.  She waved goodbye in the silver-gray, Buick Rendezvous that came to greet me every other Saturday.

To be continued

© Terry Rachel 2011

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