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French, Jewish, Horses, Ellis Island, Immigration, Russia, Tzar,
Horse Farm, Virginia, Romance, Paris, Catholic, Love, Golf

Read a few pages. - Enjoy!

 

Just Released -

 

The Middle of Nowhere - SAMPLE

 

 

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To love is nothing, To be loved is something, But to love and be loved is everything.

~T. Tolis

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Chapter One -

It happened in a split second. Headlights heading straight for us, the screech of brakes, the deafening sound of metal on metal. An explosion as the semi hit us head on sending shards of glass flying my way, the air bag hitting my chest causing instant, intense pain. Then nothing but silence.

Like awakening from a deep sleep, I found it hard to find my bearings. I tried to relate the surroundings. My eyes searching for something familiar as the room began to come into focus. Why was my sister Jennifer sitting at my bedside? What was I doing in this semi-dark hospital room? The constant sound of the monitor above my bed echoed in my ears. I noticed a needle taped to a vein at my wrist. What was I doing here? My mind was blank, like an erased blackboard that had been wiped clean except for a few disjointed words left at the edges. Nothing made sense.

My sister leaned over the bedrail and took my hand in hers. “Julia, thank God you’re awake.”

“Sort of. What am I doing here?”

“You were in an accident, Sis. Don’t you remember?”

Nothing registered. I kept drifting in and out of consciousness, hearing disjointed bits of my sister’s voice fading in and out, the words sounding as if they came from the depths of a deep tunnel.

I attempted to sit up, hoping to clear my head, but the slightest movement caused intense pain throughout my whole body. God, my head ached.

“What accident? Jennifer?”

“Oh, sweetheart, you and Roger were in a horrific car crash on the way back to the city from the Wagner’s party five nights ago.”

“Are you saying I’ve been here for five nights?” I tried to concentrate, feeling Like a traveler lost in a strange world, lost somewhere between dreams and reality. I tried to recall a party, was it another one of the boring family events celebrating Roger and my upcoming wedding.

“Yes, Jennifer, I think I remember, there was a party at Roger’s aunt’s house in Connecticut, but I don’t remember any accident.  God, Sis, what’s happening to me.”

“Let me run and get the nurse. She’ll be happy to know you’re conscious. We’ve all been so worried.”

No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t remember anything about an accident. The doctor called it temporary amnesia, my mind blocking out events too horrible to remember -- things I didn’t want to recall like Jennifer telling me Roger had be killed in the collision.

Over the space of this last year, my life has been on hold. My time spent in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities recovering from three surgeries, but that was all coming to an end today. Like a prisoner who’d completed their sentence I was being released for the last time. My body had healed, but my mind was a mess. No matter how hard I tried to push back reality, the time had come to return to civilization. Time for me to try to put my life back together.

I dealt with Roger’s death by putting it out of my mind. They told me he died instantly. I’d become used to friends no longer visiting. Once in a while, I’d receive a call asking how I was doing. I was feeling rotten, but that’s not what they were interested in hearing. I can’t blame my friends for going on with their lives without me. I’d done nothing to suggest I was ready to return to the living. In fact, I’d done everything I could to discourage their invitations.

The gentle tap on the door told me the private nurse my father had hired to watch over me had arrived. She was my warden, my constant companion. I referred to her as Nurse Ratchet. The poor woman meant well, but I had no interest in being any nicer to her than I was to anyone else around me.

“Come in, Ratchet,” my inflection dismissive.

She’d never read, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, so she had no idea why I referred to her by that name, or in such a derogatory tone.

“You’re not dressed, Julia. Shame. The doctor has already signed your release and we should have been ready to leave by now. Your father will be waiting for us and you know how impatient he can be. Hurry now, put on your clothes, while I call for the wheelchair.”

I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t dressed. I should have been eager to leave, but somehow, I was afraid to abandon the cocoon I’d encased myself in, too afraid to return to the real world. Whoever said, “Life must go on” was an idiot.

 A male attendant pushed the wheelchair close to the grey Lincoln Town Car. Sam, my father’s driver was holding the rear door open, a broad smile on his face.

“Mornin, Miss Julia. Glad to see you is comin’ home. I’m real sorry about Mr. Roger.”  

I nodded, not wanting to think about Roger. His death was just one of a long list of things I wasn’t ready to deal with.

Sam took our cases as Ratchet went around to the other side and got in the car.

“Your father said he was sorry he couldn’t take you home his self, Sam said as he started the engine. He had an important meetin’ this morning. He said to tell you he’d see you at dinner. Mandy, sure is glad her baby’s comin’ home. She’s been cookin’ your favorite food all day long.”

“Good to be coming home, Sam.” I settled into the back seat ignoring Ratchet as she kept trying to make small talk. I stared out the window as familiar sights came into view. Sam slowed the car as he pulled into the long driveway. The house nestled amid a grouping of shade trees came into view. The manicured flower garden, the lawn freshly mowed, all brought a feeling of comfort, and a sense security from the outside world. I grew up here in the Heathcote section of Scarsdale. We were a happy lot -- Peter and Adam, my older brothers, and my sister, Jennifer. Being the baby of the family, growing up I’d always had someone watching over me, until the last year when I faced almost everything alone. My siblings were now scattered all over the East Coast, busy with their own lives.

My childhood was uneventful. In many ways I’d been too protected. My father, a partner in a successful law firm, worked in New York. My mother stayed at home doing what wives of successful businessmen did in those days. She raised her children, ran the household, and donated her time to various charities. Her life really not much different than what I’d expected my life with Roger to be like. I’d have a career until we decided to have children. Then move into a newly purchased house somewhere in Connecticut suburbs within commute distance of New York I’d raise a family much like my mother did. Was this the life I really wanted or was I being the dutiful daughter doing what was expected?

Sam brought my suitcase in as Ratchet suggested I go upstairs and rest until lunch. I’d reached the point where even the sound of Ratchet’s voice set me on edge. The time had come for her to go. I didn’t need a nurse or a nursemaid any longer. I just wanted to be left alone.

I climbed the stairs, my hip still painful, and walked down the long hall past the closed doors of bedrooms no longer occupied, and opened the door to my old room. The familiar bedroom with its pale-yellow walls, the grey and white-striped chintz duvet with matching shams held so many memories. The room had been decorated years ago when I was still a teenager. I hadn’t lived at home since graduating from college, only coming home for holidays.

My first living arrangement was a walkup with three roommates in Soho. It wasn’t much different than the years I lived in the sorority house. Later, as my career advanced with a boost in salary, I moved into a small rented apartment of my own in Manhattan.

I stood in the doorway as a sense of sadness rolled over me like a huge, crashing wave I couldn’t escape, dragging me down to the very depths of an ocean floor. I wasn’t sure I had the strength to fight my way back to the surface. The room took me back to my happy childhood. I had so many expectations, so many dreams. Would I ever be able to dream again?