The next Chapters….

For all my loyal readers…. (Reading Girl especially – smile) I am sharing my next few chapters…. I’d love to hear how you feel about the transition from Keri’s journal to the third person telling it again, and your thoughts on it… I really felt that I left you guys hanging and just wanted to share!  Remember read this first:

so it makes more sense




mom readinglistening to mom reading

By the time she finished reading, the fire had died down to a flicker and two hours, maybe more had passed. Keri closed the book and looked up at Brynne “Oh mama” she cried, “It is all just so sad.” Keri overwhelmed by the moment, got up and walked over to her daughter and hugged her tight as tears filled her eyes. “I shared this with you because I want to spare you some of the pain that I experienced as a young girl, and for you to just always be aware. “NOW I understand why you wanted me to add SLOW TO ANGER to my list that you made me make.” Brynne said with genuine empathy and tears in her own eyes. Keri nodded and held the closed  journal to her chest; she didn’t have any second thoughts. She knew that sharing this with Brynne would be a memory she would carry with her forever. She prayed that this knowledge would be like a little extra tool for her, that most young girls aren’t aware of.

Keri counted the years since those journal days and sighed. Looking into the fire she said, “Time sure flies.”  “Do you know where he is now?” Brynne asked curiously. Keri shook her head. “No, “I’m not even sure if he’s still alive.”  Brynne was filled with questions. “What about Larry?” she asked. Keri realized that she was not going to get off as easy as she thought and cleared her throat to continue. “We ended up dating for a while,” “YOU DID?! Brynne looked surprised and Keri laughed, “Yeah, he even asked me to marry him.” Brynne’s eyes grew wide. “Reeeeally?”  “Yeah, but I don’t even know why I went out with him. I kind of knew it was wrong but I was so hurt just how quickly Jack seemed to move on and well, Larry really was very good-looking.” she chuckled and then continued more seriously, “but then, he knew it and I never loved him, so I said no.” She said it so matter of factly  that it almost seemed as if she was realizing it all for the first time.  “I don’t think that I really ever got over Jack. I just let my hurt turn into anger and have pretty much stayed angry with him all of these years later. I never really let anyone back into my heart for a long time.”  Keri smiled at her daughter. She looked dumbfounded at meeting this side of her mom and wanted to know everything. “I dated for over a year or so and then I met your dad and that was that.”

Waaaaait a minute.” Brynne demanded, motioning for her mom to sit back down, Keri sighed inwardly realizing that Brynne was not going to let her off the hook that fast and had many more questions. So with much filtering, Keri shared what came after Jack and in-between her dad which was a time that entailed a lot of things she did due to her broken heart, things that she was not very proud of. And that was how Keri told her daughter about Jack. It had been time. Tim already knew about him. He knew about Keri’s walls and what happened and that her first relationship was behind a lot of their issues. But he was very patient with her. When they’d first met, it was evident that Keri had been very hurt and did not trust easily. Their marriage had its issues but it was solid for the most part and Tim offered that one trait that Keri deemed so important; he was slow to anger.

“Okay Keri said, lets finish up with the boxes in the attic.” Brynne followed her mom up the stairs as they began sorting and throwing out things. Keri continued to answer her daughter’s questions as they worked together, and made a big dent clearing  everything out that day.


attic office emptybook casescomputercomputer2

Keri’s writing studio was finished and she loved it up there. The wood floors were rich and off set the wall to wall built-in bookcases that lined both sides of the room and reminded Keri of her Grandma’s craftsman style house in Seattle.  On one side of the room there was a beautiful little window seat where she could take her laptop and write. The view was most inspiring there. At the front of the house,  they’d built-in  a craftsman style desk and drawers overlooking the little window on the opposite side of the room. It all turned out just the way she’d imagined. Tim worked on it a lot as time allowed, but just like her father,  he traveled a lot for his job and Keri grew impatient over how long it was taking to complete. “I have a book that I need to write, and I really want to start it and finish it up in my study.” She’d pressed and so he hired Brian, a contractor to finish some of the details.

For a while, Brian and Tim worked together with Keri to create the charm she envisioned. Even the stairs that led up to the attic were recreated exactly the way she’d imagined with the brown and white steps she remembered from her grandma’s house . Several months after all of the construction was complete, Tim surprised Keri with a fireplace that she’d seen on-line and thought that he’d forgotten about. One night in bed, when Tim was working on his laptop, Keri urged him to go to that page with the photo of the exact fireplace she’d chosen. She knew it exceeded the budget they’d set aside for the studio but told him that “Someday waaay down the line she’d love to have one just like it.” Never dreaming she’d get it so soon.

Tim  installed  it a year later while she was in LA visiting Brynne for her birthday.  She squealed with delight and hugged her husband’s neck, feeling very spoiled. She loved to turn it on in the mornings with a mug of coffee and write her blog and or work on her book.  Brynne had been away at school for a little over a year and the house just seemed so empty. She wished Tim didn’t have to be away so often but she tried to be a good sport about it and understand and was growing more and more used to being alone. Her studio was her refuge. When she wrote, she didn’t feel so lonely. One day as she took a break from writing, she checked her blog comments and then wandered over to her Face book page and found a message from a name that caused her to choke as she sipped on her coffee. The message was short and generic. Keri set her mug down still sputtering and held her breath as she read;

Hi Keri,                                                                                                  

I’ve been looking for you for a long time. It looks as if you are well. I am glad to see that you are still writing… I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me, but I’ve wanted to find you for a while now. I look forward to your reply,







Entry #50 The Calm….

crying on the floor younger


Dear Journal,
I just can’t seem to stop crying and I have no one to talk to so I come here and write to you.  I know that eventually I need to stop writing here, because after all I have not seen Mrs. Walker or not had a journal assignment from her  for almost  two years. But you are like an old faithful friend that has been there for me through it all. I’ve been dreaming about Liz a lot lately.  I seem to be having two dreams over and over again.  I can’t stop thinking about her even in my sleep. In one dream, she keeps calling and when I answer, no one is there. And in the other dream,  she has not moved to her apartment yet  and is living still in her house on Country Road, but she is not there…. And Jack and I walk in the door and Bootsie is reeeeally skinny and there is no cat food in the cupboards! I just hate going to sleep anymore and can’t really tell Jack about the dreams.

cat skinny

I’ve been reading Annie’s letters again and kind of getting lost in her story. I think that I might write about her. I have an outline in my head that I’ve been thinking of writing. But I can’t seem to snap out of it enough to get motivated. I am so sad. I just want to stay around here and hang out. Louise has invited me over a few times and she is good for me I know. She really is quite wise. I took Annie’s letters over to share with her and she loved them and my idea to write their story too. Laurie’s called a few times.  I really don’t feel like hanging out with her right now. I can’t explain it but I am crying as I write this.

girl reading letter

And it’s nothing about Jack. He’s been extra sweet. Almost like a different person, we haven’t fought since way before, I can’t even remember. He seems way more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him. I know he is sad but I feel like I act more sad than he does. It is almost as if the dark cloud over his head just transferred to mine.  He’s been working a lot in his shed and surprised me. He made the most beautiful swing for our porch. I sewed some great yellow gingham  pillows for it and he seemed so pleased.  I love that he is so handy. And he seems so happy when he’s out there. He doesn’t seem to need me in that desperate kind of way anymore that bothered me so much. It was as if he couldn’t get undressed fast enough sometimes when he’d see me. I was feeling kind of used. He’s slowed down and kisses me like when I was still innocent.

couple in apartment

Maybe that is why I feel sad. I don’t feel innocent anymore.  Reality is sinking in about so much. He still won’t talk about setting a date. Everything happened so fast. His mom died right after we got engaged and now it just seems like a touchy subject.


I think that I am just bored and thinking too much. I used to be so busy.  School and work seemed to fill every hour. Now I wish that I hadn’t let Jack talk me out of going to camp this year. Kathy seemed so disappointed. He is paying for me to take a photography class at the modeling school and then said he’d pay for my portfolio pictures which is the next step “IF” I am going to do anything with the classes. I guess in the meantime I will write.

Jack’s friend Larry came over the other day. It was weird, I walked up with a basket of folded laundry after just coming back from the laundromat and found him on the porch knocking on the door. He helped me and held the basket while I unlocked the door and then kept gushing about how lucky Jack is to have me and how he doesn’t think he knows. I told him I think he does. I offered him Iced Tea and he started acting like his neck hurt. I think he was hinting for a massage. But when I came back out with the glasses I suggested that we drink them out on the swing on the porch. The next day I’d just come in from the back and heard a knock on the door and looked out the door, and there was Larry again. I wonder what that’s all about?girl in door






Dear Journal

Thanksgiving was wonderful. Jack and I spent every minute together and everything was so perfect. He had to have his wisdom teeth out last weekend. I’d had mine out a few months earlier and it was horrible so I told him that he could come to my house. Since my parents would NOT have been cool with me spending the night when obviously he was in no mood to mess around but I think he liked the attention. My mom filled up the ice packs she’d bought for me and kept them rotating and I made soup and soft food for him. He was so grateful.

Lori was home for Thanksgiving. She brought a boy home. And we all went out together. I think she’s realized that Jack and I, well… we are staying together and so she even was nicer to Jack. We had fun. We saw Jaws and laughed at the guys because I think they jumped higher than we did every time that dumb fish jumped out of the water. We invited them over for a BBQ one day during the weekend because it was like summer and Jack barbecued steaks and corn on the cobs right on the grill and I made a salad and then Jack had an old turquoise wooden ice cream maker and we made peach icecream. It really did feel just like summer!

But soon enough, we were back to work and school. I have been taking twelve units and it has really been a lot with work and school. I have finals coming up before Christmas break and I have been going to the library to study. Jack has tried to be understanding but it has been hard not seeing each other. I just need too many books and would have to lug a stack home for each report I have to write. Luckily since I work at a school I will have a break from both work and school and I am reeeeeally looking forward to that! Except that Jack has started talking to  his mom again and he wants to figure out a way to spend Christmas with her too. I am worried because of all his stories about past holidays. But it’s not fair only wanting to be with my family. Right? Anyway, back to studying!

book pile




Dear Journal,

(I owe you a few month of catch up and I intend to do it today! So please bear with me as I try to enter it all here now. I will still enter it chronologically but I just wanted to explain why I am going to post so many at once!)

couple laying on the floor happy



The other night Jack lay on the floor with me as I read  C’s letters to Annie. She sounded so sad and he thought it was cute that I started crying in the middle of reading one of them out loud to him. I just told him that it was all so sad. I laughed too. But I’m not sure if he’s even interested or “gets” why I connect with them so much, but I feel as if they are my letters now and that I need to protect their story. Who knows maybe I will write it someday. I wish that I still had Mrs Walker around to share them with.

Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and the wheel fell off of the mower again. And Jessie came over with his wrench. I think it was the third time. We laughed about it and he showed me how to fix it myself and told me that he had an extra wrench and pulled another one out of his back pocket with a red bow that I am sure Louise had tied on it, and he told me that it was “my” special house warming gift just for “me” and I gave him a kiss on the cheek to thank him!

lawn mower fixed


When Jack came home, he saw the wrench on the table and asked what it was. And I told him about the wheel that keeps falling off and he just said “Oh. The lawn looks nice babe.” I am not sure what else I wanted him to say. Maybe laugh with me about it or… I don’t know but it gave me a sad feeling. Later he asked me what was wrong and I just kind of shrugged and he told me, “You need to stop reading those letters.” I snapped my head up to look at him seriously, because I “can’t stop” I just can’t. When he saw my reaction, then he laughed.

reading letterssss



Dear Journal,

We had the make up class at Alesse Marshals, my modeling school. Jack paid for it. He has been so attentive and sweet. He said that he would pay for my portfolio which I have to have to complete the class and go on jobs. I am not sure what I want to do.



But I mean who doesn’t want to be a model? At first I signed up because I wanted to do it for me but now it seems as if Jack really wants me to pursue it. He has been complimenting me a lot lately and said it has been well worth the money. I am not sure what that is supposed to mean. So is he saying that I looked bad before? Once when we were having a fight, he told me that he had dragged me from the gutter and that everything that I am now is because of him. Now that is a back handed compliment if I ever heard one. I mean, my braces were eventually going to come off and my skin was eventually going to clear up and my hair was going to eventually grow out from the Sun IN that I’d kind of fried it with the summer before we met.

combing blonde hair

I think that the modeling school idea was good for me because I have gained confidence. But I also have been asked out by a few guys which I never mentioned to Jack because he doesn’t like it when the guys look at me at the gliderport when we go soaring so I am not sure telling him would be a good idea. Of course I just say no thanks and that I have a boyfriend. The crazy thing is that every minute of every waking hour, I am trying to think up things to make Jack happy.

lake arrowhead cabin


Last weekend we went up to Lake Arrowhead and rented a cabin. We had such a good time.  Even though it is fall now, it was still warm and early the next morning we rented a little sailboat and went out on the middle of the lake. Jack brought me by a home that a friend named Larry from High School used to own. It was  beautiful. We sailed right up to it’s dock. It sat on a hill of green grass and it’s front yard was the lake! We walked around the little town and bought firewood and made a fire in the fireplace that night. It was so romantic. We bought a little baby jar of peanutbutter and a loaf of bread and ate sandwiches in front of the fire and lay in each others arms.

fireplace feet


It’s different now since that day we went soaring. He is so sorry and  I told him that I forgave him but I also told him that if it ever happened again, it would be the last time he’d ever touch me in anyway. It would be over. I told him that in my heart, I believed in forever when I promised him that I would never leave.  But in my head, I knew that our relationship wouldn’t survive another time like that. The other day, I was doing something and I looked in the mirror.  I mean really looked in a way I hadn’t for a long time. And my reflections stared back as if she were someone else, and the look in her eyes was almost challenging, as if she were asking…. “What are you doing, why are you staying?”

in the mirror