Schooooooooool's out for SUMMER!

Finally finished up my last creative writing class. No more classes til August 22nd. I haven't had this much time off from classes in over a year. WOO HOO!!

I am very proud of the finished product from this last class. It was a great learning process for my writing abilities. At the end of the semester I had a finished short story. It's awesome.  I have been thinking about finding some writing contests to enter. Maybe even find some literary magazines to submit pieces of work to, see if I could get published?

Well.. here is my finished story. :)

Who I Can Be

With every slap to my face and every name he called me, I grew stronger. I knew that one day I would leave him. I had put up with the abuse and the fighting for so long that I knew I would eventually snap. I have never known what a real genuine relationship was like. Randy and I were high school sweethearts. It wasn’t love at first sight, I was just curious at first. When I looked at him from across the room in our English class, his dark eyes always drew me in.  He was so mysterious. After I finally mustered the courage to talk to him and we started dating, it took me three months to break down the walls enough that he finally let me in. What I saw was haunting. The torment and pain that he had experienced as a child was enough to break anyone, but not him. For the first time ever, he had someone that he could call his, me. I would be the one person that he could count on. Now, here I stand broken, abused and a shadow of the girl I was six years ago.
I have no job, car, family or friends all because of him. My family and friends grew tired of watching me put up with the abuse and wrote me off years ago. It’s just him and me now, the way he wanted it. We live in a run down apartment because he can’t keep a job. He says that he has back problems and he quits every couple months. I don’t know how much more I can take.
As I sit on the same worn in spot on our ratty, dirty couch, and look at his face, I feel sick to my stomach. I know that today is going to be another bad day; there are a lot of these. The furrow lines in his brow are deep today. As he flips through the few channels we have, he turns and looks at me with disgust, it’s going to start.
“Why are you just sitting there looking at me? Are we going to eat breakfast today or not?” he spits at me.
“Of course, I was just about to ask you what you would like to have today. I can make you French toast, or eggs,” I reply as sweetly as possible. I know it won’t help much, but sometimes it prolongs the inevitable.
“Just make me some eggs, and bring me a beer with them. I don’t want to go to work today, my back is hurting.”
I get up to walk to the kitchen and feel the remote smack me in the back of my head.
“And, hurry up, bitch, I’m hungry.”
That was all it took, I saw red and turned around after him.
“That is the last time you will throw another thing at me! And that is the last time you will ever call me bitch, you BASTARD!”

As I run from the only home I have known over the last six years, I feel relief, but scared. Where will I go? I could call my mom, I think as I slow from a sprint to a jog reaching the end of the street. Even though calling my mom is the last thing I want to do, I know that it’s my only option. I didn’t have time to grab my purse as I ran from my apartment. With no money and looking as frightening as I do, I pray that the cashier at the convenience store will let me use the phone.
I walk in the doors and the cashier looks at me in horror. My left eye is swollen shut, my hair is a rats nest pulled up into a greasy pony tail, I am wearing my light blue pajama pants that I got when I was 14 years old and my t-shirt was ripped with little splatters of blood.
“Ma’am, are you okay? Do you need me to call the police?” the young cashier asks me as she starts to grab the phone from it’s cradle.
“No, I’m okay. But, if I could just use your phone that would be great,” I tell her.
“Yes, yes go ahead.”
I go to grab the receiver from the cashier and a drop of blood drips onto the counter from my arm.
“Miss, are you sure you don’t need me to call the police? You are bleeding. I really think you should go to a hospital,” she says to me with concern.
“No, I’m going to call my Mom and have her take me to the hospital. Really I’m fine.”
I’m starting to panic because that blood isn’t mine. It’s Randy’s. Realizing I can’t explain how I came to have someone else’s blood on me I tell the girl my Mom’s phone number to dial.
“Hello Gardner residence.”
“Jackie, it’s Corrie, is my mom home?”
“Oh Corrie Dear! How are you? It has been so long since we have heard from you around here,” she excitedly asks in her thick southern accent.
“I will tell you all about it later, Jackie, I promise. But, right now it’s really important that I speak with my mom. Is she there?”
“Yes dear, she is. She is about to leave. Let me see if I can catch her.”
I’m waiting impatiently to hear my Mom pick up the phone and glance up to see the cashier busy herself with wiping down the counter. She’s trying to look like she isn’t listening to my conversation. I need to watch what I say.
“Corrie, are you ok? Jackie said it was very important that I speak with you,” my mom says picking up the phone.
“No, I’m not. I need you to come and pick me up right away. I’m at the circle K by my apartment. Please come quickly,” I say fighting back tears.
“I have Pilates in an hour, I will come after,” She says very sternly, and about to hang up.
“Mom, I know I have made some mistakes and I know you have been upset by some of my previous decisions. Right now, I need you to put that behind you and understand that I need you more than ever,” I beg bursting into tears.
“Corrie, you are making this really hard on me. I have helped you so many times and you threw it back in my face, I just can’t.”
“It is very different this time, I can’t explain now, please just come.”
With a big sigh from the other end of the phone she agrees.
“I will be there in 10 minutes. And, Corrie, you better not go back to him this time.”
“Trust me. I won’t.”

Seeing my mom pull up in her Mercedes to pick me up brought back so many memories from grade school. Right down to the look of disappointment.
I know that I need to tell her what happened in my apartment today. I just don’t know how to start it. How can you tell someone who already thinks so little of you something that is this serious?
“Where are we headed, Mom?”
“First we are going by your apartment. I’m going to run in and get you some clean clothes, and then I will drop you off at my house so you can shower. I have a dinner tonight with the ladies that I go to Pilates with, you can come if you like.”
“Did you say we are going to my apartment? We can’t go there. I can’t go back there right now,” I say starting to panic.
“Well, you aren’t staying at my house like that. You need decent clothes. I have my pepper spray, Corrie, I’m not worried.”
“No, we really can’t go there. I… I.. I need to tell you something, Mom.”
“I’m not buying you clothes, if that is what you are trying to do. I guess I can see what old stuff I have in my closet.”
“ Did you hear me? I need to tell you something and it’s important.”
“Yes, but I can’t talk about it right now. We will talk after you get yourself cleaned up.”
Not wanting to argue with her anymore I got back to looking out the window. As we pass by my apartment complex I notice there is an ambulance and two police cars parked in the parking lot. I can feel my palms sweating and my heart racing.
“Mom, I can’t wait to tell you this later. You need to listen to me. I think I did something really bad,” I confess as my eyes fill with tears.
“Okay Corrie, since you can’t wait anymore. What is it? What did you do that is so bad?” She asks thick with sarcasm.
“I think I might have killed Randy. I don’t know for sure, but there was a lot of blood and he wasn’t moving. I couldn‘t bring myself to get close in case he was still alive, I just ran.  I just couldn‘t take it anymore, Mom. He threw the remote at the back of my head and I and attacked him. I grabbed one of the empty beer bottles from the coffee table and hit him over the head with it. When he started to punch me I stabbed him repeatedly with a broken piece and ran. Part of me wants him to be dead. I know how terrible that sounds. ”
My whole body is trembling uncontrollably as I wait for her to respond. But, she doesn’t. She doesn’t even blink. She just keeps staring straight ahead and driving with no expression.
“Well, I know he deserves it,” she replies emotionless.

Lingering in the entryway to my mom’s house feels odd. Nothing has changed. My mom is a creature of habit. The wooden framed mirror with the crack in the upper right corner has been hanging on the very same wall in the foyer since I was 8. It was given to my mom when her grandmother died. The yellow floral couch in the formal living room has been there since before I was born. The only difference is that now the house smells stale. It doesn’t smell like home anymore. No one is baking cookies in the kitchen and I’m pretty sure my mom hasn’t opened the windows to “let the summer air in” in years. That has changed the whole feeling of this house, it feels lonely in here now.

Feeling the warm shower water run down my back is the most relaxing feeling I have had all day. It starts to make me think about the events of today. I woke up this morning like it was any other day. I had no idea that today was the day that I was going to kill Randy. Me, Corrie Gardener, I took another person’s life today. I’m not a killer. I wanted to be a doctor so I could save lives. How is it possible that I am standing here a killer? Tears are running down my face mixing with the water. I feel more alone and less like myself than I ever have in my entire life.
Getting out of the shower I look at myself in the mirror. The black eye and green bruises that still linger on my arms start to ignite the anger that I felt earlier. Grabbing my mom’s hairbrush I walk into her room where she is still sitting.
“I think we should tell the police what happened,” I say with a little attitude.
“Are you sure, Corrie? No one is going to miss him. You still have a chance to get your life back together. But if that is what you want I can get a hold of my lawyer and we can get this all taken care of.”
“We have to go to the police. Look at me mom,” I say dropping my towel to show her the bruises all over me.
“They will believe that it was self defense. I want to do the right thing. I’m not a murderer.”
My mom bursts into tears. This is the first time I have ever seen her show emotion like this. Even as a kid I never saw her sad or crying.
“Oh Corrie, I’m so sorry. He deserved this. He deserved everything that you did to him.”
“No, he didn’t deserve to die. He should be in jail, not lying in his own blood. He really did love me. He trusted me, and I killed him. I feel like such a horrible person.”
                                    “You aren’t horrible, Corrie. You were defending yourself against everything that he has done to you over the years. You had a bright future. You wanted to be a surgeon! Don’t you remember that girl? I do. I think about her every day. Now you can be her again. Now, you have a chance to make a life for yourself.”
“I know. I will. But, I really have to go to the police. I need to tell them what I did. I have to be honest. That above all else is who I am.”
“Well sweetheart, get dressed. I will call Ruth and tell her I’m not going to make it to dinner. When you are ready we will go down to the police station.”
“Oh, Mom no you don’t have to do that. I know how important your dinner is to you.”
“No, I do. I want you to know that you are important too. I haven’t been there and now I can be, and I want to. You need me.”
For the first time in a long time I feel like I have my mom. The emotions are overwhelming. Today has been a day of loss and gain. I need to get dressed and head over to the police station, but the nerves are overwhelming. I know that I need to tell them what I did but I’m so afraid of what will happen.
“Mom, it’s going to be ok right?” I ask her. Needing her reassurance makes me feel like I am a little girl again.
“I’m sure it is. That is why I have called my lawyer, Andrew.”

Walking into the police station I feel more nervous than I ever have in my life. I keep imagining myself sitting in a cell.
“Corrie Gardner, we are ready for you,” a chubby woman in her uniform says to me. She looks nice, but that could all change when she hears what happened.
I walk with her to a small room with a table and tall policeman waiting for me.
“Please have a seat Corrie,” he smiles at me.
“We just have a few questions for you about what happened to Randy.”
I sit down and prepare for what is about to happen. I know that what I did was wrong but they have to believe that I was defending myself. I’m not a violent person.
“Of course Officer. I can answer any questions you have.”
“My first question is, did you assault Randy? You know that he is in surgery right now, fighting for his life?”
“Yes, I did. But it was in defense. He has been beating me for years.”
I feel like a criminal. Not like the victim that I know I am. I know that I was wrong for attacking Randy, but he had it coming. He has had it coming for years now.
“I know it was wrong. I shouldn’t have snapped on him like that. He has been pushing me around for so many years now. I lost it. I am sorry.”
“Why didn’t you come to us before it got to this point?”
“I- I… I don’t know,” I shake my head and look down at my hands resting on the table.

While we are talking there is a knock on the door. A bigger man in a uniform pokes his head in. The chubby lady excuses herself and goes to talk to him.  I watch her face and notice darkness to it. She walks back over to me and looks at me with a seriously stern face.
“Corrie, I have some bad news. Randy didn’t make it through his surgery,” she stares at me waiting for some sort of reaction

The handcuffs that they put me in were cold as I walked to a cell with my head down. I’m not a monster. I don’t belong in this place. It was self-defense.
I hear the door close and look around my new place of residence, in a cell again. I feel almost like I did back in the apartment with Randy.  There is hope though. I told the investigator about the girl at the convenience store. She saw me right after everything happened. She has to be some help.
I lie down on my bed and stare up at the ceiling. I hope this doesn’t last too long.

It has been a month and I have been sitting in the same cell day after day. Only allowed to leave when my lawyer or my mom come to see me or for the hour of daylight I get to see each day.
The security guard comes to get me and hands me the dark blue pantsuit that my mom bought for me to wear. I graciously accept and turn to get dressed. Modesty is something that I lost after the first few days of being in here.

Walking into the courtroom with my hands in the handcuffs again. I spot Randy’s father and sister siting in the front row. I haven’t spoke to them since the incident. I feel terrible about missing Randy’s funeral; I would have liked to go. I did love him, even after all that had happened between us. His father looks drunk as usual. They both glare at me like I’m a common criminal.  I look away and find my mother on the other side of the aisle and she looks worried. It’s a very common look for her these days. Hopefully, today will be the last day that I see her look like this.  Standing at the table where I am being lead is Andrew, my lawyer. He gives me his best “everything is going to be ok” smile and hugs me before I sit down.
“I feel really good about this, Corrie.”
“I hope your feeling is right, Andrew.”

Waiting for the verdict to be read is the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever experienced. Looking at the jurors doesn’t help either. Not a single one of them are even looking at me.
“All rise,” I hear the bailiff command.
I stand up and feel like my knees are going to collapse. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly as the judge asks the jurors to read the verdict.
“We find the defendant Corrie Gardner not guilty,” the foreman reads.
My head is instantly spinning. Did I hear that right? Not guilty. Not guilty. NOT GUILTY.
I feel Andrew give me a giant hug and pick me up off the ground. I’m smiling and my cheeks feel wet. I didn’t even realize I was crying. I think I hear my mom screaming next to me.
It occurs to me how devastated Randy’s family must be. I look over at where they were sitting to see them no longer there. I know they will never speak to me again.
“Let’s get you home and get you showered and comfortable,” My mom says while grabbing my hand.

On the drive home I look over at my mom and see her smiling for the first time in a while. I’m grateful for everything she has done for me in the course of this mess. I hate to ask her for anything else, but I know I need to do something.
“Mom, do you think we could go by the cemetery where Randy was buried?”
She looks over at me disapprovingly and gives me a small nod of her head as if to say she thinks it’s a bad idea but knows why I want to go.
I sit back and feel a small part of me ache inside while we drive.

Driving over to his plot I started to feel the sadness I expected to feel, but ten times stronger.
“Here we are,” my mom says, stopping her car next to a dark green patch of grass with lots of headstones in the ground.
“Do you want me to come with you Corrie?”
“No. I need to do this alone.”
“Ok. Well it’s the second row. I’ll be here whenever you are ready.”
I walk to the second row of headstones and find Randy’s. I stare at it for a minute and remembering everything that has happened leading up to this moment. The moment that I am standing at Randy’s grave. The boy I loved. The boy I killed.
I bend down and place my hand on the cold cement stone over his name.
“I’m so sorry. I did love you.”
I kiss my hand and place it back on the head stone. A single tear rolls down my cheek and with that I get up and walk away. This is the last time I will cry over Randy.


Long time no see!

It has been awhile. Entirely too long. I tried using tumblr and livejournal, word to the wise... don't. This is the best free blogging site that I have found.

Aidan's 7th birthday was Saturday. He is so big! I love that little boy. :-) How can anyone not?

So, since the last time I was here a lot has happened. I have acquired a fantastic macbook and completed 2 more classes. Next semester I am going to take French and Astronomy. I'm SO incredibly excited!! I will definitely keep you all posted about how that goes! :-)

I read my last post.. and I'm disappointed with myself. I had so much that I wanted to accomplish in 2011. We are 6 months into it, and I have failed at pretty much everything that I wanted to do. I gave up my 365 project before January was even over. I have not hit my diet as hard as I wanted. I'm super bummed. I didn't realize how optimistic I was until reading that now. I think I am going to really try and do it all again.