General Fiction posted July 28, 2014 Chapters:  ...80 81 -82- 83... 


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Sarah and Karen reveal deep guilty secrets

A chapter in the book Enough to Miss Christmas

. . . Revealed

by Fridayauthor




Background
With most pending problems are behind them, Sarah and Karen have time to tackle and share long held secrets that have plagued them for years.
       CHAPTER EIGHTY-TWO
      
            “There were pills my mother would take; little white ones,” Karen began. “She never had enough. When she took them, she’d calm down and her voice would become slow and soft. If she’d run out of the pills, she’d snarl and yell and moan and not want anyone to touch her.”
      
            She paused and I drew her closer to me.
      
            “The doctor didn’t want her to take so many pills. I heard him say they were very strong and could be dangerous. She yelled and threatened him until he gave her more. But even then there weren’t enough. She made me swear to the doctor I’d spilled a whole bottle down the sink so he’d give her more. I knew I shouldn’t have lied but I had to. I didn’t think he believed me but he gave her more.”
       
            I risked asking a question. “What would she have done if you refused?”
      
            “She’d grab the hairbrush out of my hand.”
      
            “God, Karen . . .”
      
            “I couldn’t scream or yell. Someone would hear. I couldn’t cry out if anyone except Mrs. Doberchek was in the house. She was the only one who knew. She knew how bad girls were punished. I couldn’t let anyone see the red marks.”
      
            “You won’t undress in front of others,” I said, almost to myself.
      
            “I know the marks are not still there for real but in my dream they are. Sometimes I think they might show. I won’t even look at myself.”
      
            “You didn’t cry when your father struck you,” I said, half aloud. Karen nodded. “Mrs. Doberchek knew everything, didn’t she? You said she knew things she should have told.”
      
            “Others, like the nurses guessed too but they didn’t stay long. My mother sent them away if they dared question her.”
      
            I closed my eyes and tried to think. Dr. Graham must have realized what was happening, at least with the pills. Was that why he was so eager to cover up the suicide? Perhaps he wanted to preclude the chance of an embarrassing autopsy.
      
            Karen continued. “Mrs. Doberchek knew about the pills too. My mother made her pretend she had a sore hip. She sent her to another doctor for a prescription and forced her give up the pills. She said she’d tell my dad about her stealing wine from the cellar.”
      
            Karen abruptly changed the subject. “Would have your father spanked you, if he hadn’t died?”
           
            “No. I know he wouldn’t have. I was foolish to even consider the possibility. I was seventeen, almost eighteen, and just frantic not to be grounded.”
      
            “But you still wonder, don’t you?” I nodded. “Did you get to do all those fun things you wanted to do?”
       
            “I did some of them, but they weren’t much fun. I didn’t go to my school prom or the parties but I played Mary Warren in The Crucible.”
      
            “You said you weren’t very good.”
      
            “When Proctor took down his whip and threatened me, I went blank. I couldn’t say my line. I’ll not stand whipping anymore. I couldn’t say that. I just cried.”
      
            “Did your mother punish you by not letting you go to your prom?”
      
            “No. I just didn’t feel like dancing.” I turned to my daughter. “But you’ll go to your prom; I’ll make sure of that!” She smiled meekly and continued.
      
            “I hated those pills. She made me give them to her. I knew they were bad for her.”
      
            “You said they made her calm. Wasn’t that better?”
      
            “No. When she was calm, that’s when I’d have to brush her hair and tell her I loved her, over and over again. And I’d have to  . . . clean her . . . change her. She hated when strangers, the nurses,  did it, she said.”
       
            We both needed the pause that followed until Karen continued.
      
            “She had Mrs. Doberchek buy her bottles of gin without telling Dad. She’d make me pour her a glass and put two of her pills in it. I’d have to show her the pill bottle because she didn’t trust me. I hid them one time but she found out and made me get them.”
       
            “Then what did your mother do to you?”
      
            “Do I have to say?”
      
            “No, just put it out of your mind.” I added, “Is hiding the pills what you did that was so bad you need to be punished?”
      
            “No. It was bad but I was punished for that. It’s not the worst thing; the thing I haven’t been punished for doing.” She turned to me. “Tell me more and then, maybe, I can say what I did.”
            “My mother didn’t punish me. Not at all. Ever. She was too upset when my father died to even remember what I’d done. I told her I needed to be punished someway; I needed my life to be like when Dad was alive. I begged, but she only cried a lot and mostly stayed in her room.”
            “So you were never punished for what you did?”
      
            “No. I know now it’s silly. The poor woman just lost her husband, the love of her life, and all I could think of was myself. It was as if something remained unfinished. My family died that day, not just my father. It was like a sweater catching on a nail and you can’t stop it from unraveling until it’s useless.”
      
            Karen nodded. “It wasn’t the same anymore.”
      
            “My mother was different after my father’s passing, and I was no help. She was severely depressed. I realize that now, but I was too selfish to recognize it at the time, or I was too self-indulged to care. I was mad at her, as if it was her fault.”
      
            “So you left her behind.” 
      
            “Not right away, but it was a tense time at home. I couldn’t talk to her anymore. She spent hours alone and I missed my father terribly. I missed both of my parents. Suzie was away at school, and I wasn’t very good at handling the house alone. Money was short, so I didn’t go to college as I’d planned. I worked in a job I hated. I didn’t have a family. I had no one to talk to.”
      
            “So you went with Doug.”
      
            “I met Doug. He seemed to listen to me, but Suzie and Mom never liked him and that drove me further from them.”
      
            “And made you like him more?”
      
            “I guess. I thought Mom and Suzie just wanted me to stay around and help. I couldn’t believe Doug was as bad as they tried to convince me. I thought they were ganging up on me. Then my mother had a bad spell. It was probably a minor stroke. The doctor said she needed serious home care. I knew I should be there for her but the Army was sending Doug to Texas. He begged me to go with him but I wouldn’t go unless he married me. He said he would. I knew if I agreed, Suzie had to drop out of school.”
      
            “But you did it anyway. That was wrong.”
      
            “It was worse. I knew it was stupid to go and I wasn’t ready for marriage but I did it anyway, just to get away.”
      
            “All you thought of was yourself.”
      
            “Yes,” I said. There was nothing more to add.
      
            Karen sighed and began anew. “I heard one of the nurses tell my mother her pills looked just like some she took. My mother asked if they were the same but the nurse said hers were for her stomach and not even prescription. I thought about that a lot and when the nurse was off, I snuck into her room, just to see. She was right. Her pills were in a big jar and looked just like my mothers. I knew she wouldn’t miss some of them. I didn’t steal the pills right away.” I held my breath as Karen continued.
      
            “Then, Dr. Graham gave my mother an extra big supply because he was going away for a while. I knew she wouldn’t run out of them like forever and I’d have to brush and brush and brush her hair and do stuff.” The silence in the room seemed to hover like a too-warm blanket until she said the words. “That’s when I stole the nurse’s pills and replaced my mother’s.”
      
            Once more, I was speechless. Karen changed the subject.
      
            “You were mad at your mother for not punishing you because you thought she didn’t love you.”
      
            “Part of me felt that way though I was smart enough to know that wasn’t true. Everything was mixed up in my life. I wasn’t thinking straight. I knew I shouldn’t shut my mother out but I did.”  I prompted Karen to continue what she’d admitted.
      
            “What happened to your mother?”
      
            “She was frantic when her pills no longer worked. She was like a mad woman and it scared me so badly I wouldn’t go up to her room. I’d have given her pills back but I’d flushed the real ones down the toilet. I knew I should confess what I did, but I was scared and kept quiet.” I closed my eyes and let her finish. “Then she killed herself.” Karen turned to me, crying. “See what a terrible thing I did?”
      
             I didn’t dare to contradict her. She’d not believe me. Instead, I hugged her all the more tightly.
       
            “See the horrible things we both did, but I’ll still love you until the end of time.”
 


Earned A Seal Of Quality


Enough to Miss Christmas is a family love story, about sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children. Foremost, it tells the story of a step mom and a precocious young lady and how they bond in spite of overwhelming odds.
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