Biographical Non-Fiction posted October 27, 2017 Chapters:  ...14 15 -16- 17... 


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Madeline is trying to cope with her new independence.

A chapter in the book Demons in My Head

Life Goes On

by Mistydawn


Madeline moved in with Marge until she was able to find a place of her own. After weeks of extensive searching, she finally found something she could afford. It's a partially furnished, modest two bedroom apartment close to her friends. It has a tiny kitchen on the left side, an equally sized front room on the right. Its a two small bedrooms are located at either end. Madeline realizes it's going to be crowded, but figures she can manage for a little while.

With an officer by her side, Madeline collects a few belongings from their home.

Stan is wandering aimlessly when she steps through their door. He looks old and haggard like he hasn't slept in weeks. His clothes are wrinkled and stained, a far cry from his usual professional appearance.

I bet you miss me now, she thinks, hauling a box to her car.

Stan wants to talk to her, tell her how he feels but doesn't know where to begin. So he grievously watches as she loads box after box into her car.

"Are you almost finished?" an officer asks.

"This is my last box."

Her last box, I've got to do something quick. Stan grabs a hold of her arm as she walks by. "Please talk to me, honey, please. That's all I want, for us to discuss our problems," he begs.

"You lost that chance when you threw me out of our home."

"I'm sorry, Madeline, I'm so sorry, please forgive me... please... please forgive me." Crying, he falls to his knees.

Madeline glares into the eyes that once melted her heart. "Go to hell," Madeline hisses, quickly pulling away.

Seeing their confrontation, an officer steps in-between them. "Grab her again and I'll haul your ass to jail," he warns.

"I'm not going to hurt her, I just want to talk," Stan cries, hoping she'd hear his desperation and turn back around.

Madeline continues down their sidewalk.

"Evidently, she doesn't want to talk to you."

"I know, I know." Plopping down on his steps he bawls like a baby.

Thirty years of marriage condensed to a few measly boxes, she sadly concludes, slamming her car door closed. Looking back on their porch, she sees her husband sobbing. "You did this to yourself, Stan." Wiping a small tear off her cheek she pulls out of their drive.

Madeline decides to visit her daughter as she's unloading boxes into her apartment.

After resuscitating Katelyn, they moved her to ICU. Katelyn's condition continued to improve and by the third week, she was transferred to the floor.

"I'm so glad you're here, Mom," Katelyn anxiously blurts out, as Madeline steps into her room.

"Why, what's wrong?" Running to her side, Madeline grabs Katelyn's trembling hands.

"The doctor said they're going to release me tomorrow, but I don't have anywhere to go. What am I going to do, Mom, what am I going to do?" 

Madeline hadn't mentioned post-hospital arrangements, afraid she might jinx Katelyn's progress. "You're going to stay with me."

"Dad will never allow that, not after all the trouble I've caused."

"We won't be staying at your dad's; we'll be staying at our own place, just you and me."

"Oh no, I'm not splitting you and dad up, I won't, I just won't."

"We separated a long time ago, Katelyn." 

"It was because of me, wasn't it? It was, it's all my fault, it's all my fault," she bawls.

Madeline scoops her distraught daughter into her arms. "Our separation had nothing to do with you, honey."

"You promise?" she tearfully questions.

"Yes honey, I promise."

"I'm so sorry, Mom."

"Don't be, I'm a lot happier now than I've been in years," Madeline says, trying to put on a brave face. Deep down she secretly wishes things would've turned out differently, but realizes it'll never happen.

"Does Katie know?"

"She helped me collect a few things from our house."

"She blames me for all of this, doesn't she?"

"Katie has grown up a lot since you've been away and now sees what a monster Stan truly is."

"She's not daddy's little princess anymore?"

Madeline chuckles. "Far from it, she moved in with her boyfriend to get away from him."

"I bet that pissed dad off."

"You don't know the half of it. It infuriated him more when Katie told us she's expecting. Of course, your dad insisted that she and Mark get married, but Katie flat out refused, said they weren't ready for such a big step. They now have two babies and still aren't married."

"I didn't realize Katie could be such a rebel." Katelyn laughs.

"Your little incident opened her eyes, made her see Stan for who he really is." Madeline wants to say more but is afraid that if she pushes the subject too hard the animosity between them will only grow. Baby steps, Madeline. Slow steady baby steps. She reminds herself.

Feeling tension build, Katelyn changes the subject. "So tell me about our place."

Madeline glances at her watch. "I'd love to honey, but I have an appointment with an art gallery in twenty minutes."

"An art gallery?"

"Yeah, they might buy a few of my paintings."

"That's terrific mom."

"I know, I know. See you at supper." Grabbing her purse, Madeline rushes into the hall.

"Good luck," Katelyn yells.

Madeline waves in response.


***

Madeline timidly steps into the elegant studio. I can do this, she thinks, trying to calm her nerves. Looking around she sees the owners gazing at her pictures. This is it. Taking a deep breath, she anxiously strolls towards them.

The Harris's charming establishment is shaded in greens and golds. Their gold framed artwork is carefully displayed along the mint green walls. The floor is carpeted with a light green rug, gold trim around its borders. The gold and green tiered chandelier located in the center brings the decor together.

"What do you think?" Madeline asks, nervously fidgeting with her clothes.

"Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous," Ariella says. She and her husband Howard are looking to promote a few new talents in their spring exhibit.

"What do you think, honey?" Ariella asks as he inspects Madeline's painting.

"I believe we can make these work, but I need to have a couple of spring pictures soon."

"I can paint whatever you want." Madeline eagerly replies.

Smiling, Ariella reaches over and squeezes her friend's hand. The women met at the fall festival and have stayed in touch ever since.

"We'll take these three and I expect a few spring paintings real soon," he informs her, walking back to his office.

"I told you he'd love them." Ariella hands her a check.

Madeline's mouth drops when she sees the large sum.

"Is that an agreeable price?" Ariella questions, unsure about her
friend's reaction.

"Yes, yes, how can I ever thank you?" Madeline asks, hugging her.

"Bring me more of your beautiful art."

"I won't disappoint you, I promise," Madeline says, excitedly running out their door.

"I know you won't." Ariella laughs, watching her clumsily stumble outside.

***

Madeline feels like celebrating after making such a huge deal. So she decides to surprise Katelyn by bringing her food from her favorite restaurant.

Bubbling with excitement, Madeline steps into her daughter's room.

"You'll never believe what just happened, Katelyn," she says, running to her bed.

"What, Mom, what?"

"I sold three pictures to an art gallery today."

"That's terrific."

"That's not all they want me to do more. Can you believe it, they want me to do more work for them."

"I knew you could do it."

"I think this calls for a celebration." A mischievous smile inches across Madeline's face as she reaches for her purse.

"What do you have in mind?" Katelyn smiles.

"How about we celebrate with some delicious food from Geraldi's?"

"Geraldi's, that's my all-time favorite."

"I Know, I know." Reaching into her bag, she pulls out a styrofoam container. "I had to sneak it past your nurse," she explains, pulling out another box.

Katelyn quickly opens her container "It looks delicious." She shovels pasta into her mouth. "This is better than I remember." She scoops up another bite.

"I'm glad you like it." Madeline laughs, watching her daughter devour her meal.

The two are so busy eating they didn't see Katelyn's doctor step into her room.

"Now I know why you haven't been eating any of our meals."

Looking up, Katelyn grins sheepishly at her doctor.

"I sold three pictures to a local art studio today and this is our celebration," Madeline explains.

"Congratulations, Mrs. Howard."

"Thank you, Doctor."

He glances at Katelyn's half-empty container. "I can see the medicine hasn't decreased your appetite. Since you're doing so well, I believe you can go home tonight."

"You're releasing me tonight?" Katelyn excitedly mumbles through a mouthful of food.

The doctor laughs. "Yeah, but go ahead and finish eating. It'll take me a few minutes to get all your paperwork ready."

***

Being cooped up for the better part of a month, Katelyn is more than ready to explore her new surroundings. As soon as her mother leaves for the studio, she dashes outside.

Katelyn is extremely nervous at first, jumping at every noise, but after a few blocks, her anxiety calms down. Before too long, she's able to enjoy the bright sunny afternoon.

She sees the leaves have turned to a beautiful burnt orange. It's going to be winter soon. She shuffles through a pile of crisp leaves that's already fallen on the ground.

"Katelyn, wait up." She hears. Turning around, she sees her old friend, Anne running towards her.

"Where in the world have you been, girl?" Anne asks.

"I've been in the hospital."

"Why?"

"I was in a car accident."

"I would've visited if I'd known."

"I know."

"You're doing alright now, right?" Annie questions, a concerned look on her face.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"I'm glad. There's a party at Bower's tonight, I'm sure the gang would love to see you."

"I have plans, but thanks anyhow." Katelyn starts to walk away.

Annie reaches out and grabs Katelyn's arm. "What's more important than seeing your old buddies?"

It would be nice to see my friends again. "When does it start?"

"Eight, so I'll see you there?"

"I guess I could stop by for a few minutes."

****

Katelyn thought about their party all day. She'd like to see her friends but didn't want to get caught up in the drug scene again.

Now that her doctor has her on different medicines she doesn't need to use street drugs to stop her voices. Katelyn soon realizes that she feels a lot better and can accomplish more without illegal drugs in her system.

I'll go in, say hi and leave, she concludes. She sees her mom watching TV when she opens her bedroom door.

"I'm going out for a while, be back soon," she announces, scurrying through their front room.

"Do you think it's safe to go out at night by yourself?"

"I'm not a child, Mom," she replies dashing towards the entrance.

"I know, I'm just worried about your safety."

Reaching their doorway Katelyn turns back around. "If you're worried about me going out and doing more drugs, don't be. I'm done with that scene. See you in a little bit." She rushes into the cool night air before her mom protests.

"Go in, say hi and leave," she repeats, stepping inside the house. Katelyn realizes her plan is sunk, the moment she steps through the door. The music is blaring, booze is flowing and pot fumes linger in the dark stale air. I can't do this. Katelyn starts to leave when her friend grabs a hold of her hand.

"I'm so glad you're here," Anne replies, dragging her across the crowded room.
 

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