Authors: Devyn Dawson
Cry Me a River
Special PG-13 Edition
By Devyn Dawson
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
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Cover design by Devyn Dawson
Editing by Paris Kelly
This book is dedicated to two men who died too young
Denny & Kevin
You may be gone, but you’ll never be forgotten.
I love you ~
We loved with a love
That was more than love
Edgar Allan Poe
My mind is wandering as the priest walks up and down the aisle swinging back and forth an elaborate incense burner. The scent reminds me o
f the last time I was in church; it had to have been at least three years ago on Christmas. Not much gets past people in our little town, Emerald Isle, North Carolina, population 3800. Most homes along the 14 miles of coastal Emerald Isle, are rental vacation property. The tenants only rent the beach houses for a week, just long enough to party, make false promises and move on to the next. Someone coughing brought my thoughts back to the here and now. Right now, I’m in church with a massive headache and cotton-mouth.
My daughter is sitting with her grandparents on the front row. Heather’s dad hates me for things I didn’t do. Heather’s mom hates me because I walk the earth. She’d sooner see me six feet under than anywhere near my daughter
, Lucy Marie. I look over to where they are sitting and Lucy’s standing up and pointing to the person in the pew behind her. Her eyes are bright and her chubby cheeks jiggle when she bounces around. My heart swells with love every time I look at her. They don’t realize I’m here; I snuck in at the last minute.
Everyone stands and holds hands as the preacher prays. The
woman on my left has wiped her nose with a tissue for the last forty-five minutes. That’s all I can think about, her snot rag. Maybe I am a germ-a-phobe, but is it wrong to not want someone’s nasty germs all over my hand? I have hand sanitizer in my pocket, which I’ll use as soon as we part ways. Until I do, I’ll fixate on the fact, I have her snot all over my hand. I try to focus on the preacher, my brain is telling me to get up and leave before anyone realizes I’m here, but I can’t. I’m not leaving until I hold Lucy. I haven’t seen her since the week of the Fourth of July. Heather brought her over and wanted me to keep her for the night so she could go out and party. She fell off the radar for five days. Her parents came over looking for Lucy and acted as though I stole my own daughter. They berated me because I didn’t call them right away. At least I called them. The minute her mom saw a few empty beer cans on my kitchen counter, she flew off the handle and started screaming at me. Did she bother to remember I’m twenty-three and four beer cans doesn’t make for a drunken stupor.
and pew by pew we line up and walk to the front of the church. My heart races, every step feels like I am one step closer to God and to reality. I’ve never taken communion; it always scared me to eat the body of Christ. When you’re a little kid, your thoughts are literal and I didn’t want to be a cannibal.
There are two people ahead of me, my palms are sweaty. I hear people whispering, I’m sure they’re pointing at me and calling me names.
“Caide is a douche”… “Caide is an alcoholic”… “Caide is a sinner”… “Caide is a screw-up.” They’re probably not calling me a douche in church, since they’re all perfect.
Someone nudges me from behind, “You’re next,” she whispers.
I turn and I swear my heart stops. The white casket is perfect for Heather. The lining of the casket is pastel pink satin and her blond hair is curled and cascades down over her breasts. My heart suddenly starts and is pounding in my ears. My throat closes up and for the first time since the day Lucy was born, my eyes fill with tears. Heather is dressed in a pink floral dress with a little white sweater. Lucy’s teddy bear is tucked up under her hand as well as a picture of the three of us when things were better.
My heart isn’t prepared for the pain, the complete and utter pain. I’ve never been
to a funeral before and now I’m sure I never want to go to one again. Her face is peaceful, something it hasn’t been in months. I know they covered her arms to hide her track-marks and the make-up covers the dark circles under her eyes. We were in-love once upon a time. She’s the mother of my daughter and she’s dead. I can’t wrap my brain around it all, how could she do this? How could she check out like that? She was supposed to always be in my life, but I wanted her happy and healthy. I shouldn’t have turned my back on her. If only I had tried harder, she’d still be here.
Without thinking, I reach over and brush my hand across her cheek. I almost came apart in front of everyone. Her skin was so cold and hard, like a cement bench in the dead of winter. “Oh baby-girl, what happened? I’m so sorry….I’m so sorry….I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. Heather baby,
you were going to get clean. What happened? How did it happen?” I shake my head back and forth and I know my tears are dripping on her dress. It was her present from me when she lost her pregnancy weight. I bought the dress during my lunch break and gave it to her when I got home that night. She put it on and danced around the house like a little girl in a new dress. I loved her that night and we made love until we both were exhausted. Now she’s dead and I’m alive. I take a letter from my suit pocket and placed it next to her. “I’ll always love you baby-girl. Don’t worry about Lucy, I’ll take care of her and she’ll know how much you loved her. I promise.”
Someone clears their throat behind me
and I take that as my time is up. As I turn around I make eye contact with Heather’s mom. She motions for me to come over to her. Lucy sees me and her whole face lights up with excitement. Her arms reach for me and I see how reluctant her grandma is to hand her over, but she knows Lucy loves me.
Caide,” She says curtly.
Darla, I’m sorry for your loss.” What else could I say?
“I don’t want to discuss our differences
today; right now we’re here to honor my daughter. We’ll meet you in the lobby, please take Lucy with you.” Her eyes are cold, her hands clenched together. Darla’s in her early fifties but could pass for forty. If I didn’t know her personally, I’d think she’s good looking. Unlike Heather’s blond hair, Darla’s is short and dark auburn. Darla and her husband, Alan, married right after high-school. They went to college together and while they were still in school, Alan invested in a small company called Wal-Mart. They made their money with blood, sweat and tears. Alan is notorious for telling his rags to riches story to anyone who will listen. Today, both of them look ten years older than they are.
like that, I have my daughter to myself for a few minutes. She reaches for my face, placing both hands on my cheeks and leans forward, giving me the sloppiest kiss I’ve ever had. I wrap my arms around her as tight as possible and tell her how much I’ve missed her. Lucy is an eighteen month old firecracker. She has deep dimples in her cheeks and bright blue eyes to go along with her dark red ringlets all around her head. Heather and I thought she’d be bald forever, we actually asked the doctor if something was wrong with her. He laughed it off and told us she was perfectly normal and right before her birthday, her hair started growing like crazy. Memories like these make me realize that’s exactly what they’ll be forever and never again will we laugh about our little bald pumpkin.
Heather and I were together until Lucy was almost six months old.
One day, I came home from work early to find her and the next door neighbor, Joan, snorting cocaine. Neither of them realized I was there and after they did their line, they started to make out. I was livid! Thankfully, Lucy was asleep in her crib. We fought about her bringing drugs into our house with our daughter in the next room. She tried to rationalize that making out with another girl isn’t cheating, it’s a freebie.
It was me
who called Heather’s parents and asked if Heather and Lucy could move in with them. I would have kept Lucy if my schedule wasn’t so unpredictable. They agreed it would be easier for them to keep an eye on Heather if she were living with them. We officially broke up about a month later. She was doing harder drugs and her parents were with Lucy full-time. I thought Heather would straighten up after she got the partying stage over with…she didn’t.
A heavy-set woman with big hair comes over to me in the lobby, telling me she is
Aunt Josephine and she was asked to take Lucy back to the house. I’ve met her before at a family function or two. It’s time for Lucy to have a nap anyway. She shouldn’t go to the graveside any more than I should. I kissed her goodbye and promised her I’d give her a call tomorrow. My parents are going to the graveside service; they weren’t able to get coverage at the restaurant to make it here in time. I’ll text mom and tell her I’m going home, she’ll understand, she’s always understood me.
The funeral home is less than ten miles from my house, but the cemetery is at least twenty miles away. How is it so pretty outside on such a sad day? I thought the cemetery would be too hot, so I didn’t go. It would kill me to see her lowered into the ground. My imagination paints a picture of it all too well. I stopped at the liquor store on my way home to pick up the case of Four Roses I ordered last week. One of my vendor’s gave me a bottle for my twenty-first birthday and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s nice and smooth with a full bodied flavor, as it should be, at one-hundred-fifty-dollars a bottle. It should nurse my hangover the next day.
“This going to be all for you Caide?”
James, the cashier of the ABC store asked.
“Oh yeah, I need a
couple of bags of ice. Are you doing okay, James?” He’s a funny little guy who’s always asking me about asking my assistant out. He doesn’t seem to get it through his head that she’s already married. “Will you go ahead and order me another case of this,” I point to the box of Four Roses.
Some kids are walking by the front of the store with their skateboards tucked up under their arm. I tried to skateboard
when I was a teen, but I wasn’t ever very good at staying upright.
Life is continuing to go on all around me, but in my head
my world has shattered into twenty-seven million little shards of glass.
Shit! I gotta get out of here!
The street to my house is nice with its manicured lawns and mature landscaping. People around here are friendly and quiet. The realty office who handles the rentals in our immediate area has a strict
no tolerance policy. It takes one call from a local and the tenant is evicted. I’ve personally never reported anyone, but the next door neighbor lives to tattle on people. I own a four bedroom cottage a block over from the beach. I bought it from my parents when I was twenty, so I got a great deal. It isn’t a big secret around here that I started an online cooking school when I was sixteen. My parents own a steakhouse in town, so I grew up in the food business. People who are just starting out in life and don’t know how to cook, will subscribe to my site and my videos. I’m always with a film crew making up a new dish. The idea is to teach basic cooking skills to beginners. I have everything from microwave food for college dorm-room living, to the perfect dinner to cook for that someone special. In the first year I had over a thousand subscribers. I’ve branched out to do some fancier foods but I still love my basic segments. By the time I graduated high-school I had been on the cover of ten food magazines and my show was picked up by the Foodie Network.
ve taken a few business classes just to understand what makes a good business. My commercial kitchen and building were finished last April. My camera crew consists of two guys and one chick. They all work for the local news and travel around chasing stories. Each Wednesday I have a segment on the 5:00 news for a twenty minute meal. It’s been a big hit with the locals. They convinced me to open up my kitchen and do live classes to broadcast online. My bills are paid, my daughter will have a college fund and I still run the beach parties. Not a bad life.
Heather had it easy, but it wasn’t good enough for her. She never wanted for anything when she was with me, not until she started snorting my money up her nose.
All hell broke loose when she started doing meth. She disappeared for a few days at a time, leaving me no other option than to tell her to leave. It never occurred to me that she wouldn’t get clean. I actually thought her love for Lucy and I would override her addiction.
Pulling into the driveway, I still
get excited that it’s mine. It’s a nice beach cottage, with white shutters and a big wall of windows that shows off the custom staircase. Heather and I did the landscaping last summer and I hired a guy to come out a few times a week to care for it. We worked day and night, drinking beer and getting the yard just right.
Damn you Heather!
I yell in my head.
Why!” I scream as I bang my fist on my Mustang’s steering wheel. I’m not dealing with this shit right now! My poor stang gets the brunt of my anger as I slam the door shut. The bag of ice is dripping cold water all over my pants and I fumble with the keypad to get in the house. The way the house is set up, you enter on the lower level. I have it ready for entertaining, with the regulation size pool table, the wet-bar, the overpriced furniture, and enormous TV to watch sports on. There’s a guest room down here for my friends who have had too much to drink and can’t make it home. I have a strict rule though, when Lucy’s here, no one stays over. Everyone’s good about it too, they know how important she is and how my time with her is precious. The gray room with its white wainscoting, reminds me of the family I’ve lost and how Lucy won’t remember her mother’s love.