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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some Old, Some New

My hubby is jetlagged and sleeping. My friends left for the airport. And I'm back with Michael and Leesie. I'm always like this when I'm working on a story I love--totally obsessed. Besides, Michelle threw down the gauntlet and I couldn't resist picking it up. Great challenge, Michelle. Thank you.

So here's some old, some new. I revised Michael's chat with Kim. Do you think this works better? And, of course, I rewrote the rough draft of Leesie's drastic new poem, plus added Michael's dive log. I'm going to add a chat with Kim to round out chapter four. Chapter Four!! Yes. Watch for that on Monday.


MICHAEL WALDEN / CHATSPOT LOG / 2:35 PM  04/28

liv2div says: hey, Kim…it’s Michael.
Kimbo69 says: Leesie’s Michael? Didn’t know we were friends. I’m so not talking to you.
liv2div says: I need your help.
Kimbo69 says: No way. Leesie’s my best friend…you broke her heart, ground it into minced meat, and fed it to the sharks. Go back to your pretty prostitute—or buy a new one. Stay away from Leesie…you messed up her life enough. I know the whole no-sex thing must be tough on you, but that’s no excuse—you promised, her. She hasn’t been online. What have you done to her?
liv2div says: you haven’t heard?
Kimbo69 says: Don’t tell me you’re back together.
liv2div says: Leesie crashed her pickup driving home from BYU
Kimbo69 says: Crashed? Leesie?
liv2div says: yeah, last Thursday
Kimbo69 says: I don’t believe you.
liv2div says:  why would I make this up?
Kimbo69 says: Why don’t I know about it?
liv2div says: her parents haven’t called you?
Kimbo69 says: I don’t think they have my number. You’re serious?
liv2div says: I don’t joke much anymore, Kim…haven’t had much to laugh about for a long time
Kimbo69 says: I used to feel sorry for you but not after what you pulled in Thailand. If this is some kind of trick to get me to help you get back with her, it’s not going to work.
liv2div says: freak, Kim…don’t you care what happened to Leesie?
Kimbo69 says: She banged up her truck. Big deal…craa-aap, she must have been hurt or she would have been online. We were supposed to chat. Oh, crap. Is she dead? Why didn’t you say that?
 liv2div says: calm down…she’s not dead…lots of broken stuff…it’s rough
Kimbo69 says: Don’t you dare tell me to calm down! How bad is it? What’s broken? My gosh, my gosh, is she like paralyzed?
liv2div says: the pickup’s totaled
Kimbo69 says: I don’t care about the damn pickup. She’s dying, isn’t she? What hospital is she in? I need to come see her. Don’t let her die.
liv2div says: listen a minute…stop jumping in before I can type out what’s happening…she’ll be okay
Kimbo69 says: Okay? Like paralyzed in a wheelchair the rest of her life or totally fine?
liv2div says: physically she should recover…totally…she’s got a stitched up head…they shaved off half her hair…her hand flew into her nose when the air bag blew so they are both busted…her collarbone snapped, ribs cracked, sprained ankles…she’s in a ton of pain
Kimbo69 says: Tell me the hospital she’s in. I’m coming right now. To hell with my classes. When did this happen? Crap, why didn’t you tell me before? You suck, you know. You really, really suck.
liv2div says: hang on a minute…you can’t visit her
Kimbo69 says: Like hell, I can’t. Leesie and I are soul-mates. You don’t have a clue what that means. I’m coming.
liv2div says: Hang on, Kim…I need to tell you the worst part
Kimbo69 says: It gets worse? You suck at breaking it gently. What are you hiding? What’s really happened to her?
liv2div says: I’ve been trying to tell you…Phil was with her…you know, her brother…he didn’t make it
Kimbo69 says: Phil’s dead? Really? Dead? That’s horrible. Awful. Oh, my poor girl, Leesie. She’s taking it bad?
liv2div says: really bad…I thought if anyone could deal with something like this it was her, but she blames herself…won’t tell anyone what happened…not even me
Kimbo69 says: I’ll come visit today. Where is she?
liv2div says: she so messed up…she thinks God won’t forgive her…she’s turned her back on her family and all her Mormon stuff
Kimbo69 says: Leave it to me. I’ll talk to her.
liv2div says: Leesie’s broken up more inside than out…her wounds will heal…I don’t know about the soul part
Kimbo69 says: I told her once I wanted her down here groveling in the dirt with the rest of us mortals…but no, not her…you can’t let her go under, Michael. DO YOU HEAR ME?
liv2div says: I need some help, Kim…I think she’ll listen to you
Kimbo69 says: Of course she will. Get her right now. Tell her it’s me.
liv2div says: she’s not here right now
Kimbo69 says: when will she be back?
liv2div says: the nurses have her…I don’t know
Kimbo69 says: I have to go  to a stupid class that I’ve blown off too many times. I’ll head out after that. We’ll have a long, long girl talk.
liv2div says: she can’t really type
Kimbo69 says: Face to face, numbskull. What hospital is she in?
liv2div says: they released her Sunday night…she couldn’t bear going home…so we ran away together
Kimbo69 says: You kidnapped her?
liv2div says: rescued her…we’re both eighteen we can do what we want
Kimbo69 says: you total creep…how could you be so selfish at a time like this?
liv2div says: she was desperate, begged me…freak, it broke my heart to see her so pathetic
Kimbo69 says: That’s no excuse for doing something so stupid.
liv2div says: I tried to talk her out of it…still trying…she won’t even let me call her parents
Kimbo69 says: You stole her from the hospital with all those injuries?
liv2div says: her mom wanted to take her home…look after her there…Leesie’s so eaten up with guilt…she can’t stand to be near her mom…it’s sad, wrong…but I’m here…I’m taking care of her…better than her parents could
Kimbo69 says: I’m sure you are. You disgust me—taking advantage of my best friend when she’s like this.
liv2div says: Leesie never told me you were vicious…and for the record I’m NOT taking advantage of her
Kimbo69 says: How did you even get back in the picture? What happened to your concubine?
liv2div says: don’t call her that…I helped Suki get out of a bad scene…that’s it…I never touched her
Kimbo69 says: Right. You got Leesie to believe that?
liv2div says: she believed it enough to send that missionary dude packing
Kimbo69 says: Jaron? Crap. I was rooting for him. Not you. Not you. Not you.
liv2div says: whatever, Kim…hate me all you want…will you talk to Leesie?
Kimbo69 says: where are you guys…can I phone her?
liv2div says: Leesie won’t let me tell anyone
Kimbo69 says: Thailand?
liv2div says: of course not…I’ll let her tell you…I think chatting would be safest…she’ll go for that…I’ll have to do the typing until they take the cast of her left hand and let her use her right arm again
Kimbo69 says: What happened to her arm?
liv2div says: She can’t move it because of her collarbone. The arm’s okay.
Kimbo69 says: It’ll be weird knowing you’re eavesdropping.
liv2div says: you’ll never know I’m there…then you’ll do it?
Kimbo69 says: Of course, I’ll do it. Don’t be stupid.
liv2div says: just don’t get too gross, okay?
Kimbo69 says: Me? Never.





Chapter Four

LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK

POEM # 76

Nurses dressed in soft sunshine yellow
pour into my breezy room.
Soft island hands,
some black, some white,
undress, unwrap, unwind,
expertly draping and
robing so I’m never
exposed, so gentle I only
cry out once.

The clinical whirlpool bath
isn’t like a hotel hot tub—
metal, deep, sterile.
I’m in it up to my neck,
collarbone brace and all,
my straggled hair bundled
in a clear shower cap,
left hand encased in plastic.
“Don’t get your face wet,” they tell me.
“When can I get this off?”
I point to my nose wrappings.
“We’ll check with your doctor.”
“I don’t have a doctor.”
One glances at my chart.
“You do now.”

The enormity of the burden Michael
has shouldered for me makes
my eyes glisten.
“Don’t cry, sugar. It’ll make your
cast soggy.”

I stay in so long I’m dizzy.
“You need to eat.”
“Not hungry.”
The “sugar” nurse brings soft
cotton underthings and a large
frothy fruit drink rich
with banana and mango.
I sip and remember.
“I think I used to
use this on my hair.”

Sugar and company clean
my wounds and soothe them
with aloe and ointment.
They wrap my ribs fresh,
change my wet brace for a dry one,
sling my right arm.
“Keep that immobile,” Sugar orders.
I nod meekly.

My ankles are blue bruised
but not nearly as swollen.
They wrap them up tight—get
me to walk. It hurts but in a clean
triumphant way—like a good stretch.

My walk ends at a black and gold salon
with too many mirrors.
Bruised eyes, fat lip, plastered up nose,
ugly, ugly stitches and so much of my hair
shaved away—nearly half my head.
A stylist washes what’s left clean.
“This is going to be a challenge.”
She holds up the ugly, wet mop
that seems so foreign. That’s not my
hair. Not my long, full mane. Not the soft
locks that Michael tangled into knots
whenever we made out.
The stylist frowns at it.
“You’ll have limited mobility. Looking
after this will be tough. Will
you have help?”
I think of my mom at home
who would wash and blow dry
my hair every day if I asked her.
“Cut it, then. I don’t care.”

The stylist chops it to my shoulders,
parts it on the side,
experiments with a comb over,
but there isn’t enough hair
in the world to cover my stitches

I stare in the mirror and hate it,
detest the silliness of the pathetic
subterfuge, loathe who I am,
what I’ve become, revile
against any effort to cover
up my damnation
with any attempt at normal.

The stylist shrugs her shoulders,
agreeing with my silent assessment.
Yes. It’s awful. Yes, you are hideous.
Yes, it’s no use. She combs a bit of hair
down over my forehead. “Bangs
will help when this shaved part
grows back.”

Shaved?
Good
idea.


Michael, sun-kissed and saltwater fresh,
sleeps on my bed when I hobble
back to my room. I dismiss
my guides with a promise to rest.
I touch his hand to wake him.
“Michael. Hey.”

His eyes open,
focus,
explode.

“Freak, Leese. What the hell
did they do to you?”
He’s on his feet, wrapping
me in his arms. “I’m sorry, babe.”
He’s shakes with emotion.
“I thought they’d look after you.”
He chokes back a sob.
“Come on let’s get out of here.
I’ll find someplace else.”

He touches my stark white
new-shaved scalp like it’s lethal.
“What did they do with it?”
“My hair?”
“Did they save it?”
Tears fill his eyes.
“I don’t think so.”
“It’s gone?” His finger withdraws.
“It’ll grow back even this way.”
He swallows hard. “But your hair, Leese.”
“I couldn’t look after it.”
His head shakes denial.
“That’s why I got nurses.”
I close my eyes to block out his pain.
“I can’t stay here forever.”

“I would have washed it for you,
babe, every day.” His voice throbs.
I open my eyes and watch tears,
one by one roll down his cheeks.

I wipe at his tears with my
robe’s sleeve. I never thought of that—
thought of him—thought of
what he might need to hold
on to.
I thought only me.
And what I’d lost.
I try to kiss away his tears
and feel like a coward.

A cruel, selfish coward
who crushes, maims,
and kills.


MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME #10

Dive Buddy:            Leesie
Date:  04/28
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:

I don’t know how we go from me sobbing like a wimped-out baby over Leesie’s lost hair to us making out on her cushy white bed, but that’s what happens. She starts it. I don’t resist.
I have to be careful not to jar her injuries, careful not to lose control. Leesie offers no barriers but makes no demands. She just lies there on her back. I’m on my side so I can reach her. We kiss soft and slow. Her lip doesn’t bleed this time. It hurts her, though. I can tell, even though she kisses me over and over. The movement of her mouth on mine is incredibly tender—like I am the patient. And she the comforter.
I move my mouth to her unhurt lower lip, suck softly a moment, slip my lips to her chin, her neck, her ear. I hesitate a moment then move my mouth to the velvet soft skin of her new shaved head, exploring every inch, trying to fall in love again.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers.
I pause and murmur, “More safe skin,” and go back to kissing it, absorbing every contour of her skull into my soul. I avoid the jagged gash and purple stitches holding it together.
Her scalp is warm, vibrant, alive against my lips. That’s what counts, I try to convince myself. She’s here, alive—not on that mountainside dead.
“I love you, Michael, forgive me for making it harder for you.”
“Will you marry me, Leese, at the end of the summer?”
“I’ll marry you tomorrow.”
“Sorry, babe. No can do. I want you in shape for 24/7.”
We both laugh at that, and I cradle her head, afraid to let it go again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Next poem - in the rough

Yikes! I didn't have time to get this revised. My hubby's home from a long trip, and we've got friends visiting for the weekend.

But I didn't want to miss posting. This is such a great way to write a book. Who knew? I love getting immediate feedback, and the pressure to create every day is really good. Thanks everybody for all your thoughtful comments. I'll have the longest acknowledgement page in history for this book.

So here's Leesie's next poem totally in the rough. I'm guessing this will be the first part of the next chapter. I'm hoping to post all of chapter four on Monday.





Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chapter 3 cont. - Enter KIM!

This was kind of tricky to introduce Kim again. Do you think the transition works or is too clunky? I think this will be the rest of chapter three. Chapter Four tomorrow.


MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG – VOLUME #10

Dive Buddy:            Leesie
Date:  04/28
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:

I wish I could go out to the East End—best diving on the island. North is good, too. Lots of eagle rays up there. But those guys will be long gone by now.  I’m close to West end dives here. Lame by Cayman standards. Excellent compared to Thailand.
I borrow the center’s phone and call a guy we used to charter. Great. He’s got a boat going out at 10 AM.
“It’s a private charter, though.” He sounds like he’s trying to get rid of me. “Tough luck.”
“Wait.” I offer something no dive captain can resist. “Look, I’ll haul tanks, guide, set up all the gear. Whatever it takes. It’ll be the easiest day you ever spent on the water.”
“I don’t know, dude.”
I pull out my secret weapon. “Are there females in the party?”
He pauses—checking the list most likely. “Four.”
“Bring me along and they’ll be back.”
He laughs. “You can guarantee that?”
I’m so glad Leesie can’t hear this. “Just stating the facts.”
“This is Michael Walden?”
“Uh-huh.”
“Okay. You’re in. Remember the dock we pick up at?”
“Yup.”
“I’d do anything for you dad. He was the best.”
My eyes sting, but I manage to thank the guy without blubbering. “I’ll need gear, too.”
“Figures.”

The dive isn’t spectacular. The women are annoying, but still it feels fantastic to be breathing through a reg, finning over coral beds, relaxing in my native element where I don’t have to talk or think. Just be.
After, I swing by the hotel and pick up my laptop on my way to see Leesie. She’s not in her room when I get there, so I lounge on her bed, email Claude to ship me my junk—especially all that stuff I bought for Leesie. It’ll have to come by air or we’ll never get it. If Claude wasn’t such a jerk, I’d send him a ticket and have him bring it out here. But Claude is—Claude. No thanks.
I sign into ChatSpot, notice Kimbo69 is online, and decide it’s time to bring in reinforcements.


MICHAEL WALDEN / CHATSPOT LOG / 2:35 PM  04/28

liv2div says: hey, Kim…it’s Michael.
Kimbo69 says: Leesie’s Michael? Didn’t know we were friends. I’m so not talking to you.
liv2div says: I need your help.
Kimbo69 says: No way. Leesie’s my best friend…you broke her heart, ground it into minced meat, and fed it to the sharks. Go back to your pretty prostitute—or buy a new one. Stay away from Leesie…you messed up her life enough. I know the whole no-sex thing must be tough on you, but that’s no excuse—you promised, her. She hasn’t been online. What have you done to her?
liv2div says: you haven’t heard?
Kimbo69 says: Don’t tell me you’re back together.
liv2div says: Leesie crashed her truck driving home from BYU.
Kimbo69 says: What? Is she hurt?
liv2div says: lots of broken stuff…they patched her up…she’ll heal.
Kimbo69 says: Is she still in the hospital? I need to come see her.
liv2div says: she’s broken up inside worse…Phil was with her…you know, her brother…he didn’t make it.
Kimbo69 says: That’s horrible. Poor, Leesie. I can’t believe it.
liv2div says: she blames herself…won’t tell anyone what happened…not even me
Kimbo69 says: I’ll come visit today. Where is she?
liv2div says: she so messed up…she thinks God won’t forgive her…she’s turned her back on her famiy, all her Mormon stuff…begged me to sleep with her
Kimbo69 says: You CREEP! How could you do that?
liv2div says: I didn’t…and she got so angry at me…playing nice today but I don’t know what I’ll do if she gets like that again
Kimbo69 says: Leave it to me. I’ll talk to her.
liv2div says: she can’t really type
Kimbo69 says: Face to face, numbskull. What hospital is she in?
liv2div says: they released her Sunday night…she couldn’t bear going home…so we ran away together
Kimbo69 says: You kidnapped her?
liv2div says: rescued her…we’re both eighteen we can do what we want
Kimbo69 says: How did you even get back in the picture? What happened to your concubine?
liv2div says: don’t call her that…I helped Suki get out of a bad scene…that’s it…I never touched her
Kimbo69 says: Right. You got Leesie to believe that?
liv2div says: she believed it enough to send that missionary dude packing
Kimbo69 says: Crap. I was rooting for him. Not you. Not you. Not you.
liv2div says: whatever, Kim…hate me all you want…will you talk to Leesie?
Kimbo69 says: where are you guys…can I phone her?
liv2div says: Leesie won’t let me tell anyone
Kimbo69 says: Thailand?
liv2div says: of course not…I’ll let her tell you…I think chatting would be safest…she’ll go for that…I’ll have to do the typing until they take the cast of her left hand and let her use her right arm again.
Kimbo69 says: What happened to her arm?
liv2div says: Broken collar-bone. The arm’s okay. Her left hand is broken, too.
Kimbo69 says: It’ll be weird knowing you’re eavesdropping.
liv2div says: just don’t get gross
Kimbo69 says: Me? Never.

I don't have time to scan in the rough drafts today. Believe me, they aren't exciting. Are you getting a little tired of them? Yeah. I thought so. But I do want to share some great underwater pictures my hubbie took. These are Grand Cayman East End dives. Some of my favorite dives in the world. I'm the one in back wearing black flippy force fins. 









Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chapter 3 - A New Leesie's poem

This is still really rough. I blush to call it a poem. It's still kind of just broken up lines. There are flashes of poetic language and some nice images here and there, but right now it's more verse than poetry. But I need to push on with the story, so you're getting it half-baked. Just like I promised.


Chapter Three


LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
POEM #75 MR. SUNSHINE


Michael steers a wheelchair
into my room, waking me.
He pours pills down my throat.
“Come on, babe. We’re going
for a walk.”
I’m not talking to him
ever again. He’s wrong.
I’m right. And he’s going be sorry.

He picks me up, plops me
in the chair. Laughs when I scowl.
“How do you like you chariot?”
He ties my headscarf do-rag style,
straps on my ankle support boots.
I raise my eyebrows.
“In case you want to wade.”
He pulls a bottle of OJ out
of a grocery bag swinging from
his wrist and hands it to me,
kisses me when he bends to twist
the top off. “Forgive me?”

He’s so cute excited.
I can’t hate him when
he’s like this. The Ice Queen
relents. “Do I have a choice?”
“No.” He kisses me again.
“You’re stuck.”
My eyes swim. “No, Michael.
You’re stuck. I’m sorry I did this to you.”
He gets down on his knees and
lays his head in my lap.
“I don’t ever, ever, ever
want to hear you say that again.”

I can’t answer or I’ll cry.
I bend down and kiss the top of his head.
It’s damp. “What’ve you been up to?”
“I just got out of the ocean.”
“Saltwater therapy?”
“Yeah. It’s the best.”
“Earth to Michael—I can’t
go in the water.”
“But you can get close.”
His smile—so big and beautiful—
coaxes the corners of my mouth to
ease up for a moment.

His head tilts toward the bathroom.
“Do you need to go?”
I shake my head and sip my juice.
“You got up by yourself?”
“Twice.”
“That must have hurt.”
I shrug.
“Freak, I got to use the john.”
He dumps granola bars
in my lap. “I’ll be right back.”

He disappears into his room.
I drink all the juice, eat both bars,
listen to the sink, then the shower.
He returns scrubbed, shaved,
and glowing, garbed in garish
purple and lime green swimshorts
and an “I love Cayman” T.
My jeans feel cemented
to my body. “No fair.”
“Jealous of my snazzy outfit?”
“You’re clean hair.”
“We’ll take care of yours after
the walk—I promise.”
“You’re going to undress me?”
“Shh. It’s a surprise.

The beach is glorious.
Caribbean blue water,
even brighter than I remember
from the Keys. The wheelchair
gets bogged down in the deep,
dry sand. Michael powers
through it to firm damp beach,
pushes me right up to the surf’s
edge—a tiny wavelet swirls
around the wheels.

He tips back the chair
on its two big wheels,
ignores my squeals
and pushes me into the water.
The turquoise sea rushing in and out
uncovers a childish delight—simple,
pure, a bit tarnished and battered—but
I can feel. He keeps me out there
until his arms can’t hold the chair
up anymore.

Then those arms, moist with sweat
and ocean spray, free me from
confinement. We lie 
on the damp sand, me
on my back gazing up at the flawless
blue sky. Michael on his side
staring at my face.
He leans over and sucks ever
so gently on my unblemished
lower lip. He stops too soon.
“Is my breath gross?”
“Yeah. You’re a mess. Sandy
now, too.”
“What are you going to do
about that? Dunk me in the ocean?”
“If that’s what you want.” He scoops me
up and runs towards the water.
“Stop it, Michael.” I pound on
him with my cast.
He pulls up short.
“How about nurses?”
“What?”
“I found you nurses.”
“You’re sticking me back
in a hospital? No way.”
“No hospital—I promise.”

He takes me to a short cement building
set down in a tropical garden—pink
bougainvillea spill from pots,
palms, high and low, fan out in all
directions, bright orange and yellow
flowers carpet the ground.
Inside—cool, clean elegance,
marble floors, wood-paneled walls,
paintings of ocean sunrises.

My room’s a plush prison—
white bed draped with gauzy netting
looks resort brochure not hospital bill.
“You’re leaving me here?”
“Nurses, babe. They can take
care of you. I can’t.”
“You didn’t even try.”
“You need physio and wound care,
pain management. I can’t do that.”
“How long?”
“At least stay long enough
to get cleaned up.”
He picks me up from my chair.
“You stink.”
“Now that’s romantic.”

He lays me on the bed.
I sink into a world of soft
feather luxury.
He leans over me with
encouragement leaking
from the corners of his grin.
“They’ve got a therapeutic
whirlpool you can soak in
all morning. Wouldn’t that feel nice?”
He’s starting to convince me.
“What are you going to do?”
He blushes under his tan.
“Oh, my gosh—
you’re going
diving?”
He bends low to give
me an enormous kiss.
“Please?”
“As if I could stop you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Get out of here.”

The smile that slips onto my face
as I watch him leave me
knows only him, only here,
only this moment.
Today, it’s enough.



I'm scanning the rough drafts for you, but while I wait I'm going to load some pictures of Grand Cayman. It's MY favorite place to scuba dive. We learned to free dive there, too. I did that solely because I was writing TAKEN BY STORM and Michael survived because of his mad free diving skills.  My husband was great at free diving. I was AWFUL. You can read more about it and the trouble free diving go me into with Kirkus's reviewer in STORM'S STORY: Hyperventilation on my website.

Okay. Here's Grand Cayman:



Yes, the water is really this perfect!


Me at the turtle farm.

This is where we stayed when we did our free diving certification. I was so AWFUL.

Classic Cayman
East End dive resort where we stayed when my kids certified.
Great blow-hole in the coral!



East End Dive resort where I think Michael and Leesie will go.

Imagine Michael and Leesie on this beach.

One of my daughter's great shots.

East End Sunset

My daughter takes great micro photos.

East End evening

Breakfast anyone?
This is actually where we dove for our free diving course. The floor of the inlet is covered with sea urchins.


Dive boats! 

My kids in the pool getting certified.
My daughter with her scuba instructor. She did really well. I wonder why?

And now my rough drafts. 







Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chapter Two - The Whole Darn Thing!

Here's chapter two. I'm starting with the typed up version. I can't continue to torture you with deciphering the rough drafts. I'll post them below. Scroll down if you want to see them. I don't want to drive you crazy, try your patience, any more than I already am. I don't know how much I'll be able to post tomorrow. I still have to research Leesie's injuries.

Leesie's next poem is eager to emerge, though. And I think Michael and Kim need to chat. That will probably be half of the next chapter.


Chapter Two

LEESIE’S MOST PRIVATE CHAPBOOK
POEM # 74

I wear out my voice calling
him to come back, wear out
my heart, wear out
my desolation.
“Take your pills, Leese.”
His voice through the door triggers
rebellion. Those stupid pills—
his solution for everything.
Drug her up so I won’t
have to deal with her,
hear her, touch her, kiss her,
love her.

“Take your pills, babe. The nurses
said.”

I sweep them off the nightstand.
The tiny capsules mock me
from the carpet, glowing
in the light he left on
in my room.
I pick up the bottle of water,
grind it open with my teeth,
spit out the lid, drink,
spilling on my shirt, slam
the bottle down, close
my eyes against the light.

I invite the pain to be my comfort,
seek solace in suffering. If Michael
won’t fill my nights, guide me
into another realm, I’ll linger here
just as he left me, encourage my wounds
to be my companion. My head, hand, ribs,
clavicle, ankles, and heart
seethe, stew, seer.

Pain mounts and rolls as the clock
on the nightstand flicks past number
after number,
until hurt is all I know.
I’m lost in its waves, oblivious
to anything but it’s pulsing embrace.

I don’t need you Michael,
I want to scream.
You and your pills just
get in the way of what’s
most important.
My pain.

All is silent on the other
side of the door.
I hush my moans, writhe
in silence. I don’t want
him now forcing
those pills down my throat.
I clutch this exquisite ache,
discover a white hot ball
of anger festering deep
in my gut, coax it to bloom
and engulf my guilt, my sorrow,
my shame. I point it at
my dad, for being too kind, too good,
my mom, for her funeral schemes,
Phil for attacking me over Michael,
and dying, the jerk, how could he do that?
And Michael, you too, for refusing to take
what you use to beg me for.

And God for letting it all happen.
I thought you loved me?
I thought I was your daughter?
How could you?

A familiar comfort tries to slip
into my heart.
I block it—wall it away—
revel in my pain, my rage.
I don’t deserve that touch.
Can bear the comfort that
I know is lost.

I killed my brother.
And that is the biggest
pain of all.


MICHAEL’S DIVE LOG—VOLUME #10
Dive Buddy:  Leesie
Date:  04/28
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site: [hotel?]
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Depth:  
Visibility: 
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  
Comments:

            I wake up to Leesie moaning. I’m lying on the floor in front of the connecting door, drooling on the carpet. Gross. I get to my feet and press my ear to the door. She should still be knocked out. Could she make that noise in her sleep? It’s the saddest sound I’ve ever heard.
            “Leese,” I call quietly in case she’s asleep. “Did you take your pills?”
            The moans cease.
“Leese. Babe.”
No answer.
            The nurses told me to give her a “sedating dose” to get her through the night. If Leese let the pain get out of control, the pills might not work. “They are right there, babe—on the nightstand.”
            Still no answer. I wait and wait. Maybe she went back to sleep. Or she’s stifling her suffering, gritting her teeth so I can’t hear, fighting back the agony.
            “Leese. Answer me.”
            Nothing.
            Nothing.
            Then a muffled moans meets my ears.
I grab the door handle, turn it, start to push it open, but something stops me cold.
I’m just going to give her the pills.
No.
I won’t stay. I won’t touch her.
No.
I can do this. Trust me.
You can’t.
So I have to leave her like that all night?
Yes.
In pain?
Yes.
I want to move, but I can’t. I’m glued to the door listening to her moans mount louder and louder until Isadore sweeps down on me, and I’m lost to wind and waves. My mom’s screams mingle with Leesie’s cries—freak it seems like hours. Gray dawn light fills my hotel room when Isadore releases me.
Whatever stopped me earlier is gone. The door opens easily. I walk through, try not to look at Leesie writhing on the bed, try not to hear her moan. I  find her pills on the floor. Freak, she chucked them. Get four fresh ones out of the brown prescription bottle. Sit on her bed and slip my arm behind her back to raise her up. Put the drugs in her mouth. Pour water into the mix. She tips her head back and swallows. Falls back against me.
I settle her down on the pillows, slide onto my knees beside her, cradle her hot, sweaty, broken hand in both of mine. “Freak, Leesie, I’m sorry. I had to get out of here last night. I couldn’t live with myself if the first thing I did when I got you alone was like rape you.”
She closes her eyes and considers my confession. “It wouldn’t,” she manages to whisper, “have been rape.” Her eyelids lift and she drills me. Freak, she’s angry.
I bow my head over her hand. “You’re hurt—not thinking straight. It would have felt like rape.”
“That’s what”—she pauses to gather each word out of the pain haze that  quakes her body—“I need”—her hand breaks away from mine—“now.”
I raise my head and try to find a way in through her eyes. “No, it’s not. You need that good old Leesie magic you poured all over me. Remember?”
Her eyes retreat. “That’s over.” She inhales and exhales, gathers another phrase. “It’s—gone.”
“No, it’s not Leese.” I take back her hand, clasp it in mine. “It’s here. Protecting you—from me. It kept me on the other side of the door.”
“You wanted to come in?”
“All night babe.” My voice gets husky. “I wanted to be with you. Really with you.” I loose her hand and hide my face in the bedding.
With an obvious effort, she strokes my head. “That’s what I want.” Her voice catches. “Love me your way.”
I raise my head, sit back on my heels. “This isn’t about love.” I don’t want to continue but I can’t stop. “You want to sleep with me to prove that you’re lost, a sinner—mound up the guilt. Add to the pain. I’m not helping you with that.”
She clenches her fist and pounds the bed. “You don’t understand.”
“Yes. I do. More than you know.” I sit on the bed, clasp her face between my hands so she can’t look away. “I refuse to be that guy.”
“You won’t love me?” She reaches to kiss me, but I pull back.
“I won’t destroy you. If that’s what you want find somebody else.” I let go of her face, but I don’t move away.
She closes here eyes. Won’t look at me. Won’t open them. Won’t talk. I watch her face go slack as the drugs get into her system. Listen to her breath steady. My stomach rumbles. Freak, I’m starving.
I check my pocket to be sure I have a room key, tiptoe to the door, ease it open, and close it safe behind me. I double check to make sure it’s locked.
I notice myself in the elevator mirror. Freak. I rub the drool off my chin and finger comb my hair. It’s greasy. I stink. My mouth tastes sour. A shower sounds so good. A long hot one. By myself. Leesie needs to get cleaned up to. How the freak am I going to manage that one?
I stop at the front desk. “Is there somewhere close I can get some food?”
“Room service?”
I shake my head.
“We’ve got two restaurants. They open in”—she checks her watch—“two hours.”
“What about a drug store or 7-11?”
“Two blocks down. Turn right when you leave the hotel. Go out the side entrance.”
“Great, thanks.” I muster up a smile.
She seems to appreciate it.
“I need a nurse. Do you know where I can get a nurse?”
She gives me a weird look. “I’m not sure what you mean, sir.”
“A nurse.” I frown. “Like from a hospital.”
She glances over at her computer monitor. “We’ve got a doctor on call. Would you like us to page him?”
“No. We don’t need a doctor.” A doctor wouldn’t take Leese to the bathroom or get her cleaned up and dressed. “I need a nurse.”
A second girl at the desk butts in. “You can check with the rehab center across the street. It’s a couple blocks past the convenience store.”
“Rehab center?” My brows scrunch together. “You mean like for drug addicts?”
“No.” She shakes her head, leaves her stool and walks over to her colleague. “My uncle went there after he had back surgery. He was ready to leave the hospital but not to go home. They make them do physio. A bunch of therapists work there. And nurses. I’m sure there are nurses. They taught him to get dressed and made him exercise. Stuff like that.”
The confused knot in my guts begins to unravel. “And the nurses are nice?”
She nods her head. “My uncle liked them. My aunt not so much. My mom got an earful every time she called.”
“Why?”
She giggles. “Something about sponge baths.”
“She got jealous?”
“Acted like that.” She shrugs. “My mom said she was scared out of her mind.”
I can relate. “Thanks. I’ll check it out.” I turn to leave. “Which way again?”
They both motion with their thumbs sticking out. “Right.”
I grin. “Thanks.”

It’s fresh dawn cool outside. Not muggy hot like last night when the cab dropped us off. The air smells like ocean. Two blocks and I’d be there. The edge of the water. There’s got to be a beach. If I run, I could be there in minutes—seconds.   Saltwater, soothing, cool. I won’t stay in for long.
I do run.
Stalk through an ocean front condo resort like I own it. Strip down to my boxers on the beach. Race into the foam of a retreating wave. Slide onto my belly when it gets knee deep. Stretch my arms forward and pull them back. Kick. Submerge. Freak it feels so good.
I swim out until I find a clump of coral in this sandy desert, take a deep breath, another and another—swim down to the coral, wishing for a mask. Two tiny fish dart in and out of the holes in the stony coral. Ignore me. I surface, lie on my back as the sun rises.
I love Cayman. I haven’t been here since my parents died. I can’t wait to dive. I never thought I’d be tough enough to come back here alone. But it feels right to be here now. Leesie can do her open water dives. Finish her cert with me training her.
Leesie.
Freak.
I wonder how long until she can dive. Broken collar bone. Cracked ribs. The cast on her hand. I hope they say it’d be good therapy. We’ll get snorkels and fins—wrap her cast in plastic. I’ll bring her down here every day as soon as they take that thing off her nose.
They. Who is they? I got to get back to figuring that out.
I swim twenty feet down to the ocean floor again, wave good-bye to the fish, drag myself free of the water, let it swirl around my feet while I put my dry clothes on my wet body.
I retreat to the hotel and turn left since I’m coming from the opposite direction, find the snack place, slam three power bars, and a quart of juice. Grab some for Leesie and head up the street searching for that rehab place.
[describe it]
I try the door. It’s open. I wonder how late it is? How long have I been gone? I don’t want Leese to wake up alone again.
A woman at a huge mahogany desk sitting in the middle of the entry way stands up. “Can I help you?”
“I hope so.” I make such a mess of describing Leesie and me and what we’re doing here that any sane person would have called the cops.
She doesn’t bat an eye—just launches into fees and services and expectations.
“Can I bring her in this morning? Right away?”
“Of course.”


And here are the rough drafts I promised. I scribbled the little white notes in the car. I drafted the poem at 6 AM this morning. These notes for Michael's next dive log came to me while I was getting dressed, but I couldn't stop and write them or my son would be late for school. I repeated it over and over in my head. Scribbled as soon as I pulled the car back into my garage.