Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chapter 28 - Michael

Another great discussion yesterday. I look forward to your comments on this. I think this will stand by itself as a chapter. I can't believe we've passed 45K words. It seems like we've still got a long way to go, but we are getting closer and closer to the final epilogue.


Dive Buddy: Leesie           
Date:  06/30
Dive #:
Location: Grand Cayman
Dive Site:
Weather Condition:
Water Condition:
Water Temp: 
Bottom Time:  

            Long day. I teach pool and classroom sessions in the morning, and I’m out on the boat with the students all afternoon. I’m stuck filling bottles and fixing a reg after that while everyone else disappears.
            I don’t make it to Aunty Jaz’s until after 9 PM. Leesie’s got the front outdoor lights blazing—she’s still clipping. She meets me at my car door. She’s all over me before I can even get all the way out. Doesn’t seem to care that she’s sweaty tonight. Not that I’m complaining.
            I get my lips free for a minute, wipe a streak of dirt from her cheek. “Hey—this is sweet. What gives?”
            “I waited and waited.” Her arms are scratched up from her long struggle with stubborn bougainvillea vines. “I thought maybe I’d come on too strong yesterday, and you’d flown off somewhere.”
            “Why didn’t you call?”
            “I did. You didn’t pick up.”
            “Sorry, babe. No cell service out on the ocean.” We move off the dark sidewalk under the bright pool of light where she worked. “Looks like you took it out on the bougainvillea.” The vines are butchered.
            Her legs are scratched up, too. “Did I mess it up?”
            My eyes move from the branches littering the yard to her face, and I know she’s not talking about gardening. “No. No. You helped a lot.” I bend down and kiss her.
            She’s trembling. “I thought I’d scared you off for good.” She buries her face in my chest.
            I hold her, stroke her head. She could tell me she believes in holy flying penguins, and I’d be back. “You can’t get rid of me that easy, and look—” I hold up the Book of Mormon I’d shoved in the back of my jeans when Leesie attacked me. “Can you read with me? It’s hard by myself.”
            She raises her head from hiding and takes the book. “Do you have more questions?”
            I nod.
            I get one more kiss, and she pulls me around the back to the screened porch. She already put Aunty Jaz to bed.
            We sit, side by side, on the couch, knees, arms, ankles touching. She reads, stops, explains—paints the sacred stories of her childhood. She’s beautiful in her element.
            I listen and love her.
            We get to the part where the father dies. The mean brothers want to kill Nephi. Leesie gets emotional. “Droop in sin,” she reads. “That’s what I did. I’d still be stuck there, miserable, if you hadn’t forced me into President Bodden’s office.” She sniffs and strokes the open page on her lap.
            I put my arm around her. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
            “You don’t think that was inspiration?”
            I lean my cheek on her head. “More like desperation.”
            She keeps reading. “I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh.” She chokes up—makes me continue.
            I finish the chapter—it’s just a few more verses. It’s beautiful. I hold Leesie, and we share an intense moment born of all we’ve been through together—my grief, hers, our ups and downs, the love that battled its way through it all. If anything is divine—that is. The love we share is truly holy.
            It’s midnight when I tenderly find Leesie’s lips and whisper good night.
            As I drive back to the East End, I remember the feeling I had back in the temple garden in Hong Kong and the tunnel with all those BYU kids singing hymns. The power that stopped me from going into Leesie’s room that first awful night we spent in Cayman wasn’t my mom. I didn’t sense her in Hong Kong and in the tunnel like I did the other times she helped me. But something was. Something real. Something like I felt with Leesie tonight.
            I pull the car off the road when I get to the blow holes. I wander out on the coral rocks—close enough to the waves forcing themselves up through the coral tubes to feel the fine mist on my face—and stare out at the night ocean.
            The sky overhead is heavy with stars.
            I owe this to Leesie. At least once.
            “Is it—I mean—are You—real?”
            The ocean surges, seethes. An unusually large wave hits hard enough to drench me with spray.
            I wipe my face and whisper, “Is that a yes?”
            I have to admit there is a power in the night beyond me, beyond the ocean, beyond the sky, beyond the stars.
            Something is out there.
            Something big.
            Something real.
            Something I can no longer deny.


  1. That was beautiful and so powerful. I have been waiting for this to happen since Taken By Storm. Oh my goodness, I am SO happy right now. I remember reading the last lines of Taken By Storm and bawling, I could not see the pages... I was so upset that it was over, that THEY were over. I knew it could not end like that..I knew it was not over and that all would be well. I am so in love with this chapter and am bawling once again.

  2. From the part that says 'The sky overhead is heavy with stars ...' till the end, I CRIED !!
    it is SO deep. Michael is starting to believe !
    i love this REALLY much !

    Still tearing up

  3. I'm crying ... So beautiful Angela so deep. I think this time I'm really speechless. BRAVO!!!

  4. Free Kleenex at Windowpane /haha/ I can't stop .., I'm crying and laughing at the same time. I been waiting for this moment so long.

    Bravo Angela!!!

  5. Wow -- the ending is so beautiful and powerful! And I love the line "I listen and love her."

  6. Michelle, I am crying and laughing too. That is a perfect way to describe what I'm feeling. Been waiting for this moment for SO long too!!

  7. I'm glad it didn't disappoint.

  8. At the peril of sounding redundant, I am crying too. That was unbearably beautiful, Angela. Exactly the kind of union Michael and Leesie deserve. It's scarily poignant. And so, so perfect.
    I haven't visited this blog for nearly a week and this is what I get as a welcome back present. It's been weird and stressful and overall, difficult for me for a while now, and this post truly helps. Thanks so much for writing something so amazing. And I think you are amazing, too.
    Happy new year!

  9. This is so amazing! I've been wondering for so long if Michael was ever going to believe and he finally did! I'm so excited for what happens next. :)

  10. Oh my. That was absolutely amazing!

  11. Well, Sanju, I think you put your finger on exactly why I write. I want my books to me something that "truly helps" when it's weird and stressful and difficult. Thank you for shining that light for me.

    And thanks to all of you for appreciating Michael's journey in the spirit that I offer it.