Tag Archives: eden baylee

Music Monday remembers Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell passed away last week. He was 52.

It was a shock. He seemed in the prime of his career with so much more to share, and now he’s gone.

I sat stunned for sometime when I heard the news. I featured him back in 2015 as a member of AudioSlave.

Great voice and talent, and it saddens me to showcase another dead musician.

At the end of it, it’s his music that keeps him alive. This song from Temple of the Dog with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam really showed off Cornell’s singing chops.

Have a good week,

~ eden

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I Walked the @DaretoWearLove Runway to benefit @stephenlewisfdn #charity #lgbtq

The Dare to Wear Love 6 Gala and fashion show took place at the Ritz Carlton Friday, May 12th. It was an amazing evening, raising more than 275K for The Stephen Lewis Foundation‘s new LGBTQ Funding Initiative.

The new initiative will support organizations responding to HIV/AIDS within sub-Saharan African communities where HIV rates are highest.

As always, huge hugs and thanks to Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell of HOAX Couture, founders of Dare to Wear Love. They are two of the most generous people I know, and their tremendous energy brings out the best in everyone around them.

Photo credit: Eyecontact Photography

Many thanks also to designer Farley Chatto who created my beautiful dress, which I love!

Lovely man and designer, Farley Chatto

The evening was filled with love and hope. By celebrating the talents and commitment of Canada’s fashion community and artists, we all used our powers for good!

Thanks to everyone who supported me this year, either with a monetary donation to my Challenge or by sharing the event and encouraging me along the way. It all helped!

Below are a few pictures from the evening’s show, but there are hundreds more! You can see them on the Flickr galleries, accessible via the Photos link on the website.

Enjoy!

Follow Dare to Wear Love on  Facebook,  Twitter @daretowearlove , and Instagram.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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THE COTTAGE LIFE ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

The prompt for the latest episode of R.B. Wood’s Word Count Podcast asked that we use April in the setting AND the picture below, taken by friend and fellow writer, Bill Kirton.

My story inspiration

I write a lot about women, loneliness, and murder. They are themes that haunt me daily as I work on my current trilogy. For a short story, however, it’s not practical to squeeze in too many ideas; it can become convoluted. For “The Cottage Life,” murder is not a central theme, but an ambiguous by-product. I hope you like how it turned out.

You can also listen to me reading the story on episode 65 of R.B. Wood’s podcast.

flourish

Spring in this part of the world could hardly be called warm. The snow has melted due to monsoon-like rains, but it’s left a chill in the air. The dewy, mild temperatures normally associated with this time of year are buried along with the crocuses.

My fingers tap against the steering wheel as I grip more tightly than necessary. Classical music intended to soothe begins to irritate me. I turn off the radio, preferring quiet. The four-hour drive outside of the city gives me time to reflect on last April. The cues from family and friends indicate they think I’m still grieving.

I wear my mask well.

A year ago, I lived with my husband, Mike, in a small cottage on a lakefront property. The house wasn’t much to look at, compared to other homes on the lake, but the land it sat on was worth a great deal. All the lakefront homes within five miles of where we lived had appreciated two, three, four times over the last decade. We held on to our investment despite numerous offers to sell from greedy realtors and other interested buyers. I knew that if I was patient, the real estate market would work in my favour.

I put up a fight initially when my husband suggested we sell our suburban bungalow in the city. He brought up the subject as we sat down for dinner one night, a home-cooked meal of steak and potatoes, fresh baked garlic bread, and a side of green beans.

“Come on, Beth,” he said. “We don’t take advantage of half the things the city offers. Let’s sell while the market is hot and use the profits to winterize the cottage. That way, we can live up north all year round.” He slathered more butter on his bread, his fourth slice.

“How about our friends?” My brows furrowed.

“Our friends will just have to make a trip to visit us. They love coming to the cottage in the summer. Everyone hibernates during the winter, so what’s the difference if we live here or at the cottage?”

“I suppose so …,” I said, “But we’d have to downsize. The cottage is tiny.”

“So, we downsize.” Mike cut into his fatty steak and swallowed the piece, barely chewing it. “Besides, we’ve finally finished paying off our debts. Why carry the expenses of two properties? We can only live in one place at a time, anyway.”

Yes, we had finished paying off our debts, but what he neglected to say, was that they were his debts, not mine. Months earlier, we made the final payment on a loan that was used to pay off legal fees from an investment that had gone sour. That was after I cashed out my retirement savings to offset the bills. I resented using my funds to pay off his mistake, but we were married. What was his was mine, and that included his debts.

“I don’t know about selling,” I said. “It’s a big change at this stage in our lives.”

Mike finished off his steak and potatoes. The beans on his plate remained untouched. “Sure, it’s a change, but you’re always saying we need to be open-minded, so I’m taking a page from your book.”

I sighed. “How much do you think we can get for this place?”

My husband burped and wiped a napkin over his double chin. “I’ll call Bob tomorrow and ask him. What’s for dessert?”

+++

Living in a cottage highlighted the issues in our marriage. The problems existed before, but the self-imposed isolation magnified it all the more. Mike loved sports, so he spent most days glued to the television. It amazed me how he could seamlessly change the channel from hockey to football to basketball. It was endless. I would putter around the six hundred square foot space doing odd jobs, reading when the TV wasn’t on full blast, and cooking. The biggest part of my day was preparing Mike’s meals.

And so we lived in that cottage, though lived would be too strong a word. Existed might be a better word. Or rather, coexisted. If Mike and I said a hundred words between us during our waking hours, that would be an interactive day. We tolerated each other, but that was it. After nearly forty years of marriage, should I expect more?

When an agent offered us $1.5 million for our cottage after we were there less than a year, Mike suggested we sell.

“We’re still settling in here and now you want to sell? And where are we going to go?” I said.

“With that much money, we can go anywhere. How about Southwest Florida? You know Murray and Betty love it in Fort Myers.”

“I’d rather die here than move to Florida with all of those blue-haired ladies. All they do is wait for their 5 PM buffets. I wouldn’t fit in with them.”

Mike must have heard the annoyance in my voice. He grabbed the converter and switched on the TV, didn’t even look at me as he spoke. “You know, you’ve never fit in with my friends’ wives. You think you’re better than them because you’re a vegetarian?”

“What?” I shouted. “That’s ridiculous!”

“Is it? We hardly ever get invited for dinners because they’re all worried about what you can’t eat. You need to eat more, Beth!”

That was one of our last conversations before Mike dropped dead of a heart attack a few weeks later. The doctor said his lack of activity and overeating was a lethal combination. You may say I killed him slowly with my cooking. You may say that, but it wasn’t against the law to make sure my husband ate well.

+++

I pull up to the unmarked area where there is a clearing of conifers that offer light and shade in varying degrees. There are large rocks nearby, but they won’t be a problem to remove.

I step out of the car and breathe in the crisp, fresh air. The sun streams through the canopy of trees, and I tilt my head toward a warm ray of light. A few minutes later, the sound of snapping twigs draws my attention down the hill. A tall man approaches, carrying a folder. “Beth?”

I recognize his face from his realty listings. “Nice to meet you, Jim.”

He shakes my hand firmly. “I parked below,” he says, pointing in the general direction from where he came. “I thought to check out the surrounding area for you. You never know what might offer you the best view.”

“Yes, of course. This is very different from Lake Mishog, where I sold my old cottage,” I say.

Jim looks at me with empathy in his eyes. “True, and I’m sorry to hear about your husband.”

I nod, but say nothing.

“Well, you won’t be disappointed here,” Jim says, as if to reassure me I made the right decision. “This area is underdeveloped and a much better deal than anything you will find on Lake Mishog. You can build the cottage of your dreams here.”

I lower my gaze. “I’m looking forward to it,” I say.

flourish

Thank you for reading and/or listening. Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

~eden

**

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Music Monday features #Canadian with The Parachute Club

This will be the last week I feature music from a picture of myself wearing vinyl albums. It was to highlight my Canadian style for the Dare to Wear Love Challenge.

I won one of four spots to be in the fashion show, so on May 12th, I’ll be walking the runway! To learn more about the cause, visit Dare to Wear Love.

The Parachute Club was one of the albums I “wore.”

“Rise Up” was a huge song when it released in 1983. I actually met its lead singer, Lorraine Segato when she performed at the last Dare to Wear Love event. The song is an upbeat call for peace, celebration, and the freedom to love who we please. 34 years later, we’ve made advancements in these areas, but there is still so much work to be done, so … let’s rise up and celebrate this week.

Have a great one,

eden

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Music Monday features #Canadian with The Band (3)

Sometime ago, I posted a picture of myself wearing vinyl albums to highlight my Canadian style for the Dare to Wear Love Challenge.

I won one of four spots to be in the fashion show, so on May 12th, I’ll be walking the runway!

Thank you to all who donated, shared, and liked my pictures. To learn more about the cause, visit Dare to Wear Love.

I’m continuing with The Band and “The Shape I’m In.” On vocals is Richard Manuel, who died much too young at age 42.

It’s a rocking song to get into shape with, so enjoy,

eden

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Music Monday features #Canadian with The Band (2)

Recently, I posted a picture of myself wearing vinyl albums to highlight my Canadian style for the Dare to Wear Love Challenge. You can hit the link and see the picture. The challenge is now over, and I exceeded my target!

Thank you to all who donated, shared, and liked my pictures. To learn more about the cause, visit Dare to Wear Love.

My intention was to feature the artists from those albums, and I started with Robbie Robertson from The Band.

I so enjoyed listening to their songs over the past week that I’m going to continue showcasing them.

In this video, The Band performs “It Makes No Difference.” On vocals is the late, great Rick Danko.

It’s a beautiful, melancholic song, and I hope you enjoy it,

eden

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Music Monday features #Canadian with The Band

This past week I posted a picture of myself wearing vinyl – vinyl albums that is. It was done to highlight my Canadian style for the Dare to Wear Love Challenge. You can hit the link and see the picture. I also wrote about the fundraiser in a recent post

I’d like to feature the artists from those albums over the next weeks.

First up is Robbie Robertson. He was in a band simply called “The Band.”

Its original members consisted of Canadians Rick Danko (bass, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboards), Richard Manuel (piano, vocals), Robbie Robertson (guitar), and American, Levon Helm (drums, vocals).

In the film The Last Waltz, advertised as The Band’s “farewell concert, the band was joined by Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Joni Mitchell, and many others. It’s a terrific concert movie directed by Martin Scorsese and definitely worth watching.

In this video, The Band performs their classic “The Weight” with the Staple Singers.

I hope you enjoy it, and have a wonderful week,

eden

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@BestSellingRead interviews Eden Baylee

BestSelling Reads is an association of talented authors who value teamwork and possess a proven track record of producing quality fiction and non-fiction. I am happy to be part of this prestigious group.

They have interviewed me as part of a series to get to know all the authors better.

The questions are unique and personal, so I hope you will enjoy reading my responses.

You can access the interview by hitting the graphic below.

Connect to BestSelling Reads – a great site and resource for writers and readers! 

Website | Twitter @bestsellingread | Facebook* * * *

**

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Music Monday says It’s The Same Old Song

When I’m stuck for music, Motown never lets me down. I heard a lot of it this week at various locations, and it always puts me in a good mood.

Here’s a great tune from The Four Tops with some funky dance moves too!

Enjoy this high energy song to kick off your week,

eden

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Music Monday heats up with @ArethaFranklin

The “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin turned 75 this past weekend. Her last album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics released in 2014 and features hits from singers Adele, Alicia Keys, and others.

Though I like Aretha’s rendition of these songs, I much prefer the ones she popularized — “Respect,” in particular.

It’s a simple thing, but it means a lot when we deal with people.

We want and expect it. We should treat others with it.

Certainly in today’s tumultuous climate, we can all use more of it.

Enjoy, and have a great week.

eden

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Music Monday remembers Chuck Berry

We lost legendary musician, Chuck Berry this past weekend at the age of 90. Berry was apparently working on a new album when he died.

With so many memorable songs, it wasn’t an easy task to choose just one, but who doesn’t know “Johnny B. Goode?” It’s the semi-autobiographical tale of a guitar player down on his luck who ends up with his name in lights.

It’s also powered by the most memorable guitar intro in rock history.

Thank you for the music, Chuck Berry, undisputed father of rock and roll.

May you rest in peace.

eden

 

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Music Monday heats up with @EdSheeran

Of all the new artists who’ve emerged of late, Ed Sheeran is my favourite.

“Shape of You” is accompanied by a video that features an interracial pairing. The narrative follows Sheeran as a boxer who strikes up a romance with a female boxer. When she apparently leaves him, he trains to fight a most unusual opponent.

It’s a fun video, a catchy tune, and I hope it infuses your week with great energy.

Enjoy,

eden

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Music Monday heats up with Joni Mitchell

Most weeks, I’m able to come up with my Music Monday choice by Sunday, but last night I drew a blank … until this morning.

This is a song I’ve posted before, though the video is one I just found.

Beautiful lyrics, poetry, and the haunting voice of Joni Mitchell deserves a replay.

Enjoy it again, and have a wonderful week,

eden

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Music Monday heats up with @JTimberlake

I have a soft spot for Justin Timberlake. He can sing, dance, act, and in all the times I’ve seen him, he’s never taken himself seriously.

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” is from the movie Trolls.

Timberlake performed it as the opening number of the 89th Academy Awards Show, aired last night. Even though the song lost to “City of Stars” from La La Land, it’s a great song to dance to, so get up and move!

Have a fun week and enjoy the end of February,

eden

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LOVE AND DEATH ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

The prompt for the latest episode of R.B. Wood’s Word Count Podcast asked that we use February in the setting AND the picture below:

red rose

My story inspiration

Given the prompts, it was almost too obvious to write something about Valentine’s Day, but I did so anyway. As my stories usually have a twist, (and I’m a bit twisted myself), “Love and Death” became the result.

You can also listen to me reading the story on episode 63 of R.B. Wood’s podcast.

Hope you enjoy. 😉

flourish

When February rolls around, I think of two things: love and death. They happened at the same time for me many years ago, and I cannot unlink their connection in my brain any more than I can sever my arm from my shoulder.

Actually, the latter would probably be easier to do.

How many years has it been? I’ve lost count. If it were not for the calendar hanging by my bed, I would not know what day it was.

It was supposed to happen on Valentine’s Day, going on a decade ago now. It was the day my love and I had planned to be together. After so many false starts, which included a death in his wife’s family, and my husband’s surgery, we finally saw nothing else to delay our union. We decided on Valentine’s Day as our official “coming out” day. It was perfect. How could it be any more romantic? Two people who had loved each other privately for years would now finally be together.

I don’t recall how we determined that I would tell my husband first. At the time, it wasn’t important for me who made the initial move. I just knew that by the week of February 14th, we would no longer have to keep our relationship a secret. After that critical step, we would separate and file for divorce. We would try to make it as painless as possible, even joked that maybe our respective spouses might not be too upset about it. After all, neither of our marriages had been on solid ground for some time.

We had decided not to reveal the affair to our spouses. What was the point? There was any number of reasons I could use to end my marriage. I ended up telling my husband I was tired, tired of his apathy. It was true. After so many years, his lack of affection had whittled away at my self-confidence. The kids were gone, and it seemed like he no longer needed me. At one point, I even thought that maybe he was having an affair, but he wasn’t the type. He was a workaholic and much too timid to seek out another relationship.

No, he had just gotten lazy. He took me for granted. It wasn’t a new problem. We’d gone for counseling for this very issue only a couple of years after we got married, but old patterns are hard to break. I know. I fell into them myself. We grew further and further apart until I became numb. Then Jack came into my life and everything changed.

I meant something to someone who appreciated me. And Jack was that someone, and he was so appreciative. God … he was amazing in every way—boyish and playful outside the bedroom, powerful and insatiable inside of it. I had never felt so alive than when I was with him.

* * * *

At Jack’s request, I saw him the day before Valentine’s day. It seemed odd that he had texted me instead of responding to my lengthy email from several nights earlier, an email in which I explained how happy I was that I had told my husband about us. I went into great detail about what I had said. Jack and I were always good in that way. We didn’t keep any secrets from each other. It did not alarm me that he didn’t respond immediately to my email. He and his wife had taken a weekend away to their cottage. It was there that he had planned to break the news about us to her.

When Jack and I met in the apartment I had secretly rented for our meetings, he appeared like he always did—happy to see me. He came with a bouquet of red roses in hand and kissed me. I felt loved by him, like I always did. I remember placing the flowers in a vase, taking my time to relish the moment of not having to hide anymore. We could finally live our relationship in the open, or so I thought.

My memory is fuzzy from the time Jack spoke that night. I don’t recall hearing the words, but I know he must have said them.

I can’t leave my wife.

She said she would kill herself if I did.

I’m sorry. I am so sorry.

His words hit me like a slap that resonated throughout the echoey apartment. I remember touching my cheek as heat rose to cover it. I picked up the shears I had used to cut the stems of the roses and then everything went black.

To this day, I have no recollection of what happened afterward that evening. They said I killed Jack in a fit of rage; I’ve accepted that I must have. I just wish I could remember it. It’s hard to imagine I could do such a thing, but perhaps love does crazy things to people.

flourish

Thank you for reading and/or listening. Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

~eden

**

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Music Monday heats up with Talking Heads

David Byrne of Talking Heads is a hell of a performer. He’s mesmerizing in this innovative and bizarre video for the song “Once in a Lifetime.”

Sung in a stream of consciousness lyrical style inspired by early rap, it’s a favorite of mine from the album, Remain in Light. The song is an adventurous foray into African mythologies and rhythms.

Of particular interest to me was that Byrne was suffering writer’s block prior to this album. He looked to African music to break his writer’s block, realizing that when African musicians forget words, they often improvise and make new ones up. (I should try that for my next book. 😉 )

He also viewed footage of various tribal, religious rituals and incorporated some of their movements, in keeping with the “unconscious religious lyrics.”

That explains a lot when you listen to the words and watch his performance.

Enjoy the song. If this past week is any indication, spring is hopefully around the corner!

eden

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NEW Release from @TWDittmer ~ Five-Toed Tigress #mystery

I’m very happy to announce the release of a new book called Five-Toed Tigress by T. W. Dittmer.

Tim is a beautiful writer, and I’m happy to feature his latest book.

You may recall him as the author of The Valley Walker, a book I thoroughly enjoyed after I interviewed him on my blog.

If you missed the interview, feel free to read it now. Tim is both entertaining and informative.

I picked up my copy of Five-Toed Tigress and hope you will do the same!

five toed tigress

 Buy Link

Amazon

The Five-Toed Tigress stalks the night, gliding effortlessly through the canopied forests of Cambodia– the Tiger’s Dance Floor.

She is on patrol, her mission to protect the downtrodden from the power of the greedy. Her movements are so fluid and graceful that her prowl is a thing of beauty, a dance to the music of life and death.

The Tigress is a solitary hunter, and she dances alone on her mission. She gives herself wholeheartedly to her dance, but desires a dancing partner – a mate.

* * * *

 Connect with Tim

Tim W Dittmer

Website | Twitter @TWDittmer

Amazon Author page | Goodreads | Facebook

T. W. Dittmer’s full name is Timothy Watson Dittmer. His friends call him Tim.

He was raised in Gary, Indiana, the son of a steel worker who later turned to preaching the Gospel. After high school he joined the army and volunteered for service in Vietnam.

He started writing music and poetry in high school, and has carried the love of those arts through his life. That love shines through in his prose.

He lives quietly with his wife in Michigan, where he is busy working on his next book.

XX

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Music Monday heats up with Al Jarreau

Continuing on my theme of songs that keep me warm, here’s one from legendary jazz and R & B musician, Al Jarreau.

Mr. Jarreau passed away yesterday at age 76. I was sad to hear of another artist leaving us.

This single, probably his most well-known song, charted in 1981. I credit it as one of those songs that introduced me to jazz and helped me appreciate the genre.

Enjoy the sweet sound of “We’re in this Love Together” and have a good week,

eden

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Music Monday heats up with Bruce @Springsteen

Another interesting week has passed. Another is heating up.

“One Step Up” by Bruce Springsteen encapsulates the turmoil of a relationship between a man and a woman, but it can easily extend beyond this pairing.

Different belief systems and political affiliations are creating ever-increasing turbulent relationships.

This song reflects how I feel about the world of late.

+ + +

One Step Up

Woke up this morning my house was cold
Checked out the furnace she wasn’t burnin’
Went out and hopped in my old Ford
Hit the engine but she ain’t turnin’
We’ve given each other some hard lessons lately
But we ain’t learnin’
We’re the same sad story that’s a fact
One step up and two steps back

Bird on a wire outside my motel room
But he ain’t singin’
Girl in white outside a church in June
But the church bells they ain’t ringing
I’m sittin’ here in this bar tonight
But all I’m thinkin’ is
I’m the same old story same old act
One step up and two steps back

It’s the same thing night on night
Who’s wrong baby who’s right
Another fight and I slam the door on
Another battle in our dirty little war
When I look at myself I don’t see
The man I wanted to be
Somewhere along the line I slipped off track
I’m caught movin’ one step up and two steps back

There’s a girl across the bar
I get the message she’s sendin’
Mmm she ain’t lookin’ too married
And me well honey I’m pretending
Last night I dreamed I held you in my arms
The music was never-ending
We danced as the evening sky faded to black
One step up and two steps back

+ + +

Born to Run is Bruce Springsteen’s new autobiography.  I gave it as a gift to my husband and he read it in a week, said it was terrific.

Consider it for the music lover in your life.

Have a good week,

eden

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SELFIE LOVE ~ A story written with Bill Kirton (@carver22) for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

The prompt for R.B. Wood’s FIRST Word Count Podcast of 2017 asked that we use January in the setting AND the picture below:

wcpc 62 prompt

And … I didn’t write the story on my own.

You may recall I collaborated with Bill Kirton, the esteemed Scottish author for a story titled: “The Wrong Shoes.” That was already two years ago!

Since then, Bill and I have wanted to write together again, and we’ve done it. Hopefully, we will do it again this year.

This story is written in two different voices as an e-mail exchange. Bill started it, and we went from there. Neither of us knew where the other was going. It was both fun and a challenge to write this saucy tale. You can learn more about the process on Bill’s blog.

I’m excited to write for R.B. Wood’s podcast again. The new year brings with it many creative opportunities, and I look forward to sharing my writing with you.

Enjoy “Selfie Love.” You can listen to Bill and me reading the story on episode 62 of R.B. Wood’s podcast.

eden and bill selfie love

flourish

Sorry, Laura, I don’t get it. I mean, it’s been, what, 2 months? And not a word. Then suddenly, you send this. The photo. I know, I know, we said no commitment, no follow-ups. And that was right. I knew there’d be hell to pay with Alice if she knew. I mean, wives get understandably pissed off with that sort of thing. You made it pretty clear it’d be the same with your Tom. They wouldn’t understand. Of course they wouldn’t. I get all that, but I don’t know, I thought we’d at least keep in touch somehow. But not like this. An email, no words, just this attachment. What the hell’s it mean?

At first, I thought it was maybe just your way of saying you remembered a great night, a great way to start the year. Just the two of us, the house by the water. But I don’t remember us taking a shot like this. There were much better views. I mean, when the tide’s out like that, the estuary’s… well, just mud. Then I remembered, we did take some shots from here, but we were just fooling around. They were all selfies. So I looked through them. Great memories, certainly. You look as gorgeous as ever. And we’re both grinning like idiots. But then it struck me that one of them was taken from exactly that point on the road, the same point as the one you sent. Not just approximately, but exactly there. The single phone wire top right, the rail bottom left, the angle… If it was just a shot of the view, it’s a helluva coincidence.

But it’s not a coincidence, is it? It’s the selfie. You’ve just photoshopped us out of it. Used bits of the other shots to paste over us. And you’ve done a helluva good job. But why? Is it a fancy way of saying it won’t happen again? No more nights or weekends? I want to believe you sent it for good reasons, not scary ones. So humour me, will you? Remember, I have a very small brain, so I need things spelled out for me. What’s it mean? Please.

Love and lots of our kisses

Ross.

*****

Ross,

You’re right. This is a strange way to reconnect … and I’m sorry.

I had this email in my “Drafts” for days. Frustration, more than anything made me finally hit the send button. Now, I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d had the courage not to follow up as we’d agreed. I hate myself for my weakness.

This cryptic photo is the umpteenth iteration of this email, started more than a week ago. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent trying to find the right words, and in the end, there were no words. I thought the picture would explain it better.

I had hoped you would understand. You were always in tune with my moods, even in the beginning when we were only speaking through emails and messaging. It’s why I originally agreed to Skype. What we had is something I’ve never had with any other man.

I’m saying this not because I blame you. Our time together brought me more happiness than I’ve had in my marriage in years, but now … I’m being punished. How fucking selfish of me for pursuing my own needs!

Oh Ross, don’t you see? If only I could erase us from that freezing day in January as easily as I photo-shopped us out of the picture, I would.

Forget about me. Forget about us.

Be the stronger one, and don’t contact me again. Please.

*****

Laura,

I’m sorry if you thought the long gap meant that asking me to be strong had worked. No chance, I’m afraid. No, it’s the same as it was for you. Different versions of this email have come and gone. The first one came out of panic, anger, said all sorts of despicable things that would have guaranteed it was over – you and me, I mean. Then the pathetic self-pity kicked in and I was pleading, begging – a completely unlovable, cowardly wimp. Thank God I didn’t send them. I hope I’ll be able to keep all that in check this time because I need to understand why. I can’t get past that word. Why? Why? Why? It just keeps on eating at me.

I’ve re-read your note so many times I could probably recite it from memory, but there’s so much of it I don’t understand. That January night seems decades away so maybe my recollections are skewed, but I don’t remember agreeing that there wouldn’t be any more. We were a bit quiet at the end but I thought that was because the weekend was over and we’d be going our separate ways – but not forever. I’m obviously not always in tune with your moods as much as you say. I certainly didn’t pick up on that one. Maybe I only ever saw what I wanted to see. You said yourself that us being together brought you happiness. It did. That’s what I saw.

You know, I thought I was joking about having a small brain but trying to decipher your email makes me think it’s probably true. In different circumstances, we’d have thought the symbolism of erasing a couple from a selfie was brilliant, but not when it’s us. God, we’ve been so careful, even with one another. Remember how we resisted that word ‘love’ for so long. Joked about it only being lust. Love was dangerous, threatened everything. But we were just fooling ourselves. In the end, it had to be said. And it was true. Still is. And part of the deal was that we’d only let ourselves say it as long as no one else was hurt by it. It’s been hard sometimes to hide it, but we’ve managed it. None of our friends suspect anything. It’s not going to be nearly as easy hiding the ache there’ll be if we do stop.

I’m just rambling. I don’t know what to say, how to convince you. You say you’re being punished – how? What’s punishing you? Who’s punishing you?

Sweet Laura, I don’t want to be the one who makes you miserable. If the problem is things I’ve said or done, tell me please. If the only way to take away the hurt is to say goodbye, I’ll say it. I won’t like it, but I’ll say it. Remember when I told you about that bit from Byron? I wasn’t being a pseud or pretentious. I meant it. It was something I read at school. I must have been 16, maybe 17, and it summed up exactly what I wanted. And it’s what I had, have with you.

Oh that the desert were my dwelling place

With one fair spirit for my minister.

Then I could quite forget the human race

And, hating no one, love but only her.

Corny? Maybe. Melodramatic, yeah, probably. But that’s what you are – my one fair spirit.

If you don’t reply, I’ll know it’s finished. I won’t write again, won’t ask any more questions or be so bloody needy. But I’ll never forget you.

All, yes, all my love.

Ross.

*****

Oh Ross …

I haven’t been able to stop crying since I got your note. I’ve told my husband I’ve come down with a bad cold. Thankfully, he doesn’t suspect otherwise. Truth is, I can’t dislodge you from my heart, no matter how hard I’ve tried. Until I read your email, I was barely functioning.

When I wrote to you, I was so confused. I didn’t see another option but to end it with us. I’m in a difficult place, but my tears haven’t all been sad ones. Reading your words gave me joy as well, especially the part where you said you still love me. Secretly, I must’ve hoped you would write back even though I asked you not to. I also love the piece from Byron. You see Ross, you do know me, even better than I know myself these days.

I’m so sorry I caused you pain. I never intended to. I just hurt so much after coming back from our weekend. With you, I discovered what it was like to feel true happiness. Our time together was bliss, and I’m still shocked that we managed to meet. We went from emailing one another to Skype to finally spending the night together. How many people get such an opportunity, and how many actually take it?

And though I’ve always believed that we should want what we have, I couldn’t resist you … so here we are.

You once asked me why I never called your wife by her name. I don’t think I ever responded, but I’d like to tell you now. The reason is because she and I don’t have a relationship. She’s your wife. If I were to use her name, it would bring her to life in my head, as if she were connected to me somehow, which she isn’t. And that goes for my husband as well. I never mention his name when I talk to you.

We’ve been so careful to keep our spouses and friends outside the world we’ve created. It’s just been the two of us … until now.

I waited as long as I did before I sent my first email because I had to be sure.

Ross, I’m pregnant with our child.

*****

OK darling, I haven’t given it enough time to think this through but I can imagine how anxious you are to know my reaction. Don’t worry, it’s good. More than good, it’s bloody brilliant. But that’s just the beginning. We can’t do this through emails. We need to be together to talk about it, back at the house by the river. Now, or as soon as you can make it.

You didn’t say what you thought about it. Hard to, really, there are so many obstacles in the way now. I think there might have been a time, when I was a lot younger, when this would’ve scared the hell out of me. I don’t like to think of what I might have done. Now, though… Well, I just hope we want the same thing, but I’ll go along with whatever you decide. It’s your body.

It won’t be easy, untangling ourselves from the lives we’ve lived so far, but we can do it. We have to. I feel bad, very bad, about how it’ll hit Alice and Tom. There’s no way round that. It’s not like erasing them from a selfie. So much for not hurting anybody. But we’ll make it as easy as we can for them. In the end, love’s such a selfish thing, but it’s also a gift, the best thing in the world. And we have it, and now there’s a chance I’ll have not just one, but two fair spirits. We can make it. We can make it.

flourish

Thank you for reading and/or listening. Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

~eden

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