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Stories of the Bru—A Bru discovers Brooklyn—Final Chapter

                             My mommy…I miss you

        “You mean to tell me, you can’t speak to him anymore.” Maria’s olive complexion darkened, “can’t talk to me anymore?” Hands were whirling about the young teen. She was somewhere between anger and pity. I didn’t know whether to hold her or duck.

       “Maria…I’m sorry. I can not disobey.” I just wanted her to understand.

       “Holy shit girl! You’re serious. I though this was only in dah movies…you gotta be kiddin’.” But I was not smiling or even looking at the best friend I ever had. I just started to cry.

      “Mommy…don’t do that.” I heard Maria use the word when she was talking to her little niece. The young girl was crying, she had lost a dollar.

     “Oh mommy…no mommy…I will give you a dollar…my little mommy.” Arms wrapped themselves around her sister’s child. I wished Maria would do the same with me. It comforted the little girl, about eight. Now, Maria hoped it would work on me. Sometimes I felt that age.

   “I don’t want to not be your friend.” Her voice exploded at my statement.

   “What dah hell you lookin’ at?” Two senior boys quickened their step to avoid any other comment. Maria was on fire.

    “Ok! This is what you will do. I’m not kidding…sometime you got to cut them apron strings with a chainsaw.” Maria rambled with a list of actions that the two of us would perform. I knew that deceiving my mother was the only alternative. I felt at the crossroads of life. A choice was to be made. Looking at the young girl that showed me nothing but love and true friendship, I spoke.

    “Maria…Maria…” I had to have her stop talking.

    “What, Rosie…baby?” Her smile was as big as her heart.

   “I can not disobey my mother. I can not.” My words were said with little strength. The last three were frail and weak, yet their affect on Maria was powerful.

    “Girl…you are something…you gonna let her pick your husband, too.” Maria fell back, her retreat halted by the Elantra parked to her back.

    “Maria…I know you don’t understand. But we’ve been through so much together. She is more than my mother…she is my life.” Somehow, my tears stopped. Maybe it was the shocked, and silent, expression from my dear friend.

     I spent the day in school, quiet and invisible. Mario decided to spend the day trying to find a tuxedo stylish enough and cheap enough for the prom.

Maria, stay’d close by. No one would know that our friendship might end by the next day of classes. We talked and hugged as I waited for the bus. Sorrow is not an unusual feeling for a Bru woman. There have been so many hardships endured and so many injustices forced upon my people, that tears or grief could easily become a way of life. But even now in the small enclaves of Montagnards dotting America and their little huts in the Highlands, memories of good times and good friends bring strength. My people think of the kind and brave men of the Special Forces that lived and died with our fathers. Now, as I sat sullen and full of remorse on the noisy and crowded bus, I would think of Maria. The time with her, though short would live on forever.

    “Rosie! Its you!” The cell announced with the oriental ring tone, selected for her friend that Rosita was calling.

   “What? Are you kidding? Wow! Thank God, we didn’t tell Mario.” A sudden burst of tears erupted from Maria’s eyes.

   “Mommy? What happened?” Her mother continued in Spanish. It would be awhile before the girl could compose herself enough to explain.

   “I want you to sleep early tonight. But remember…you have to call Mrs. M. She misses you so.” I decided, as a good friend to begin my sobbing. I bid Maria goodnight and continued with my happy display of liquid.

    “Why are you crying? You are such a good girl. I am so proud of you.” Mother was topless. She decided to walk around in that condition till a proper nightshirt was found.

    “My little water flower.” She only called me that when I was hurt or scared. At this moment, I was neither.

    “Mommy…thank you…thank you so very much.” Seeing her half-dressed reminded me of our time together in the Highlands. As people began to disappear, migrating East and West, we felt a freedom that brought us back to our tradition and our roots. Clothing was a necessary that meant modernization and corruption. Her appearance let me feel eleven again. Safe and secure attached to my mother’s hip.

    My mother called Mrs. M to ask for guidance on the problem. Mother never told me what was discussed or what was said, but the end of her phone call led to my attending the prom.

    Her aunt made Maria’s sister’s dress. It was beautiful. Agua colored, it featured a beaded halter. The halter straps led to a T strap on my back. And yes, it was open. Even in my size, it was fitted and as Maria’s mother giggled, “its tight in all the right places.” I actually looked as if I had breasts. Or at least notable ones.

My mother only winced when she realized the split to the side stopped just below my hip.

    Mario was a sweet and polite boy. I knew he was disappointed at the small amount of touching he could perform. I think he thought I was not interested in him, or not as much as other girls that he had dated. How could I tell him, he was the first boy that I ever kissed? The first boy, whose tongue swirled in my mouth? How could I tell him, his gyrating tongue was making my head and other parts of my body explode? Ten years have passed, and I still can’t tell a guy that stuff…Can you?

    Writing this story is a tribute to a part of me that no longer breathes her life throughout my life. Little did I realize, before two years would pass, she would be gone?

    I will not be posting for a while…kind of getting back to my roots…

But let everyone say…if that person is shopping at the mall or in heaven…wherever she    is?

                                                   My mommy…I miss you

 

A scene from an unfinished work—Part 10—The final chapter

I hope the formatting is ok. As you know it has been driving me crazy. This final part is longer than the others (by some 600 words). The reason is my two friends would not let me add another part. They had to have closure on this story.

Oh well…must satisfy your public.

                                                              A new life

Michael sat on the rumpled bedspread. Starting off into the distance was a habit developed during brief rest periods while on patrol in Afghanistan. Mountainous terrain dotted with thick tree lines hypnotized any exhausted trooper too tired or too cautious to close their eyes. A sudden urge to step into the dangerous world of combat overtook him. If possible, the young man would exchange this place and time for the cool comfort of a stinging breeze and frigid chills under a mountain’s sky.

“Michael!” Mary knocked several times before the bellow. Her baby brother was distraught. She did not understand. Julia was pregnant. What’s the problem?

“Michael…sweetheart,” her tone reverted back to the days when she oft-babysat the young boy, for parents devoted to a blossoming pastry shop.

“Michael, stop this.” A firm voice worked in past years. Mary would do everything necessary for the shy little boy. Mother and father spent as much as twelve hours a day trying to develop a clientele. It was no wonder Gerry, the middle child would complain, “you think he’s your son…well he’s not!”

The knob turned, as Michael stood silent and beaten. Mary needed to explain. “The pregnancy was not planned, but she is such a wonderful girl. The way you two look at each other when you think no one is looking.”

       The older sister talked as she had done so many times in the past. Bullying, low-marks, failure to hit a baseball, everything was covered during those times. She was always the one to lend an ear, and a shoulder to cry on.

       “Ok! So tell me what happened to my little baby paratrooper.” The answer was the patented smile that could seduce a demon.

        “Sis…there are just some things you can’t talk about.” The spare bedroom was bright beige with an off-white ceiling. A squeaky box spring added to the humor of the situation. Michael was only days from starting Special Forces training. His time in combat was in an area considered “hot.” And that was not a description of the weather. It was obvious that in some way the young man met the enemy and survived, meaning taking a life was not an unfamiliar feeling. Yet, there he sat looking as he did some fifteen years before when complaints from school threatened to involve a strict mother and father. He had confided in Mary about the nonsense he and some boy’s were party to during lunch recess. There would be no revelations now. The congenial conversation centered on his happiness since meeting Julia. Questions on what occurred remained unanswered. There are just some things you can’t talk about.

        “But why?” Sarah did not understand the thinking of the young woman.

        “I have an aunt and uncle…that need me.” The intention was to return to the land her family left with no intent on returning.

        “Vietnam! Are you kidding? And I saw those pictures of the Highlands…jungle. My God! Tits hangin’ out.”

       “Lao Bao no jungle. They live only little bit from city.” Julia began to forget her grammar, a result from the anxious feelings. She referred to the town that represented civilization in Western Vietnam. Her family home lay west of the small community masquerading as a city. “We will be near river, the most beautiful place in world.” The Xe Pon River was the central part of life for the Bru people. Waters where young Julia first bathe and would bathe so many infants when she was a young girl.

       “I don’t want my little grandchild to be walkin’ around naked.” Meant to be amusing the statement brought a deep sigh and then tears from the distraught landlady. The older woman did not understand the girl’s reasoning. The woman made it clear that the young future mother could live rent-free till the baby was in school. Sarah told her that in her usual coarse way. “I’ll just treat yah as a daughter that got knocked up.” Sarcastic or comic statements were now out of place. The young woman’s mind was set. No amount of rational thought would influence her.

        “Sarah, please understand.” Julia felt the sadness of the concerned woman spreading through her own body. She wanted to control herself. The young girl had cried enough. “I want to be free. The baby will be able to live not connected to his father.”

“You mean that piece of shit? He won’t dare come around.” Sarah’s wrinkled brow stretched. “You gonna take my little grandbaby and have him…or her…live with damn tigers or bugs dah size of tigers?” The woman did not stop. “And who says that piece of dog crap is the father. Michael loves you…you love him…God would not play games like that.” The anger brought the woman’s personality back on track. She strutted around the girl reminding her about the young sky soldier.

       “He is the damn cutest little boy ever.” Smacking her lips at the thought of

him. “Sweeter than a damn piece of candy.”

       “Stop!” Julia’s chest rose as she tried to talk. “I…he,” the young woman’s breasts quivered from the strain. “I don’t need him. He doesn’t want me.” The tears were held in check too long. The flow began. Through the deluge, “the hell with him and every other man. I don’t need…” Falling to the bed, the slim figure bounced once causing a squeak on the overused springs. She wanted to be alone. Sarah would comply. The elder decided to leave the harsh looking figure in the small bedroom. Maybe self-pity would be a tonic?

Brooding was becoming second nature. Julia moaned and sighed in loud tones. The familiar sound of tires crunching the pebbled driveway could not overshadow the self-pity in Julia’s mind. Exhaling a deep breath in disgust, the young woman did not hear the short burst of chimes at the front door.

She did hear the knock. “Sarah…please…leave me alone.”

“I’m not Sarah,” the voice shot through her soul. “And I’m not leaving you alone.”

“Michael,” the tone possessed a welcoming quality, but soon changed. “What are you doing here? I don’t…” She needed to express her anger. Or was it pain?

“We have to talk.” Michael sat next to the shaking girl. Her expression showed strength and determination her body sated something different.

“You’re trembling…is it cause of me?” Michael’s warm and compassionate words settled her. Se refused to let him know.

“You!” The forced laugh stuck in her throat. “Why are you here? You had your chance when…when…” Bravado will wilt against a deluge of sincerity and kindness. Julia could deny her feelings no more.

“Oh Michael…oh,’ arms that were longed for held the quaking body. She was safe in his grasp. Her head sobbed as it looked to dig a hole in his chest.

“Julia…I love you…I love you.”

“Michael…I can’t think anymore…your face is before me…it is on the wall…it is in the air,” crying accompanied her confession. “Its in my heart.”

“I love you the same way. My sisters are both angry with me cause we…ahh,” even with the distressed expression, that smile shined through.

“We split up?” It was my fault. I should have…” Her pause brought the moment he wished for.

“I want you to be my wife. I love you.” The words zoomed by the girl as she tried to comprehend.

“We can be married on base. It’s a beautiful chapel. It happens all the time.” The grin widened. It hypnotized the tear soaked face before him.

“But Michael…we have to wait.”

“Don’t worry…my sisters will fly to Bragg. I know they will.” How innocent was he?

“No Michael…you’re not thinking.” A power overtook her. She wanted him to understand. “The baby…after the baby’s born…I’ll have him tested.”

“What? I want to marry you now.” His voice possessed the same firmness of purpose.

“My darling, I want to so much.”

“Then what’s the problem.” Michael looked with one eyebrow slanted toward the heavens.

“Michael…if the baby is yours…then we can.” Julia shrunk from the young man’s grasp hoping to disappear.

“Julia!” Two hands gripped the girl, as one would a child slipping under the water’s surface. Lifting her toward him, “I love you.” Moist brown eyes intensified in their stare. His gaze held her as tight as his hands.

“But,” her reply ended with a kiss

“Julia, I love you and everything about you…and everything in you.” Helpless, she listened. “That baby is mine, cause it is yours. I love you and the baby.” Their arms entwined as lips expressed more than words could say.

“But…ah…ah tess,” the stutter ended with a smile.

“There won’t be no test.” Another kiss softer and brief. “It won’t make a difference. I love you and the baby…my baby.”

Walking down the stairs Julia begged for time. Michael wanted to announce the news to his family. Julia agreed, but only after she could wash away the misspent and needless sorrow of the past few hours. After all, she had to look her best. There could be no one more critical than a fiancé’s two older sisters waiting to meet their new sister-in-law.

As Michael waited while a new face was applied, Julia smiled hoping to abate any tears. It was close to noon, but it was the dawn of a new day. It was an end, leading to a new beginning.

 

A scene from a finished work—The final episode

                     I hope the formatting is ok. As you know it has been driving me crazy. This final part is longer than the others (by some 600 words). The reason is my two friends would not let me add another part. They had to have closure on this story.

Oh well…must satisfy your public.

                                                              A new life

Michael sat on the rumpled bedspread. Starting off into the distance was a habit developed during brief rest periods while on patrol in Afghanistan. Mountainous terrain dotted with thick tree lines hypnotized any exhausted trooper too tired or too cautious to close their eyes. A sudden urge to step into the dangerous world of combat overtook him. If possible, the young man would exchange this place and time for the cool comfort of a stinging breeze and frigid chills under a mountain’s sky.

“Michael!” Mary knocked several times before the bellow. Her baby brother was distraught. She did not understand. Julia was pregnant. What’s the problem?

“Michael…sweetheart,” her tone reverted back to the days when she oft-babysat the young boy, for parents devoted to a blossoming pastry shop.

“Michael, stop this.” A firm voice worked in past years. Mary would do everything necessary for the shy little boy. Mother and father spent as much as twelve hours a day trying to develop a clientele. It was no wonder Gerry, the middle child would complain, “you think he’s your son…well he’s not!”

The knob turned, as Michael stood silent and beaten. Mary needed to explain.

 The pregnancy was not planned, but she is such a wonderful girl. The way you two look at each other when you think no one is looking

The older sister talked as she had done so many times in the past. Bullying, low-marks, failure to hit a baseball, everything was covered during those times. She was always the one to lend an ear, and a shoulder to cry on.

“Ok! So tell me what happened to my little baby paratrooper.” The answer was the patented smile that could seduce a demon.

“Sis…there are just some things you can’t talk about.” The spare bedroom was bright beige with an off-white ceiling. A squeaky box spring added to the humor of the situation. Michael was only days from starting Special Forces training. His time in combat was in an area considered “hot.” And that was not a description of the weather. It was obvious that in some way the young man met the enemy and survived, meaning taking a life was not an unfamiliar feeling. Yet, there he sat looking as he did some fifteen years before when complaints from school threatened to involve a strict mother and father. He had confided in Mary about the nonsense he and some boy’s were party to during lunch recess. There would be no revelations now. The congenial conversation centered on his happiness since meeting Julia. Questions on what occurred remained unanswered. There are just some things you can’t talk about.

“But why?” Sarah did not understand the thinking of the young woman.

“I have an aunt and uncle…that need me.” The intention was to return to the land her family left with no intent on returning.

“Vietnam! Are you kidding? And I saw those pictures of the Highlands…jungle. My God! Tits hangin’ out.”

“Lao Bao no jungle. They live only little bit from city.” Julia began to forget her grammar, a result from the anxious feelings. She referred to the town that represented civilization in Western Vietnam. Her family home lay west of the small community masquerading as a city. “We will be near river, the most beautiful place in world.” The Xe Pon River was the central part of life for the Bru people. Waters where young Julia first bathe and would bathe so many infants when she was a young girl.

“I don’t want my little grandchild to be walkin’ around naked.” Meant to be amusing the statement brought a deep sigh and then tears from the distraught landlady. The older woman did not understand the girl’s reasoning. The woman made it clear that the young future mother could live rent-free till the baby was in school. Sarah told her that in her usual coarse way. “I’ll just treat yah as a daughter that got knocked up.” Sarcastic or comic statements were now out of place. The young woman’s mind was set. No amount of rational thought would influence her.

“Sarah, please understand.” Julia felt the sadness of the concerned woman spreading through her own body. She wanted to control herself. The young girl had cried enough. “I want to be free. The baby will be able to live not connected to his father.”

“You mean that piece of shit? He won’t dare come around.” Sarah’s wrinkled brow stretched. “You gonna take my little grandbaby and have him…or her…live with damn tigers or bugs dah size of tigers?” The woman did not stop. “And who says that piece of dog crap is the father. Michael loves you…you love him…God would not play games like that.” The anger brought the woman’s personality back on track. She strutted around the girl reminding her about the young sky soldier.

“He is the damn cutest little boy ever.” Smacking her lips at the thought of

him. “Sweeter than a damn piece of candy.”

“Stop!” Julia’s chest rose as she tried to talk. “I…he,” the young woman’s breasts

quivered from the strain. “I don’t need him. He doesn’t want me.” The tears were held in check too long. The flow began. Through the deluge, “the hell with him and every other man. I don’t need…” Falling to the bed, the slim figure bounced once causing a squeak on the overused springs. She wanted to be alone. Sarah would comply. The elder decided to leave the harsh looking figure in the small bedroom. Maybe self-pity would be a tonic?

Brooding was becoming second nature. Julia moaned and sighed in loud tones. The familiar sound of tires crunching the pebbled driveway could not overshadow the self-pity in Julia’s mind. Exhaling a deep breath in disgust, the young woman did not hear the short burst of chimes at the front door.

She did hear the knock. “Sarah…please…leave me alone.”

“I’m not Sarah,” the voice shot through her soul. “And I’m not leaving you alone.”

“Michael,” the tone possessed a welcoming quality, but soon changed. “What are you doing here? I don’t…” She needed to express her anger. Or was it pain?

“We have to talk.” Michael sat next to the shaking girl. Her expression showed strength and determination her body sated something different.

“You’re trembling…is it cause of me?” Michael’s warm and compassionate words settled her. Se refused to let him know.

“You!” The forced laugh stuck in her throat. “Why are you here? You had your chance when…when…” Bravado will wilt against a deluge of sincerity and kindness. Julia could deny her feelings no more.

“Oh Michael…oh,’ arms that were longed for held the quaking body. She was safe in his grasp. Her head sobbed as it looked to dig a hole in his chest.

“Julia…I love you…I love you.”

“Michael…I can’t think anymore…your face is before me…it is on the wall…it is in the air,” crying accompanied her confession. “Its in my heart.”

“I love you the same way. My sisters are both angry with me cause we…ahh,” even with the distressed expression, that smile shined through.

“We split up?” It was my fault. I should have…” Her pause brought the moment he wished for.

“I want you to be my wife. I love you.” The words zoomed by the girl as she tried to comprehend.

“We can be married on base. It’s a beautiful chapel. It happens all the time.” The grin widened. It hypnotized the tear soaked face before him.

“But Michael…we have to wait.”

“Don’t worry…my sisters will fly to Bragg. I know they will.” How innocent was he?

“No Michael…you’re not thinking.” A power overtook her. She wanted him to understand. “The baby…after the baby’s born…I’ll have him tested.”

“What? I want to marry you now.” His voice possessed the same firmness of purpose.

“My darling, I want to so much.”

“Then what’s the problem.” Michael looked with one eyebrow slanted toward the heavens.

“Michael…if the baby is yours…then we can.” Julia shrunk from the young man’s grasp hoping to disappear.

“Julia!” Two hands gripped the girl, as one would a child slipping under the water’s surface. Lifting her toward him, “I love you.” Moist brown eyes intensified in their stare. His gaze held her as tight as his hands.

“But,” her reply ended with a kiss

“Julia, I love you and everything about you…and everything in you.” Helpless, she listened. “That baby is mine, cause it is yours. I love you and the baby.” Their arms entwined as lips expressed more than words could say.

“But…ah…ah tess,” the stutter ended with a smile.

“There won’t be no test.” Another kiss softer and brief. “It won’t make a difference. I love you and the baby…my baby.”

Walking down the stairs Julia begged for time. Michael wanted to announce the news to his family. Julia agreed, but only after she could wash away the misspent and needless sorrow of the past few hours. After all, she had to look her best. There could be no one more critical than a fiancé’s two older sisters waiting to meet their new sister-in-law.

As Michael waited while a new face was applied, Julia smiled hoping to abate any tears. It was close to noon, but it was the dawn of a new day. It was an end, leading to a new beginning.

 

A scene from an unfinished work—Part 9

An apology to readers of this post…the formatting is not what I wish…I use paragraphs and especially breaks between paragraphs to instill mood or just a simple change of location or scene. I intend to fix the awful format of the last two posts.

Jaye Gavin Allan

                                   Poor Julia…this truly is the beginning of her end

     All that Julia could see was the flash of sunlight striking John’s vision causing him to squint and blink.

    The sound of knuckles bouncing off a cheek bewildered the young woman. She expected a smack from the angered John, but felt nothing.

    “Michael!” A sudden explanation appeared.

    “Ohh…” John barely could utter even that sound, as the third of three

rapid blows to his face crumpled the tall figure.

    “Michael…Mike…el.” Julia tried to stiffen her knees, but felt the drab green parkay floor of the small construction hut dissolve.

    “Julia!” Michael grabbed the girl before she collapsed. In one move the young woman was held in his arms. Her reddened face resting on the coarse but welcome material of his uniform. Michael held her tight, but still with careful strength.

    “Julia…why didn’t you tell me?” Michael kissed her forehead, as she snuggled deeper into his grasp. Neither cared about the man on the floor. John’s face was turning different colors with each passing second.

     “Michael…I can’t…” Julia looked at that warm smile and retreated to his chest.

    “I love you.” He whispered. Leaning back, he saw a welt develop under Julia’s eye.

    “Mudderfu…” Her wince as a lone tear raced down a saturated cheek halted Michael’s anger.

    “I’m sorry…don’t be afraid…. you’re safe now.” His embrace was firm and Julia gave way to this tender example of compassion.

   “Nice picture.” John needed reserved strength to push out the words. His finger probed his upper jaw. The couple looked at him, finger in his mouth and a smug expression on his damaged face.

    “You two look so good together.” John winced after the words. A tooth was loose.

   “Shut up …or I’ll.” Again a whimper from Julia silenced the rage mixing with a cauldron of emotions. In the back of Michael’s mind, “why was she in this place? Who is this guy?”

Struggling to get up, John showed no intent to exact revenge on the “intruder.” In less than three seconds, the paratrooper knocked any need for physical violence from the once angry man.

    “So you’re the boyfriend?” John was using his desk to steady himself. He continued.

    “So what do you think…I smack the shit out of a woman I don’t know?” John still talked with a sense of superiority.

Michael tried to leave Julia, his intent was to match the arrogant man’s unharmed cheek with the black and blue one.

   “Please, Michael…enough…we are together.” The words curtailed the feeling of hatred. They were what he wanted to hear.

   “Hey, soldier boy…I won’t press charges.” The smirk caused a mouse-like squeak from pain to drip out of John’s quivering lips.

   “Why don’t you tell him who I am?”  John looked ready to fall, but was driven by the urge to strike back. He wanted to hit Michael where he knew it would hurt.

   “You think that baby is yours?” The laugh was brief, but effective. “Damn…how fuckin’ stupid you soldier boys be?

      Michael froze. Julia could feel the rising chest halt. The stunned reaction took only a second, but it brought a tense moment between the entwined couple.

    “Michael, let’s go…please?” Julia tried to move to the door.

    “Hey…brother,” John spit his tooth to the floor. A stream of watery red liquid followed the odd shaped missile. “You fuck her once or twice?” Julia pulled the dazed man toward the exit. It became impossible to move him.

   “Now you may want to fuck me up more? But…ask her if I’m lying.” John gritted his teeth to stall the pain.

    “Michael…please…if you love me…leave now…” Julia felt her stomach contract, as Michael brushed her hands from his jacket.

   “I’ve been coming in her for four months.” John ended with a deep cough. Blood collected in the man’s throat. Breathing became hard.

   “If you two lovebirds don’t mind,” a deep breath, “ I gotta get to the hospital.” Picking up the car keys with the BMW crest, “also gotta come up with a story…shit a couple of junkies mugged me…fuck it.”

     Turning to brace himself, John did not see the couple leave. As the door closed, he could not have known, Julia remained still outside the shed, her eyes focused on one thing. As she watched the silent figure walk back to the diner, her heart seemed to stop. He was going back to his brother-in-laws car. He was going back to North Carolina.

 

A scene from an unfinished work—the beginning of her end—Part 8

                                                               But, nothing!

        Michael entered the diner with a face of pure innocence. Soft brown eyes strained bringing attention to the tense expression. The crisp and well-tailored uniform did not hide the feeling rising in the young man. He looked the child, separated from his mother. Two patrons, an elderly couple using the restaurant for the first time smiled at the nervous soldier.

        “One sir…would you like a booth or…” The young teenager dressed appropriately for her role as hostess smiled while fluttering deep green eyes. Her scent was light with a fruity hint of oranges. A simple black dress hung perfectly from the proportioned body. The main reason her uncle asked her to fill her summer vacation with employment at the eating establishment. The man’s own daughters would have had male customers to preoccupied with the family trait of large breasts. He would find it hard to be a congenial personality watching a group of construction workers ogling his babies.

          “I’m looking for Julia.” Michael’s uniform did catch the young girl’s eye. The distinct aspect of military dress pants bloused in shiny black boots was worn with pride.

          The traditional green outfit was still topped by the red beret. Michael had hoped to exchange it for the green one so highly prized. But those thoughts were farther away for the young man than the training he would soon start in North Carolina.

        “Who are you?” The owner’s wife, a constant confident of the young woman continued with her questions. “Are you Michael?” No answer was necessary. The bulky woman gripped the muscled sleeve and almost dragged the startled, and vulnerable young soldier to an isolated part of the restaurant.

         “I’m Valeria…never mind how I know you.” The woman reacted to Michael’s bewildered expression. “My God! You’re adorable.” A deep breath separated the pair, giving Michael time to collect his thoughts.

         “I must see her. They said she’s at work.” The they was Sarah, whose shock at seeing the distraught soldier caused another few seconds for both of them to stand with puzzled looks upon their faces. Michael would react with the speed of an advancing unit under fire, scampering back into his brother-in-law’s Lincoln and speeding to this present destination.

         “Listen,” something difficult to say was hanging onto the older woman’s lips.

         “Listen…she is up the road in the construction shed? Understand?”

          Michael resumed the incredible daylong journey into total confusion.

          “Construction…what?”

         “Listen…Michael…I feel that I know you…but never mind that.” She pushed the stuttering soldier as fast as she had dragged him, toward the door. “Hurry, I don’t like what she wants to do.”

What she wants to do? The last words rested, or to be exact, cut through the young man’s brain as if on the tip of a saw. He was hustled out the door, and pointed in the direction of the construction site.

       The aluminum house glistened in the distance. Michael cut toward the building in fast strides. Crunching jump boots smashed and decimated any unfortunate piece of glass or twig in his path. Thumping vibrations moved the Class A jacket up and down. He could hear the thunder of a heart full of longing. A heart full of love.

       As the young man approached the pale white overgrown shed, he could only thing about what Valeria said as she pushed hi down the steps toward the street.

       “Michael…hurry…stop her…I don’t like what she wants to do.”

        He could only think, “was she in danger?” If he only knew?

       “Bitch!” The smack rattled her teeth. John often threatened a smack as a result of something he did not want to hear, but this was the first time she felt his palm on her cheek.

        “My wife knows everything…you get rid of the baby…or I’ll lose it all.” A red outline of John’s fingers stood out on Julia’s dark complexion. Her tears would be wasted as she begged for him to understand.

        “I won’t bother you. I just want the baby and to be left alone.” Julia hoped to ease the worried philanderer that there would be no fear of “child support” or any need to legitimize the child. Julia just wanted to be free of him.

        “And what about next year…or if you need money?” The vice like grip of her slender arm was leaving a matching imprint resembling the streak on the young woman’s cheek.

      “Bitch!” Another smack covered the creak of the front door. “You’re a fuckin’ whore and you won’t ruin my life.” John raised his hand again. This smack would be delivered with more force. The smirk on his face was greeted with another tearful plea.

      “John…please…the baby.”

      The open hand of the irate man froze in mid-air. The silhouette at the door gleamed with the setting sun shooting from the visitors back. The shining boot stepped forward.

 

A scene from an unfinished work—Part 7

Can you keep a secret?

It was a month since the weekend with Michael. A short phone call ended the relationship with the same speed as its birth. Julia resigned herself to a life as the other woman. Remembering that horrible morning after the lovely weekend.

“I didn’t mean to be rough with you.” John’s words still filled her ears, even in the obstetrician’s office.

“Are you listening to me?” The memory of his voice caused the young woman to shudder, shaking to a point where Sarah embraced the frail figure to her side. The landlady was moved enough to put both arms around the newly christened future mother. The voice still persisted.

“Bitch! I’ll smack the shit outa you. We’ll see how much this jerk-off loves you when he finds your belly sticking out.” The violent twinge brought a low moan from the frightened girl.

“Baby…it’s ok.” The older woman brought the solemn looking young woman deeper into her grasp. “No matter what, you will always have a place to stay.” The reassuring words were welcome tones floating through a brain that wanted to scream. The 50ish, portly redhead already expressed joy at the idea of a baby’s cries and smell filling her house. She was ecstatic at the proposition.

“I want you to know…whatever,” decreasing her volume, “that bastard isn’t worth shit.” Sarah did not want the pregnant teenager to her front, straddled by a mother and aunt to hear the harsh statement.

“No, please…I’m ok…really.” Julia reached behind her back to pull the long ponytail over her chest. The pink top blended nicely with the raven-black straight hair. She hoped the movement would cover her thoughts.

“You are not to see him again…your mine…understand?” Trying to remain in the present was failing, as the past rushed through her mind.

“I promise.” Stated half in fear and the motivation to save a great guy.

Julia again quivered at the thought of her acceptance of a life with no guarantees, other than heartbreak. Her mind raced.

“I had to do it. Poor Michael did not deserve a woman like me.” As Sarah kept talking about the future and her plans to act the doting grandmother, Julia reasoned her decision.

“I’m nothing but a whore. I have no pride. What could I offer my dear Michael? “No matter how she tried, dear or my love or sweet always preceded his name.

Sarah brought the new mother to be to the local Dunkin Donuts.

“Decaf tea for you. I know they have peppermint.” The doting would not wait for the baby’s arrival.  Neither would the responsibility.

“But Sarah…please?” Julia detested decaf, anything.

“But nothing little lady. No caffeine for you…and I know you don’t smoke…so don’t start.”

Julia sat relaxed, for the first time since her period made its disappearance known. The older woman wore the housedress as if it was eveningwear. The gigantic white flowers fluttered over the beige material. No doubt it could disorient anyone too focused on the woman.

“You remind me of my mother.” Julia’s soft features and warm expression hit the woman as if she had been grabbed by her shoulders. Julia’s devotion to her mother was often discussed between the pair and the love they formed was something Sarah wished for.

“Sweetheart…if you want,” the confident tone suddenly became hidden. “I will try to help as much as I can.” The shy expression was new to Sarah, but real. She was moved.

Julia’s smile with a sudden twitch joined the once boisterous and positive voice of Sarah in hiding. Something happened. The young woman wished to dive under the table.

“Julia!” Angie’s volume filled the donut shop.

“Julia…where have you been?” Mary was not able to get anything out of Michael regarding the sudden break in what looked to be a lovely relationship.

Sarah conducted herself within reason. The pregnancy was to be a secret. Or, at least hidden till nature made it impossible.

“Sweetheart, we miss you so.” Mary tried to pull little Angie away from Julia. At least the girl did not call her Aunt Julia. The young woman would not have been able to control herself. She looked ready to explode in tears.

Bidding the two good-bye, Julia felt some relief. Her conversation with Sarah continued. The surrogate grandmother talked of schedules and diapers and all things that reminded the older woman of her grown children. It was such a happy duo, sipping decaf tea and caffeinated coffee. It was no wonder neither of them noticed Mary and Angie talking to the mother and aunt of the pregnant teenager that sat across from them in the doctor’s office. It was no surprise that Julia or Sarah did not note the stunned face on Mary as the conversation in the parking lot continued.

 

Stories of the Bru—A Bru discovers Brooklyn–Part 6

                                                           Crossroads

                                                                  or

                                            Don’t tell me about strict parents

Dinner was late, as was expected. Mother looked a different word than tired. The woman was past fatigued. Remaining quiet, which was not unusual to my character, I lay in wait, as the tiger that brought my parents together when they were children.

“My angel, you look so sad.” Mother, using the strength remaining from a twelve- hour workday, tried to clear the table.

“Mother, I will do it. Please rest.” Her eyebrows stretched at my new name for her. Since our entrance into this country, mommy would be the lone description from my lips. Mrs. M, whom my mother kept house for, and I owed much, told me, you can neverhide anything from your mother. Our English lessons were filled with such observations.

She was correct. What could a teenage girl that sobbed if forced to sleep alone waiting for her mother to finish a late-shift, hide from the woman?

“Is there a problem at the school? Is someone bothering you? I will go to school.” She seemed revitalized with a threat upon her cub.

“Oh no, mommy.” I was sure to use the correct term. “Maria introduced me to so many nice people.” A deep breath, “respectful girls…and boys.” The last two words whispered.

I felt the conversation was progressing along as planned. Mother wanted us to use English as much as possible. She only reverted to Viet or our language…Quàngtri Vân Kiêu when speaking of the memories of Father or brother. Though extreme anger would also resurrect our dialect.

“That is nice. Are the boys here as respectful as in Fayetteville?” Our hometown in NC.

“Oh yes. There is a very polite boy…he is very mature and wants to succeed in life.” The moment of truth was approaching.

“Oh wonderful. That is so good to hear.” Mother continued to the bedroom, adjacent to the kitchen.

“There is a very important dance. And many of the students are going.” My voice raised an octave, or so I thought.

“Well, you can not attend. It would be too dangerous. Unescorted young ladies are always in danger. This is a bad City.”

There was the opening. I draw my sword and charged full speed ahead.

“This nice, respectful boy wants to take me as in a respectful escort way,” there was no time to breathe, “and he is very nice and he is polite,” out of breath fear took over. I stood silent looking at the bewildered face to my front.

“What?” She still spoke in English. Things were ok, so far.

“His name is Mario, he is very popular and all the teachers like him cause he is so polite and respect…” I was cutoff in Vietnamese.

“A boy wants to take you. Who is this boy? Where is he taking you?” Again a surge of energy spread through my mother. Her questions showed my previous preparation was wasted.

“It is the school prom. Maria’s sister is my size, I can use her prom dress from a couple of years…” I was cut off in my Bru Dialect. The shaking in my hands increased.

“What?” Her voice split me in half. “What has been going on? All this planning behind my back.” Her face tensed and deep snorts escaped from her spreading nose.

“Mommy…” My eyes remained downcast. Mother used physical violence as punishment only once in my life, and that time violent was the only description. It seemed after the event, I spent a month cuddled in her arms.

“No mommy this.” Our dialect filled the house.

“Tomorrow you will go to school and not speak to this boy.” A slim finger met my eyes as they gained the strength to look at her. “Tell this Maria,” my mother’s stressed face smoothed the wrinkles that dotted her expression. It was tightened from anger. “You tell her that she tell this boy,” her words were becoming clogged as they left her mouth, “you are not going. I forbid it.” She was not finished. I stood with the meekest stance possible. I could taste the salt from my tears as they ran onto quivering lips. “And after that, you do not talk to her anymore. You do not need any friends here.” She ripped her top off, her anger still seething.

“Mommy,” my stomach spasm did not interrupt the attempt to speak.

“Please, I just want to …” That was al I could say. I dropped to our bed, shaking the mattress with my coughing and crying.

“Baby,” the gentle hand was welcomed. But she was still speaking in our dialect. “I understand. I know you are growing so much. Mommy understands.” A kiss to my cheek halted the streams of liquid flowing over my face. Now, sobbing replaced the deluge.

“It is natural for you to feel these things. You are eighteen…at home you would be married.” Her fingers ran through the length of my hair. “I had my first child already.” Mother lost two children before I was born.

“But mommy?” At last I spoke. My breathing was retuning to normal.

“My precious child,” still in our language. “When the time comes, I will select a good husband for you. I will find a good family and we will discuss our children’s future.” Another kiss on the cheek, “please, this is how it must be done. The parents will decide…that is the best.” A short giggle from the woman, “fate…no…no…fate never works.”

I felt my own surge of energy. “But mommy? Father and you…remember how you met…the tiger…fate was the tiger.” The recollection of the incredible first meeting of my parents shook her confidence.

Stuttering for a moment, “well…that was wartime…things…ahh.” Then she stood up and pulled my chin upward. “Water Flower,” my name in Vietnamese. Maybe she was beginning to understand? Could it be? She understands that my heart is breaking? That I felt love for Mario, though it was still my secret?

“I have told you what to do tomorrow. I have told you how your marriage will be arranged.” It seems I was wrong.

The shock on my face froze any tears collecting in my lids.

“If you love me, you will obey. I have told you. I will not tell you again.” She slid under the sheet. It signaled the ending of the day. For me, it signaled the ending of so much more.

 
 
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