Now I mentioned that this was only the beginning of a sad chain of events and it was just that. About a month or two after Granny’s death, our family cat, Shadow, started getting very weak and sick. I was the first one to notice that her stomach was bloated and she didn’t act like she felt good. One day while my brother and I were at school, my mom took her to the vet. She either had fluid in her stomach or she had cancer. This news was heartbreaking to me. So, instead of making her suffer we decided it would be best euthanize her. The night before we did she slept on my bed and I thought she was ready to go on her own; I wanted her to go on her own. I kept telling her it was okay and that Granny would be waiting for her, but she just refused to let go. I stayed up all night with her and in the morning I carried her into the vet’s office and I laid her down on the table. The vet came in then and she was very nice. She told us all about what we could do with her body, we could keep it and bury her or they’d cremate her. We couldn’t keep her because we had nowhere to bury her, so we had to let them cremate her. She gave us time alone to say goodbye and I don’t think I’d cried that much since Granny’s funeral. The rest of the day we all stayed home and grieved.
Joliet wiped more tears away from her eyes. Why was it so hard to write about this when it happened so long ago? She knew why, time doesn’t heal all wounds. Yes, they’re less painful, but they’re always there and always waiting to be let loose again. She sighed and continued typing.
Nothing happened the rest of 2009, but in January of 2010 my cousin Michael passed away unexpectedly. We saw him in Wal-Mart one day and two days later, we got a phone call saying he was gone. It was unbelievable. He’d had an underlying heart condition that no one knew about. It shocked everyone that this loveable and caring and all around great guy was suddenly gone.
Everything that happened just seemed so depressing and unreal at the time. I didn’t realize ‘til much later that I had sunken into a deep depression and I’d been finding ways to hurt myself to “control” the pain. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. But, enough about the bad things that happened during my teen years, I want to tell you about the wonderful thing that happened to me in 2008.
Joliet was startled by a loud noise coming from one of the bedrooms down the hall. Her oldest, and only daughter, Annabelle was now awake and blaring some of her favorite music. Joliet got up from her study and walked down the hall to Annabelle’s room and opened the door quietly. Her daughter was up cleaning her room and dancing while she was doing it. The child had OCD almost as bad as she did. Annabelle turned down her stereo, “Mornin’ Mom. Did I wake you?” “Oh, umm, no. I was just writing and heard your music and thought I’d pop in to tell you good morning.” “Oh, well, okay then. I’m going to finish cleaning and then I’ll go eat something, okay?” “That sounds good baby girl. Don’t forget to say hi to your dad and little brother or brothers if Emmett ever wakes up.” Joliet then walked over to Annabelle and kissed her forehead. “I can’t believe you’re going to be going to college soon.” Annabelle smiled, “I know, I know Mom. Now, go back to writing.” Joliet walked out and closed the door behind her, but instead of going back to her study, she walked to Emmett’s room and knocked on the door. No answer. He was sixteen and thought he could sleep ‘til noon. Instead of waking him and causing an argument, she just went back to her study and sat at her desk where she continued typing.
The one wonderful thing that I can tell you helped my get through my teenage years comes in the form of a person. Sometime during the end of May, I was on the internet using my cell phone and I found some random site. Once I’d created a profile, I started talking to some people in chat rooms. As is the case with most chat sites, some of the people were pure jerks, but then a name popped up that asked “Does anyone like Rascal Flatts? If you do I.M. me”. The post caught my attention, so I messaged him and that’s where it all starts. He was a city boy from San Antonio, Texas who loved country music. We talked for what seemed like hours that night. I think we stayed up ‘til 4 or 5 in the morning. We instantly clicked and from then on we talked every day. On June 3rd, 2008 he asked me to be his girlfriend and I immediately said yes. Little did I know how much he’d come to mean to me.
The young man that I now called my boyfriend was Michael Edmund. He was the sweetest and most caring person I’d met in my life. He always knew when something was wrong and he always knew just what to say to make me smile. About a week after we’d gotten together, we told each other “I love you” and we meant it. I knew from then on that if I ever dated after him, it wouldn’t be as magical. Some of you may say that it was only teenage love, but I can tell you right now that it wasn’t. During the first few months of our relationship we had “month anniversaries” and we got to know each other. He knew more about me than any other human had ever known before. I trusted him, which was hard for me to do after my dad.
Joliet looked up from the screen and glanced at the clock. It was now almost 7:30 and she decided it was time for a break. She could stay here and write all day, but she had plenty of time before it needed to be done. She saved the file and password protected it before exiting her study and going to Emmett’s room. Hearing guitar music coming through the door was a sure sign that her oldest son was now awake. Joliet knocked on the door and waited until he opened the door. “Mornin’ Mom. Did’ya need something?” “Nope, just came to ask if you wanted anything for breakfast. I’m going downstairs now to cook for your brother and sister, if she’s still here.” She was worried he’d say no, like all the other mornings, but he surprisingly said otherwise. “Sure Mom. I’ll be down in a few, and I think Belle’s still here.” Seeing the surprise on her face, he leaned over and kissed her cheek causing her to smile. “Okay, well, I’ll go start on breakfast then.”
After being thoroughly shocked by her son’s attitude this morning, Joliet made her way downstairs to start breakfast for the kids. She glanced in the living room and saw that Annabelle had gotten caught in a tickle war. She smiled and called out, “I’m making breakfast for y’all. I’m glad you’re working up an appetite.” Amongst the laughter, she heard an “Okay Mom”. She chuckled and continued on towards the kitchen. Joliet paused at the refrigerator and glanced inside; good, she had pancake mix. All of the kids loved her pancakes. She pulled the box of Aunt Jemima’s out of the fridge along with the carton of eggs. Pancakes and scrambled eggs would give the children plenty of energy for the day. While she cooked their breakfast, she fixed herself a glass of cool iced tea. Once everything was done cooking, she fixed each of the plates, and she put whipped cream smiley faces on each stack of pancakes. After setting the plates down at the table, she noticed for the first time how quiet it was. She glanced back into the living room and what she saw made her smile; her husband and their children were praying together. She watched and when she heard the soft “Amen”, she walked in and laid a kiss on her husband’s cheek. “Breakfast is served kids.” As they made their way to the kitchen, she sat down on her husband’s lap to rest for awhile. He just put his arms around her and held her close, knowing she needed the rest.
Joliet must have dozed off because she didn’t remember hearing the kids leave, but she was laying on the couch, covered in a throw blanket. She stretched and then went to the kitchen where she heard some noise. Her handsome husband was washing the dishes and putting them away before he had to go to work. He hadn’t heard her come in, so she snuck up behind him and put her arms around his waist. He turned and kissed her nose playfully, “Almost done here, then I need to get ready for work.” Joliet sighed; she’d have the house to herself again today. “Okay, I’ll be in my study if you need me.” Before she left though, he grabbed her waist and pulled her close, giving her a long, slow kiss. “I love you.” Joliet smiled, “I love you too. Now get busy or you’ll be late for work.” She started to walk out of the kitchen, but when she made it to the door she turned around and watched him for awhile. After watching him for five minutes or so, Joliet left and went upstairs to her study. She booted up the laptop, opened her story, and began typing.
How one country backwoods girl could find an angel is beyond me. I’ve told him many times what an angel he is to me and every time he always says “Only to you baby girl.” Always. It was one of those special things I loved about him from the beginning. Our relationship was perfect at first, no, it was amazing. I was in a daze for the first few months of our relationship I’m sure.
Alas, no long-distance relationship is perfect. It was all my imagination. Every relationship for that matter goes through their ups and downs…long distance just makes it that much harder. The fights started happening as they do in most relationships. It was nothing major, you know? Just minor disagreements that blew up into something more. Upon getting together, we never realized just how stubborn we both were. We butt heads…A LOT.
Joliet grimaced remembering this small detail in her life. She hated it, but knew that it was a part of her history too. Beginning to get a small migraine, she saved the file and closed the computer without a care to continue writing any longer. Michael Edmund was nothing but a memory to her now, and she didn’t feel like dredging up those painful memories on this particular morning, when her life seemed so normal.