Chapter 16: Coming clean

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 502


Her vision returning, “At least I have the strength to move” she joked


“You’ll be okay baby, you’re too stressed.  You work too much.” Momma replied


It had been a tenuous week, she was living somewhere in between sleep and awake.  Her dreams were quite vivid; even frightening.  She had been told that she was moaning and crying while she lay in the hospital bed; so much so that the Hospital staff had her moved to her own room out as soon as she was able out of ICU. 


“Momma, I need to ask you something.” Jo said sitting up, the lines from the IV that hung over to her right felt heavy. 


Momma stopped; she had been crocheting while she sat patiently with her daughter, her only daughter who had spent much of her life ill; something that she herself felt responsible for.  Long ago she was told that there was something more to the superstition and remedies passed down from woman to woman in her family; her Mother called it “The illness”, for every recipe a price was paid a physical and emotional price.  She knew this; she had experienced this, had she not ever dabbled within these Arts, then Jo herself may not have grown up experiencing these physical ailments. 


“I know you don’t like talking about it, and you say to just ignore it all, but Momma…….I think the recipes work.” Jo said in a childlike tone, still weak from the ordeal it was quite apparent that she both feared and respected her mother immensely.


“They do” Momma responded with a curious look “But like we’ve said before.  If you pray, Jesus will protect you, you just can’t go around messing with that junk.  It’s not natural.  Why do you ask?”


Jo hesitantly recounted the tale of Jay, something she had kept secret from her family for half a decade now.  She told her of how she used the recipes to keep him coming to her and how they always worked even though she ended up quite ill afterwards.  She told her of Cassandra.


“Wait, what?  Something came through?” Momma raising her voice and leaning forward “Joanne Cloutierre, do you know how irresponsible this is?  Mother Mary, why would you do this to that poor man.  You’re a married woman!  You have a home, children!  Why!?!?!  Didn’t I tell you?  Didn’t grandma tell you?  Jesus H. Criminy Girl; do you have any idea what you’ve done?” she scolded.


“Momma, stop” Jo said plainly “He loves me, with all my faults.  After all I’ve done to him.  He still loves me.  I love him.  I need your help Momma” tears welling


Jo could see the frustration rising in her Mother’s face.  All her life her Mother had told her “Focus, Jo”; as she had tended to have a scattered train of thought, so much in fact that even as a child Jo had conceptually no ability to understand time.  “There’s the clock’s time, and there’s Jo’s time” her Daddy would always say.


This is what happened with Jay.  She would make plans, then forget she planned other things at the same time.  She meant to leave Daniel but would put off telling him until it was too late.  She meant to tell her Momma and Daddy about Jay that he was coming to visit but feared them so much she would put off telling them until the right moment.  Turns out there wasn’t a right moment. 


It was only after the fact she realized she was hurting him “This is easy stuff.  If you can’t do easy” Jay would say scolding her. 


But he always forgave her, with the help of a recipe.  Yes, she relied on those recipes more and more.  Jay would move further away each time she failed him.  But letting go completely wasn’t something she was willing to do.  Somewhere inside her, Jay haunted her, she could feel when he was ill, or troubled, or concerned even with thousands of miles separating them and no contact.  “Touched” Jay would call her.  Jo was always amazed at Jay’s intellect, he knew a little something about what seemed like everything; everything but women.  With women Jay was quite naïve and it was apparent.  He had never really been hurt; but Jo fixed that “Good job Jo, you broke him again” she would say to herself in those moments. 


She had never loved, not like this.  Her kids, her family; but not this connection that was so strong, it scared her.  No, it terrified her.  But she could play it off like there was nothing wrong for everyone else, holding up her act even to Daniel until he found the text messages.  Daniel…..a grown child, his once boyish charm lost for her in his thirties.  Now, an obese temper tantrum having child.  Jay’s presence gave her hope, made her feel like it was possible to have a future.


“Momma, I really need your help.  Something terrible is going to happen, I just know it.” Tears streaming down Jo’s face as she pleaded.  “She’s gonna get him, and She even threatened the boys Momma.”


Her mother leaned back in the hospital chair, pulling her crochet tight to her chest, her face a mask of frustration, disappointment, and pity.  “Once you let the cat out honey; you can’t put the cat back in.  there’s no easy fix for that.  I’m going to call your Auntie Rebecca.  Maybe she knows.  Till then you’re going to keep this a secret.  Can you imagine what your Father would say?”


“Okay Momma” Jo sobbed, her heart monitor quickening in sound


“If you have any more of the sight Jo, you need to tell me.  Somehow we need to get a warning to that boy; I can’t imagine he even remotely knows how to protect himself from this.  Let me sit on it a minute.” Momma shrugged "For all we know, it's just another one of your fever dreams, for that matter"

Submitted: December 13, 2016

© Copyright 2021 J Woods. All rights reserved.


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