Ivy Green

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Dark, whimsical and honest tale with characters on the edge of both living, dying and somewhere in-between. Set in modern day southern Ontario with references to place both real and imagined.
Characters combine to have traits ranging from grief to celebration and hopelessness to reconciliation.

Submitted: June 12, 2018

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Submitted: June 12, 2018

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Ivy Green

Piece One.Together in the Bognor Valley

 

Chapter 1. Tea 

 

Tea is ritual.Pure and unrestrained in its willingness to welcome.

Warm and hopeful like mother's first milk, like Ivy Green.

 

On a windowsill newly emptied sits one thing.A spout chipped teapot filling a backdrop of vinegar-streaked glass.Its gold tarnished edge cradles incoming morning light.Its unhealed spout, washed sienna brown from years of giving pour.It is a healthy pot, plump and ready to socialize, waiting for new friends.This fine pot belongs to Ivy Green.A round tummied women, in her early fifties with an under the ear length bob, which waves curly tones of red.She is distinctly at home with her looks, stopping often in front of the many mirrors that hang askew along the hallway walls and near the front entrance of her village bungalow. Her face blends its expressions somewhere between sweetness and grief.Her neighbours are auspiciously comfortable in her kind gesture of greetings and concern, but avoid any real intimacy.

It is early Sunday afternoon, several hours after church has finished and most people are either working in their gardens or visiting nearby family.The day smells of distant pink clover and freshly plopped manure. The naked heat of July has left August hoping for jackets and long pants.But Ivy wants thin skirt days with loosely buttoned shirts that invite in the breeze passing by.Her layers of skinny fat play happily in the wind and in summer linen. On these Sunday afternoons, she drives her green compact up to Hamil Hill and looks out onto the Bognor Valley. The view shatters all past visions. Ivy pulls the compact over to the shoulder, parks and fixes a long gaze on the well spread fields of barley, yellow wheat, second cut hay and a speckling of forest.This resplendence hollows out her belly and leaves it for God. Here she knows her sweetest grief.

Back at the bungalow, Ivy fixes tea.Earl grey today.The kettle rolls its boil into the awaiting bag and pot, beginning the aromatic experience of the chosen blend.As Ivy lets the brew steep, she takes out from an overfull drawer, one of her aprons and ties it about her waist.It is salmon peach with large pink-red roses splashed across its front. Pockets hang down, reaching across and into the back.Inside still are box matches left over from last night's dinner candle lighting.

For brunch today green sprout sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise and smoked lake trout will be offered to her Sunday afternoon visitors, along with an Australian new Chardonnay and slivers of fresh beet, baby bok choy and crushed maple glazed pecans. The dressing will whisper raspberry. The tea is ready.

This small part of Earth is ready. Waiting to begin the journey to Ivy Green’s home where her honey sweet love will welcome and leave behind any dangerous carelessness and enter sanctuary.

From a chicory blue cupboard, Ivy reaches for a narrow mouthed mug.The smallness of its top is sensual to her.Under the narrow the mug grows wide until it reaches its bottom.It is like misshapen balls, attractive in their imperfection.Imperfections stroke Ivy's imagination.She feels safe in them.She remembers the last time she watched Robbie sleep.He would so swiftly fall into it she wondered if he knew she was even there.He did. He always did.Even in his sleeping-small boy curled around a thin clothed pillow, man legs jutted out over the side, chest movements, fluidic and comforted-he dreamt of her awake.In the morning she would find her narrow mouthed mug filled with sweet milky tea. Robbie pleased himself in this gesture of affection and concern.Ivy relished the first mouthful hitting her tired lips, played out from the last night. 

13:30 arrives.Ivy’s neighbour, Myrna, has finished farm work early to help make brunch at Ivy’s.She brought with her a cyclist she found traveling across country in desperate need of warm food and ablutions. 

"Ivy, we’re here."Myrna calls from the front step.She quickly inhales the sweet pea and morning glory growing up the vine arbor Ivy erected beside the step.Its perfume grows large in the space around her as the early afternoon sun strokes this section of life.Behind Myrna the cyclist follows.His hair freshly washed and his wide face appearing apprehensive but hopeful walks in Ivy's door looking instinctively toward the kitchen.

Myrna, 37 and narrow in body with mid-back auburn hair that twists into knots when the wind comes, lives on the apple farm just a kilometer from Ivy’s door.She has over the past five years transformed the chemically dependent farm into an Eden of blemished apples that shoot pesticide free juice down your throat on first bite.The local community has nicked named her Lileth.Half with respect, the other with anger.She is the other side of Eden.The mate that got away from Adam and made it to the Promised Land before God realized what had happened.Now Lileth crates spotty apples and hires local high school students to pick and pack through the unpredictable days of autumn.They love Lileth and her twisting brown black hair.She doesn’t mess in their personal lives and has let them build their own shelter at the end of the orchard where they can be together, smoke pot, make out, play music and just play. She pays them better then the mall and being outside is always a bonus.

At the other end of the field are the farmers who struggle with her eco-spirituality and ambition to transform everyone organic. Lileth, unlike most of the people, cares little for money.That she has almost lost her farm twice in five years and is in debt, that not even a hefty insurance policy could cover, is not worth losing even several moments over.

Ivy, apron wrapped, comes out from the kitchen, tea mug in hand and quickly walks the mirrored hallway to her just arrived guests. 

"Hello Lileth”.Ivy enjoys this name.Reinventing old stories and bringing them new meaning acknowledges the mistakes of myth and history.“Who’s your friend? Would you like some tea?"

"Well I certainly would."Lileth replies."How about you Francis?"

"Yes thanks."

Francis, with strings of still wet-showered hair, offers out his hand to Ivy, who takes it in both of hers.

"Welcome Francis.Please come in.What do you take in your tea?"

"Just honey, if you have it."

The three walk down to the kitchen.The smell of just peeled cooking beets and smoked trout warming, meet them at the room's entrance.The kitchen faces the back forest, which lines Ivy's yard.A corner-to-corner window brings the outside in and dancing pine shadows the worn maple table.Four chairs sit 'round the table.Each faces the forest.In the centre of the table is a yard sale silver tray with small, delicate chiseled sides.The teapot, a jar of honey, a large pitcher of thick grass fed milk and a clay made bowl of raw sugar covers the tarnished bottom of the tray.Three spoons and two mugs wait patiently for tea.Two sprigs of dill, some yarrow and a sweet pea stalk fill a handless mug, demoted from tea bearer to wild herb holder.To Ivy, being ready for company is like looking forward to getting back to a favourite story or early morning sex.There was always too much time in between the getting back to and the waiting that happened before.

Sitting, Ivy pours.Francis watches tea steam rush to the picture window and cling.He takes his mug, cuddled with honey, and simply inhales its comfort. Ivy’s smell lingers toward him and mixes with his tea. Her smell tastes like brown sugar and oatmeal.He falls back in the day and remembers his latest place of rest, where he had stopped and set up tent in a meadow just off the Bruce Trail.The day was unwed of wet, only a little moist which enlivened. The mid summer sun kept away the bugs and the orchestra of sounds, which surrounded his temporary residence, gathered him.It was while he was cycling on the trail north that he met Lileth.

 

Chapter 2. Lileth

 

After Lileth had breakfasted on a few scoops of peach yogurt and a mug of tea, she usually walked the trail that ran through the back of her property. Her dog, a two-year-old Bohemian Shepherd still in puppy-hood named Jackson, was her walking companion. He traveled almost everywhere with Lileth. Both rescued. All found.

On the trails of the Bruce Peninsula Lileth walked among wet mosses and unraveled ferns.She sifts through her close memories and finds last night.Beside husband Will she masturbated herself to sleep, while he dreamt of the foothills leading to Katmandu.Her self-love feels good, but it leaves her remembering that her pleasure is without witness. On the foothills, Will climbs toward further isolation.He delights in the heightened aloneness trekking brings.When Lileth wakes up the dent of his body is gone from the bed and his pillow is cold. She searches her body for heat.

Upon seeing a cyclist, Jackson immediately feels invited to join in the journey and begins to chase Francis.Ever so playfully and wanting only to not miss out on this potential fun, he nears his ankle and anticipates. The honest encouragement to come play, leaves Francis toppled off his bike and Lileth searching pockets for dog leads and cookies.

Now Francis sits in the kitchen of the handsome Ivy.The smell of her, of her house seeps like warm bath water into his pores.Beside him, she quietly creeps further.

 

Chapter 3. Francis 

 

For weeks now he has been riding.Riding with nothingness wind sounds in a mind set only on destination. Each destination an offering.A plate being passed by him waiting for his contribution. Twenty-two years as a United Church minister has washed his spirit so much that it has become thin gossamer.In the beginning his direction fit firmly around him.He was one of the many white male clergy traversing through seminary and finding the church ready to make him their own and feed him well-known entitlement. 

Now he was a slowly growing less. 

Oppression was becoming more fitted and reserved for the old guard, while cutting edge and radically responsible social organizations blossomed in communities of people tired, but still in love with hope. 

He thought he had worked to un-narrow the church. 

This evolution was destiny, but not his.Cycling was his new passion.

He felt complete in its thanklessness.

 

Chapter 4. Yesterday Ivy 

 

Ivy Green grew up in the Highland Creek, a place yet tamed by the encroaching suburbs and the last place in the Creek where nakedness was still as much a part of childhood as abandoned kittens and Saturday comics.Ivy, sprinkled as she was by the Creek’s fairy water, knew all these things. She slept innocent of abduction in tree houses and walked alone to the corner store to retrieve five cent black ball candy and straw filled likimaid. She would suck the round sweet candy to each level of its new colour, careful only to remove one layer at a time and take from her mouth between finger and thumb, and gaze with old surprise at the new colour. She did this until only the pea-sized piece remained, which she crunched down with complete savour.

At 10 she discovered the pleasure of the simple, quiet touch that crept through her when she wakened lust. The flow of that generated her into sleep, replacing storybooks and warm cinnamon milk. Such comfort drew from her rapid breath that filled her head with oxygen and gave to her a new euphoria. Even her best friends could not compete with this. But at twelve she would leave it behind until one sun drenched afternoon in a mining town far north of the Sault. It was Jane Eyre that changed her. She rediscovered herself through the moss that had slept for so long. At the half curtained window she made love to her twenty-one year old mound of soft flesh and found the woman girl waiting.

 

Chapter 5. Yesterday Myrna

 

Her mother hand made church clothes and pushed tiny fingers into white gloves.Children played restless and away from home, living in blanket caves and cellars lined with jarred peaches and cucumber crinkled relish.Next-door neighbour’s homes offered spicy smells and new punishments. At home the air was often still as mother slept in the afternoon after her soap opera and phone call out west. Then the waiting.Waiting through creamed asparagus on toast and story time that only came when father was home.For this they would willingly wait forever.Father was always there in the morning ready with some plan to infiltrate the local park with as many children as could crowd into the coverall blue station wagon.He would have black coffee and the children if they succeeded at their mission, would receive cylinder shape vanilla ice cream on top a crusty cone.At 5 years old, the world in which father lived, could not have been more perfect.

When new baby brother arrived, mom stopped sleeping in the afternoon and went to bed right after supper.Brother Teddy was small and wide-eyed.Myrna would cuddle him often and wonder at his clear blue eyes, so unlike the mottled green of her own.They could never decide if they were gold or green and every morning she would check to see which way the day would go.Her eyes were green for many months after brother Teddy was born.Mother and father were happy with their new joy and the still of the house came to life and there was playing together often.

Myrna’s heart came to belong to her little brother.Where once it was her sister’s Katherine, now it was his.She was his protector, his servant, playmate and dog.They would play together for hours as she gave into his every whim and desire to have control over something.At two the world is confined to the temperament of parents and those they entrust you to.With Myrna, Teddy had freedom unavailable to him anywhere else.Katherine was more the over seer making sure Myrna brought no harm to the little prince.But she did not get on her hands and knees or dress up as pirates and superheroes.She stayed back watching and becoming more and more hidden in the cupboards and secrets of her room.After awhile Myrna forgot about her and Katherine became separate as if she did not belong to anyone.When a nightmare woke Myrna she would stray to the closed door of Katherine’s room and whisper for her to be let in.But she was not really there anymore and Myrna would return to her own room frightened and alone.

When the little prince became very ill at six a greater mayhem then had ever been known occurred.His already small impish body thinned.His skin scaled and peeled onto the floors of the house.And his bony little buttocks covered in boils.The parents became monsters of grief.For those lingering few months Teddy was sick, Katherine and Myrna rediscovered each other and clung like resin on a bay leaf.

 

Chapter 6. Ivy and Robbie

 

She gave him her dark heart and night was finally over.

 

The morning following Francis and early Chardonnay, Ivy sank with love into the enormous basin bath that invited even the hydrophobic to a place beyond their frightened imagination. A window, uncurtained carved the wall where the tub grew lengthwise.It was tall and wide and looked south toward the next village.Peering in through the glass was stone.The foundation of the timber barn that never missed the equatorial sun.Canadian winter made her breath, preserving her log and planks with small long strings of sap like oxygen.Its life although heavy with time, could still remember the early last century soil. Trees from Coastal forests and Boreal woods met in this barn.These were ancient trees railed across stolen land. Built on ground swollen with tears and broken promises.

Lemon mint tea circled the room meeting mist and heat that closed the window to the old barn’s curiosity.Ivy uncradled her thoughts and hung them on droplets hovering over her full morning body. The memories began.

Robbie had folded Ivy up into his jacket pocket soon after they met.He would never go anywhere without her.She stuffed his heart with fleshy love and gave courage to his once shy penis.The first night they shared his bed was when the long strips of winter had grown frozen and people and animals and growing things, just stopped.He caught her between his teeth and rolled his love inside. She asphyxiated and traversed to the celestial temple. She wanted to stay forever.But the prophets sent her back and she found Robbie taken by sleep. She would soon learn he could do this anywhere.

Their love was not extraordinary but had different markings then those you see on most people partnered.They never lied to one another.They pushed at each other’s fragility and blanketed the wounds in eiderdown quilts. They became stronger and weaker, together. They married in Ivy’s kitchen where tea and wine rivered into their guests mouths most of the night.

 

Chapter 7. Yesterday Robbie

 

Robbie was the son of a smelt fisherman.The bleak cold Ontario lake water was in his bone.As soon as he was able to be useful on the boat and keep from falling over board, he started working with his dad.He made around the clock coffee and gutted smelt smaller then his five-year-old-hand.Robbie had four dead siblings.Two never even made it out of the womb.They shriveled into vegetable like matter and were deposited by his mother into their toilet. She never said a word.She stayed in bed and listened to am radio pour sour old tunes into her ears.Robbie’s dad brought her strong breakfast tea with cream and honey.It stayed along side his mother for two days by the radio, until her thirst sent her toward it.

The other two children made it into their still hoping parent’s world. But neither left the hospital. Baby one lived in her new brick and mortar incubating home for only a few hours. Baby two lived inside a new womb made sacred by warm lights and tiny feeding tubes.She lived a few days. Robbie saw each.

He was three when baby number two arrived.His parents were discouraged from naming her because her chances for life were none.So they just sat and looked and watched the most fragile thing they had ever seen depress further each day back into the void that it came from.There was no touching, only whispers that glued themselves to the sides of the incubator and beat hearts broken upon its wall.When baby two died her parents were finally allowed to hold her.Her miniature blue body lay like soft shaped snow in their arms.The longer they held her the more she disappeared back and away to a place beyond their sympathy.The nurses in the room would later comment that Robbie’s mother bit off a piece of her tongue and spit it into a nearby glass.Inside the glass they later found two young bright white booties bled now with red mixed together like a cocktail waiting to be shaken.

Robbie lived and breathed clammy boat decks that threatened his demise, but he adored the young father who had turned old through fish scale nightmares and unwakeable babies.Robbie’s mother spent her time lost in sinless prayer and fairy tales. She read every fairy tale available to her.Robbie and his dad would visit the library each week for more gruesome, truth talking tales to feed the woman who took a taxi everyday to the cemetery. Each time there she deposited more smaller body parts upon the graveyard moors where her dead children played. 

 

Chapter 8. Yesterday Francis 

 

Francis was not nursed; instead his mother milked venom from her front fangs and poured its thin smelly liquid into the round O of her baby’s new mouth. He was fed early on Grettal’s wasted dance that took shape inside a one room flat at the easterly edge of the West Hill housing project. She birthed him at sixteen in an emergency room that scented of crushed clay plaster and burnt vomit. They wrapped him in a warmed flannel sheet, pulled from the nursing station oven. He lay in the plastic box beside Grettal for six hours before anyone noticed him. Grettal, although taut and stretched was carved with a second-degree episiotomy. Her young shape did not give up her baby easily. He stuck glued to her insides refusing to come through the fleshy canal. Salad tongs finally shipped him out forming his once round skull into a bowling pin.

At eighteen Grettal was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Infected sex left her pubescent insides raw and stripped of advantage. Her work remained abundant. Pole dancing at the strip club, The Running Pump, compensated her enough to keep her flat and feed and clothe her baby. Francis was watched over by an abundantly tattooed barkeep and several wait staff when Grettal worked. He brought some cheer to the veiled suits and biker folk who frequented the strip club. The staff was more baby supervisors then care providers, but the kitchen employees made Francis their own. It was the dishwasher, Mae who impacted Francis’ childhood the most. She was Grettal’s housemate and partner, without her Grettal’s life would have been worst then an unsecured latrine.

Mae was in her early forties with tired brown hair stained red iron and hands tree bark dry and split from years of dish liquid and hot water. When Grettal’s milk dried up from too many forgotten feedings, Mae quietly plunged in and nursed him on home cooked love and honest suffering. She became the breast Francis still needed. Mae became the last lifeboat left for Grettal and her baby boy.

 

Chapter 9. Ivy remembers 

 

When the bath water lost scent and warmth and yesterday Ivy left its refuge, toweled dry and headed down her mirrored hall toward the kitchen.It was still early.Although the birds had cracked, split and nibbled their morning sunflower seed fill, the sun was just up and you could still hear the lingering breath sounds of dead saints that haunt the night.Ivy was glad, she needed her saints as she rolled round in her mind the beginnings of her next story.The kettle was set to stove.Mug brought forth from the cupboard, honey and cream waited patiently for hot brew to stir them into happiness.Ivy took her laptop from the telephone shelf by the kitchen table and placed it facing away from morning’s window.The plug was set. She sat in the chair facing its unopened body.She lifted its thin door and turned it on.The whir of it coming into being laddered her spine and somersaulted into her belly.The bath had stimulated. The memories had frothed her awake.The kettle boiled.

‘Milk white nipples oozed glutinous liquid into his anxious mouth.His lips curled round their gentleness.His tongue slipped past their edgy mass and onto the flotilla of flesh waiting behind. He spun the flesh in his teeth. The liquid furthered out.He swallowed it, cum like in memory, sweet and reminiscent.Her arms splayed back on the earth floor.Her hands felt for ungrassed soil and she dug her fingers in.’

Ivy poured water boiled into her cup.She swirled it and went back to the table.She could feel the dirt under her fingernails and her nipples had grown erect. She rubbed her mound and sat back in her chair.Ivy poured another cup of tea.The sound held her breath. 

Ivy had not intentionally become a writer of erotic fiction.She had begun here career life as a social worker.By the time she was in high school the wilds of Highland Creek soon became a homogenized suburb filled with hungry seekers looking for safety.The suburb project turned out to be a failure both to its people and more acutely to the environment it bulldozed through.The billowing desecration of old century architecture and devoured green space unwrapped into a variety of sizes of inefficient concrete boxes.Each box rose up through insignificance to owning colour coded eave troughs and doors with a quilter’s block of handsome green turf.Impatiens and red salvia was an annual celebration. One detrimental outcome from the suburban projects was lack of space or better still, lack of creative space. There was no colour no shape no definition to the suburbs.They did not encourage playful thought or artistic expression.They captured the brightest stars and stored them in a damp box in the back of a one-car garage.Occasionally a band would pop up.A few struggling teens trying desperately to have a voice different from their surroundings.But inevitably they were cut down through noise control and pajamed neighbours. Most of them sought refuge either in the city or in a run down farmhouse at the edge of town.

Ivy’s family’s home was expropriated and they were forced to leave the Creek and relocate.They moved into the suburbs.Ivy watched the life around here fizzle into luke warm soup that had neither texture or flavour.She saw how the centerless communities shared nothing in common.Her neighbours lived on the other side of an ocean.Where cars were parked, she envisioned moored boats that went out only for pay cheques and milk.She was suffocating.With her last breath she made it to the end of high school and quickly left home for university in a city that although lacked virgin green space, had enormous culture and creativity waiting in coffee corners and sausage vendors.

 

Chapter 10. Jackson 

 

At one o’clock in the morning Lileth heard steps nearing her small stone cabin.She had stretched out on the couch with her comforter and novel waiting for Jackson to come home.Although she was desperately worried about him, she was glad to have a sound reason not to sleep beside Will.She had already been out looking for Jackson.Calling him whistling, hooting, singing his favourite song, “I fell into a burning ring of fire…” whatever might draw his attention to her voice. Nothing.He had been out since after supper.This was not is usual behaviour.But it was a warm night and the wind was free.Surely soon he would be home.

The sound caused her to leap from the couch and quickly she ran to the door, comforter draped around her nightgowned body flapping against the cool summer floor.She opened the door.

“Jackson!”His nose was dirt crusted and his paw quickly rose when he saw her.In the house he quietly came.Late night wafted from his moist fur.Paws clipped across the floor first toward the water bowl and then to his well-worn flannel bed waiting for him by the couch.

Lileth followed him and scooped his big neck into her arms just before he collapsed onto his bed.She could smell his relief as he quickly fell into sleep.She lay back on the couch and snuggled into her comforter.Her hand eased over to where Jackson curled. Her hand grew safe in the fur of his thick neck. Her breath shallowed and she cried.

At 7 ½ weeks he was a round pillow of fur mottled caramel and umber dark. His imperfections endeared him to her. One eye coloured maple sugar the other, afternoon blue.He was the littlest, the most scared, but he had picked her.He snuggled most times into the soft breasty tummy of his mom. When Lileth traveled to the little village just north of Kingston she went with the anticipation that this would be the dog for her.She found him, not with his siblings running about the birch or wading through cow patties, but beside his mom underneath the red pick-up.Their eyes met as she kneeled on the gravel and peered at him. He did not move but he looked into her. And she knew.

On the drive home to Bognor he curled beside her into the wooly shawl she had brought for him.Jackson Brown sang,“Doctor my eyes have seen the years…” on the radio.Jackson.He would be Jackson.Soulful, democratic and misunderstood.The dog for her.Her hand met the fuzzy top bit just above his brow and she stroked.His eyes closed and she felt his contentment.She was in love.

Jackson was a remarkable dog.His eyes reflected the world.All that was good and sad were carried in those eyes. Jackson had emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence that had not been ignored or mistreated.The emotional intelligence that every dog, somewhere in its being has but too often gets the shit kicked out of.He did not like so many of his counterparts live on an 8 foot rope.He was not kept day and night in a rectangular chain link cage full of his own feces and piss.He was not shut away in a barn left to scavenge on mice and insects, spending endless hours in search of water and love.Jackson had Lileth and they loved each other.

 

Chapter 11. Jackson visits

 

The next morning after tea and lap top love writing Ivy slipped into a yellow cotton shift that lingered just above her knee.Poached eggs were simmering and rye toast waited for them. It was still early.Still quiet.Then a quick knock and footsteps down the corridor.

“Good morning Ivy.”Lileth was a morning person.Actually she seemed to be quite high during most times of the day.At least when her yang energy had kicked in.She could be morose and introspective quite suddenly. She could become empty very fast and fill up again within a few hours.Unpredictable in her unpredictability.

“I am just having some eggs and toast.Care to join?”Before Lileth made it into the warm sweat of the kitchen Jackson had ambled through greeting Ivy with a leg sniff, hand lick and a look of hunger.The perpetual hunger look.How hard to ignore.Ivy reached for the biscuits in the cupboard and offered one to Jackson in exchange for his big dew wet paw.He took it and settled down behind the kitchen table near the sun warming wall.

Lileth, smelling damp and meadow sweet from her walk to Ivy’s, kissed softly Ivy’s lips and sat in the chair closest to Jackson.A cup of tea appeared before her.She sighed deeply into it.

“Eggs. No thanks.Tea will do.” Lileth filled her mouth with sweet tea that streamed kindly from a wide-mouthed emerald green mug. 

“Where is Francis this morning?”Ivy asked, leaning against the counter just about to sip her tea.

Lileth could still hear the gentle sounds of his sleeping.Francis bunked on one of the couches and insisted on using his sleeping bag that had seen many wet grassy knolls and just as many small towns. 

“I left him at the cabin.I don’t think he slept to well.I heard lots of moving about and quiet, but audible sounds coming from beneath his sleeping bag during the night.He was sleeping when I left this morning, so I decided just to leave him.”

Ivy remembered how Francis padded softly through her hall yesterday afternoon. He seemed to be inhaling her house, pausing to identify the smell.He was an odd, man on the edge with an intensity bottled.Lileth felt that.Ivy knew this was why she wanted him.She would uncork him and the two would bicycle into the future.But there was still Will.He was just sad.

 

Chapter 12. Will meets Lileth

 

When Lileth first met Will he was sitting on the edge of the stone edged pond in Trinity Square just outside the Eaton Centre. His lunch was bagged, not sausaged and stuffed with sauerkraut on a vendor’s bun like many of the other mid-meal feasters. It was 1980 and she was 21. Will was 45. Immediately she spotted him amongst the other suits. She had just returned from Western Canada where she and a friend had traveled through the Okanogan and up the Caribou highway hoping to find summer work in the ski town of Smithers. She came back to Toronto hungry and with a broken heart. Looking at Will she saw the balm in his eyes. They were sad but hopeful. She noticed his socks did not match. How odd yet exciting.  She went toward him.

“Hi. I have been away from the city for awhile and I was wondering if you might tell me how to get to the art gallery.” Lileth knew quite well the way to the AGO. But she needed a credible in into this man.

Will lifted his head from his garlic bagel and cheese and ever so slowly met the eyes of the young woman whose crotch was near the level of his mouth. Her thick chestnut red mane came slowly toward his face as she bent to meet him.Inside he rocked.

His wife Elisabeth was at home reading recipe books.Their kitchen was a perfume counter of aromatic oils and herbs. Her hair was cut short so no thing from it could ever fall into her food.

 

And then a small red strand grazed the hand that held the bagel and he saw her again.

 

“The art gallery.”Yes, well, do you know where City Hall is?"

Will began to instruct Lileth up to Dundas and across to McCaul. She wasn’t listening to his voice. She was trying to hear his secrets. For she was quite sure this man had many, most of which he did not know himself.

“Thank-you.I’m Lileth.”

“Lileth.” What possessed him? His misery? His empty house? His poverty? His lost horizon? Or was it the crappy bagel he endured everyday of the week when he was allowed a few moments to hear something other then artificial air sounds sneaking into his middle age lungs.

“I am heading that way.Why don’t I just show you? ”The words just cascaded out and it was too late to finish his bagel.

“Thank-you. That would be nice. ”What a stupid answer. Lileth heard the words in her head. Nice.What is so ‘nice’ about it? It is wonderful!

The Art Gallery was only the beginning of what would be a long climb that would leave them both tired and wanting near the end. But there had been moments between them that felt like being inside another galaxy.

It was their second summer. Will had left the empty house .Left his wife and her herbs and fine kitchen accoutrements. Why wasn’t it harder? He finally woke up to the reality that she had already left him. Not for herbs or kitchen items or cats or new novels, but for Tom. The guy who owned the local hardware store. The guy who always took the time to chat Will up and ask him how he was doing. Apparently Elisabeth and Tom had been going at each other for years.They had even bought a cabin just out side of Sudbury, near the French River. They were waiting. Waiting for Will to finally leave? For Will to die? Why didn’t they just stop wasting time? He had bricked their path.T he house went up for sale and Elisabeth and Tom were feeling each other up and down by the French River in late fall. By spring ‘Lizzie and Tom’s French River Café’ had opened, featuring home grown herbs and aromatic dressings.

Yet in spite of his natural melancholy, Will was enamored with Lileth. They would spend entire weekends on his thick cushioned fold out bed with plushy back pillows that caused entire heads to disappear. He would spin her hair around his fingers, nose, ears, balls and penis. He would happily ejaculate into them whenever he could. Lileth loved him and decided at the tender age of 23 that she would marry him. It didn’t seem to trouble her that at 47 Will’s ongoing bodily complaints were not going to improve. They actually worsened considerably after they were married. He became fussy and easily irritated. He would listen to Chopin and look out over the city from their apartment for hours. Their fold out bed was no longer a play ground but an inconvenience. By 25 Lileth had her own bedroom. By 30 she was dating.

She loved her way into the hairy nests of men. She had cooks, captains, chefs and carpenters, accountants, artists, truck drivers and just grown boys. She laid bare their bullied hearts and left them writhing without their balls in tact. With her they learned how to be girls, without her they were naked to the equatorial sun that penetrated their now thin layer of left over masculine armour. She loved each one and to each she gave a small piece of her late March Spring.

Will became expert in the art of self-love. His desires long faded, still he played with himself for hours as he visited web pages filled with ageless body parts that questioned anything left ethical in his being. Lileth pushed it from her mind but inside her a dark place cowered, unable to admit the perversion that ensnared her life.

 

Chapter 13. Lileth & Ivy

 

Eggs finished, tea mug drained, Ivy drifted. Lileth felt deeply drained.Neither new found Francis or Ivy could refresh her. Jackson was the closest, but even he could not maintain fresh brushed loved without eventually feeling skinned.

She felt undone. Her empty love nest was vacant of mercy. Her menses just arrived, leaving her unrecovered each month. The blood flowed like a March river for seven days. The doctor suggested only the removal of her uterus or a high hormone birth control pill. Neither would do. 

“Ivy.” Lileth bent away from Jackson and the view from the kitchen window, her voice encouraging Ivy back from memory. “Let’s talk about Francis.”

“Let’s talk about Will.”Ivy back replied.

The sadness of Will.They all felt it. He entwined through them, but he was neither with them or a part. He was away.

“Lileth unhappiness is like a cancer. We just can’t ignore this anymore. Picking apples and sleeping in your bed is not enough. I think the whole valley feels his grief.

“No. No, no, no, no. Will is where he is. Damn it Ivy I can’t change his grief, and I can’t push him out of our home. Before we moved up here I tried to leave him. But there is something between us, something beyond this marriage, an intimacy that keeps us together. Somehow we just need each other. Do you understand?I  know you’re worried and care very much for him, but that means just letting him be who he is.”

‘It is not about him not being himself. It is this very deep pain he seems to carry. It is all through him. We can’t tell where Will and grief separate. Do you really believe that this is what his life is meant to be?”

“Jesus Ivy, I am trying desperately to accept him. The weirdness of our life. Our complete lack of physical intimacy. Right now I see no willingness on his part too change. Do you think we should try and intervene with what ever time, place or illusion he currently resides in?”

They had had this conversation before.

The three of them had been friends for so long. Ivy believed that Will could know joy, could have some peace. She did not think he was meant to live so continuously in his brokenness. Lileth felt otherwise. She had been with Will for over 15 years. She knew him in the turning to middle age and now he was in his sixties. She was content to accept his apparent inability to relate to the tangible, corporeal world. Was it not possibly easier this way? They stayed married. She cared for him. He brought in a pension that helped the orchard. Every so often he picked apples and he enjoyed pressing them into cider. He had also started making wine. 

Apple wine. Apple blossom wine. Wine from the flowers growing around the apple trees. Wine that could break your heart. But the blossoms would go and the apples would fall and the flowers would turn to seed and Will would retreat into autumn. But the sad wine would remain and they would drink it all through the cold of Georgian Bay winter.

Ivy inhaled and breathed in the smells of her kitchen. The tension between her and Lileth around Will displaced her. She was anxious not to alienate Lileth. Anxious not to cause her to feel judged. She enjoyed peace. She wanted things familiar and pleasing. She wanted to surround Lileth with warm broth that would forever take away the chill of the world. But she couldn’t ignore Will. He was slipping away. And whether or not the world swallowed him up or he swallowed himself up, something needed to be done. Ivy just had to convince a few others of this and everything was bound to work out. Will could be saved.

He had to be.

 

Chapter 14. Will & Francis meet Jonathon 

 

Back at the cabin Will is waking up. His covers are wrapped tight over his head. He looks into the glow of light moving into his darkness. He can still see his breath in the cold from the mountains left over by dreams. If he could just hold onto the cold. The moment where snow meets boot and the climb continues. If he could only slide into his covers, all rolled into a fixed mound and descend into the nearest crevice that would take him anywhere but here. In the front room he hears footsteps and then buzzing. The smell takes him out of the mountains and he heads for the kitchen.

Francis is grinding coffee beans. They had met last night after Francis and Lileth returned from supper, but only briefly.

“Mornin’ mate.” Francis turns toward Will robed in bed blankets standing at the kitchen entrance. “Coffee?”

Who the fuck was this guy grinding coffee in his kitchen? Where was Lileth? What is he so chipper about?  What do I really care, thought Will. He’s making coffee.

“Sure. Who are you again? I have a brief memory of meeting you last night, but it’s quickly fading.”

“Francis. We met after Lileth and I came back from Ivy’s. Man, what a meal!”

“Yeah, she is one of the best cooks. And she always smells amazing. ”With this Will drifted and thought of Ivy’s neck and full crease between her breasts. Her smell wafted from these places. His eyes closed and he inhaled past morning coffee beans and there she was. Will adored Ivy and he was missing too many of her dinners and not getting enough of her smell. His blanket fell to the floor and his eyes looked out the window.

Francis poured the boiling water into the French press and watched Will. He watched Will leave the kitchen and enter another world merely by looking out the window. It happened in less then a moment. And in that small moment Francis knew Will was gone. He poured his coffee black and went to sit on the porch. Will still looking, remained.

Outside the new apple smell begun.The blossoms were fermenting in a 5 litre water jug, moving slowly into wine. From the chair on the porch where Francis sat he looked east. The sun swayed July heat above the apple trees. 9 already. Small creatures and winged insects were already napping after second breakfast. He held his coffee mug between his two hands and he felt something breaking inside him.

How hard it is to fall in love. To fall without restraint with a group of people who expect you to move the earth for them. Just their desire, need, passion in this belief alone tips you over the moon where you land belly up facing a million suns. The vision is enormous and you are only one heartbeat in the vast terrestrial reality revolving around all those suns. Francis could hardly bare it.

Recovered, Will pulls up a chair beside Francis. The heat from his black coffee humidifies his face.His nose engages the steam and inhales.Pinhead droplets form around the edges of his nostrils. Primrose red colours the small bulb at the end of his nose.

“Why are you here Francis? ”The inquiry from Will was late coming. Francis watched the sun further move. His time in memory halted by this tall languorous man unphased by the burning liquid now moving down his throat. Unlike Francis, Will had a body that sprawled. It was thin, but somehow misshapen. It stretched long in his arms and his knees almost hit his chest where he sat. He was like some great long dancer that could convey himself on an entire stage

“I am not sure.”Francis looked into this lap and thought again about the tiny suns.

From down the road Will and Francis looked wonderfully suited. Each comfortably sat in porch chairs. Heads turned in to mugs and than out again to look at the coming day. From where Jonathon walked, they looked like a couple. He was about a ½ kilometer away when Will spotted him. His similarly tall lanky frame was too familiar, too missed. Will’s stomach knotted. Jonathon. His gate was unmistakable, his shoulder length hair free in the wind. Will rose from his chair and watched his son approach.

Now who is that fellow with Dad, Jonathon wondered? Younger and strangely comfortable. As he pondered, the lopping form of Jackson shadowed his mind.

Jackson, who lived in Jonathon’s heart.

Jackson, who held Jonathon together.

“Jackson!” The shadow breathed, for just a moment.

Will watched as Jonathon reached the end of the driveway.

After eggs and tea Ivy lingered a moment near Lileth and kissed her. Lileth moved her naked feet across Jackson’s tummy and rolled his skin gently.

“I still believe that Will needs our intervention of some sort. Please think about it and let’s all have dinner together tonight.”

Lileth, head still down responded with a nod. Ivy walked out through the kitchen, stopping at the third mirror, the one with a walnut frame carved with deep star shaped symbols that curled around the edge, and looked. She thought about Robbie. The day of his first surgery. She went out the door.

 
Piece Two. Outside the Bognor Valley. (5 years earlier)

Chapter 15. Tumour

The trip to the city was kind.Together Ivy and Robbie always knew pleasure in adventure. The four-hour journey from Bognor with a brief stop for cheeseburgers, shakes and onion rings, was beautifully uneventful.Spring had snuggled in. Early May flowers arrived around messy and well-tilled gardens. Leaves broke out into shapes that were always a surprise to winter memories. Air smells crisped inside breathing noses, filling them with both apprehension and wonder.

At the outer rim of the city they parked and subwayed into the downtown where Dr. Mersey and St. Michael’s Hospital waited. Strong coffee treated their senses.

They sunk themselves into the steps of the Metropolitan United Church that stood across from St. Mike’s and waited. Queen St. was gently coming awake to early morning as tiny pricks of sun burst through cloud cover. 

The homeless slept under teenage oaks inside wakefulness and empty stomachs.

Steps that led to closed church doors cushioned tired hearts tucking them into days first espresso.

Small dog walkers made paths through gulls and city pigeons. A woman awake with legs stretched under branch shadows reached for a pup that quickly passed her by. Her hand open-fingered hoping to feel fur and warmth as her legs became ever more enclosed by insatiable pigeons. The pup watched the hand go by swiftly. The woman, shadowed and long-haired retreated under a wrap of maybe next time.

The park was alive with simply being. 

Robbie and Ivy lifted from their gloom

A curious gull coveted a stray shelled peanut.Pigeons, brown, white-black, grey and spotted unceasingly flocked, their many eyes upon the peanut.The gull pressed on, darting through the growing mass, snatching moments to break the shell and unloose the waiting legume.The pigeons pressed.Finally she took flight.Her and peanut safe to meal alone.

Robbie reached for Ivy’s fingers and curled them in his own.He drew each one to his breath and kissed their ends.Her tears had vanished and only May sun shone from her face.

Grey day stone steps continued to offer unexpected comfort. Weeks of waiting now only hours away and all hope rested here.Pigeons now nested and rested in bags of unshelled peanuts, crushed by a rainbow man crossing through the park.

Robbie felt his head swell. He touched its side and noticed it unchanged. No the tumour had not grown in that moment. He drew comfort from the seagull that escaped the hoarding mass. My tumour remains shelled he thought. Unfree still, waiting to be released. Waiting to be vacuumed out of its hobbit hole where it lies cozy and content making its way toward more vulnerable areas that could undo me. But for now, it snuggles into an orange rind space, untouched by the surgeon’s knife.

Ivy gazed. She turned to Robbie whose head had fallen into a gentle slope towards her and she saw the skin around his closed eyes give in a little. The tumour wore him down. Driving and subways, the bright intrusive lights of shopping malls and long conversations that required more attention then he good give, pressed his mind in two. He became like a folded towel in a linen closet. She quietly raised her hand and met the waves of his thin still growing hair.Her fingers slipped around its awkward ends brushing the edge of his cheek, dewy from dreams. She fell in love with him again and the pain as usual, was almost unbearable.It broke her apart and sent her two halves running for cover. But all they found was open hot desert.Windstorms and foreverness. No place to hide, only complete vulnerability. But even here, in this place of absolute terror, he was there. The heat his breath and wind the voice that buckled her knees and sank her into the arms of the world’s soul.

Today they would know each other differently as Robbie’s diagnosis brought hurried surgery.Cross section of Robbie’s malignancy nailed the future to the floor. Their surgeon, Dr. Mersey was unusually kind as she explained the unavoidable brain surgery.Ivy numbed to her chair where the edge dug deep into her half felt heart.And without guard or warning it came.Water. Hot, running, feeling for fleshy crevices to pool.Splashing. In silence from chin to breast it dropped and became the milk of new pain that pushed ache into Ivy’s being. Robbie turned and with one kind forefinger cupped the tears that would not let tomorrow in.

Since the diagnosis only weeks earlier, Robbie never let the sun out of his face, but Ivy knew of the backyard loss his childhood had planted. So much death.How did he still wonder at the nest of hatchling’s that grew into song and flight over the spring? How did he make love with her as if the world rocked their bed covers and the earth trembled in time to their passion? How, when he was sick and unlikely to survive? How? These words spilled over and over again into Ivy’s unforgiving brain. Stop! Enough! I cannot crawl into this place and be swallowed by its perversity and unhelpful compulsion to see only dark deep night when some light, however thin, still remains.Ivy squeezed the hand that already held hers, steady and with only today in it.

Now surgery morning. Time to shift from steps and stone and gazing into other’s lives and begin this unexpected journey. 

The stair well without marks to guide emerges. Concrete blue welcomes the echo of shoes that resound many stories up and down. Ivy and Robbie exit toward admitting. Stomach’s empty, hands together, they grab a number and wait in the flat coral coloured chairs with silent people. Ivy’s stomach carousels. Robbie watches an elderly man play lightly with his cane.“9”.Their number. Another beginning begins.

Ivy follows Robbie’s gurney to the surgery doors and watches.

In the waiting room, especially created for family of patients undergoing today’s surgery, Ivy draws. Helpful volunteers direct and console. Magazines, tea and water wait on a table of dark wood. Watercolour prints cover comforting coloured walls as couches, chairs, pillows and small tables provide places for quiet anxious people away in their heads, full in their hearts. Ivy keeps drawing. Blue green gowns with small stone inlay around sleeve ends and hem. Buttermilk lace weaves the neck line and makes an overlapping skirt. “Maybe one day I will actually sew this. ”Her whispered voice cracks through the dryness she has ignored. The dressmaker dummy Robbie gave Ivy for Christmas a few years back recalls her. She imagines the gown flowing over its grey body. She and Robbie arm in arm walk toward the symphony, the opera, and a big New Year’s Eve bash. Robbie’s hand slips over her and each turn to the other. Their love has not mellowed. They are all nerves and hope. Passion, play and companionship in transport toward everything. But not this. This becomes grey rain that gets closer and closer from a sky without retreat. Ivy’s sketchpad drops from her lap and falls. She cannot be at the symphony while Robbie’s skull is drilled and his brain scalpeled.

Hours later Dr. Mersey is at her side. She has fallen into a half sleep, still hearing the sounds of the room waiting and also the snapshots of home, hospital rooms, meadows and kitchen tables .Dr. Mersey is speaking. 

“Robbie is stable and doing well. He is in recovery. We removed the mass with only some trauma to the surrounding area. We don’t anticipate any problems, but as we discussed, he will need treatment for several months just to eradicate any rogue cells.”

Ivy remembers that conversation. Chemo. 6 months of its. Side effects, too many to recall just now. Robbie is alive. Recovering. Without the tumour that was beginning to knaw. Dr. Mersey puts ahand on her shoulder. Relief has begun as she offers Ivy the Kleenex box.

“Would you like to see him?”

Ivy is up and they are walking out of the room with watercolours and dark side tables and lovely magazines and people waiting. Dr. Mersey is describing the bandages around Robbie’s head. That he will be transferred first to intensive care and then a regular room. One week and he should be able to go home. A list of instructions and medications will be explained by the attending physician and nurses. Ivy listens and hears Robbie bringing her morning tea with warm milk and honey after a late night of writing. Still, she follows the doctor. And then she is here and he is there. Head turbaned and turned toward the one window, cradled in a crisp white pillow against a crisp white sheet.

Dr. Mersey has left. Ivy stands wrapped in Robbie’s new life space and puts her hand on top of the sheet that cocoons his sleep.

“Oh my god Robbie. I love you so much. I am here. I am here.”

In his semi-conscious state Robbie sees only colour moving, blurring inside his mind. Is he alive? Is that Ivy? He struggles to wake. Deep in the earth he scratches at the dirt trying to get to the light. The light he sees inside his mind but not outside his eyes. The digging is hard. He stops and catches his breath. He falls back hitting the steel table where alien voices mumble without meaning and lights dance about. Wake-up. Wake-up! But the dirt remains on top of him and he hasn’t the energy to dig. The colours come back and he trips into them.

A nurse comes by and checks fluids, IV and monitors watching Robbie. She smiles at Ivy and then presses on.Will he know my name? Ivy feels sick as the turban seeps blood to its outer later. She sees underneath the stapled slice running from one side of Robbie’s skull to the other. His shoulder hair cut away.His face pale with pain and drugs that cause rats to curl and die. Chemo. She had almost forgotten about that. Oh Jesus, poor Robbie. The ache in her for him can-opens her insides where she watches them churn and tumble like wet clothes in a dryer.

And then his eyes begin to blink .Lids search for the inside, eyelashes curl toward eyebrow.

“Robbie.” Her voice is hot maple syrup to him and he smiles.

“Ivy.” There hands meet and clasp. She lays her self ever so carefully on his chest, pressing tears into crisp white sheets fresh with her soul.

Robbie left intensive care after two days and stayed in hospital for three more. The crowded hallways pushed full with defibrillators, IV pumps, carts of towels, basins, gloves and assorted protective ware, made the journey down the hall an often unpleasant adventure. But Ivy filled their days with local take out, full of goodness and spice and always early morning fresh brewed tea and muffins from the local organic bakery. They read together, doing crosswords and playing trivia games as Ivy learned about medication times and the immediacy of Robbie’s exhaustion. When the turban came off, Robbie’s soft naked head was sculpted with small holes and an arch that ran from one side of his head to the other. More real than Ivy imagined. More black and white horror film, with Frankenstein staples and dried blood caked into the inbetween culverts.

Ivy watched various care providers dress and clean the wound. Watched the medications change Robbie, causing him anxiety and distress, which finally wound itself into sleep. Precautions they were told. To keep everything ticking and to prevent collapse into seizure or maybe something worse. Nobody ever really said.

 

Chapter 16. Home

 

The fifth day. Home. Growing spring air took them out of the city. Robbie laid uncomfortably in the passenger seat buckled and blanketed, his head cushioned with a pillow, flannel covered and raspberry pink. It eased bumps and stops along the way and provided cheery warmth. Ivy kept her tears inside as Robbie slept. What happened? Nothing prepared either of them for what hid in the many closets of their home.

It was morning. A morning without light. Only fog and damp windows pressed into their bedroom space. The gauze turban had been removed and Robbie’stender skin skull rested hesitantly on his pillow. His eyelids were still. Dreams finished, love making still on hold, hope for a better day with less pain and confusion from oppressing medication that made the world seem thick and impenetrable. But Robbie was not without cheer as he opened his eyes to Ivy curled beside him. Gentle with hand placed tentatively on his belly. He followed its weary curves, bent from caring. She did not know his darkening fear. His mind continually clouded and unable to see into the next hour. He could not yet read and spent most days in half sleeps and old memories. He missed his Mom. Her fabric of sorrow splashed by thin white lines of life. He missed the fishing boat and making dark night coffee for his Dad. And he missed Ivy. Her smell like slim cream entering all the tiny holes of his skin and softening his angst. Would he ever slip her into his mouth and inhale the pleasure right out of her till he could taste her celebration? He aroused and felt pain. Ivy stirred from her nook and was again thankful that he was still there.  Their skin warm on warm. The space between them, non existent.

“I will get your tea and meds.” A kiss came toward him.A hand cradled his thinning cheek. They stayed on each other’s lips and whispered fear and gratitude in the single breath they shared.

“Thank-you.”

When Ivy came up with tea Robbie was sat on the edge of the bed. His hand ran tentatively over his head, tender and shorn.Ivy watched him from the door and felt herself melt into the honey on her tray as she thanked every god for his survival. No moment would be without gratitude. No word without love. Even in honesty that so often hurts, there would be gentleness. Robbie would feel only her unprecedented devotion to all that he was. Never had two individuals experienced such grace that they would gladly empty themselves of life in order that the other could live well.

 

Chapter 17. Quinoa. (Present) 

 

Ivy began. A conductor of food and love and fresh starts. Dinner with friends, with anyone but especially friends, was holy time. Jonathon, Francis, Will and Lileth were coming. Jonathon home. Jonathon whose soul cast out demons just by a single glance.Jonathon, who did not know that he had come to save them.

The food had to set off tension and create diversion and comfort. Quinoa pie baked in curry, carrot and apple served on a bed of shredded Chinese cabbage and turnip with green tomato chutney circumventing the entire dish. Beautiful. The colours alone would evoke awe and quiet longing. On the side something fun, yam chips with Cajun spice accompanied by honeyed yoghurt and a baby spinach salad with goat cheese and cherries in a warm white balsamic and tarragon dressing. Food to keep them wondering and sharing insight. Yes dinner would begin the experience the night would bring.

Back at the orchard Lileth unraveled Ivy’s kitchen and watched it disappear. Ghost like gauze, just a wisp, gone, gone, gone.The orchard smelled like history. Burst of scent convinced you it was the only thing that mattered. Apples under your feet, above you, in your hand, in your mouth; everywhere. Disturbing your present and picking up soul. It ventured with well-walked boots, small hands perfect for climbing and spring water washed hair.

Dinner tonight at Ivy’s. Was there any point in bringing something? No, that was mean, but Ivy was very much in control of her kitchen and sometimes it was intimidating for Lileth .And Jonathon was home. Her stepson, Elisabeth’s and Will’s oldest child and Jackson’s human double, the other half of his heart. Jonathon was the middle place for Lileth and Elisabeth. The place they did not argue about. The place where only love resides. Jonathon was unrestrained between them and he knew how much they both adored him. But it was through his father’s inadequacy that Jonathon prevailed and grew.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Patti G. Armstrong. All rights reserved.

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