I'll Remember You - 1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cara Stamford is three-years-old when her mother, Rose, decides to jump off the Coronado Bridge with Cara in her arms. Thankfully, Nick Weaver and his father, Sam, are fishing down below and save Cara, although her beloved mother drowns. Fifteen years later, Cara and Nick meet again. This time, Cara is being framed for the murder of her stepfather. Can Nick save her once again or will she end up behind bars for a crime she did not commit?

Prologue

I was three when my mother, Rose, jumped off the Coronado Bridge. She took me with her, not because she didn't love me, but because she was all I had. She would have never left me alone with that tyrant, with someone who would deprive us of food when he got angry; or, leave me out in the cold if I cried too much. Grandmother would have helped, out but she was battling breast cancer at the time. With no money, no help, and no safe place, my mother must have been overwhelmed. Her only hope was to take us both on the other side.

A witness would later say that he was horrified when my mother with me in her thin arms, slipped a pink sneaker between the railings and gazed over the side. I imagine that the water below was raging when after several seconds of contemplation, she squeezed me tight, shut her eyes, and disappeared over the side. We hit the water like a shot, startling Nicholas Weaver and his father Sam, as they fished in the blue cressted water on a boat. Newspaper articles from that time say that Sam, a dentist from Escondido, pulled my mother on deck and gave her CPR as his son, who was twelve, dived in and rooted around in the murky darkness until his hand touched flesh. He latched onto one small bare foot and pulled me to the shimmering surface with all his strength. Once his head had popped out of the water, he'd taken a deep breath and then dragged my dark head above water.

By then, his father's boat had drifted out of sight. It was under the bridge and lost in the shadows so he could not find it. With no other vessels around, Nick had no choice but do his best to get us both to the shoreline. With me on his back, he somehow managed to tread water and dog paddle until he reached the sandy hill beside the bay. "Hold on, baby," he'd say to encourage me, even though he'd choke on a mouthful of water each time he did so.

I remember the strigent taste of salt water and how it stung my nasal cavity.To this day, I detest anything that tastes of salt, even if mixed with vinegar. I associate it with longing for my mom and not knowing where she was. Why had she abandoned me? I want Mama . . . 

Once Nick had carried me onto a busy street in downtown San Diego, a stunned Yellow Cab driver picked us up and rushed us to a nearby hospital. I sat on a gurney in the hall, wet and bawling until the nurse sitting with me spoke on the phone and then said, "Mommy isn't here anymore, honey," with tears rimming her hazel eyes.

Those words would echo in my ears during times of stress for the rest of my life.

I went from foster home to foster home, unloved and inadequately cared for. One foster mom at least cuddled me. The others didn't bother. But when Bunny's husband, Glen, coarse, unshaven, and stinking from working the bulldozer at the city garbage dump, touched me in the most private of places, I nearly passed out. He'd been giving me a bath in an old rusty tub out in the back yard of his mobile home and I was too afraid to tell any one. Even at my young age, I knew that to reveal "our little secret" could have consequences that I might never recover from.

My worst fear was that I might be put back into the violent hands of Harold Hansen, my mother's fourth husband, and then God only knew what would happen.

 


Submitted: July 17, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Melinda Ross. All rights reserved.

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