Eliza Jane returns home to Coats, North Carolina after the end of her abusive marriage. Her family and friends help her find herself. Along her path of self-discovery, she learns to overcome the PTSD that years of abuse left her with.
Will she ever feel worthy of her family, friends, community? Will she ever accept love? Will she let the marks her husband left on her body prevent her from being sexually intimate?
This is a story of struggle and hope. It is a story of the strength of family and community. It is also a story about the need for every woman to have her own tribe of friends. In spite of the intense battles Eliza Jane struggles with, she takes on many challenges and has great times with quirky friends.
Daddy bought a camper. I shake my head in amazement every time I see it. It is small, but he says it is just big enough for him, Billy, and Bobby. The boys informed me that this was a guy thing. No girls are allowed. That is just fine with me.
Daddy and the boys have set it up in the woods behind the house. It is behind his workshop, so they are able to run an extension cord out there. Since it is hotter than a tater tot, that is pretty important.
They are there now. Daddy is teaching them how to shoot with bb guns. It is considered to be a rite of passage for all Southern children. It signifies the acceptance of responsibility. My babies are growing up.
That makes me sad. I feel like I missed out on so much of their childhood by being in survival mode. I was hyper vigilant, always ready to run interference. I don’t remember the details.
I am on my way to Wilmington to see Brett for my micro derm abrasion session. This is my second session, and this is supposed to be the pivotal one.
It is a little over an hour from Coats. Unfortunately, I spend that hour thinking. Every song on the radio seems to hit a little too close to home, pulling on my heart strings.
Since that day I spent in bed I have managed to fake it until I make it through. However, everything takes so much more energy than it should. I keep pushing forward. I don’t want to miss more of the boys’ lives, simply because I am living in a depression-induced fog.
Brett is sitting cross-legged and barefoot in the center of his Room of Miracles when I arrive. The sound of a trickling brook calms me. He sits in front of a bonsai tree. Scissor-like pruning shears lay next to him. He simply stares at the tree.
I think he is unaware of my presence. I start to back out of the room. “Come,” he greets without moving.
I sit next to him, cross-legged. “This tree has been trained for over fifteen years to hold this shape. This is a juniper bonsai tree,” he explains. However, his explanation just leaves me more bewildered.
“I started training it in high school. I meticulously planned out how to trim it. I carefully clipped each tiny leaf.” He still has not moved. He may be talking to me, but his attention is clearly focused on the tree.
“I could just pick up the shears and start cutting, but where would that leave me? What would the tree look like down the road?”
I believe the question is rhetorical, so I do not answer. I simply stare at the tree, also.
“Our lives are like this bonsai tree. The decisions we make are not arbitrary. Each decision, even the tiny ones, have an impact on our lives. That is why it is important to live mindfully. Do you think we should cut all willy-nilly?”
“Definitely not,” I answer.
“Neither should we act all willy-nilly, right?”
“Planning is good,” I agree.
He hands me the shears. “Make one cut,” he demands.
“I cannot do that. It is your tree. What if I make the wrong cut?”
“What if you do?” he challenges.
“Then the tree is ruined forever.”
“Make one cut,” he demands again.
“What if I make a cut that I think is right, but you don’t like it?”
“Yes,” he sighs. “Life is like that, too. We must make our own choices to cater to our own needs and perceptions.”
I sit on my knees and lean forward to get a better look at the details of the tree. Brett roughly pushes the potted plant, sending it careening across the tiled floor. He jumps to his feet. He stares at me.
“What are those?” His eyes are full of anger. Hair is messily coming out of his bun. Gone is the demure man, pondering life choices and other philosophical points. His outburst reminds of Jesus overturning tables and running the thieves out of the temple.
He points to the round scars on my breasts. My shirts are fitting more loosely, and I guess more cleavage is showing. I am embarrassed. Never mind the fact that a good Southern woman never shows cleavage. I don’t want anyone to know of my scars.
He pulls me up to him and gives me a hug. He pulls back and tears are in his eyes. “Did your husband do that?” he asks quietly.
I nod. I remember. Why can’t I stop remembering? It hurts. I look down, and tears are falling onto the floor. I want to cry away all the pain.
He shows me a picture of him, a beautiful blonde, and a doe-eyed toddler. “This is my wife and little boy,” he explains.
“I didn’t know you were married,” I immediately answer.
“You thought I was gay,” he challenges. “Why does everyone think I am gay?” he muses. He shakes his head as if to get back on point, which is funny considering he is wearing his trademark man bun. “I would never hurt them. Never. The thought of burning them with cigarettes is too much for me to bear. I would lay down my life for them. I love them.”
He grabs my hands and looks me in the eye. “Love does not have to hurt. Do you understand that? Love is just, well…love. It just is. Remember how God described himself as the Great I AM? Love is a direct action of that Great I AM. It just is.
“Don’t let those marks define you,” he continues on. “Let them strengthen you, but do not let them define you.”
He leads me to the exam chair. I lean back. He dries my eyes, and quietly he scrapes all the dead cells off my face. After applying the acid and cooling pack, I look in the mirror. My face looks new again.
“I scraped away the old, so the new can shine through. I hope you can do the same with your life.”
I let myself in through the back door. Mark is at the kitchen table, eating a sandwich. I wordlessly motion with my finger for him to follow me. I start taking off my clothes and dramatically flinging them on my way up the stairs to his room. Mark is following me, working his way out of his clothes.
I lay in the middle of his bed without a stitch of clothing on. “I have been thinking of your tongue on my clit.” I spread my legs wide, giving him a view of my wet cunt.
Mark wastes no time in finding my clit with his tongue. He pushes back my legs, and he devours my pussy. He doesn’t slow his lapping as he pushes a finger inside, bends it upward, and finds my g-spot. Bliss. That is the only word to describe the sensation.
I writhe in the rising sensation, the building of pressure. I grab the back of his head with both hands, and I grind my cunt on his face. I am so close. The thought of covering his face in my juices pushes me over the edge.
“Suck my clit!” I demand.
I scream out in ecstasy. Mark raises up, and I see that his face is covered. His face is shiny like a glazed doughnut. His goatee will be smelling like my pussy juice all day. The thought of him smelling my cum all day makes me smile smugly.
“I have you grinning like an opossum, I see.” He chuckles. “Ready for more?”
Without waiting for a response, he pushes his cock inside me. I love the feeling of his cock stretching me. From tip to base, it is thick, and I feel every stroke. The mushroom-shaped head rubs on my g-spot.
“Your cock is so fucking big!”
“It is all yours, baby!”
“So close. I am so fucking close!”
My legs are over his shoulders. He is pumping frantically, but I need release again. I slip my hand down to my clit, and I rub my swollen nub. I rub in circles until I feel myself tipping over the edge. I cry out, and I feel myself shudder. It feels like I am floating over my body. I am aware, yet I am oblivious. I am screaming, but I am wordless.
In the climax, I somewhat realize that Mark is joining me in release. I hear his moans mix with my screams. I feel his body slowly pound against my shuddering body. Then we collapse together, breathlessly.
I lay in Mark’s arms, completely satisfied. It is a dreamy feeling. Sort of feels like floating.
Mark interrupts my bliss. “Have you thought about having a pig-pickin’ housewarming party instead of a debutante ball?”
I raise myself up onto my elbow, and I think for a moment. “Why, Mark, I do believe that you may be a genius. I will not have the time for a ball. I really don’t care about that fancy schmancy stuff any longer. I do love a housewarming and a pig pickin’.”
“I occasionally come up with a good idea.” He kisses my forehead. “Take a nap with me?”
“Perfect sleeping weather,” I whisper as I snuggle close to him.
“We can nap, make love, nap again.”
“Sounds like a plan.” I drift off to sleep in his arms.