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Cole Creek, A Novel by Julie Anne Morley

March 4, 2010


6 Years ago 

            Naked under a threadbare sleeping shirt that was no match for the bitter wind, Rebecca didn’t notice or care.  She dug her cold stiff toes into the dirt as proof that she still belonged to this earth.  The night sounds went silent.  Her arms folded across her chest, fingers instinctively seeking body heat.  Bushes rustled and dead leaves were swept to a new resting place.  She wanted the wind to scour her clean, to catch her in its force, send her crashing through the branches and dump her somewhere different.  Rebecca’s marriage, thin and frayed as her old shirt, was gasping its last breath.  Somewhere up here on this high Sierra mountain, there was a secret, a miracle cure, and she wanted to find it.  She was a woman possessed and searched with a fierce effort that was starting to vanish like puddles in a blistering heat.  The remainder of what they once shared was like old confetti.  When she tried to grab a handful, it dissipated in her fingers, the residue foreign and disturbing.  A hard wind would finish them, the leftover dust of their broken bond joining the surrounding dirt.  

Attempts at conversation with David left her with less than what she started with.  She finally asked the obvious.  “How could this happen to us?”  He didn’t even look up.  She supposed the buttons of his own shirt were more interesting than she was.

In desperation Rebecca Jackson had lobbied for this trip, the stubborn taproot of her optimism going for broke.  They didn’t stand a chance back home, where every corner held a memory of what happened.  On the mountain anything was possible. Couldn’t that include figuring this thing out between them?  At Cole Creek, contentment originated in her bones and spread through her body like a cup of hot coffee that had just the right amount of half & half.  She wanted that feeling back.  She thought about the man in there, how he turned his back to her in bed at night and startled out of sleep at her attempts to touch him.  She couldn’t sleep. 

David slept on in the cabin unaware of her absence.  That said it all.  Maybe, if he had noticed her gone, had come out to find her, put his arms around her to shield her from the chill of night.  Maybe, if they had shared the sight of the white granite glowing in the half moon, remarked together for the millionth time how amazing it was, how magical, then maybe…but he hadn’t.

 Speaking to her as if she were a lost orphan, the earth crooned.  The songs bathed her, seeped under her shift and absorbed into her sponge-like pores.  Rebecca pulled her frayed green blanket tighter around her shoulders, sharing the quiet of night with some small nocturnal creature.  A mouse maybe.  The company was appreciated.  She wanted to sear the smells, sounds, and sights indelibly into her memory, because in just a few hours, when the morning came, she was going to leave it forever.  She was going to gather up all the parts of Cole Creek that were her and stuff them deep into her pockets.  She would lift her courage fortified eyes and look David right in the face, that face that still made her weak, and tell him their marriage was over.  She would walk boldly away, checking every few feet behind her to make sure that she exited as intact as possible, a seamless whole that defied fracture.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cesar Padilla permalink
    March 4, 2010 8:06 pm

    It’s an epiphany! My daughter can write! Julie, I am so fortunate to still be around and look forward to more of your writing. God bless.

  2. Ann Stout permalink
    April 4, 2010 1:45 am

    I can’t wait to read more. Well done. Ann

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