February 7, 2010
Dear Serenity’s Soul,
Stacey finally got up this morning and ate breakfast. She didn’t acknowledge anyone in the house though. I thought it was rather rude, but everyone seemed to go on minding their own business. The ladies were laughing and talking with each other. Some were reminiscing about the happier days in their lives. Some were talking about where they were going after they left the house, but mostly it was a good bye, good luck, and God bless you moment for the three ladies who left today. They left feeling confident that they could stand on their own two feet. Francis was taking two to the bus stop and one to the airport. The other ladies had gone out, and that just left me alone with Stacey…again. I was sitting in my room listening to some music when she walked in.
I saw her lips move, but I didn’t hear anything. I took the ear phones out of my ears and asked her what she said.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. What did you say?”
“I said there’s nothing to do around here.”
“You can always do some work in the garden. We eat the food and sell some to Mr. Lee at the grocery store in town.”
“And you call that something to do?”
I didn’t answer her. In fact, anger was starting to make my temperature rise.
“You look aggravated, so I will change the subject.”
Like that was going to help the situation. I mean, honestly, I just wanted to listen to my music.
“How old are you, Monica?”
Should I or should I not answer that question, I wondered to myself. I was curious to see what it was leading to.
“Really? I’m twenty-one.”
I cared but I didn’t care, and when one feels that way…a brief response is all that can be given.
“So how did the twenty four year old Monica Corbin end up here?”
I wished she would go back to sleep, but she was awake…so….
“I just ended up here. It’s a place my mother knows.”
“Your mother? She is here too? Which one is she?”
“She’s not here, right now, Stacey. She’ll be back and you can meet her then.”
She was silent, and all that meant was that she was thinking up more questions.
“But how did the two of you end up here?”
The anger was rising. “Do you want me to tell you the story of my life?”
She laughed. “No. I don’t care to know it. I just wondered what mistake in life got you to this point.”
“I’m just here because this is where I need to be, and just like the three women that left today, my mother and I will be leaving one of these tomorrows.”
Her eyes glanced over to see the notebook on the bed beside me. She saw you.
“What’s that notebook?”
I looked at you and then looked back at her.
“It’s Serenity’s Soul. It’s the story of my life in a way, but since you don’t care to know it I trust you’ll never look at it without my permission.”
“I don’t care to know it and therefore I’d never look at it anyway.”
“Then, tell me, what brings the twenty one year old Stacey McDaniel here?”
She looked at me and smiled this rather cunning smile. “So, you want to know the story of my life?”
I looked at her with the same cunning look that possessed her smile. “I’d love to know it.”
She just became silent and stood up. “I’m going for a walk. Tell the Francis lady that I’ll be back later.”
I took a deep breath and just sat there for a while until Francis came back. She looked in my room and saw me just sitting there.
“Stacey is gone, huh?”
“She went for a walk. She’ll be back.”
Francis came and sat with me on my bed. “What’s wrong?”
I took another deep breath and just looked at Francis. “I don’t know, Francis. How do you deal with someone so unappreciative?”
“Oh, she’s appreciative, she just hasn’t showed it yet. She hasn’t gotten to that point where she’s willing to show her emotions. She’s protecting herself.”
“But we don’t mean her any harm.”
“She doesn’t know that, Monica. All she knows is that the world is against her, or so that’s how she feels.”
“Why are you taking up for her?”
“Because you know how pain feels, and even though you may have acted differently when you came—I bet that you once felt the need to protect yourself from someone who didn’t mean you any harm…just because you felt the world was against you.”
I immediately remembered those days of my life. I just looked down into my lap thinking about it.
“I understand how you feel, Monica. No, it’s not right for her to act this way—it’s not right at all, but don’t give up on her just yet. She feels the rest of the world has thrown her away and she feels that you will do the same. Prove her wrong.”
“I don’t have the patience you have, Francis. I am not like you. I don’t know how to keep dealing with a person who is just bitter. How do you help someone who does not want help?”
“And you’re right, it is hard, even for me. Some people just shut you out. You can do every nice thing you can think of, and they just push you to the side and shout at you and warn you to stay out of their way. Sometimes, Monica, all you can do is offer who you are. All you can do is offer the love that is in your heart. That’s called doing your part in life. People won’t always accept it. They won’t always appreciate it. Some people will take it, and crumple it up, and just toss it in that old bitter trash can in their heart. You can’t force anyone to accept anything, but you can offer…and that’s what you do, you offer.—and Monica, what are you looking for when you look into her eyes?”
That was such an unusual question. “What am I looking for? I guess to see what’s wrong with her.”
Francis laughed a little. “Look deeper.”
“For what?” I asked.
“When you look deeper, you’ll know.” Francis just smiled after she said that. I knew that was the only clue I was going to get.
“Here.” She said.
I looked down and she was handing me a cell phone. “A cell phone? Really?”
“You need this. Try to use it only in emergencies, but you should know…it’s mainly for the fact that your mother will call you.”
“You’ve spoken to her?”
Francis was silent.
“Francis, if you really care about me you’d tell me what is going on.”
“Monica, it is because I truly care about you that I will not fill your mind with the fragments of information I know. Fragments, Dear, do you want simple—jagged little fragments?”
I thought for a second. “Is she all right?”
“Yes, and she will call you.”
Then she quietly got up and left the room.
I looked down at the phone and called for Mocha to come to me. She jumped up on the bed and into my lap.
Just when I think my journey is getting easier…I find that it is harder than ever.