Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cassie's Story - Letters To Myself

Cassie is a day late I know, I’m struggling with the jetlag and losing track of the days – my sleeping pattern is more like a handful of jigsaw puzzle pieces thrown on the floor than a nice ordered line graph and that’s making it difficult to keep track of the days. Plus the internal confusion of constantly converting the time to UK and Egypt time to figure out why I’m so sleepy/hungry at the wrong time. I’ve always found the jetlag at the gaining hours direction to be so much worse than the losing hours direction. There’s a lot going on in my head and it’s messing with my whole psyche, but I’ll get there. Gamer son is struggling too, I’ve not seen him sleep so much in a long time!

Anyway, Cassie is in a bit of an emotional pickle, so let’s see where she goes from here. Is she brave enough to let things progress this time? Matt has just asked her a leading question. 

“You do know why that is don’t you Cassie?”

Matt hadn’t moved from his relaxed position, yet I still felt crowded and overwhelmed. I swallowed down a lump of fear. This was Matt, I was safe.

“Matt, I’m not sure, really. I’m not sure about anything.”

Matt said nothing, just studied me with that level gaze. He didn’t move; in fact he was so still that I realized it was deliberate. Like someone trying to gentle a skittish animal he was being as motionless and as calm as he could be. He was trying not to frighten me, and realizing that helped to settle the spiral of fear that had been building despite my stern attempts to quell it.

I wished I had some more wine in my glass, but had finished that a long time ago. I flicked a longing glance towards the kitchen, bringing my attention back to Matt when he snorted in amusement.

“You need alcohol to deal with talking to me Cassie? You wound me, I had no idea I was so repellent.”

It was my turn to snort. “As if, you’re gorgeous and you know it.”

Too late I understood that he had been teasing, probably to lift me from my anxiety. He grinned a self-satisfied, male grin. I glared at him, but unabashed, his grin widened.

“Good to know Cassie. You play your cards close to your chest, I didn’t know what you thought of me, not really.”

I gazed down at my knees, then up at his face. “Do you blame me?”

His gaze softened. “No Cassie, after what you went through with Nathan I don’t blame you at all. Believe me, I’m not trying to push you or frighten you.”

“Thank you Matt, I appreciate your friendship, you know I do. Would you like…”

“But I think the time has come to lay some cards on the table.” Matt didn’t raise his voice but still he over-rode the end of my sentence.

I swallowed again, wondering if it was a sign of weakness that I was in such dire need of some wine. My voice, when I spoke, was thin, but it was there. “What sort of cards?”

Keeping his eyes on my face the whole time Matt leaned towards me, slowly and carefully. When I flinched he stopped and moved back a bit. But he was still closer than he was at the start of the conversation.

“Cassie I told you a long time ago that I would wait for you to kiss me, and I will. I understand your fear and anxiety, and I think you’ve shown tremendous courage and strength to have come this far in a relatively short space of time. I don’t want to do anything to cause you to feel anxious around me, or to feel afraid of me. That’s the last thing I want to do. But, I would very much like to take our relationship forward just a little bit.”

I stared at him, my emotions a confusing mix of fear and anticipation. What did he mean? Did he mean he was going to kiss me after all? I was shocked to feel a frisson of anticipation at the thought but didn’t have time to analyze that reaction as Matt was speaking again.

“So, I would like you to think about us, about our relationship. Think about me as something more than just a friend.”

“Matt you are more than just a friend, you know that. I would not be here if it were not for you.”

Matt smiled. “Oh I think you would Cassie. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. But when I say more than just a friend, I meant in a romantic way and I’m sure you know it.”

I stared at him. I had been thinking about him in that way for a long time. I remembered the conversations with Sue and Saffron, which Matt knew nothing about. Of course, Matt knew nothing about where my thoughts had been. Putting myself in his shoes I realized that he must think I only considered him a platonic friend, whereas my emotions were far more complicated. Question was, how could I tell him all of this?

“Matt, can we go to the kitchen? I need some tea.” And to put the table between us.

Although he sighed, Matt nodded agreement and we made our way into the kitchen where I busied myself putting on the kettle and pulling out chocolate muffins. Matt said nothing, just watched me keep my hands occupied. Once everything was prepared I put a steaming cup in front of him, a plate of muffins on the table and seated myself and my cup across from him.

Spinning the cup between my hands I tried to think of how to start. Sighing, I decided to just plunge in.

“Matt, first of all you should know that I don’t think of you as just a friend. You have been much more to me for a long time now.”

Matt’s eyes rounded, but he stayed silent.

I pressed on. “I’ve even talked to Sue about this, because I’m so conflicted. Even though I like you – really really like you – I feel anxiety whenever I think about anything more than what we have now.”

I glanced at him, noted that his eyebrows were now raised to his hairline. But still he said nothing.

I sighed, wondering how much I should or could tell him about how I really felt. But Saffron’s words about the elephant in the room echoed in my head. I took a sip of tea, wished it had a bracing shot of brandy in it, and tried to explain.

“Matt, I think a lot of my confusion comes from my ongoing issues with myself.”

His eyebrows climbed a bit higher.

“I have difficulty believing that I am good enough for you, and I’m not sure I trust myself to enter into any relationship at this point without slipping back into my own bad habits.”

Matt leaned back in his chair. “What sort of bad habits?” His tone was even, without any worrying undertones.

“Well, with Nathan I kind of disappeared as an individual. I became the person he wanted me to be to keep the peace. I’m worried I’ll do the same thing with you, or anyone else.”

“You have someone else in mind?”

“No of course not! How could I?”

For some reason that answer made him smile in satisfaction.  His tone, when he answered, was still mild, which reminded me that as a policeman he was trained in dealing with people who needed a calming voice. “Cassie believe me, I understand your reservations and your difficulties with self-image. I believe that Sue is helping you to overcome those. I’d really like it if you would also allow me to help you to see what an amazing person you are.
 I’m not asking for a commitment, I’m not asking for sex – after what happened with Nathan I know that will take a lot of time and care. All I’m asking for is a little physical contact and more intimate conversation.” At my alarmed expression he held up a hand, his smile rueful. “Sorry, bad choice of words. I didn’t mean intimate sex wise, I meant intimate in terms of deeper feelings, shared beliefs, plans for the future, that sort of thing. Physically I mean hand holding, sitting close on the couch, maybe me rubbing your feet, you rubbing my neck if you feel comfortable doing so, and yes, a little kissing. Only in so far as you don’t feel threatened. You don’t need to answer me right now, think about it and see if you feel ok with it.”

He leaned forward and took a muffin, biting into it with relish. I sat and sipped my tea, wondering how to reply to that. The picture he painted sounded so appealing. It was almost how I had imagined my marriage to be before reality destroyed that illusion. I studied Matt through my lowered eyelashes. He was so dear to me, with his chocolate brown eyes, that dimple, the sensuous mouth – I don’t know when I had realized how sensuous it was but there it was. He had been my steadfast support through the worst times with Nathan, he had seen me at my lowest and was with me as I strived to reach my best. He was part of the furniture, but not in an easy to overlook way. Matt was the comfortable bed you never wanted to leave, the bed with the smooth sheets that gave a sensuous feel when you lay in them.

I reeled my thoughts back, I was heading into deep waters I was not comfortable with. I returned my thoughts to his words. Was it so much to ask? Wasn’t it in fact what I wanted as well? Baby steps, safe and secure baby steps towards a future I could not as yet imagine. I could do that. Yes I was afraid, but I had learned that being afraid should not stop me from trying.

My attention was drawn back to Matt as he finished his tea and took his cup to the sink to rinse it out. Coming back to the table he packed the remaining muffins in a plastic container – he knew where everything was in the kitchen as well as I did. Raising it towards me he arched one eyebrow questioningly.

I laughed. “Yes, you can take them.”

Matt grinned in pleasure. “Then the muffins and I should be leaving. It’s late and I have work tomorrow. Think about what I said please Cassie?”

I stood up and took my cup to the sink, before walking to the front door to see him out. The dogs came belting in from the laundry where they had been sleeping, and I let them out for a toilet run. At the door Matt faced me, an uncertain smile giving him an endearing little boy expression.

“I haven’t spoilt it between us have I Cassie?”

I smiled and shook my head. “No Matt, you haven’t.”

His smile hovered, still uncertain. “I hope not, you mean a lot to me Cassie, more than you know.”

I studied him, this man who had changed my life in so many ways, and who was now standing on my doorstep looking unsure of his welcome. Taking my courage in both hands, and promising myself that shot of brandy, I stepped closer and reached up, planting a soft kiss full on his surprised lips, before stepping back.

“Good night Matt,” I said.

Matt raised a hand to his lips, staring at me with shocked eyes. I smiled, a rush of happiness bubbling up inside. I had kissed him, it had felt good, and I wasn’t afraid. My smile widened into a grin, while Matt just stood there, hand to his mouth. I gave a little shushing motion with my hands. “Go on, get going before the police come to arrest you for loitering.”

Regaining his composure Matt grinned at me, his brown eyes sparking in a way that was most appealing. “I am the police, I’m hardly going to arrest myself.” Then as the dogs pushed past him to get back in he stepped away from the door. “Ok, ok, I’m going. Good night Cassie.” He looked as though he wanted to say more, but thought better of it and instead lifted a hand in farewell as he walked down the path to the gate. The dogs pushed their heads against my legs as they joined me in watching him leave, then rushed into the kitchen for a late night treat before bed. I gave them a dog biscuit each and smiled as they wolfed them down and then trotted off back to the laundry, their current favourite sleeping place.

Heading to the drinks cabinet I pulled out the brandy, but put it back unopened. I didn’t need it after all.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Be warned, this blog will be as dark as my mood. If you want uplifting and cheerful, don’t read any further. I’m in the black hole and I don’t know how to get out, or even if I want to.

Recently I have come back to my home country, and in no time have been reminded of all the ways I have failed in my life. The bright colours and creativity that I fought so hard for are draining away, replaced with the grey void of fear and anxiety that has stalked me for so long. Fear and sadness are becoming my constant companions again.

To add to the mix, I have discovered that the people who mean the most to me are the ones most hurt by my inability to live in this country. I don’t know how to explain why I can’t live here, why the ongoing effects of the recent years have instilled in me this fear and anxiety. Coming back I have plunged into the emotions of that time as though it was yesterday; panic attacks strike every night, insomnia has blossomed, appetite has plunged. My heart palpitates and my hands shake. PTSD in fact – one of the reasons I left - has not gone from me but has been hiding this whole time, waiting to drown me in the blackness.

I don’t know how to chase it away, this black cloud of despair and fear. I don’t know what to do. My therapist told me recently that I am a strong person to have been able to overcome this, and to start again. She was wrong. I am not strong. I only managed to dodge this by fleeing the country, by living a totally different lifestyle. I am not strong. And I have hurt the people I love who can’t understand why I would prefer to live in poverty and rescue street cats than to live here. How can I explain the fear, the irrational, unreasoning fear that is turning me into a basket case again? I can’t, I can’t explain it to myself.

There’s no need for it because the past will not come back to hurt me again. But the past has not left, maybe it never will. Maybe this fear and blackness is my legacy, to carry around with me for the rest of my life. Maybe this inability to trust will never go, this inability to communicate properly with my family, this crippling misery and sorrow. Maybe I can’t let it go because I still, deep down, believe that I don’t deserve any happiness in my life. Maybe I believe I don’t deserve my family. I have two sons who I love deeply, and am so proud of. But I don’t know how to tell them so they don’t know. They, poor souls, got a broken person for a mother and they deserve better.

I don’t know how many of you will read this blog since I have temporarily turned off Facebook, and that is where I usually give you the notification to come here. Some of you come anyway, so I guess you are reading now. The rest of you may never see this particular post. I’m writing it because I have to, I have to let it out and this is the only place in which I can purge some of this, for a while. But still the blackness spirals and despair reaches out its talons. And I don’t know what to do.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cassie's Story - Letters To Myself

As promised, here is the next episode of Cassie's story, with things coming to a head between her and Matt.

If you are interested in reading Cassie's book, Letters To Myself - if you haven't already - it is currently on promotion at Amazon, for free for five days so now is the time to go get a copy! Just follow the link at the end of this story. If it's not free try again the next day since you may be in a time zone ahead of Amazon.

Dear me, here I am back worrying about Matt. Should I be giving so much thought to such a casual kiss? Should I be giving so much thought to Matt at all, or any man for that matter? I like my life now, I like the peace and the calm. I don’t know if I want to change everything again anyway, and moving onto the next step with Matt will change things. I don’t know if I’m ready for that, or if I will ever be. What if I can never again trust anyone enough, or trust myself enough, to be able to have a deep connection with anyone – with Matt. So what is my problem, is it me, Matt, the thought of a closer relationship, the thought of opening myself up to hurt again – what is tying me in knots?

Dear you, I think you are well on the way to answering your own question. What is your problem? Well of course it’s lots of things, not just one. Opening up to Matt and entering into a deeper relationship with him means dropping all the walls you have built up to protect yourself. Starting a relationship with Matt means potentially losing his friendship if it doesn’t work, or if it works out, losing your independence. At least you feel that you will lose your independence because that is what happened with Nathan. You and I (we, me) know that not all relationships are like that, but you are worried because you were in a destructive marriage for a long time, and you are anxious that you will slip back into old patterns with Matt.
So look at yourself, look at how far you have come. And, look at Matt. He’s been there for you this whole time. He’s never pushed you, never made you feel anxious or afraid. You’re afraid of losing yourself, that’s understandable. But – perhaps Matt knows that too. Perhaps he understands you better than you realise. Maybe, just maybe, Matt is the safest person in this world to trust with your heart. And maybe, if you let yourself take this first step, maybe you will find out that it won’t be change as you’ve become used to it. Maybe it will simply be the life you have now, but better.

I sipped my glass of wine and read through my letter again. I didn’t feel that I had clarified anything much at all, except that I was a coward. I shrugged, and put the notebook to one side. I would look at it again tomorrow. Tonight I was going to watch some television and relax. It was Friday night, Mark was visiting a friend for the night and I had the house to myself.

I could still smell the enticing aroma of the meal I had prepared earlier for Andrew and Bev. I had found a new recipe that I thought they might like, and hoped that it would stimulate Bev’s failing appetite. A wave of sadness swept over me as I thought about Bev. She was fading, it was clear to us all. She still wasn’t in much pain which was a blessing, but there was a fragility to her that was impossible to ignore. My heart ached for Andrew, even though he seemed to be handling the slow progress towards the inevitable better than I was.

A knock on the door lifted me out of my thoughts. I wasn’t expecting anyone and my first instinct was still to shrink back in my seat in case it was Nathan. It wasn’t of course, it was Matt who came in without waiting for me to answer. He raised one eyebrow when he saw me cowering on the lounge but said nothing. Instead he gestured to the wine glass in my hand with the bottle in his own.

“Great minds I see.”

“This is the last of my wine so you and your fresh bottle are welcome!”

Matt gestured towards me again with the bottle before heading back into the kitchen. I took it to mean he was opening the bottle and getting himself a glass and settled back in my seat, relaxed now instead of anxious. I wondered briefly how long it would be before I stopped anticipating Nathan coming through my door, but, as with the letter I had written, relegated it to the back of my mind.

Coming back into the room Matt seated himself beside me on the lounge and refilled my glass before filling his and setting the bottle on the side table.

“Are you sure you should be drinking though?”

I paused, the glass halfway to my mouth. “Because of the knock on the head you mean?”

He nodded. “Did they tell you not to drink?”

“Well yes, but only for the first few days. The doctor told me that if the headache continued to lessen that I could have a glass or two, but not to drink to excess.”

“And this is your second glass?”

I nodded. Without saying another word Matt got up and took the wine bottle back into the kitchen. Coming back he picked up his glass. “Then this is all we will have tonight, until you get the all clear at your appointment.”

I smiled at him, he really was a kind and considerate man.

“Have you eaten? I’ve got loads of food still in the fridge if you want something. Or there’s some pistachios too if you just want a snack.” I knew pistachio nuts were Matt’s favourite so kept a supply in the pantry.

“A snack sounds good, I’ll be right back.”

I sipped my wine, contemplating what to watch. Matt often dropped in on a Friday night to share some wine and watch a movie if he wasn’t working a night shift. I had planned on my favourite, The Princess Bride, but wasn’t sure that Matt would enjoy that. I started flicking through the multitude of pay television channels.

“What’s on? I brought some nachos too, the extra cheesy ones.”

Matt pulled the coffee table closer and set down two bowls of snacks. I smiled my appreciation at him, everyone knew how much I love those nachos, especially when I’m watching a movie.

“Well I was just flicking through to see.”

“What were you planning on watching?”

“The Princess Bride, but I figure it’s not got enough action for you.”

He snorted in derision. “Like you know anything. I like that movie, it’s funny. Let’s watch that one.”

I had a brief internal debate with myself. I was pretty sure he was just indulging me, but then if he really didn’t like it we could change the channel. I put it on and we both settled back to watch it.

“So ok, you do really like this movie.”

Matt had not only laughed in all the right places, he had also quoted the most memorable lines. He definitely had watched this movie more than once.

“I told you that, did you think I was just being polite?”

“I guess so. It’s not really a man’s movie is it?”

“Why not? It’s got humour, action, a hero, a heroine, and true love. What’s not to like?”

“Why don’t you have a girlfriend?” The words were out before I could stop them and I slapped my hands over my mouth in a futile attempt to call them back.

Matt gave me one of his trademark level gazes, the one that always made me squirm.

“You really have to ask me that?”

I floundered, I wasn’t ready for this conversation, I really wasn’t.

“I mean, you haven’t had a girlfriend the whole time I’ve known you.”

“You’re wondering if there is something wrong with me?”

“No! Of course not. I was just curious. I don’t know much about you really, not about your past life anyway.”

Matt turned towards me, his posture open and comfortable. “Ask away, what do you want to know?”

I stared at him, wondering what had possessed me to start this conversation.

“Well, um, have you ever been married?”

“No, I had a live in girlfriend once but it didn’t work out. She couldn’t handle the shift work I do in my job, and she couldn’t cope with the potential danger.”

“Oh, I see. How long ago was that?”

“It was about a year before I met you. And no, there’s been no-one since I met you. I think you know why Cassie.”

Well that escalated quickly.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Today it's all about me again - you've missed me right?

This is a short blog, just to bring you up to date on events in my life - because you want to know right?? This time it's a big trip, back to Australia for a few months. It's a long flight, I'm not at all fond of it, or the jetlag at the end. I hadn't expected to be coming back to Australia so soon, and while I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, I have mixed feelings about returning to the country. Too many bad memories there. But I guess having done it I will have put that particular monster in my mind to rest.

I've been practicing my positive thinking, refusing to think about anything negative but focusing only on the positive. As the date of departure grows closer it becomes harder to do that and I've slipped up a few times. But I do feel that the steps back are far less than the steps forward, and so overall I believe I am improving my mindset. If I want good things to happen I need to focus on them, and not on the past, and not on the possible pitfalls. Much as I am looking forward to seeing my family and close friends, I can't wait to get back to Egypt and my cats, and my street cats. I want to be able to do more to help the street cats so I'll be trying to figure out a solution to that while I'm away.

Meanwhile I've also been designing and drawing more of the colouring book and it is getting closer all the time to being ready to publish. I hope to have it out on Amazon during November, preferably early November - that may depend on the severity of the jetlag. I have almost enough pages, so once they are done I only need to go through the hoops at CreateSpace and it will be ready!

However, funds as always being a bit tricky I have also taken the step of starting an Etsy store to sell the pages I have so far as individual digital pics. If you are interested the link is here:

The pic is the shop logo, one of my drawings that I coloured in to see how it looks. I'll add the designs as I draw them, and decide what to do with the shop once the colouring book is published. It's all rather exciting, and so far from what I would ever have imagined myself doing.

That's life isn't it, full of surprises and twists and turns. Nothing is certain, and everything passes - good times and bad. My bad times are almost all behind me now and I'm ready for the good times!

Cassie will be here on Monday as usual - well as she is usually supposed to be except for those times I fail to have her story ready on the day. But, today I have written the next part of her story and I'm going to schedule it to appear on Monday so for those of you who are Cassie readers (that's all of you, right?) check in on Monday to see how she's going. Things are starting to move in her life and she's a tad uncertain about it. 

So, my next blog will be from a much hotter climate than this. I will be going into the Australian summer, which means that I will have left summer to go to summer, and I will come back to summer. Go me...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cassie's story - Letters To Myself

Well again it's Tuesday, sorry folks, Monday went in a blur it seems. I discovered a new five star review on Letters too, which I'd like to share with you all:

Format: Kindle Edition
As I read this book I wasn't sure what to expect but the more I read the more I had to keep reading. This was an emotional roller coaster for me as I quickly realized that this book was recounting alot of the things I had been through and how I had to rediscover who I was and who I am. I can't say enough how much this book helped me and helped really reiterate that I made the right choice by getting out while I could. I will definitely be recommending this book to all my friends and family!

As always, I am honoured and humbled to know that my book has helped someone. May it go on to help many more!  

OK, here is where I was yesterday:
Monday again, where did the week go? I had a blog post all ready in my mind too! I’ll try to get it written this week before Monday sneaks in ahead of the other days of the week. I’m sure that is what happens.

I’ve spent the week continuing on with my drawings, and doing some for friends which did put me behind a little. However my sister suggested that I put the individual pages up for sale on Etsy, which is a brilliant idea, so I am also preparing an Etsy store. I’ll tell you more on that once it’s up and running.

What else has happened this week? Well, I found out that my Microsoft Office (2010) is not valid outside of Egypt – something to do with the incorrect product key, although I suspect it’s quite likely that I was sold a pirated copy. I spent pointless days trying to contact Microsoft, since the original version of Office was one I bought in Australia and I only wanted 2010 back. I’m used to that, and being resistant to change I didn’t want to have to find my way around an updated version.

When I finally contacted Microsoft they were as unhelpful as I suspected they would be and I have ended up with having to purchase Office 2016. Or 365 or whatever it is. It’s the online version for which I am paying a monthly fee. I did a precautionary backup – you can imagine the potential horror of an author finding all her work has disappeared in the update – but it wasn’t necessary as everything seems to have made the transition intact. I’m still a bit miffed that I couldn’t just have my 2010 back, but I do have to admit the new version doesn’t look too much different. I’m currently a tad mesmerized by the way the curser kinds of floats along the page instead of stuttering like it did with 2010. That alone is winning me over – I know, I’m easily pleased…

So, on to Cassie. She has retreated into her shell a bit after Matt planted the kiss on her forehead. It’s difficult for Cassie to allow anyone too close after what happened with Nathan so she’s pulled back while she tries to figure out her emotions. We pick up the story in a session with Sue, her therapist.

Sue was sitting back in her chair, her notepad on her lap and the pen in her fingers, but she wasn’t writing. She was studying me in that way she has, which makes me feel like a specimen pinned to a board. I began to shift in my seat, and picked up my coffee in an attempt to disguise my unease.

“How did you feel when Matt kissed you?”

I shrugged. “It was just a peck on the forehead, like a parent gives to a child.”

“Did you feel like a child?”

I tried unsuccessfully to repress a blush. I knew that I didn’t need to say anything since I was sitting there with my face aflame, but I answered her anyway. “No, I didn’t feel like a child.” I knew the next question so went on to answer it and save her the breath needed to ask it. “I felt like a woman who was being claimed. But I don’t know if I should have felt like that. I mean, his words could have meant that he feels regretful he didn’t meet me sooner and that he doesn’t want to be bothered with this messed up version of me. It could have been a kind of goodbye.”

Sue’s eyebrows shot up faster than I have ever seen them go before, and that’s saying something since I usually manage to get them to wing their way skywards at least once per session.

“Cassie, do you really feel that was it?”

I shrugged again. “Who could blame him? I don’t know if I have anything left to offer him.”

Her eyebrows climbed a touch higher, which impressed me as I thought they had reached the limit of her skin elasticity. Her voice however was as gentle and smooth as usual. “It’s been eighteen months since the ties to Nathan were well and truly cut with that last incident. That’s a long time, but for the emotions not so long. You’ve grown so much since then Cassie, and Matt has seen how much you’ve achieved and he’s been a steadfast friend the entire time. Do you truly believe that he would think you not worth the effort? Think carefully, and try to think with your brain, not your emotions.”

I ran my mind back through the last eighteen months – had it really been that long? I knew that Sue was right, at least with my mind I did, but my emotions were not easily convinced. I said as much to her, a statement that leveled her eyebrows to their accustomed position.

“Fair enough. Have you been writing to yourself regularly?”

I blinked a bit, caught unprepared for the change of subject. “Not since the knock on the head no.” Belatedly I realized where she was going with this. “Oh, you think a letter might help me to see more clearly?”

“Perhaps, if you feel comfortable with writing it down. You know that it is always your choice and if you are not ready to write down anything you don’t need to. Your healing is always at your own pace.”

I smiled at her. “Yes, I know.” I thought a bit more. “I’ll write a letter tonight and see what I think.” I knew that didn’t really make sense, but I also knew that she would understand. That she did was evidenced by the way she let the subject slide.

“Are the kids still visiting Nathan each fortnight?”

I nodded. “Yes, they go on the first weekend that Emmerson is with me. Nathan doesn’t seem to want any more than that.”

“Does that worry you?”

“No, not really. At least, the kids don’t seem bothered and that’s all that matters. I do worry sometimes that he will become so involved with Lucy and her daughter that he forgets his own children. And then I think I’m being paranoid.”

Sue scribbled on her pad, and then levelled her gaze at me. I have often wondered if she scribbles just to give herself time to think – maybe there is nothing on her page but doodles.

“Nathan is not your problem, you know that right?”

“I know, but the kids are.”

“Yes they are, but they know their father, they are happy with you and Emmerson is happy with her mum. If Nathan makes choices that limit his time with them that is not your problem, it’s his.”

“I’m not going to approach him about it, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“Good to hear. Whatever Nathan does, or doesn’t do, the kids are settled and happy and that’s what you need to remember. OK?”

I smiled at her. “OK.”

After the session I went to visit Saffron, who should have finished the coffee run and picked up the kids from school. She had been invaluable while I was incapacitated. I had an appointment for a check-up next week, and after that (assuming that all was well) would be permitted to drive again. I was looking forward to it, taking a taxi everywhere was not a cheap option.

At Saffron’s I was enveloped in one of her trademark hugs, although death by cleavage was not so likely when she was sober.

“How are you now, still got a headache?” She stared into my eyes as she spoke, making me feel for the second time that day like a specimen pinned to a board.

“Every now and then, but it’s almost gone. I’m hoping for a good report next week so I can drive again. How’s the coffee run going?”

Saffron grinned, her eyes sparkling. “Great! I’m having a blast doing this, it’s the highlight of my day.”

I followed her into the kitchen, pleased and worried at the same time by her statement. It wasn’t the words so much as it was the animation in her face. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her so excited and happy. I gave a mental shrug, deciding to go for the pleased part and to ignore the worried bit.

“That’s fantastic! I’m so relieved you were able to take over for me so easily, and do the school run for me. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“Of course, you’d be lost without me!” Saffron accompanied her words by an outrageous wink. “Sit down, I’ll make us some tea. Mark’s out the back with the girls.”

I relaxed, grateful for all the blessings in my life. As I listened to Saffron chatting about the kids and the coffee run I decided to let my angst over that kiss on the forehead go. Once again I had been over-thinking things. It probably didn’t mean anything, it was probably just Matt teasing me. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cassie's story - Letters To Myself

It’s Monday, and it’s an almost calamity Monday for me. I updated my phone last night and something went wrong, and my phone crashed. All attempts to recover it through iTunes failed repeatedly so that I was kicking myself for putting my whole life into one electronic device. This was ios 9.0.2 if you’re wondering. The update didn’t fully install and then iTunes couldn’t download it so it was close to a disaster. I ended up using gamer son’s computer to install the update and recover my phone. I have got to have a backup backup for when backup fails.

And now it’s Tuesday, sorry guys. The intention was there but then life got in the way. But here is Cassie, home from the hospital, although still a bit shaky.


I accepted the cup proffered by Mark, smiling into his worried face. “Thank you, that’s just what I need.”

He huffed out a breath in relief before sitting in the lounge chair closest to me, still looking worried.

Matt came in as I was sipping the tea gratefully. The hospital had looked after me well for the few days I was there, but the tea was always lukewarm and tasteless.

“Right, Pebbles and BamBam are fed, and there is a casserole in the fridge which I’ll put in the oven for your dinner.”

I blinked at him. “A casserole? Where did that come from?”

“Saffron made it, and there are offerings from her and Bev in the freezer too.”

“Oh gosh, Saffron shouldn’t be making food for me, she’s doing enough handling the coffee run on her own. And Bev is not well enough to be cooking. I’ll be fine by tomorrow anyway now I’m home.”

Matt came and sat on the lounge beside me. “No you won’t, you’re supposed to be resting for the rest of the week and we are going to make sure you do. Head injuries have to be treated with respect. Saffron was happy to do something to make up for the way the night ended, and Bev told me she feels so much better these days.” He held up a hand as I opened my mouth. “I know, she’s lying through her teeth. But, I do believe that cooking for you has given her a lot of pleasure and that’s more important than your pride isn’t it?”

I closed my mouth again, since he was right as he annoyingly was most of the time. Instead I shrugged. “Well Saffron does have some making up to do, in fact she should be sucking up to me big time. If it weren’t for her we would not have been there so late.” I ignored the little voice inside that reminded me that I had in the end been a willing participant to the shenanigans – well apart from the hit on the head concussion part. I had woken the next day in hospital with a dry throat, roiling stomach and splitting headache which could only partly be attributed to the concussion.

“That she does, I had a word to her about involving you in her attempts to distract herself from her own problems.”

I felt my mouth drop open and my eyes begin to bug out. Mark, taking in my expression, remembered some homework that needed to be done and vanished. I never used to allow my expression to change from pleasant and cheerful, at least not around Nathan, but these days I had learnt to allow my face to mirror my emotions. I had also learned that it was ok to express my emotions. I set about expressing.

“You did what? What do you mean distracting herself from her problems and how is it your business to talk to her about involving me? When did you become my keeper?”

Matt gave me a level look, a very long level look. I thought back to the times he had rescued me from certain situations with Nathan and felt a touch of embarrassment. But still, this was different, this was a night out with my best friend.

“It was just a night out, and if that girl hadn’t smacked me in the head I wouldn’t have ended up in hospital.”

Matt inclined his head, but he was still wearing his serious policeman face. “Nonetheless it was irresponsible of her to involve you in this.”

“But I wanted to be involved, I wanted to go out with her, I wanted to be foolish and silly and carefree. What’s so bad about that?”

“Nothing, except that you and I both know Saffron has problems she is trying to avoid. And you are testing yourself, doing things you couldn’t do before because of the repercussions. So the two of you together is a recipe for disaster.”

I could feel the heat under my skin, and the nagging headache that hadn’t properly subsided sent a few stabs into my brain to remind me it was still there. “That’s not fair, I am a responsible person, you know that. Heavens, I was still there because I knew I shouldn’t leave Saffron alone. I mean, I was having fun but I was mostly looking after Saffron.” I paused, before admitting, “I may have drunk a teensy bit too much.”

Matt gave me an old fashioned look. “You think?”

I huffed a bit, I didn’t really have a leg to stand on in this aspect of the argument, but he only saw me after the girl had hit me. “How would you know? I was concussed, of course I was not at my best.”

“True, but you had put on your lipstick with your eyes shut I think. It gave an effect a bit like the joker.”

Oh please no. Had I tried to apply lipstick in the bathroom before all of the excitement? Surely I hadn’t done, for if I had it would indeed have been a disturbing look.

Matt grinned at the expression on my face. “Gotcha! No you weren’t wearing any lipstick. But the fact that you don’t remember, and looked worried at the possibility tells me you were very drunk.”

I shrugged. “I was concussed, it’s normal to lose parts of the events when you’re concussed.”

His eyes narrowed, Matt leaned towards me. “Have you lost parts of the night?”

I shook my head. “Sadly no, I remember everything.” I thought back to the drunken flailing of arms and legs that I had considered dancing. It was as uncoordinated as anything Saffron could produce. Had I made a fool of myself in any other way? I didn’t think so, but then when you’re drunk you tend to think you are being normal when of course you are not.

“Is this something you and Saffron used to do a lot?”

I shook my head, wincing a little as the movement started a hammer inside my head. “No, we went out occasionally for dinner. Nathan never minded that, I wonder why?”

“Did you get drunk?”

“No, not really, although sometimes when I hadn’t eaten all day I did get a bit squiffy.”

Matt smiled at my choice of words. “Did that make you, er, friendly when you got home?”

“Oh, yes I guess it did.” That was why Nathan didn’t mind me going out with Saffron, I came back tipsy and he got the kind of sex he preferred. Thinking of Nathan made a bit of darkness slide into the room so I shook off the thoughts.

“Saffron and I hadn’t met before I married Nathan, so she has not met the wild and free me.”

Matt gave me a smile that bordered on a leer. “I wish I’d met the wild and free you.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Make up your mind Matt! One minute I’m getting a lecture on responsibility and the next you’re leering at the thought of a wild and free me.”

Leaning forward Matt came right into my comfort zone and kept on coming, until his lips met my forehead in a gentle kiss. “If I had met you first Nathan would not have stood a chance.”

He stood up, smiling at my shock. “I’d better head off, I’ll put the casserole in the oven for you on my way out. Let Mark get your dinner, he knows how and he’s keen to help. He’s been worried about you too. I’ll be back in the morning to take the dogs out and get you breakfast. Don’t even think of trying to do it before I get here.”

So saying he left without looking back. Good thing really since I was sitting staring at him with what was bound to be an unflattering stunned fish kind of expression.