Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Having Style

Part Eight

Casey paused before opening his eyes. He glanced around but Jeannette wasn’t there. Sadness overwhelmed him and his shoulders slumped. Emotionally exhausted, he slowly walked back to the cottage, every couple feet checking over his shoulder to see if she was there. At the doorway to the studio, he gave once last look, sighed and went into the house where he flopped down on the couch and fell asleep.
At some point during the night, Casey awoke and knew what he had to do. He made his way to the studio. A few minutes later, he had the painting of his original house on the easel. It was time to go home. He began putting in some bushes he had purposefully left out the first time because of not knowing what was going to work. It didn’t take long to make the changes and when he finished, he turned off the lights and went back into the house.
 In an attempt to relax and possibly think of something he might have missed doing, Casey lowered his head on his arms. Before long, he drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake up until the sunlight beaming through the kitchen window woke him up. He sat up and slowly worked the kinks out of his neck.
At daylight, with coffee cup in hand, Casey went into the studio. Waves of mixed emotions washed over him. On the one hand, he wanted to walk out into the yard and be home in his own place and time; while on the other hand, he knew that once he did, he would never see Jeannette again.
He drank some coffee, took a deep breath and walked into the yard to the fence.
There was no one on the street and he thought he had failed until he turned and saw his own house looking as it always had. He opened the gate and stepped outside the yard. He had succeeded. Casey glanced up and down the street, then turned and went back into the house feeling numb to all emotion. There were no feelings of jubilance or sadness. He was completely spent.
The next seven months kept Casey quite busy with creating more pieces and doing the art galleries. As expected, his paintings sold for a good price and he became semi famous and rich. Needing a break from the whirlwind activities, Casey decided to take a week off. The first two days he devoted to relaxing and lounging around the house and puttering around in his yard. On the third day, he went into the studio and began the arduous task of cleaning and organizing; a job he actually dreaded doing but one he knew had to be done.
About midway through his labors, he came across the paintings of his house and the one of the cottage. A flood of memories filled his thoughts, so much so, that he had to leave them and go into the house. He made another coffee and while looking at the paintings decided the best way to get rid of the memories was to sell them.
Determined on his course of action, he finished his coffee, went into the studio and set the paintings aside. As he was doing so, he noticed they weren’t signed. The one of his house was not worth anything so he only signed the one of the cottage.  Once signed, he felt a sense of relief ease its way into his mind and heart. He worked for a couple more hours and called it a day.
The next morning, as was usual, Casey stepped out into his yard with cup of coffee in hand. The sun was already shining bright and it looked to be another glorious day. He bent down to pull some weeds from his garden and heard a voice saying, “You’ve come back.”
Casey spun on his heels and looked up into Jeannette’s smiling face. He stood up and faced her. “How did you get here? I’ve waited for you all this time.”
Jeannette shook her head. “I don’t know what you mean. When you left, my Casey never returned. I’ve been waiting for you to come to me.”
Casey frowned. “So how did you get here?”
Jeannette touched his shoulders and turned him around and pointed. “I’ve been here. It’s you who has come to me.”
Casey’s mouth opened but no words escaped as he set his eyes on the cottage. Finally he said, “But how? I didn’t do anything but sign the painting.” He turned back to her. “I didn’t change anything.”
They remained silent for a few minutes before Jeannette said, “Maybe by signing it you finalized your being here.”
It was his turn to be puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t think you can go back. As long as the painting wasn’t signed you could change it and make it however you wanted. But now that you’ve signed it without any changes, it brought you here to finalize your desires. Did you desire to be here?”
“Yes. Yes, I did,” he said and his face lit up with happiness. Casey stepped closer to her, leaned down and kissed her. 
Tears of joy streamed down Jeannette’s cheeks as she squeezed him tightly.
“I don’t want to go back,” he whispered into her ear and held her close to his heart as a tear trickled down his own cheek.
  The End
  Chelle Munroe©
  April 9, 2015


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Having Style

Part Seven

He glanced down the street and as he did, he thought of Jeannette and wondered if her Casey had been returned to her. After a moment, he settled in his mind that everything must have been returned to the way they were before the painting. He remained at the fence for a few more minutes then made his way back into the house.
Every day for the next five weeks, Casey worked feverishly with a renewed enthusiasm producing painting after painting. He was like a man possessed but knew without any doubt that he would create beauty as never having been witnessed before.
As the days rolled by, Casey also thought about Jeannette. He admired the way she loved the other him and craved to have that kind of deep love in his own life. The more he pondered it, the more he wondered where the Jeannette was from this time and why she had not revealed herself. The whole ordeal was totally surreal, yet, there was something about it that kept drawing him back to it and, try as he might, he couldn’t put his finger on it.
It was during the eighth week since his return home that things took a big turn for Casey. He finished the last painting that completed his work for the gallery. There was no doubt in his mind that the paintings would not only command an excellent price, but that they would sell quickly as well
As he watched the workers crate the paintings for shipment to the gallery, Casey felt a mild sense of relief wash over him. He was proud of his accomplishment. When one of the men inquired about the painting with the cottage, Casey instructed them to leave it. Inasmuch as he believed it to be the best, he couldn’t bring himself to part with it.
That night, when all the workers were gone and he was alone with his thoughts, Casey went into the studio and stared at the painting. The longer he gazed at it, the more convinced he became that he had to return. He had to find Jeannette. The question was: How? He contemplated the problem for over three hours before he reasoned that he would have to add something to the painting to bring it to life again.
He decided that it would be best to change something in the yard for fear that if he changed the cottage, it would ruin his chances of ever getting back to her. As he painted in some flowers, he couldn’t help wonder if he was going crazy or somewhere had a breakdown. He even wondered if the event with Jeannette actually happened or if he just imagined it. One thing he did know was that he would be transported back to her or that nothing would happen; a thought he truthfully didn’t want to bring into the equation.
Casey finished his work and had all he could do to keep from going outside to look. Based upon his memory of how things happened previously, he felt it best to go to bed and see what developed in the morning. He tossed and turned for an hour or two then finally drifted into a peaceful deep sleep.
Early next morning, with coffee mug in hand, he stepped into the studio, glanced at the painting, and then made his way into the yard. He was excited to see that things looked exactly like the painting. He turned to see the cottage and his heart beat harder in his chest. He walked over to the fence and looked around. No one was there so he waited. When nothing happened, he made up his mind to go look for Jeannette.
Casey opened the gate but when he went to step through, he couldn’t. He tried and tried but each time he was stopped by an invisible wall. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead and a sinking feeling engulfed him as he realized he was trapped. He was free to move around the house and yard but for whatever reason, he wasn’t allowed beyond.
Momentarily stunned by this new discovery, Casey remained by the fence for quite some time. Once the initial shock wore off, he hurried back into the studio and tried painting the street as he remembered it, hoping that if he did he would be able to venture out and look for Jeannette.
After trying a half dozen times with no success, Casey walked out to the fence and looked around to see if anything at all had changed. To his dismay, everything was at it was with no sign of Jeannette anywhere. He was about to resign himself to the fact that she was gone forever when he recalled having looked up into the sky and venting his anger just before she appeared. That had to be it.
He paced back and forth wishing his memory would serve him right and let him remember what he had said. Was it even possible that it didn’t matter what he said as long as he duplicated the moment as best he could? He had to try. So looking up, he shouted, “I don’t know what to do. You have to help me. Please help me.”
   Chelle Munroe©
   April 9, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Having Style

Part Six

Trying to be sensitive to her feelings, Casey took his time before going back to the painting. He had all he could do to contain his eagerness to get started making the corrections. Before he picked up the palette and brushes, he said, “Would you mind making us some tea?”
Jeannette knew he was only asking for the tea to spare her the anxiety she was feeling inside but she agreed and went into the kitchen believing it was probably best she didn’t witness what could possibly happen. By the time the water boiled and she had the tea made, Casey had nearly completed all the changes. “You want it in there?” she called to him.
“No, I’ll have it in the kitchen,” he replied, needing a break from the mental stress of getting everything perfect.
For the first few minutes, neither of them spoke. Jeannette was the first to break the silence. “How’s the painting coming along?”
He smiled. “It’s almost finished.”
She took a sip of tea. “Maybe you should have finished it before coming in so you wouldn’t lose your concentration.”
Casey set his cup down. “I wanted to talk to you first.”
She wrinkled her brow. “About what?”
Casey cleared his throat. “I’ve been thinking. It might be best if you leave the house before I finish the painting.”
She didn’t understand. “Why? What difference would it make?”
“I honestly don’t know,” he shrugged, “but something tells me that if you’re here when I do, and if I hit it right and go back to my time and place, you’ll be trapped there with me.”
Jeannette sat back in the chair. It hadn’t occurred to her that she could be transported to a different time if Casey were to be successful. She would be the trapped soul in that case and, most likely, with no way of ever getting back. She sighed heavily.
“You’re right, it might be best if I wait in the yard,” she finally managed to say.
Casey reached out and touched her arm. “I don’t believe you can be on the property at all. I think it best you go home. It’s the only way I believe you’ll be safe.”
Jeannette stared into his eyes and knew with all her heart that he was trying to protect her from the pain and agony he was suffering from having been torn away from everything familiar and dear to him. She lowered her eyes. He was right, of course, yet something inside her was frightened. She was frightened that she wouldn’t get her own Casey back.
 She straightened her shoulders. “I guess I should be going then. I can only imagine how eager you are to get back home.” She stood up.
Casey got up and walked her out to the gate. “It’s probably best you go home so that you don’t have any residual effects touching you.”
She stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek, choking back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks. “I wish you the best and hope you find the happiness you deserve.” She turned and walked away.
Casey watched her until she disappeared around some bushes. Glancing at the house, he could see the new changes already in place and his hopes were once again accelerated. He hurried into the house and resumed putting in all the final details.  When he finished, he made his way outside and looked everything over. The changes had definitely been made but beyond his yard, everything else had remained the same.
His mind and heart in turmoil, Casey shuffled back into the house where he picked up the photograph and carried it into the kitchen. After hours of studying the picture, he resigned himself to the couch and fell asleep.
It was daylight when Casey woke up. Still somber from his failure, he forced himself up and made a cup of coffee. The photograph was where he had left it and his first reaction was to tear it to shreds, but common sense told him that the photo was the only thing he had to link him to his own time.
While drinking his coffee, he moved outside and squinted from the bright morning sun.
“Looks like you tied on a good one last night. Hope it was worth it.”
Casey opened his eyes wider in time to see the mailman closing the mailbox. He rushed to the fence and was thrilled to see the traffic and people and knew he had succeeded. Closing his eyes from the sun, he tilted his head back and whispered, “Thank you. Thank you for bringing me home.”
   Chelle Munroe©
   April 9, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Having Style

Part Five

He squeezed her hand. “I’m sure we will,” he offered without really knowing how or if they ever would. “I’m sure we will”, he repeated more to assure himself than her.
Jeannette rose from the table. “I best get going before it gets too late. I’ll come by tomorrow to help you look some more.”
Inasmuch as he didn’t feel like being alone, Casey stood up. “Thank you for all your help and for the great meals. I enjoyed them and your company. I’ll walk you out.”
At the gate, Jeannette stopped and turned to face him. “I enjoyed your company as well.” She stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “Good night Casey.”
Casey touched his cheek where she had kissed him. “Good night Jeannette.” He watched her walk away until she disappeared into the darkness. Before going back into the house, Casey looked around and tried to think of something he might have missed. Nothing in particular came to mind. He sighed heavily, went into the house and flopped down on the couch. Before long, he drifted off to sleep.
The next morning Casey was awakened by the smell of coffee brewing and bacon frying in the pan. He sat up to see Jeannette busy making breakfast. “Smells good,” he said.
Jeannette turned sharply. “Oh you’re up. I wasn’t going to wake you till breakfast was ready.”
Casey stood up. “It’s okay. I’m going to take a shower.”
“It’s almost ready,” Jeannette said.
“I’ll make it quick.”
Casey wanted the shower more to clear his head than anything else. He had hoped that when he had gone to sleep he would awaken at his home and all would be just a bad dream. Seeing Jeannette shattered that hope. Not that she was a bad person but she was a reminder of a life he didn’t know.
As soon as breakfast was over, he helped Jeannette with the dishes and they set about to search the rooms they hadn’t gotten to the night before. It was in the second room that Jeannette noticed the edge of a photograph sticking out from under a board. Unable to pull it out she called out to Casey. “I’ve found something!”
Casey ran to her. He too was unsuccessful freeing the picture from its imprisonment. He ran downstairs and hunted for something to wedge between the boards. He managed to find a hammer and a screwdriver and ran back upstairs. Five minutes later they were looking at a photo of the house as he had known it. His wide smile told Jeannette they had struck gold.
“Can you duplicate it?” she asked while choking back the tears beginning to well in her eyes. Conflicting emotions raced through her. On the one hand she was happy for him because he would be returned home. On the other hand, she didn’t want to lose him, especially because she wasn’t sure if the Casey she had known would return to her. She suddenly felt faint.
Casey looked up from the photo just in time to see Jeannette falling and leaped to catch her. He carried her to the bed. “Jeannette. Jeannette wake up. Jeannette can you hear me?”
Jeannette’s eyelids fluttered then opened. It took a moment before she oriented herself. “Casey?” she murmured, “Is it you?”
Casey looked down at her recognizing she was referring to the Casey she knew. “No,” he answered. “I’m the Casey you’re helping.”
She closed her eyes for a moment and when she opened them, she nodded.
Casey helped her up when she felt strong enough to stand and they proceeded to the studio where he compared the photo to his painting. At first, he didn’t notice anything different but upon closer examination, he spotted some small differences in the roof, around the windows and door, and the shading on some of the shingles.
He turned to face Jeannette. “I’m going to need you to help me. Are you up to it?”
“Yes,” she managed to say very softly. “What is it you want me to do?”
“I need you to look at this picture and tell me if you spot anything different from the painting.”
When she neared him, he pointed out the objects he had found and waited while she made her examination. So as not to put pressure on her, he busied himself with other things until she finished. She cleared her throat. “I didn’t see anything else.”
   Chelle Munroe©
   April 9, 2015