The Summer of 1974
If only Cal had talked to me...
Hello and welcome to today’s offering from me, Rosy Gee, on Rosy’s Ramblings.
You have probably worked out by now that I love writing fiction and I hope you enjoyed last Sunday’s post in Rosy’s Reading Room about the devastating effects that menopause can have on some women. If you missed it, you can read it here.
I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to some generous free subscribers who have recently, and very kindly, become paid subscribers. Your support is much appreciated. If you haven’t pledged your support yet, you can do so here:
If you can’t or don’t want to support my writing, that’s fine too.
If you know anybody who you think would enjoy Rosy’s Ramblings, please feel free to share this and any other post. If it is behind a paywall, just drop me an e-mail and I will send you the link.
Thanks for being here.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - feel free to get in touch any time
Without further ado, here is the short story.
Mom has another new boyfriend.
It seems that since Dad left she’s never been happy. Sometimes I go outside and wander around the neighborhood for something to do. I don’t think she misses me. My older sister, Cal, is hardly ever at home. I always envied Cal. She was a free spirit, not a care in the world. I miss her.
I’ll never forget the day she left. She was stuffing her rucksack with another pair of hot pants that she couldn’t possibly live without or a tiny cheesecloth shirt and was so happy and excited. Like she had her whole life ahead of her. Which she did, I guess. I was the young, gangly teenager with spots and buck teeth. Cal was the tanned, athletic, beautiful even teeth all-American smile kinda gal.
I don’t know what happened that day, but Mom got mad because she had planned a special meal because Jed was moving in with us. He was gonna be our new ‘dad’. I didn’t like Jed. I don’t know why but he just creeped me out. Anyhow, Cal must have said something because the next thing, she’s running off down the sidewalk to catch the Greyhound bus without even looking back at me. She never said goodbye. I was heartbroken.
Mom said Cal was selfish and had never bothered with her younger sister but that’s not true. We used to be close when Dad lived with us. We played out back together and dressed up in pretty homemade things we had picked out of each other’s wardrobes. Cal even did my make-up once. But that was all before Dad left. Everything changed after he went.
I often cry when I read the last postcard I ever got from my big sister. She was on her way to New Zealand, she said. But she never made it.
“I’ll come back for you as soon as I can, Sissy. Keep strong and don’t take any shit from Mom.”
I never knew what she meant because Mom had always been okay with me; not a good mom but not a bad one either. I had clean clothes, and food on the table and I paid my dues by helping around the house. That’s how it always was.
It was only when Mom told me that Cal had been involved in a hit-and-run accident on her way to the airport somewhere in Europe, that I realized I would never see her again. I was devastated.
‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’ is a saying that I can live by. For over fifty years I thought Cal had been killed in a hit-and-run accident. I never questioned Mom about the where, why, and how. I just wasn’t the inquisitive type. It was only after Mom died that I found an old shoe box full of letters and mementos that Cal and I had given her as kids. Buried deep down inside the old tattered box was a letter that Cal must have sent her from Europe. I cried and cried when I read it. Suddenly, the words on the postcard that she had sent me made sense.
“I hate you, Mom, for turning a blind eye to all those guys you brought home with me and Sissy in the house. I was seventeen but Sissy was just a kid… how could you? You were always weak. I will never forgive you. I have an appointment tomorrow to have an abortion. It’s Jed’s. I hope you kick that no-good-son-of-a-bitch out and pay more attention to Sissy. She deserves way more than you could ever give her.”
I held the letter close to my heart. So that’s how my sister died. Mom had lied to me and never told me the truth. But she had had to live with that torment for the rest of her life.
Jed didn’t last long, I remember because a few weeks after Cal left, Mom kicked him out and it was just me and her after that.
I wish Cal had talked to me. But, as she said, I was just a kid.
Don’t forget to press the heart and watch it turn red. The more likes my posts get, the more people will be tempted to read them. Thank you!
This short story was first published on Medium.
Enjoyed this but like Jerry think it has a lot of potential for a novel.
I guess this would work as an opening chapter of a novel, too!