She sits alone on the old wooden dock overlooking the mountain lake, deep in thought. A fishing pole sits resting in a pole stand, baited line in the water, and a book rests in her lap. As she reads the written words time seems to wait for her to join. So much has happened, so many changes. Her family has owned this mountain property for so long, her being here is like genetic imprinting. It has always been her place to come and make sense of her life. This time is no different. She gives voice to the written word as if speaking to an invisible friend.
Well, I did it. I graduated. First in my class I might add. Yep, both my Grandmothers would have been proud, I'm sure of that. My father on the other hand, he almost had a heart attack when I told him I was going to become a Philly cop like my Grandmother. Hell, I am already a writer and businessperson like my other Grandmother. Hey I know it's confusing, but he's the one with two Mother's not me. So, now would be the time to bring all this into perspective I guess. Sometimes my life and lineage confuses even me. So where to start. Okay. The beginning's always a good place.
My Grandmother was Cecilia Joyce, former Police Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department. Her lifemate, soulmate, wife, whichever title you are most comfortable with was Christina Armani. They adopted my Dad when he was a little guy and raised him as their son. Therefore, two Grandmothers. Well, actually I had three Grandmothers if you count my mother's side of the family, but I never knew them my mother parents died before she met my dad and they had no relatives to speak of. I didn't really know my mother either, she died when I was less than 3 months old. My Dad loved her with all his heart, and it nearly killed him when she was killed. She was on her way back from the grocery store when a drunk driver hit her car. She was killed instantly; the drunk driver got a small scratch on his head. My Dad's world fell apart and he turned to his family for sanity. Anyway So we left Florida, and went to live with his Mothers in Philadelphia and they all raised me. Grandmom Cecilia was still the Police Commissioner at the time, but I really don't remember it. She retired from the Police Department by the time I was in Kindergarten, and from then on I had her and Grandmom Christina all the time. When Dad eventually went back to work in Florida at Armani Inc., I chose to remain in Philly with the Grandmoms. I stayed with them until after I graduated College. I learned the true meaning of unconditional love and soulmates by watching my Grandmothers. Their love and bond shown from the. Its aura was all around them. Theirs was a love that was unequaled. They lived together over 40 years and never did their love waver. Their love completed them. It brought out the best in the both of them. They lived to bring happiness, joy, and fulfillment to each other; it was a wondrous thing to see.
In the end it was Grandmom Christina who went first. Her last words were to her love. Even in death love I will never be far from you. I'll be waiting just on the other side. Thank you for keeping your promise to me. With that she passed on. I remember how sweetly my Grandmom Cecilia kissed her goodbye. Grandmom Christina had taught her the Armani family goodnight kiss. It is a simple thing really, involving a prayer and a promise.
You kiss the sign of the cross on the face. A kiss to the forehead, 'Goodnight', then a kiss to the right cheek, 'God Bless You', a kiss to the left cheek, 'I'll see you in the morning', like making the sign of the cross in a mirror, then finally a kiss on the lips saying, 'I love you'. They had kissed my Dad and then me goodnight that way every night for as long as I can remember. But that night as I watched her kiss her soulmate goodbye, I heard a subtle change in that kiss. Oh she still made the sign of the cross, but when she kissed Grandmom's Christina's left cheek, I heard her say, I'll see you in my heart, until I see you again. Then she unashamedly kissed her lips and whispered, I love you beyond forever love, not even Death can stop my love.
One week to the day later, Grandmom Cecilia died, in my arms.
The weird thing about that week was that she had found a way to see everyone who had been important in her life. Looking back it was as if she was putting her life in order and saying goodbye to everyone she cared for.
I had asked her after Grandmom Christina's Funeral what was the promise. It was the first time, in days that I saw Grandmom Cecilia smile. Her eyes filled up; she shook her head and laughingly said. I promised her I would never die on her.
The day of Grandmom Cecilia's death haunts me. It was a normal day like any other since Grandmom Christina's death. The only difference was that Grandmom Cecilia wasn't down for breakfast. Usually she was up and out in the garden before the rest of the house had even awakened. I went to their room to check on her and found her still in bed. As I went to the bed, I noticed her breathing was shallow and forced. I attempted to wake her and then panicked and screamed for my Dad. When my Dad came into the room, Grandmom Cecilia opened her eyes and looked at us. She whispered I love you, it's okay, I'm okay, but I have to go now, you know how much Christina hates to be kept waiting. For a brief moment she got the strangest look on her face like she was looking beyond the walls of her room, a slight smile came to her face, and I swear she glowed. The next word she spoke caused me to shiver as my body was covered in goosebumps. Christina Then she turned to me and breathe her last breath into my chest while I cradled her in my arms. I whispered, I love you both, and with that she was gone.
That was nearly four years ago and I miss them both beyond belief.
But, today, as I stood to take the oath of the Department, I felt them both with me.
Most people who know me and what I left to do this usually ask when exactly I lost my mind. What they will never know is that deciding to do this, was when I regained my sanity. I feel I have a purpose, a place. It's as if I am answering an innate call. Oh hell who knows, maybe to some I've always been insane. I just never felt surer of anything in my life.
She is momentarily pulled from her reading by the persistent tugging on her forgotten fishing line. Hours before she had baited her hook and tossed the line into the lake and now she had landed a fish. Well actually the fish had landed itself. She struggles to retrieve the fish, removes the hook and then quickly releases the fish gently back into the lake. She rebaits her hook, tosses the line back into the lake, and once again rejoins the written words.
I remember the day my probation ended. It was amazing to me, I can still hear myself.
Well I got my assignment over 6 months ago. I have been working in the 23rd District. It's hard to believe that I have been here 6 months already. My probation ended today. I am officially a full-fledged Civil Servant. It's pretty ironic how that worked out. The 23rd District is where Grandmother Cecilia found my dad left in the parking lot. The more I get in to this career the more I feel as if I truly am coming home. Well at least my professional life is settling down. My personal life on the other hand is no where. I mean totally nowhere. I spent so much time trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up; I didn't find time to have a personal life. Now I find myself alone in a big house with no one to share my nights or dreams with. I guess I never realized how much the Grandmothers filled that void. My Dad has gone back to Florida to run the company and I am here getting on with my life. Whatever that means.
So continuing a family tradition, I've started this journal. I had written all of my life, actually had some of my journals published, ah but that's another story .
But now for the first time in over a year I can relax.
Well sort of.
Tonight should be an interesting night. I have agreed to go out to celebrate with 2 friends from my academy class. I don't drink and I don't party, so this should be real interesting. They asked me where I wanted to go and I couldn't answer them. It suddenly dawned on me that I had never been out to a bar or club in Philadelphia, restaurants sure, but I didn't think that was the kind of evening they had in mind. So I let the choice be up to them. I'm not sure that was the smartest decision I've ever made. Well, I better go and try to find something to wear. My two Philadelphia nightlife tour guides told me casual dress, and assured me jeans and casual dress clothes would be fine. We're going out at 9pm, which leaves me 6 hours, while I worry. Anyway, now I'm off for a quick dinner with my Dad before he has to head back to Florida. He used the company jet to fly up for a business meeting, but has to fly right back by 6pm. He tried really hard to appear happy with my decision, but couldn't resist the, if you get tired of this, there will always be a place for you in the business. God what do you say to that. All I could do was give him a hug and tell him I loved him. How could I ever explain what I felt, hell I didn't even understand it. I drove him to the airport, did the hugs and kisses bye stuff, and watched as his plane left the runway. With that I realized my life, whatever it was, was mine to make, and I headed back to my car for the drive home.
I arrived at my house, and realized I had to seriously get ready to go out for my night on the town, so I headed to my room to begin the ordeal of changing, picking out clothes, showering oh you know etc. etc. etc.
So many emotions washed over me as I took off my formal uniform, 'dress blues', we call them. I carefully place my navy blue blouse coat on the hanger, brushed off the lapels and hung it on the 'take to the cleaners' clothes rack I had purchased for just that occasion. My navy blue uniform pants with their light blue stripe quickly followed, along with my light blue long sleeve police shirt and black clip-on tie. My gun was placed securely in the gun safe I had installed in my room. I had removed my gunbelt and Sam Browne rig and placed them on the shelf in my uniform closet. My uniform hat was neatly placed on its shelf in the closet also. God I felt such reverence for this uniform, My uniform. I stood back in awe as I remember parts of my day.
My Dad had insisted I wear my uniform when we went out for dinner. So I did. I will never get used to the way people stare when they see a Cop eating in a restaurant. What do they think Cops are not human, that they are kept in some storage area like a Borg Alcove, where they regenerate until needed? Give me a break. Cops are human, and all humans require sustenance. Get over it. Cops eat too.
Anyway, now I stood in my room, wearing only my white racer back sports bra, and panties. My shiny black uniform shoes long ago wiped off and returned to their shoebox inside my closet.
I turned to head to the bathroom to shower and caught my refection in the full-length mirror.
Shit, I had lost nearly 20 lbs. while in the Academy. And all that time in the sun had given my skin a neat bronze color which really brought out my eyes, which today were a light blue. They ran the whole spectrum of blue hues depending on my mood. Which is why I wore sunglasses a lot. My eyes gave away too much. My Grandmoms used to tell me I talked with my eyes, and I had to agree. As I looked I was glad I had cut my hair. It used to be long past my shoulders, but I had gotten it cut when I entered the Academy. It fell just to my ears on the sides, a little longer in the back, and I had still kept my bangs, which ended just at my eyebrows. So there I stood in front of the mirror and this dark haired blue eyed bronzed woman was looking back at me. And she was buff.
I had continued to work out at the Academy everyday since graduation and I looked the part.
Damn, I actually had muscles, everywhere.
And how in the world did I get those abs, I thought as I began to remove my sports bra. Damn I guess all those crunches paid off.
Hello? Get a grip will ya? my brain screams out.
Wonderful, here I am actually taking inventory of my own body, alone, by myself.
Great I am truly pitiful. Well it's not like there's anyone I've met who I'd want to be here. Oh but there is someone. Yeah if I were to be honest.
And why not?
I'm here alone talking to myself and then writing it down for eternity.
Yep a true nutcase. Why not let my true craziness run rampant? Yep, there is someone.
My imaginary friend. The person I see every night in my dreams.
She started visiting me when I was a little girl. I had told the Grandmoms about her when I was oh about 10. I expected them to tell me I was crazy, but instead they told me to write about her, like a journal.
So I did.
When I turned 18 I had my journals looked at by a publisher and they became my first book.
Like I'm ever gonna write another one.
It was a wonderful children's book all about true forever friends.
See! It really is another story.
Oh enough about that.
Back to my imaginary friend. Well I guess I'm too old for that now, so I'll call her my dream friend.
As I got older, the dreams changed. The funny thing is. When I was a child, she was a child, and as I grew, so did she. But now the dreams are becoming more intense.
God I think I'm in love with the woman in my head.
I guess I am totally nuts.
But in all honesty, I don't believe she doesn't exist. I believe that somewhere out here in the real world, she lives and breathes.
So, yeah there is someone I would love to be all over this new body of mine.
All I have to do is wait until I find her.
So I still write my journals, but believe me if I had these made into a book, it wouldn't be a children's book. Oh no.. Kinda more Lesbian Cop fantasy entertainment.
Oh but she had grown up so good. God in my dreams she is now a totally distracting female. She has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.
Yeah right, like I focused on her eyes.
She had a body to die for. Yep and I would too, if I could ever meet her in the real world. So, I now know that I like women. No..Actually, I like, No, I love, this woman. Her blond hair, which was long, to her waist, when I dreamt about her as a child, is now short collar length, which accentuates those gorgeous green eyes. She stands shorter than I do but most people do I am nearly 6ft tall.
Oh God, I have to stop I'm talking about a dream woman. No not dream lover. I never tell her in my dreams how I feel. We never go there. But by God there's electricity to those dreams that is driving me crazy. The last couple of months I've jumped awake, totally aroused, completely wet, and shaking like a leaf, more times than I care to count. You know maybe I should just sign myself into a Mental Hospital.
Oh shit look at the time, my ever present nagging brain chimes in, "Move idiot. You're gonna miss your night out with the girls.
So off I go for a quick shower.
After the shower, I put on a crisp long sleeve white shirt, button fly Gap jeans, brown boots, and as I am retrieving my brown leather jacket from the closet, my classmates appear at the front door. So, we're off, in more ways than one, my Philly nightlife tour guides and I.
God help me!
We decided to take my car, since both of them decided to get wasted while we're out, and I don't drink, so that made me the designated driver. That was not a problem for me, except that I had no idea where I was going. Nor, did I even know what part of the city we would be heading to. Well, they decided our first stop should be the F.O.P. bar and lounge. Oh goodie..off we go.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge is at Broad and SpringGarden Streets in Philadelphia. Actually I'm not sure what neighborhood it is in, but we arrive none the less, without getting lost, much to my amazement.
The Bar is downstairs and it's like a right of passage to go to the bar and show your brand new badge and FOP ID at the door. So off I go, 'right of passage' and all.
Well let me tell you. I don't get it.
It's a bar in the basement.
I wonder if this is a guy thing?
I don't get the attraction for dimly lit places.
Reminds me of the old joke, the closer it got to last call the better looking she got.
Yep..must be a guy thing.
I find myself telling myself to shutup. No need for everyone to know how out of place I feel. But my never stopping, nuclear power brain continues it's rambling, until I find myself being dragged from the spot I've been standing in. I lift my eyes up to find my classmate and tour guide pointing across the closet sized room toward a wall lined by 1950 era tables and chairs where several people from our Academy Class are already seated. As we sit at their table suddenly 4 pitchers of beer appear, courtesy of the management, sort of a congratulatory gesture. I guess that's their way of saying welcome to the club. Amazingly a pitcher of soda appeared for me. As the bartender, a retired cop, placed it and a glass in front of me, he whispered, Diet Coke right? All I could do was nod, then he continued, Don't listen to them, I worked for your Grandmom, I was a cop for over 30 years, and I never drank neither. Don't let them make you do anything you'd not usually do. You hang in there kiddo. Your Grandmoms would be proud. I looked up into the softest brown eyes I'd ever seen on a man, which were seated in a face, that held the biggest smile I'd seen ever. I couldn't help but smile back. This was a true gentleman. He stood over 6 foot tall, had to go at least 240lbs, a little graying at the temples of his jet-black wavy hair but that with his olive complexion told the world of his Italian heritage. When I could speak, I offered a simple thank you, but I doubt he knew how much his gesture meant to me. This was an old school cop, accepting me into the fold.
Okay, now I understand 'the right of passage' thing.
Later when I went over to the bar to get my pitcher refilled, we had a chance to talk away from the crowd. He explained that he had retired about 15 years ago. I was amazed this man didn't look a day over 50. When I said that he laughed out loud, then simply replied, thanks kiddo. He then explained that he got on the force at 19, he laughingly added, which pissed the family off big time, I left college to join the force, but college wasn't what I wanted, Police work was. He had stayed on the job for 30 some years retiring right after his 50th birthday. I was amazed. This guy was nearly 65 and didn't look a day over 50. I had to ask. Yep I inherited an inquisitive mind. And yes it does get me into trouble.
So, I inquired, what's your secret?
He tilted his head and said, secret?
Oh there goes my mouth and mind the unbeatable duo, trouble squared. Ah but knowing this, do I stop, oh, no..Not me..I ramble on. Yeah your secret, you look incredible, I swear you don't look more than 50, I'd ask you for your driver's license to verify your age, but I guess I'll take your word for it. He laughingly replied, Oh that, well I'll tell you what, you come to my house for some real South Philly Sunday dinner and you'll see for yourself. I also learned that the red stuff you put on pasta is gravy, not sauce, silly me. We exchanged information, actually he already knew all about me, so I got his name, Angelo, his address, and most importantly, directions to his house for Sunday dinner, which was in two days. Oh yeah and dinner was at noon. (Where I come from that's lunch, but who am I to argue with an established Italian South Philly Sunday thing?) So with a promise that I'd be there, I returned to my table to find my two tour guides deep in whispered conversation. Oh okay, I'll play. What now? Okay Ladies what's with the whispering stuff, I asked, something wicked this way cometh? Well I don't know if it was the Shakespeare or the fact that I commented at all. Both of them had 'the deer caught in the headlight' look, so I knew something was up. After a whole lot of nothings and oh we weren't talking about anything, I finally got the truth. They wanted to go to a local Lesbian bar with two of the other women who were there and they didn't know how I would take it. It was the opening I needed. I opted to go home. While Lesbianism was not a lifestyle choice I was unacquainted with, and I did enjoy 'Sisters', better not tell them I knew the bar. I was tired and really didn't want to do the bars. I swear they actually seemed relieved. The four of them hooked up and left together. I finished my Diet Coke, and after bidding my friend Angelo goodnight and continually promising that I would be there Sunday, I walked to my car and drove home.
Yep real night owl you are. Some big exciting night on the town idiot, my brain chimed in for good measure. As I turned into my driveway, I found myself telling myself to shut up.
God I truly am crazy.
Oh shit, I just want to go to sleep. This has been a very enlightening day. I made a new friend, got invited to a real South Philly Italian Sunday dinner, and found out my two best friends were Lesbians.
Nah I have no idea why I could be exhausted, mentally at least.
Oh shit give it up, I murmured as I walked into my bedroom after a quick shower.
I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, and shortly thereafter, she joined me.
Nope, I have no real life, but my dream life is kicking
Wonderful Just Wonderful !
Well, Saturday was spent shining my leather gear, and working out at the gym. I live close to the Police Academy and instead of driving all over the world to find the right equipment, I just went back to the Police gym to get my work outs in. As I was walking out the back door from the Main Building at the academy, I had my mind on my run, instead of where I was walking, I slammed into someone who was trying to come in. What an idiot I am. Shit. We were taught everyday of our time at the academy to look out before we opened the door. But being an idiot, my mind was somewhere else. I stopped dead in my tracks. In my mindless state I had slammed the door into another Police Officer, well actually, a Supervisor, and not just a cop, not even a Sergeant.
No! Not me! I slammed a White Shirt.
I didn't know what rank yet, cause I didn't see the insignia bars which would let me know just what rank I had clobbered, but I saw the shirt sleeve. In this Department, anyone over the rank of Sergeant wore a white shirt, instead of the light blue. So, I knew I had hit someone who was Lieutenant or higher. When I pulled myself out of my stupor, I realized that this Supervisor was female and a Captain and she was cursing up a storm, bending over and holding her face.
Shit, a female Captain.
Oh God, could it get any worse?
Now you know, I know better than to ask that question. I know that every time I ask God if shit can get worse, my question gets answered by whatever shit I am in, immediately getting worse.
But for reasons I will never know, I continue to ask the question, and continue to be amazed when everything else quickly goes to shit.
Alright now get back on track and on with the story.
Yes indeed. Everything did indeed get worse.
I take a step towards her, placing my hand under her chin to lift her face up to check for damage, while my mouth continually says, I am so sorry Ma'am, I didn't see you With that she raises her face and speaks, What? First you smash my face with the door and now you're making short jokes? Have a death wish do ya? Huh?
I can't speak, I'm not even sure if I'm breathing. I know my mouth is open, but I can't get any words to leave. I'm still holding her chin, but I'm no longer capable of intelligent thought. I have never felt anything like what just happened to me when our eyes met. What in the name of God is that? Oh sweet Jesus, she is beautiful. My fingers burn where they touch her skin, but I can't let go nor look away.
Finally, she speaks again. Yo, do I look that bad, damn, you look like you were the one hit by the door. I must look like shit.
'Okay moron, you have just smashed a female Captain in the face with a door, are holding her face and not speaking. Say something idiot, before this gorgeous woman with the now broken nose, walks away and you never see her again.' My mind continues its ever-present bullshit.
Damn I know this woman. I feel as if I know her from somewhere and not the job. I ask silently. Where do I know her from? 'What asking me'? my brains chides, 'how do I know if you don't'. Hey give it a rest will ya, I know I know her, the feeling is so strong, so personal, so comfortable, so leave me alone.. my silent retort ends. Yep, that's it, I am arguing with myself and I'm still not following along. Oh shit I surrender. She had moved her hands from her face and I was staring, yep staring, that's the word, into the face of a total stranger, who feels like home. I can't move, I can't think. All I can feel is the remnants of the electric current that raced through my being when we touched. Finally, it comes to me, Wait, I do know her, Jesus help me, I am going insane. 'Going?' replies my ever supportive brain. 'Hey idiot, she outranks you and she has just asked you a question, want to lose your job as well as your mind'? My prodding brain chimed in. 'Oh shit, Oh shit, oh SHIT! Yep. Brilliant, that's me. Grace under pressure. Yep, great first impression asshole. Damn it S P E A K'! After what seemed like an eternity, my mouth agreed with my brain and complied.
Oh ma'am I am so sorry, no you don't look like shit, but I think your nose is broken, and I really didn't see you with that she raises an eyebrow opens her mouth to speak, and my self-defense skills come to my rescue. I cut her off quickly before she can speak. No, ma'am that's not a short joke, honest. But I really think we need to get some ice on that and maybe an X-ray.
Well I did it, I pulled it off. After an initial lapse which I'm sure she thought was shock. Well it was actually, but not from the reason she thought. I got her inside the building and found some ice. My whole being was spinning wildly out of control on the inside. I have just smashed the face of the woman of my dreams, literally on all counts.
But thanks to my Grandmother Cecilia's training, my external demeanor was cool, confident and professional.
Who was this woman. My God she made me feel so overwhelmed. Every ounce of my being reacted to her, but it was painfully obvious that she didn't feel any of what I was feeling. There was no mutual recognition. I didn't dare ask, then she'd really think I was nuts. Nope, all I was to her was the woman who hit her in the face with a door.
Suddenly it dawned on me that she had been speaking to me and I hadn't heard a word she had said. I forced myself to focus in and replied.
I'm sorry Ma'am, I guess this still has me shook up, what did you say.
She laughed softly, and then gently put her hand over my hand that was holding the ice to her face and said, I said, I can do that, it's not the first broken nose I've had. Her hand on mine again caused me to go weak in the knees, I almost hit the floor. Of course my brain was right on cue, 'Oh shit idiot, you didn't even realize you had taken over like that. Shit you're responding to her like she's your lover, get a grip. Oh God. Nice idiot', my mind continues to harass.
But I can't speak anymore, I am too overwhelmed by her touch. This is the woman I am in love with and she doesn't have clue. I should stop this, I should walk away. I can't. I surrender to the feelings this woman is causing. I must stop this, oh I can't stop this, oh shit, come on girl get a grip, my brain battles with my heart. Ah but my brain is on overload and finally just shuts down. My heart soars.
Her hand where it touches mine burns into my skin, I stand transfixed, and mute, just staring at where her hand is touching mine.
The feeling that is coursing through my body is so intense that finally my brain jumps back in gear and I have to pull my hand away from hers.
A strange look crosses her face which I take as anger that I have over stepped my bounds, personally and professionally. I have to do something, have to say something. Quickly!
Finally I speak, Oh ma'am I apologize, I didn't mean to take over, it's just that I knew you had to get ice on it, I'm sure you're quite capable. I am sorry. Oh God, what can I say. Do you need anything else?
She just smiles at me and shakes her head. No, I'll be fine, it really is ok. Honest. This is as much my fault as it is yours and besides you're bleeding.
What? I reply. Bleeding?
I look at her and follow her eyes to see that there is a gash across the top of my left hand. Shit how did that happen? I confusedly ask.
She looks up at me and laughs. God, she is totally gorgeous. I was so concerned about her I never even noticed I was hurt too. Her gorgeous face turns suddenly serious and she replies, the glass from the door must have cut you, you may need stitches, looks like we're going for that hospital ride after all. Come on, I'll have my aide drive us. She says all this while once again taking my hand in hers.
I don't think I can stand. She walks me over to the sink and turns on the cold water. When I don't immediately put my hand under the running water, she gently places my hand there and positions it so that the water is running over the cut but not directly on it. God she is so gentle.
Wait what did she say?
STITCHES?, I shakily reply.
Oh no ma'am, I don't do stitches, they require needles and I DON'T DO NEEDLES, thanks just the same.
Now she is laughing even harder.
Finally I can't take it anymore I have to ask. Yeah I know, that's my death wish and me. Ma'am, what exactly is so funny about all this? She wipes the tears that are now pouring down her face and replies, big bad warrior cop, afraid of needles.
I quickly reply, damn Skippy, I DON'T DO NEEDLES.
Hey wait a minute, she's teasing me. 'Oh shit what do I do now'?
'Now idiot, you make a hasty exit after the final round of apologies and go for a very long run, a very, very long, exhausting run', my reenergized brain finally chimes in.
For once I listen to me.
I offer one more round of apologies. I explain that my hand will be fine; I inquire on her nose, she's not going to get X-rays, she assures me she'll be fine, well I think that's what she said; I couldn't hear her too clearly due to the voices which were battling in my head. I turn and head out of the building for a very long hard run. I left her standing there with the same strange look on her face. Oh forget it, God I'm not even in her league. I run out of the building and just kept running. I pushed myself beyond any level I had before and ran my 10 miles in record time. By the time I returned to the Academy to shower and change, I had beat all of the wonderful pictures out of my head and had regained my focus.
Besides, she had left, so I didn't have to deal with any of it.
Yep that's me.
True Coward. .
Oh hell there's always tomorrow.
Oh shit, tomorrow. I have dinner at Angelo's to look forward to.
Shit, gotta get some wine.
With my shower over, and dressed in a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, I head off on my wine quest.
Tomorrow has to be better than this.
Please God, please have mercy ...
Well I've purchased the wine.
I spent the rest of the day just reliving the encounter with the Captain. Yep, that's all I know her as. I never got her name. God I can still feel her touch on my skin. She is real, I knew it. Why didn't I say something? Why didn't she? Oh yeah I could see it now, I would truly end up at Friends Psychiatric Hospital. Let's see I could start out with. Well you don't really know me, but I'm in love with you. Oh sure. That would have worked. Yep. Would have taken her about 2.5 seconds to get the 302 papers for my ass. Well now all of this is insane. It's after midnight. I must go to sleep. I have to be at Angelo's by noon.
It has become too dark to continue reading. She had long since stop fishing. Catching fish was interfering with her reading. She had to stop now, it was time to start the walk back to the house. As she closed the book, she whispered to no one but the fish, wait for me, I'll be back.
Tonight the walk back to the house had seemed longer and slower than normal. She didn't know why, but there was a heaviness that hung in the air around her. Maybe it was the fact that she wanted to get inside the house, in to the light so she could continue her reading. The crutches she had to use to maneuver slowed her progress down, but they were better than a wheel chair. She slowly shook her head and continued up the slight incline toward the house. Finally she reached her destination. She moved to the massive oak desk which owned the entire left side of the den, threw her crutches to the floor by the overstuffed chair. With a sigh she sat down placing the book on the desk, she opened it to her previous spot. Turning on the brass desk lamp she began reading.
I must go to sleep. I have to be at Angelo's by noon. I have to get some rest.
Oh yeah I went to sleep, but I didn't get any sleep. She met me. She was different this time. I approach her slowly, I gently take her hand and ask, honey, what is it, have I done something wrong? She looks at me with tears in her eyes and says, You have found love. Love, I don't understand. When? Where? How? I shakily reply. She moves towards me, gently touching my face, our lips meet in a soul melting kiss. She steps back and locks her eyes to mine and simply says, remember.
I wake up shaking.
Oh okay, now I know I'm nuts. Oh never mind. God help me. I have to find her again. I have to find out who that Captain is even if I have to go to every District in the Police Department to find her.
Oh shit, look at the time. I can't do it now. It's time to get ready to go to Angelo's. Oh God, please let this be just a simple little dinner, lunch, pasta thing ..whatever.
Actually I am going to go to church first.
There is a mass for fallen Police Officers at the Basilica of St. Peter & Paul and I had agreed to meet some of my coworkers there. Long story short, I agreed to meet them at church and then go for coffee. Today of all days. Talk about contrasts. I have a Lesbian dream, church with Cops and Italian dinner with an ex coworker of my Openly Lesbian Ex-Police Commissioner Grandmother. Well all in all I think this should be an interesting day, to say the least.
She quietly rises from the chair, closes the book and as she turns out the light a slight smile comes to her lips, and she repeats the written words out loud, to say the least indeed. She leaves the book on the desk and slowly walks from the room. How can she ever pull this puzzle together. There's always tomorrow, she whispers to herself as she heads off to bed. She knew she would find the answers she needed, and she knew she would find them here at this place. The book would be her guide. But the answers she sought were inside of her. She knew this. At least she thought she did. You see that's the problem. She didn't know what she knew anymore. Not since she woke up in the hospital. She wasn't even sure who she was. Amazingly the only thing she remembered about her life was this place. So she came here to find the woman she is or was. So far she has enjoyed reading the book, her journal, but was it really. She wasn't sure. Reading what was written in the book didn't feel like her memory, it felt like a story. Someone else's life. She had reached the end of the journal, nothing was written past the reference to Sunday. God if only she could remember what had happened that day.
How long had it been since that day.
Almost a year.
Well actually more than that.
It was a year since she had come out of her coma. She woke up in the Intensive Care Unit of Hahnemann Hospital. She knew that because a woman dressed in all white had told her. She had called her Officer Joyce. So she assumed that was her name, but she had no personal knowledge of that. She had no idea who she was, how she got there and where there was anyway. What followed was a blur of people, doctors, tests, therapy, more people, more doctors, more tests, until finally she just couldn't take anymore. She asked if she could go home. The doctors were amazed, and agreed since this was the only thing she could remember. So she came to the mountain property. It was all she could remember.
Before she left the hospital a female Police Officer had come in and gave her the journal. She thought the woman looked familiar, but she just couldn't make a connection. When she inquired as to who she was, she was told that she wasn't a Police Officer, but a Captain. The nurse added that the Captain had been in everyday while Officer Joyce was in the coma. She couldn't place her, but yet something about the Captain was so familiar, it was unnerving. It was like something was waiting just out of memory. It hurt to try to remember, and she was tired of hurting.
So that's how she got to the mountain property at the lake, reading a journal that supposedly was hers. She had continued her therapy while at the mountain property. Part of the house had been converted into a therapy suite. Originally she had therapy everyday and a live in therapist. But now it was therapy three times a week and a visiting therapist. Physically she was making incredible progress. Especially since she wasn't supposed to live. Let alone function. But with all the progress she's made. There were two very important things still not right.
What the hell happened to her and who was she before whatever it was that happened, happened?
No one would tell her.
Her doctors told her that she had gotten hurt in an accident outside of the Basilica. She remembered nothing of the event. Actually she initially had remembered nothing of any event before that day. Slowly she had regained some things about her past. Her father had moved back from Florida for most of the last year and had helped ground her somewhat. Initially she didn't remember him either. It was then that he gave her the journals. Not the journal she was reading. These were older, complete works of her Grandmother Christina. In them were written the history and story of Christina's love for her soulmate Cecilia and their life together. Reading them gave her a very strange feeling. It was as if something was tickling the back of her neck. She spent most of her time in the hospital reading these journals and feeling very confused.
On a few occasions during therapy some new age psychologists had tried to force her to remember what had happened, or who she was. On every occasion the same thing occurred. She would remember a small window of her past, then the headaches would come and she would pass out and her body shut down for several hours. Strange how things happen. One night in her dreams a woman she knows now as her grandmother came to her and while she didn't understand any of it when she awoke, she remembered her father, her family, but nothing beyond that. Her only focal point had been the mountain house. She knew she had to get there. She felt like a Salmon, returning to a place she didn't remember but had to get to.
Finally a decision was made by all parties involved to allow her mind to work this out for itself. When it was ready to remember it would and until then she would have to deal with the small fragments that returned every so often. She put the Captain into that category. She felt some connection to her, but couldn't put it together. She had not seen her since the day at the hospital when she had given her the journal. Who is she? How did she get the journal? If what the journal says is true this Captain is special to her. Oh so many questions, so many, but most important, she thought. How do I find her again? Or better yet, what do I do when I find her again? Right now she was happy to be in the mountains and to finally feel comfortable with her name. Bridget Joyce. Well actually her full name was Bridget Christina Cecilia Joyce. But Bridget was just fine for now. Everyone had to start somewhere.
She just hoped that the Salmon thing was only a metaphor. She really didn't want to swim upstream just to spawn and die. Maybe a change of her mental imagery was in order.
She shook her head slowly as she headed for bed.
She actually looked forward to sleep, it was the only time that pieces of her life came to her without the residual headaches. If she tried to remember anything while she was awake, she would suffer a terrible migraine. But asleep. Well, that was a different story.
She couldn't make sense of her dreams, they were flashes of things, people, places, but they helped her somehow. She smiled softly as she remembered a previous nights dream.
This one was different. It occurred just before she had awakened. She dreamt she was at the lake fishing and the woman she knew only as the Captain was with her. She woke up feeling very strange. The dream was vivid. She could feel where the other woman's hand had rested on her. Even days later she could still see her smiling face, her beautiful eyes.
Looking at her big empty Queen size bed, she slowly pulled down the covers. Sliding into bed she surrendered to her tiredness. But before long she was nudged awake by a sound floating up from the lake. Dogs? Dogs barking across the lake? Cool, I didn't know the people across the lake had dogs, maybe I'll try to head over there someday next week she whispered sleepily to herself as she rolled over and fell back to sleep.
Across the lake a solitary figure watched the last light go out at the other mountain property.
As she wiped the tears from her face she thought, please God Bridget remember us, I love you so, My Heart. Remember.
Slowly she turned and headed toward her cabin.
She had taken a leave of absence from her position with the Police Department, actually she was on extended Medical leave. She had gotten hurt on the same God-awful day as Bridget. At the same time. Why had she not reacted sooner. The woman she had dreamed of for years would still be her old self. If she had just known. But God how do you deal with a madman? She had followed the Doctors orders and not told Bridget what had happened on that day. She had given Bridget the journal as ordered. She had always been a good soldier. Metaphorically anyway. The Medical Decision was that if Bridget was to regain her memory it would have to be naturally. She was to remain near by and eventually reintroduce herself to Bridget and let whatever was to be, be. In a way she was happy that Bridget did not have any memory of the events of that day. It was better for Bridget.
Oh, but she remembered with vivid painful acute memories, as if it was happening as she thought of it.
Both of them had attended the same Mass. It wasn't planned, they weren't even together. As they left the church, gun shots erupted from across the street at one of the outdoor cafes. A mad man with a semi automatic pistol was walking up the middle of the Parkway shooting people. She was on duty, had used 1 hour vacation time to go to church, the good Italian Catholic girl that she was and had just put herself back in service when she heard the first gunshot. She drew her revolver, but as she turned to go after the gun wielding psycho, from behind her she heard someone yelling lookout. The psycho had turned and was now firing at the people coming out of the church. The person who had yelled was Bridget. Bridget had thrown her body into the Captain and knocked her down as the man fired several rounds into the crowd. Bridget was struck once in the chest and once in the head while the Captain had received a gunshot wound to her left leg which shattered the bone and required surgery.
Both the Captain and Bridget had returned fire and had wounded the psycho. Never the less, he had stolen a car and fled to Delaware where he shot a Delaware State Trooper before being shot and killed in the ensuing gunfight. The trooper sustained a bruised chest, thanks to his vest. The memories become words and in a whisper she once again asks an unknown deity, Why had she done that? She had no vest, she was off duty. God, she saved my life. I didn't know that he had turned and was set to fire at me as I came out of the Church. I was in full uniform, I was the target, but she threw herself into me and took bullets that were meant for me. Why oh God why?
The weight of this memory kept her from moving past the doorway of the cabin. She hung on to the doorframe to keep herself upright.
The woman shook her head to clear it.
Finally with a heavy sigh she went into her cabin and closed the door. As she turned to lock the door she whispered, I'll be here Bridget, I'll wait. I failed you once, it won't happen again. I'll be here when you get back.
Elizabeth Cappella was 3rd Generation Cop. She had known her whole life what she was expected to be. Her mother was a cop, her father was a cop, both her grandfathers were cops, and her two brothers were cops. She also had several uncles and cousins who were on the force. She knew she was expected to become a cop, probably marry a cop, and then give birth to a future cop. She however had different plans with her life. She had explained her life plan to her father when she was in high school, at Saint Maria Goretti High School, the only high school for South Philly Catholic Girls to go. Boys were different, they could go to the Prep or Roman or St. John Neumann, but girls, they went to Goretti, where they learned the art of the South Philly eye roll, head tilt, attitude delivery system. She like every other South Philly girl was very skilled in the delivery of attitude. But much to her father's credit, she didn't need the attitude when she explained her plan. He agreed. She was his only daughter, and with that had princess status, or so he told her. So growing up, she basically got whatever she wanted. She really wasn't ruling out Police Work, but she wanted to try other things first, not just jump right into the JOB out of high school. Everyone in her family had done it that way. Graduate from High School, spend a summer down the shore, usually Sea Isle (a.k.a. South Philly with sand,) come back and get on the JOB. Neat plan. But not hers. She wanted to go to College and then go into the Navy. Her father had agreed.
So that's exactly what she did. She went to a nice Catholic College on a ROTC scholarship, got her degree, then got stationed in Virginia. She worked as a recruiter for a while there and then got sent to San Diego. She had requested and received a transfer to the Philadelphia Recruitment Center and had been there when her decision was made to finally become a cop. Most people think she lost her mind then and there, but she knew it was time. She went to Reserve status, having taken the Police Test while still full duty, and entered the Police Academy 6 months later. Rather quick by Police Department standards. Actually everything about her Police Career had been quick. She had risen to the rank of Captain before her 35th birthday, and was about to become one of the few women Inspectors on the force and she was still in her 30's. Plus she continued her Naval career in Reserve status and had achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander. All in all she had the perfect life, had her goals in order and her path laid out.
Then she got hit in the face with a door.
And nothing was going to be the same, or matter as much as the woman she fell in love with that day.
She had never had feelings like that.
Not just for the woman thing, but the touch of Bridget's hand had sent currents of electricity through her whole being to her very soul.
But more than that.
When she looked into her eyes, she had felt a connection that seemed to stretch for ages. It was as if she knew this woman, even though they had never met before. There was a familiarity with her that only comes from years of sharing. She didn't understand it. She had tried everything she could that day to spend more time with the person she now knows as Bridget Joyce. Even flirting with her. But Elizabeth's professional mask had snapped back into place when Bridget had pulled away, and she did not pursue it. Elizabeth had chalked it up to right person, wrong location. My God they were in the Police Academy after all. Elizabeth thought she had all the time in the world to find Officer Bridget Joyce and establish some sort of relationship.
How was she to know what was about to happen?
Two days after finding her soul mate, she got to watch that same person lying in a pool of blood in front of a church.
All Elizabeth could do that day was cradle Bridget in her arms and pray to any God that would listen to let her live.
When the responding Police arrived they immediately went to Elizabeth. She waved them off and had them treat Bridget first. It was a miracle that Bridget survived. This all happened 2 blocks from one of the best trauma centers in the city and 3 blocks from a Police Station. Response time was critical in saving Bridget's life and Elizabeth was grateful.
The only lasting trauma was that Bridget had no independent memory of a life before the shooting
No memory of the incident that changed Elizabeth's life. No memory of the connection that was reunited that day. A connection both of them had run from. No memory of their first meeting. No meeting of the electric currents that had flowed between them. Nothing.
Elizabeth had healed much quicker than Bridget, her injury being much easier to mend.
She had requested to help with Bridget's recovery. While the request raised a few eyebrows, she wasn't denied.
So she became a daily visitor to Bridget's room in Intensive Care and then her Private room at Hahnemann Hospital. She brought books of poetry which she read until her voice left her or she just talked about anything until she could no longer speak. She played music, read the newspaper out loud, or anything that could help keep Bridget connected to the conscious world. Some days she sat and said the Rosary, out loud. Then one-day Bridget's father gave Elizabeth a small notebook. He said it was Bridget's journal. It was covered in a brown leather case that was hand bound and embossed with a Claddagh and a Celtic weave design. He told Elizabeth that the case belonged to his mother, and that it had been her Grandmother's and her Grandmother's before her. He asked if she would keep it and read it, and when Bridget was better pass it on to her. What Elizabeth found in that journal gave her strength to fight. She read of the other woman's love for her. How she had felt the connection that day at the Police Academy. Which by now was renamed the Police College. She read about Bridget's dreams. She knew that the woman lying in that Hospital bed was her soulmate. She swore an oath that day. Taking Bridget's hand in hers, she said, Lord, let her live and I will dedicate my life to making her happy and keeping her safe. I swear on my life that she will never want for anything again Lord, just let her live.
God hears all prayers, so be careful what you ask for, you may just get it.
And Elizabeth did.
Bridget lived, but remembered nothing
So Elizabeth began her quest. She kept her promise. She honed her injured body to perfection. Her tactical and warrior skills became foremost in her training. She protected Bridget from a position of strength and obscurity. Nothing would ever harm this woman again if Elizabeth had anything to do or say about it. So help her God.
The last year had been a nightmare for her.
Her family had wondered if she was suffering from some sort of posttraumatic Stress Syndrome.
They were closer to right than they knew.
She shook off the memories as she walked through the cabin to the patio and exercise area. Two hours of weight training, stretching and martial arts drills later, Elizabeth sat in her hot tub unable to sleep.
This was her life now.
She would help Bridget regain her sense of self, that was her mission.
Two days earlier she had gotten her separation papers from the Navy. She had applied for and was permitted to retire. She had time and age and with a gunshot wound to her leg, the Navy did not hesitate to allow her to gently fade away. Besides all that consumed her now was Bridget.
During the past year, Elizabeth had undergone many therapeutic modalities to assist her in dealing with the mental trauma of the day of the shooting. One of the therapists she saw, had a secondary practice involving past lives. Through hypnosis Elizabeth was able to come to terms with her sense of loss at the shooting, but also recognize that she and Bridget had a connected bond of shared previous lives. This woman had also taught Elizabeth the theory of telepathic communication. As she sat in her hot tub, she focused on communicating with Bridget. She hoped that while Bridget slept, she could contact her and let her know how much she had wanted to come to her the day she had watched her at the lake fishing. Elizabeth had watched Bridget as Bridget had sat on the dock with a baited line in the water, but absorbed in the journal. Elizabeth had attempted to will her thoughts of that day to a sleeping Bridget. She wasn't sure if this would work, but she'd give anything a try to reach her Bridget.
As if by some trick of fate, at that very moment, Elizabeth's 2 chocolate labs decided that being in the hot tub was a good idea too. She was pulled from her attempt and quickly lost her focus. Oh God please have let that work, she prayed. The non stop barking of her two chocolate playmates brought a smile to her face. They were demanding of her attention and needed some water time. Thinking better of having to clean her hot tub, she chose to exercise her pups in the pool.
Laughingly she rose from the hot tub and dove into her in ground pool. Yes babies, mommy has lost her mind, come on lets play. Her two playmates joined her in the pool while she swam her laps. 40 laps and several post lap tennis ball tosses into the pool, both Elizabeth and the dogs were exhausted enough to sleep. The labs curled up on the patio, she hit the shower and then the Queen size bed in her room.
As she turned out her lights, she closed her eyes and whispered, goodnight Bridget, God bless you, and I'll see you in the morning.
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