Coral's mother had opened her home to a man with no history. Although, Gidgy worked ten-hour shifts at the nearby canning plant. He lived a fairly secret life. After Lea's illness began to invade much of her life, her nights eventually became increasingly lonely. Soon rumors began to spread that Gidgy was spending most of his late nights in the company of unsavory individuals at the local pool halls. A few concerned friends did some asking around and later found out that Gidgy was originally from St. Louis. He was apparently a loner. With no lingering wife, or expecting mouths to feed. Mostly, he lived a life consumed with women, drinking and filth.
That was another thing that bothered her about Gidgy, the fact that he rented whores all over town and her mother seemed clueless to the Sweet Bred gossip. It was more than just gossip though, because old man Henry Lee had found his wife Big Edna in the bed with that loser and everyone knew about it that night. Secretly, Coral had wished that Henry Lee hadn’t missed his shot with that double-barreled shotgun he drew on Gidgy, but Henry Lee was known for his bad eyesight. Her father had even said so. Coral wouldn’t have missed if she had had the chance.
If only she had had the chance.
The memories of her deceased parents proved to be useless and overwhelming. Understanding the severity of trouble she was currently in, drowning in thought would not help. Coral overheard angry sounds from underneath her hideaway. It was Gidgy ...Mr. Gidgy her mother had always told her to say, but there was nothing Mr. about him and that she knew for sure. What he should have been called was the Devil, for that’s what he appeared to be.
The men all rumbled under their breaths, it was only a matter of time before they would catch her. There they stood, all three of them, the imp himself, Gidgy; and his worshipers, Leo Davis, and Herbert Lewis. Three hideously drunken men who wanted to harm her in the worst way possible. Coral failed to see her thick dark blood running slowly against the ginger shaded leaves. The opened wounds of her black-and-blue legs had told the men a secret.
Herbert Lewis gawked at the sight of blood gradually falling from the sky; it was a message from the old Grady, a tree like no other. Innocence was to be taken, time to change her into a real woman. Herbert pointed up into the bosom of the tree; Leaving Coral to scream from within. Although they did not see her the three men knew it was a sign from above. With no barns or buildings in site for another six miles, where else could she have gone?
Gidgy called out her name as loud as the sky was high, demanding Coral’s tears to pour down unto her torn floral dress. Her fears more intense than before, she prayed to God to watch over her and keep her safe like she was taught in church.
Out of places to hide ... with no where to run, just old dirt roads and the cloudy sky. Coral sat still, silently among the many golden leaves carefully not whispering a word. When she overheard shots from the rifles engaged in the air; reminding her of, Fourth of July. Scarred and horrified she kept her mouth closed.
Not a single word released.
The angry trio grew increasingly irate and soon began shouting out even more, this time all three. They wanted her … yearned for her innocence, no more kissing, caressing, and teasing in a corner. Now her breast was fuller …legs taller, and skin smoother. Coral’s hair gracefully drifting along her backside in thick shades of red. She was becoming a woman-identical to her mother and they wanted her all to themselves.
As Coral’s thoughts intensified, Leo Davis wrapped his short frame up against the trunk of the old Grady and started to climb, as his large soda bottled eyes led the way, it was then when he spotted her shivering body positioned in the palm of the tree. Signaling the other two men emerged a smile and Coral knew that she was caught.
God had not heard her prayers.
Close to the sky she placed herself ... still, he had not heard her cries.
We lived a life filled with intentional loss of memory over a man, and father that was no longer required. On the contrary, I needed him. The man with no name ...no face. I required a physical fortress to protect me from the darkness lurking inside Building 232, and the harshness tormenting me from the outside.
There were times I wondered if I looked like him, my father that is? I believed that I had because my mother would stare at me for hours, her eyes numb ...lips and fingers twitching, “ Hmm, ...simply terrifying.”
Remembering from past arguments with Coral, my father had never truly loved my mother. That he’d eventually turned his back on us. Coral pregnant at the tender age of fourteen with me twirling in her womb. My mother was careful to mention very little details confirming his existence, “A down right hateful bastard.” Speaking nervously, constantly twitching.
How ironic that I would come to think the same of her.
Surely, this is painful to desire a mother’s love, and in return she refuses to embrace that love. Coral had never accepted me. Even now as a successful career woman and married to an unbelievably affectionate man. I definitely could not earn her respect diagnosed barren.
Coral would laugh in my face, short of spit.
“ Zola, you are not the right woman for that old man. Houston needs a real woman, a grown woman ... and you still a child." Coral’s words resonates throughout my body ...antagonizing my brain, my heart, and captivating my insecurities.
Lingering moments of fragmented memories I’d rather were immutably disconnected from my mind instead of repeatedly crashing, repeatedly crashing into my consciousness. I thought of coming clean to Coral, and to my husband, and with myself. Leaving me to wonder if Coral would finally come to love me? Would my husband then decide to leave me? ... Melodee, would she be ashamed of me?
The thought of bringing a child into this turmoil after enduring so many evils of the world. With knowing the extensive baggage I, myself continue to carry seems borderline mad. So many questions that are in need of answering, and I am absolutely in need of them all.
Several years ago, after struggling with an emotional lay-off and feeling a bit lost. I began to write a story of two women who had both suffered a tremendous loss of life, love and hope. As the pages increased, so did my love for this unfortunate family. Beckoning to be more than a short story, The Emotional Woman was penned. Coral Williams and her daughter, Zola have forever changed my life and I look forward to the novel's magnificent reveal. ~J.R.Randle