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Turks and Caicos: Part 1

I’ve always pondered this question:

Is there really such a thing as heaven on earth?

To put it bluntly, YES.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

The first question asked when I told someone we were vacationing in Turks & Caicos this year was, “I’m sorry, WHERE?”

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My husband and I first heard about this place years ago. Originally when we started looking into it, the $$ dollar signs $$ were way too shocking for us, so we pushed it aside, and vowed to visit at least once after one of us was willing to sell a kidney to do so. 🙂

Kidding. We didn’t sell a kidney. Wouldn’t…I don’t think. But then again, this place is damn amazing…..

We saved up. Looked for airfare deals, planned…planned some more, and finally made it happen.

1) Don’t stay at a resort unless you want to eat rice for a year to pay for it. Book a private villa. We did. Four bedrooms, two baths, a private pool, four minute walk to the beach, and the ability to cook some of your meals at home. A fraction of the cost. Quieter. All around, don’t do it any other way. Mean it.

2) Book your airfare in advance. Don’t fly direct. Look for airfare deals on Tuesday mornings. We were able to fly First Class, all 5 of us, for a VERY reasonable price on US Airways. How? Loads of patience and early planning.

3) Stay near Leeward Beach. The island is small, so renting a car is a must to explore. We opted to stay farther away from the resorts. It’s quieter, and our beach is deserted this time of year. Amazing.

My kids haven’t fought once since arriving. Not that they fight all that much at home, but they are best friends here. It’s astounding when you walk away from life, the stress of it, all of it…how the ability of just being alive settles in. The appreciation of just breathing becomes your focus, and the beauty of nature encircles you. It’s astounding, quite honestly.

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Upon our decent into Turks and Caicos, the entire plane grew silent. Cell phones were raised to the windows as everyone snapped photos of a place you, up until that moment, only imagined existed within the pages of a picture book.

The water is crystal clear. Whether you are snorkeling 10 feet above a coral reef, or over 100 feet, you can see the bottom. Just like a swimming pool, except with hundreds of neon colored fish, powered sugar sand rifts on the ocean floor, and conch shells the length of your forearm. Everywhere.

The locals here are so accommodating and friendly. Someone told me the heart attack rate here is almost non-existent. I’m not surprised. It is the most calming, methodical existence any human being could ever uncover here.

What I’ve learned in the past 48 hours since arriving is how much stress we put on ourselves to simply survive. I, for one, am a terrible stress hoarder. We shouldn’t have to visit a place like this to savor life. We should be able to do it wherever we call home, but it’s hard, right? I get it. I hope to walk away, that all of my family walks away, with the value of just BEING. At home, routine is what fuels us, not the quiet means of just being alive. I see it so clearly here.

Sunsets are postcard like.

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Last night, my middle child and my youngest laid out under the stars for hours. Without city lights, the constellations are so bright here. My middle child loves the stars, and has ever since he was very young. He taught the rest of us last night where certain constellations were, what they were called, how long astronomers had known of their existence, etc. We saw shooting stars, many of them, and it was invaluable to me to watch my kids stare in wonder at the beauty of the sky that lie above us.

Are we ever coming home? Questionable at the moment. 🙂 When you capture photos like this, it’s very hard to ever fathom stepping back on a plane to return to the life we walked away from.

~ VSK

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Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

NOWHERE is somewhere

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That moment in time when a book changes your life…

It’s kind of liberating to step forth and proclaim the realization that literature can truly leave a mark on your being in a way you never thought possible. Before I step too far into this puzzling pool of wonder, let me elaborate a bit on how this came to be.

Books of all shapes and sizes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as a young child, they meant a great deal to me.

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I never read because I had to, I read because I needed to. My strength is bound in the power of words.

For as long as I can remember, novels were always my bounty, my hiding place, because I live inside my mind more than I could ever explain. When I read books, I see them vividly in torrents of color without boundaries. I read to “see”. When I write, it is the exact same way. I’m not one to map out or diagram a novel before diving into it headfirst. Instead, I take a simple idea and work forward as I watch each scene, from the curve of a character’s face, to the color, type and wonder of each bounty that surrounds them from all sides, unfolds. As they step forward, so do I. I’ve found over the years that most authors don’t write like this.

Many of us live internally in our own world of wonder. And that eclectic world of magnificence is embedded deep within our visual thoughts.

Recently a wonderful friend of mine sent me a book. One she said her son had recommended to her, and after she read it, her perspective on life changed. She wanted to share the same sense of power with me to see what I thought, and how I felt after reading it. I devoured it in a day, curled up in my home office, away from family for a few hours as I let it seep into me. I walked away with new eyes, and the ever growing urge and prompting to learn to find NOWHERE and visit it often.

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Finding the corridor of peace in the state of NOWHERE is hard for me. I am a busy, highly devoted wife and mother, and my days begin with a rushed feeling, and end with that same feeling as well. Raising three boys is demanding…raising kids in general is a 24 hour responsibility, yet my kids reside here at home with me all day, every day. We homeschool. Homeschooling is a calling. I felt called 5 years ago. I still feel that calling, and so do my husband and kids. But it doesn’t go without saying, that I do neglect things. And the biggest thing I neglect is myself. Not out of purpose, but out of performance.

Social media is my life. It’s what I do for a living, literally. I own my own social media company. My phone is glued to my hand, my tablet is sitting on my lap, or my computer resides in front of me all day, every day. It’s how I’ve learned to exist, to make a living, but all the while, I’ve forgotten what it meant to simply live, to just be, to find the comfort of NOWHERE.

In the past year, my life has changed dramatically in a number of ways. From health issues to relationship woes, to a finished novel and several new clients, yet somehow instead of meditating on how to cope and change with the ebb and flow of life, I’ve fled to filling up my schedule instead of filling up my often neglected spirit. I fled from NOWHERE to somewhere.

When I speak of NOWHERE, it means something much greater than the seven letters it’s composed of. It doesn’t mean staying put, it means putting down. And by putting down, I mean stepping away from the highway of life that moves at lightening speed every now and then. To exist. To be still. TO BE.

My middle child, who is 14, lives within his mind too. Just like his mom. I handed him the book when I was finished and gently said, “Read this. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, today.” He took the book from my hands and instantly knew what I was saying. I found him a half an hour later, laid up in the corner of our living room with our dog in his lap, fully engulfed in the very same journey I had just taken a few hours before.

I’ve got a very in-tune connection with all of my kids, but my middle and I share a deep level of understanding that is often hard to explain to others. When he was three, he was diagnosed with high spectrum autism, often labeled as Asperger’s. He is wise beyond his years, and always has been. He still struggles in some areas, particularly with social skills, but I honestly think the culprit is the expansive mind he encumbers. There are times he trumps me in how he peels back the layers of a book, a song, or a simple sentence. He sees the core of things much deeper then most of us. I knew this book would speak to him in even bigger ways then how it spoke to me. I was right.

He finished. We talked. He uncovered the meat of the book in a few simple sentences, yet in a profoundly unbelievable way far beyond that of most teenagers, and I quote, “Speed is addictive. I’m not talking about drugs in this context, I’m talking about the need to embrace the empowerment it lends us in today’s society. When we slow down, we suffer from withdrawal and a sense of pain. When we are not a part of the structural highway of fast paced life, we find ourselves lost, and many of us, unaccepted. I think the real problem here is, we’ve learned to only accept ourselves when we are headed somewhere; a pinpoint. To say you’re going NOWHERE sounds superficial. Like you’re a loser. When, after reading this book, NOWHERE is where each of us should strive to be.”

I think my son summed things up better then I ever could. And more importantly, we’ve both walked away with a sense of searching for NOWHERE instead of somewhere. In the deepest crevices of NOWHERE, you find yourself, and the art of simply living.

Changes are being made over here. I’ve yearned for NOWHERE for way too long, and just never knew it. Or better yet, maybe I didn’t want to know it until now. I’m no longer pushing it aside, but embracing it instead. You should too.

~ VSK

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Daytona Beach For Dummies

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Vacation with the family…

We’ve had this trip booked for six months. Three days in Daytona Beach followed up with seven days in Orlando. The place where kids’ dreams come true, while draining their parents’ pocket books. Sounds legit.

The issue with this spectacular sun soaked three days of paradise before falling into the $5,000 Universal Studios tickets tourist trap, where you spend your life savings on $25 Cokes and temporary tattoos of Marvel Heroes…is the fact it has been raining since we arrived.

The closest thing I’ve seen to the glorious sun is the flashes of lightening off in the distance as I wrap my arms around me, chilled to the bone in shorts and a tank top. You expect 90 degree days this time of year here. Instead, the high was 67 degrees yesterday. Freezing. It sucks. Like whales being chased by sharks. Except I’m not out there with the whales and the sharks. I’m inside, sitting at the deserted hotel bar with my husband, and some guy in a Jimmy Buffet concert tee with a naked lady tattoo on his right arm, drinking $10 Bloody Mary’s while the kids argue over who used the iPad last. It’s been fantastic so far. Cheers.

Perhaps I should back up to Thursday during the flight. Little A and I had to sit three rows behind my husband and older two boys. Why? Because we booked these flights before Christmas and all the seats were (ahem) SOLD OUT at that time. In other words, if you want to SIT with your family you have to pay an extra $40 to rub elbows with them. Thank you airline companies, I appreciate your desire to steal take my hard earned money to sit with the ones I love.

The entire row in front of us were five over-perfumed, spray tanned, middle aged women who were flying to Florida for a girl’s trip! Yay! They were drinking rum and Coke as soon as the flight took off. Within half an hour, I began taking notes on my phone. Literally. I’m an author! Are you surprised? Here is my compiled list of lady talk and activities that occurred during the flight after alcoholic beverages began flowing:

a) Lisa insisted on taking “selfies” with the others. Before the pics were taken, the other women needed to know…

– “Do my bangs look okay? Are they separated?”

– “We are HOT! Right? We are, right?! RIGHT? RIIIIGGGHHHTTT?”

– “My teeth feel weird, like, I need to brush them. I’m not going to do a “teeth smile”. Only closed lips. So, okay everyone, closed lip smile ladies!”

b) “Rick…you know him, Jan. The one with the nice cheek bones and great a$$? Yeah, well, he’s getting a divorce. So, I’m newly single, and you know…” Wink, wink…long sip of her 2nd rum and Coke. Message received. You are an…interesting human being, and I’m glad we’re not friends. The End.

c) Several women took off their shoes mid-flight, feet on the back of the chairs, to compare toenail polish and dry heel issues. Gross. I found refuge in a book, and by making fun of them in my mind. Carry on, weirdos…

d) The one with the “separated bangs” looked through all 1,300 photos on her iPhone the entire flight. She spoke very LOUDLY about each photograph. I especially enjoyed the one of her laying topless, face down on a beach towel from last summer in St. Croix. Instead of focusing on her nudity, she enjoyed sharing her love of the floppy hat she wears on EVERY beach trip with Dan. That floppy hat has seen a lot of beaches. And other things, apparently. Yikes.

Thrifty Rental Car – They hire idiots. <— That should be their new slogan. Because it’s true.

Let me give you one piece of advice before I share my story. Do your research online like I did. There have been a TON of complaints in regards to the rental car companies in the Orlando International Airport lately. Not just Thrifty…almost all of them. The complaint is, you get a stellar price online, but once you return your vehicle, the TOTAL amount doubled because you didn’t realize what you were checking “yes” on in the lengthy paperwork at the counter where the idiots employees work.

So, I decided I would get the car instead of hubby since I went over my rental car counter speech on the plane numerous times to keep from having to listen to the cackling ladies in front of me. I said what I wanted and didn’t want immediately to the rep behind the desk, and I got the car for WHAT I knew I was told I’d pay when I made the original reservation. She was peeved with me when I told her that “homey don’t play like that” <—- (that’s my best 1982 saying). Not to mention, I was first in line to get the car. Go Val!

We grab our “Loser Cruiser” or minivan, as my husband calls it, and head to the exit. I hand the lady in the rental car booth my paperwork, and she starts typing a novel on her computer.

“What’s up? Is there a problem?”

She clicks her tongue. “Yeah, well your driver’s license information doesn’t match the car reservation info.”

My cheeks grow hot. I can feel my husband begin to sweat in the seat next to me.

“And what exactly does that mean?”

She hands me back my paperwork. “It means you need to turn around and go back to the desk to have them fix the information. Sorry. Have a good day.”

We may have exchanged a few other words after this. I am usually a very civilized human being, but after this incident, and the very unhelpful individual in the rental car booth who seemed to sense she was a rental car god of some sort, we chatted. I got the information sorted out before the cops arrived to arrest me. Moving on…

It’s 8:30am on Saturday. The lifeguard in a snazzy pickup truck just drove down the beach and told everyone to get inside because of another storm moving through the area with lightening. Super. I’m truly excited about sitting on the balcony of my hotel room again to watch it rain while the neighbors above us smoke cigars and talk about deep sea fishing. They spit off the side of the balcony every now and then as well. I like them. If only spit flew upwards, we’d be in great shape.

“Oh waiter? Can I have shot of Jagermeister, please? Make it a double, will you darling?”

A Miffed Beach Tourist ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

Christmas, Cake Balls, The End of the World and Throw Pillows

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Well, I woke up this morning. Big blessings for that I suppose, although that now means the dirty dishes in the sink will NOW have to be loaded into the dishwasher, and the stairs have to be vacuumed.

Dude, maybe I’ll just pretend the “cleaning” apocalypse happened instead. I’ll just sit in my oversized, comfy chair with some chocolate cake balls and a good book the entire day.

That good book would be one that is currently unpublished by an author friend of mine who has a BRILLIANT way with words. I read it, and can immediately see myself sitting in a movie theatre with hundreds of other fans. As an author, rejection hurts. I’ve been there, and my writing buddy has walked the path too. But in my heart of hearts, I know I’ll be sitting in that movie theatre eventually watching SVV’s movie someday. It’s just that good.

Hey, J.K. Rowling was rejected nearly 200 times before someone said, “Eh, yeah I guess we can give this kid Harry Potter a try.” That’s all it takes…one yes. I’ll search for it alongside my passionate twin who loves words just as much as I do. I hope she comes and sees my movie someday as well…we’ll eat cake balls together in the back of the theatre and giggle at what a crazy ride it was to get here. {wink}

But, I do think these are worth claiming a “cleaning” apocalypse happened, don’t you?

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No, I’m not willing to share. But if you’d like to try and scratch n’ sniff the computer screen, be my guest. It just might work ya know.

You know you are guilty of doing this on Facebook at least once. How’d that work out for you, by the way? You know how important it is to know your fight name…Random, moving on….

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@[614] Wow, I’ve got a cool fight name…

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This is my couch. My husband made the comment yesterday that I just DON’T have enough throw pillows displayed on it. I have to agree, there is always room for more! Just because of his snarky comment I’m going to add more to this holiday-ish display before he gets home from work today.

You know the real reason for so many pillows on the couch? So that my children can roll in them, pushing them to the floor and smacking each other with them, so that I can pick them up and re-arrange them a half a dozen times a day because it’s awesome! Not really, I don’t know why there are so many pillows on the couch. There is just something about women and throw pillows. Maybe I have an addiction problem…I don’t want to talk about it…

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Have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family this weekend! I’m so glad the Mayans were wrong…I can’t wait to see Santa and ask him for a publishing contract! I bet he brings me a throw pillow instead though…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

Oh My Gosh…Welcome to New York City…I Guess…

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The family!

Guess what? We made it! (P.S. I hate the above picture of myself. I look like I just ate a bug…)

New York City is amazing, but it’s even more amazing at Christmas time.

Rockefeller Center…look at the gorgeous tree! We watched the tree lighting two nights ago on TV, and to be standing in front of it now is pretty darn cool.

I’ve been to New York twice before, but it’s been 15 years since I stepped foot into this busy, diverse and entertaining city. 15 years ago I had just graduated high school, wasn’t married, and didn’t have the three incredible boys standing beside me like I do now.

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So let’s recap HOW our first day in NYC was. Have you ever seen the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation? Sweet, then you’ll relate to the story below VERY well…

We fly into Newark, NJ…when you are flying 7 people to New York with today’s airfare prices, it was way less expensive to skip LaGuardia, and fly here. So we did, and we arrived with about 1.5 million other travelers. Welcome to New York.

My dad had arranged for a van to take us to the apartment that my parents rented for the week. Again, way cheaper to rent an apartment for 7 people then to pay for two $789 hotel rooms in downtown Manhattan each night and live with the rats…

We see a fancy-smancy driver complete with a snazzy driving hat holding a sign with our name. I felt like Kristen Stewart…or maybe Joan Rivers depending on how “fancy” you’re feeling. So we follow our driver with our 50 pieces of luggage because I’m cheap, and I refuse to pay $45 to check my bags, thank you very much!

We arrive at our van…a massive Mercedes van that looks like it transports the mafia to and from their lavish parties…or “shady” business deals. Anyhow, moving on…..

So my dad calls the owner of the apartment to say we are on our way. The maid answers. My dad talks loud…he repeats himself 20 times…”Can you hear me? Hello? I’m Mr. Pryor. Pryor. P-r-y-o-r. Hello?!”

The maid says, “Oh, you coming today? It’s next Friday, yes?”

My dad replies, “Uh, no, today.”

Fabulous. A family of 8, with 6 young children had the apartment before us. 6 young children that apparently ran the house, and don’t abide by the rules while they jump on the beds while eating M&M’s and Skittles while destroying the apartment. There was candy EVERYWHERE, along with pieces of clothing, a stroller and several mis-matched shoes left behind.

So we arrive…to drop off our luggage and go somewhere while the maid cleans our disastrous home away from home, because it has to be cleaned…ya know, ’cause we weren’t supposed to be here until next Friday. Super.

We head to a hole in the wall Italian place because my middle son hasn’t eaten in an hour and a half and he’s FAMISHED. Welcome to the teenage years.

We arrive home because we’re freezing and kids need to pee. Apartment is clean. Yet as we walk in, a little gray mouse runs across the living room floor, a freakin’ M&M in it’s mouth from the…um, lovely family who stayed here before us.

We chase the mouse, he disappears through a vent. The little kiddo cries. He doesn’t want to sleep here now because the mouse will nibble his toes and give him rabies. Good gravy, shoot me now.

So we go to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. There are 5 million people there, so we squeeze our way through. The oldest kiddo now complains of a stomach ache probably due to the hole in the wall Italian eatery. We find a pharmacy and buy $18 overpriced Pepto Bismal. Now we need a bathroom. Hubby takes him to “Five Guys” but to use the bathroom, you need a code. So you have to buy something to get the dad-gum code…He buys a $7 coke…

We come home, exhausted. Everyone heads to bed. Darren and I realize that our bedroom feels like a freakin’ freezer. 5 blankets and a pair of sweats later, we huddle together in bed to keep warm. If we didn’t, I’m quite certain we’d freeze to death. Sirens go by ALL…NIGHT…LONG. People scream for no reason, bottles break…oh my gosh, it’s 3am and I’m still awake….I need to pee, but it’s to cold to get out of bed, so I lay there, huddled against my husband, the blanket over my head as if I’m a young child trying to hide from monsters.

5am, someone above us decides to take a shower…an elephant wearing rollerskates I’m convinced. I still have to pee. Hold it Val, hold it…there is no way I’m venturing across the frozen Alaskan wilderness to go to the bathroom.

I get up at 7am…exhausted. I need a 5-hour energy…maybe 2.

Holy smokes, we haven’t even been here 24 hours….

Welcome to NYC!

VSK

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The Glass Castle Dream Playlist…Listen and Love

Music is a HUGE part of my life. With that said, I compiled a play list of some of my favorite songs that really inspired me while writing The Glass Castle Dream.

If you love my novel and the amazing characters that line the pages, then I know you’ll love these sweet ballads. Enjoy. I have.

This precious novel comes to a close in two short weeks. {tears!}

Forever And Almost Always ~ Kate Voegele

Hazy ~ Rosi Golan

Falling For You ~ Seabird

Expression ~ Helen Jane Long

Hold My Heart ~ Sara Bareilles

Heavy ~ Holly Brook

Marry Me ~ Train

Lovely ~ Sara Haze

Gotta Figure This Out ~ Erin McCarley

Heal Over ~ KT Tunstall

Endlessly ~ Green River Ordinance

Enjoy the music of life ~

VSK

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The Glass Castle Dream ~ WORTH

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Drenched in sweat, I rolled over to glance at the clock. 2:17am. Tears immediately began to flow as soon as I realized once more that I lay alone in our queen size bed. I refused to change the sheets, afraid that the remaining hint of his scent would flutter away like a butterfly. He always smelled like cocoa butter and Ivory soap. It was a scent that comforted me completely; begging me to curl up within his arms and drift off to sleep. Sleep had been so easy then. Nowadays, it was impossible to grasp.

The shadows that traced the bedroom floor danced with uncertainty as the crickets sang a solemn song of loneliness outside. Nightmares filled my dreams these days. It had been three and a half weeks since Marc had passed away. Three and a half weeks of complete and undistinguishable darkness that left me unwilling to eat, sleep or interact with anyone. And when I did, it was a robotic motion, not a human one.

Rolling onto my side, I looked over at Mitzie, our two year old Westie. She had sensed Marc’s absence these past few weeks. Although she had never been allowed to sleep on our bed, that rule had changed recently. I needed her with me, and it was obvious she needed me too. She slept on his side of the bed each night, curled up with her nose tucked under her tail. Sorrow seemed to fill her dark brown eyes.

“Come here, sweet girl.” I patted the bed, calling Mitzie over to me. She stood up sleepily, wagged her tail and made her way over to my arms. I hugged her close, and kissed her warm, fuzzy head.

I felt my stomach turn as I closed my eyes. The past several weeks had left me feeling overly tired, hormonal and queasy. My willingness to eat had subsided out of distinct depression; it was obvious grief had taken a toll on my body. I knew there was no way I could reach out to sleep, so I decided to reach out to my best friend Natalie for a late night pep talk instead.

Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I suddenly felt dizzy. I had to eat something, even if my stomach begged me not to. Nothing sounded even remotely appetizing, but I pushed myself forward anyone.

Slipping on my house shoes, I felt my way through the dark room towards the kitchen, Mitzie’s claws clicking across the hardwood floor behind me. I grabbed the phone and dialed Natalie’s number as I rummaged through the pantry for a snack. Two rings in, I heard her voice groggily pass through the receiver.

“Mmm…hello?”

“Nat, it’s me. I’m sorry to call so late. Just needed to hear your voice, I guess.”

“Hey…no problem, Reece.” I heard her yawn, causing me to yawn back in a repetitive fashion.

“So, how are you holding up, sweetie?”

I took a bite of a stale chocolate chip cookie before answering, “Awful. But, I’m trying. And these days, that’s all I can do. Try.”

“Are you thinking about going back to work anytime soon? I mean, just for the distraction. It might be good for you, Ree.”

Work. I loved my job. I was a freelance writer for the local newspaper here in Charleston, South Carolina. Writing had always been a love of mine, and the pay wasn’t too bad either. It was just enough to cover some of the basic expenses Marc and I had. Not many individuals could say that they loved their job, but I could. And Marc had been so supportive of my writing, every piece of it. Without his relentless support now present, I felt like a part of my love of spilling words across the page had withered away.

“Yes Nat, I have thought about going back, but Mr. Hoffman said to take my time. That’s what I’m doing. Taking my time. I just don’t feel ready yet,” I replied, a quiver in my voice.

“The time will come. Just take it one day at a time. You know I’m here for you.”

Natalie was an amazing woman. We became friends instantly our junior year of high school. She was sweet, forgiving, smart and ravishingly beautiful. Her dark auburn hair and evergreen eyes spoke of elegance and a genuine spirit. And genuine, she was. Without her shoulder to cry on, I knew my loss would have cut so much deeper. She understood what I was going through, every piece of it.

I took another bite of the stale cookie as I rummaged through the fridge for the orange juice carton. A wave of nausea caused beads of sweat to form above my brow.

“Oh gosh…,” I spoke into the phone, quietly.

“What’s the matter, Ree? You okay?” Natalie spoke, concern in her voice.

I sat the half eaten cookie on the counter, pulled out a kitchen chair to sit down, and clutched my stomach.

“I have these waves of nausea and I’m completely exhausted. I know grief can take a toll on someone, but I never expected to feel…ill.”

“Have you been eating? Like, an actual meal, Reece?”

I knew the answer to her question, and it was an absolute no. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a full, square meal. A handful of chips, a half of an apple, a jar of olives…that was how I had survived the last three and a half weeks. That explained my ill state completely.

“No, not really Nat. It’s easy to let breakfast, lunch and dinner pass by without a second thought these days.”

I heard Natalie chuckle on the other end of the line as my fingers traced the grain of the kitchen tabletop. “Maybe your pregnant, Reece!”

My breath caught in my throat at her words. Could that even be possible? The thought had never even crossed my mind. Marc and I were always careful, most of the time. I stood up from the table and walked over to the calendar that hung on the wall next to the kitchen sink.

“Nah, there’s not a chance. I mean, it could happen, but I don’t feel pregnant,” I replied back, smoothly.

“You don’t have to feel pregnant to be pregnant. Just a thought, although I’m sure it’s just this huge change in your life. Understandable.”

I ran my hand across the month of March. My last period had been on the third. Today was April 9th. I was late…almost a week late. Panic filled my thoughts as tears welled up in my tired eyes.

“Reece, you there?” she said, with grave worry and hesitation.

“Um, yeah…yeah. I’m here. Just…looking for a snack,” I laughed aloud, trying my best to make light of the fear that pulsed through my veins.

“Stay away from the sweets. Have an apple and a cup of hot tea. That will help you sleep.”

Eating anything strayed away from my thoughts completely, but I wasn’t about to tell her so. “Sounds great actually,” I lied. She seemed to buy it, or so I hoped.

“I should let you sleep. You have work in the morning. Thanks for talking to me.”

“Anything for my best friend, you know that. Listen, I’ll drop by after work tonight. We’ll grab some Thai food for dinner. My treat,” Natalie spoke, sweetly.

“That sounds amazing. I look forward to it. Love you!”

“Love you too, Ree. See you tonight.”

I hung up the phone with a worrisome grin written across my face. But instead of making myself a cup of tea or heading back to bed, I grabbed my car keys. I prayed the pharmacy down the street was open at this hour. I had to know…now. Even though my heart already seemed to grasp the truth of reality. And it scared the living daylights out of me. Completely.

Copyright 2012 – Valerie King
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