**Content Warning:** This story contains depictions of and allusions to the abuse of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, LGBTQA+, and children of abusive parents, and may contain content that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
As an additional layer, the content warning is as follows:
This story contains references and allusions to the abuse of vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, LGBTQA+, and children of abusive parents, and may contain content that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
The specificity is important here. These topics are ones related to trauma.
As the first of 2 parts (parts 5 and 6) released during June 2020, I am planning these to be the big reveals of the main characters’ situation in this LGBTQ+ medical and legal Southern gothic horror.
There is a correction. There are two references to a slamming door (oops). This is being corrected by the editors. Only the second reference is correct. The first reference is going to be removed. If you only see one reference to a slamming door then it has been fixed by the time you have read this.
Let me know what you think of the story so far as the story of Dee and Madison continues to unfold.
Thank you for reading. Without you these would be words entered into the void of electrons/photons making up the internet.
Today we did something crazy. We drove from Missoula, Montana to Eureka, Montana and back to give a friend a ride back to civilization from their family’s compound after they tested negative for COVID-19. What a great chance to show everyone this amazing place I live!
I am blessed to live in a place of wide open spaces and the optical illusion that creates a bigger sky
Where glaciers collide with clouds
Flathead Lake is always a welcome sight
Flathead Lake is a gem
We hit a bit of rain on our way, but it eventually subsided.
As with any good Montana road trip you have to stop for the wildlife.
Don’t worry – they move eventually
Nearing Eureka as it begins to get darker
Blue sky still visible at 9 PM? Not for long!
Near Trego, Montana the last bits of day find their way into this beautiful night
We managed to catch the sunset on our way in to town
As I’m pleased to share with you some of the magnificent clouds we witnessed about 15 miles south of the Canadian border at the port of Roosville
As we return from Eureka we see signs reminding us to social distance and stay close to home. Missoula County and Lincoln County both have 0 active cases. Our friend safely in tow, they are also high risk, have been isolating, and need to get to Missoula for a doctor appointment that cannot be done over a video chat.
Whitefish looks desolate. There’s no one on the roads here. It makes sense – Flathead County is among the hardest hit in the state – every case that’s been traceable has been connected to travel. Flathead County is where the airport for West Glacier and Whitefish is. We head south toward Kalispell.
We stop in Kalispell to charge the car and use a disposable barrier for handling the charging cable. Charging will require a couple of hours.
It’s dark, so the pictures aren’t going to be very interesting for the rest of tonight. We will be safely back in Missoula soon.
And there’s your Montana road trip during this crazy time. The world is a mess. Stay safe – hold your family close.
Disclaimer: The following story is based on true events, but the names of people, places, dates, and other identifiers have been changed to ensure anonymity. The only name left unchanged is my own.
I stared at Bea’s lips as they moved, half-registering the words as they vibrated the air molecules between us. The kettle clicked off, and she turned to the teacup and licorice tea. Her soft pale skin and hazel eyes glowed beneath a halo of an artificial burgundy pixie cut. I’d never had a crush like this before.
“Here now, this will help.”
I smiled as Bea passed me the piping cup, my sleeves pulled up over my hands as I wrapped my palms around the vessel and felt the warmth through the porcelain. Sitting dazed on her dorm bed with my eyes fixed into the cup of tea, the back of her hand pressed gently against the side of my face and forehead.
“Have you been to the clinic?”
I tried to speak, but my voice, entirely shot, sputtered; no words came out. Defeated, I shook my head instead.
“You’re sick, Lo.” Her head tilted, and she let out a sigh, raising half of her mouth in a way that I found more beautiful than any other woman I’d met in my life before.
I looked up at her, unaware of my facial expression that resulted in her busting out laughing. It must have changed because she sat next to me on the bed, her own face changing in a way that I couldn’t quite understand. It lost energy – the expression fell into that chasm my brain can never quite figure out. Above us loomed a framed black and white image of The Cure – a gift from her absent mother. It had been a fun past time to look at the poster and try to guess if one was her dad based on her chin and height. Raised by her aunt and grandmother, she knew her mother had been a roadie and had gotten pregnant on their 1992 US tour.
“I’m leaving at the end of this semester.”
Pain blossomed in my chest as I forced myself to make eye contact and stare into the peaks and valleys of her hazel eyes. Bea contained an internal sun that could only be seen upon close examination of her irises. Around her pupils and radiating out were flecks of golds and greens that emerged from a stormy brown-grey sea. I memorized her eyes as I waited for her to continue. When she began to speak, I focused on the bridge of her nose to try and appear as though I maintained eye contact while my attention shifted to my ears.
“I need to go home to Lennoxburg. My grandmother is sick, and,” she paused, “I don’t know if college is for me anyway.” Turning her head away from me, she stared at her door and lowered her head. “I’m not smart enough for this. First person in my family to try – first person in my family to fail.”
Inside my head, I screamed at myself, DO SOMETHING. Instead, I sat there with Bea in silence as I sipped my licorice tea next to the most beautiful woman in the world. Attempting to will my body to do anything to tell her, a panic rumbled beneath the surface. What if she doesn’t like you back?
“You look so rough. Here – I’ll grab some of these tea bags and walk you back.”
Walking through the cold December air of that Friday evening, the world disappeared. At the front of the building, she insisted on walking me up to my room. Outside that door, she faced me and lifted both corners of her mouth and tilted her head.
“Feel better, okay?” She hesitated, waiting. “I’m leaving Tuesday, so you probably won’t see me again.” And with that, she attempted to give me our first and last embrace before I retreated into the room, confused and hurt by it all.