“LIT…” by Di Dean

Chapter One

Sad and lonely Glenn Miller music played inside the blackened cockpit of a Mercedes which now showed 120 miles per hour from the fluorescent panel — and climbing. The yellow-green eyes of a beautiful blond woman checked the speedometer then back to the deserted beach freeway, where a full moon rested on the luminous water. Her hand reached for her Mother in the passenger seat — protectively touching the URN — and making sure it was firmly strapped into the seat belt as the Glenn Miller music softly continued its melody of sorrow and pain.

The black Mercedes screamed down the deserted freeway like it had a predetermined destiny with no fear of high and dangerous speeds. Di smiled. Her high cheekbones and full lips were seductive; long half curly blond hair had a mind of its own which she pushed off her shoulder. There was something very familiar in Di’s charismatic archival eyes; right out of a great movie from TCM that Hollywood would never relinquish to another dusty phantom – shelved and forgotten. No, this face belonged to one of the greats who was a combination of mystery and magnetic animal upon the sumptuous big screen. Like him, Di’s only obscurity was the glasses she wore to combat terribly near-sighted eyes and her almost ashamed shyness which like a spirit accompanied her everywhere. Slowly… the ghost of a small child now appeared in the back seat – crying and alone – hands folded to her chest. Glenn Miller music echoed into the tiny, lost and lonely sobs.

Di shivered and squinted at the freeway ahead while tears flowed down her cheeks and the fluorescent light caught bits of the reflections like tiny crystals. As far back as she could recall the rear seat of a car was where she was told to “hide and keep quiet” — especially when her Mother was talking about a place called Santa Monica. There was another word her Mother used and her voice changed in tone when that word was spoken. Hollywood. Her Pop would always remain stoic while driving and listening, only occasionally nodding until the whisper of a name vaporized into the backseat like a heavy fog. James Dean. That’s when the wind passing by the window became her best friend because tiny as she was — the sound of that wind was part of him — and she loved it.

Di wiped away the tears from the side of her cheek and turned to her Mother’s urn. “Why did you abort me… after I was born?”

As the amber sun began to rise over the ocean Di sat in the sand with her Mother’s large urn by her side. The fresh sun caught a piece of the urn and illuminated it while the waves tumbled to shore — and soft, soft Glen Miller music echoed above it all. “Who would I have been Mother? I need to know…” Di pulled the urn close to her side.

He was old now and walked slowly to the chair where Di sat, holding her Mother’s urn. His face had been punished by the years and years of his wife’s deceit, lovers and lies. The face seemed so sad in the frigid living room. “Thank you for coming by tonight.” Her Pop, clearly uncomfortable, sat down with a heavy sigh pulling a blanket to his lap. Another sigh, the old man looked as though he was about to explode from pain – the kind of dark pit, rotten pain — that had been withheld until now. Cautiously studying Di the words began to flow. “… There is a story now I must tell you about your birth.” Lightning exploded inside the room.

“… My conscience clearly cannot go on pretending these things didn’t happen… because they did and you have a right to know all of it…” Di sat upright, her yellow-green eyes rupturing tears of abandonment she refused to relive. Not now. Not ever. Please. Her Pop’s voice faded in a distorted echo of Glenn Miller music. Glasses fell from her face. The lightning hit the room again, the blurred into the scary back seat of a car with her Mother’s voice demanding “Quiet… I’ll be right back. Stay down.” Car door slammed and her Mother’s footsteps clicked farther and farther away… until that dead silence pierced her tiny heart into sobs. Rocking sobs. Arms folded to her chest sobs…

Di ran under the pepper tree and held her Mother’s urn up to the soft leaves as if the could help cover all of the dirty tears — like a blanket — over a broken child. But, pain stood out from behind her eyes because what she really wanted to do… was stomp on the urn until it went back into the where it would be enslaved in its own filth. Forever.

From the darkened yard he pushed the branches aside and silently stood. With the protective instinct of an animal Di lunged at the old man — halting just inches from the worn face who had raised her. An embarrassing shyness pushed her body back into the whispering pepper tree where shadows hid tormented pain. Glenn Miller music matched the soft breeze that suddenly began. “You don’t need to explain anything to me Pop I know I’m damaged… I’ve known it since I was born. And. That’s not a secret, you know it too.” Wounded animal eyes reached out from the leaves of the tree and studied his face like a lost child.

The old hands started to reach out stop and pull back knowing here words were, true. “Your life hasn’t been fair, this I know. If I could take the years away and change everything, her secrets, lies, especially lies concerning you… then I would.” His head lowered in defeat. “If, is no excuse either. I should have stopped her and I didn’t.”

Di came out of the shadow just enough to show a face ridden in tears and torment because his words had ripped open another piece of her heart. “… Why did she do it? Why did she — murder me?”

Part of Di didn’t want him to leave her under the pepper tree but somehow she knew he would walk away like he always did when she needed him most. She watched the old man make his way up the path and finally vanish behind the hedge. Sad, Glenn Miler music whistled through the leaves – and Di ran from the pepper tree disappearing into black.

The ghost of a tiny child, weeping and holding on to the trunk of a pepper tree… also vanished into black.

– from Hollywood “Lit” by Di Dean.

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