I was stealing out into the darkness of the summer night at sixteen. My senses were still on high alert. I quietly close the basement door of my first unshared bedroom. My parents were lifeless, and when last I did dare to peek into their room, my father lay naked as did my mother on the floor. They were utterly oblivious to all that was now surrounding them, including the rancid odor of urine, vomit, and that stale smell of alcohol as it was seeping through their pores. This disgusting stench was like an intruder as they both snored in unison.
Quietly I pray for a momentary lapse in my adolescent loneliness. Taking one last obsessive glance back toward the place I was forced to call home, I felt the night breeze tossing my waist-length mane. Goosebumps covering my upper body stood up as if to salute the evening and my freedom all at once. Wilmington was beautiful this time of year, and the sweet smell of magnolia blossoms and honeysuckle made my head spin. God was everywhere, and I could feel Him, see Him and enjoy his creation this night. My mind now purposely shutting out my daily life as I entered my dreamland.
As I moved through the quiet street toward the beach, I suddenly saw a fantastic Gardenia tree. There was a speckling of intoxicating creamy white blossoms covering this massive shrub. I felt myself begin to float about in my light pink gauze dress. It was clinging to my body. I felt a slight trickle of sweat gathering between my shoulders. In my mind, I was a ballerina dancing for fairies that were possibly living in the near vicinity. Carefully I pick one perfect blossom to place by my ear. It will not wither in the humid summer evening, but instead, it will depart a fragrance befitting a queen.
Getting closer to the ocean, I begin to hear the night sounds, which were so different than those that nature provided. The distant waves were growing closer, as were the sounds of individuals talking in excited tones. The possibility of companionship was overwhelming my senses. I had been so lonely lately, and sadness was my shadow. I felt the flow of blood, warming my cheeks. I thought of the possibility of meeting a nice young man in a coffee house, or perhaps I would order a glass of sweet tea with lemon in an outdoor restaurant. I could patiently wait for someone thoughtful to sit by me. A conversation with a sober person was out there somewhere. Someone who was longing to meet a girl just as I was yearning for the company of a handsome poet. I literally could feel the sting of electricity in the air as I grew close to the lights, music, laughter, and the ocean’s slightly fishy smell.
By Joni 11/12/19 (Part one of a two part story)