I thought over the course of this and next week, I’d post snippets from, my novel Secondhand Shoes, from Chapter One.
Lila is eighteen years old and everywhere she goes her Gram goes but…Gram is dead. Lila is a psychic/medium that doesn’t listen to her own intuition. She’s bullied by her mother to break up with the one she loves to marry an undesirable guy(a drug thug).
On the way to the honeymoon destination they stop off at a diner. It is there that Lila decides after an argument that there is no way she can have sex with this guy. She takes off with the wedding cash, still dressed in her wedding gown and shoes to the bathroom. There she escapes with Gram close by, out the bathroom window into the Ocala, Florida woods…..
Second Thoughts November 12, 1983
I stood in front of the full-length mirror. Black mascara streaked my tear stained cheeks. A hiccup escaped in the midst of a long sigh. I ran my fingers under the high lacey neckline, and scratched.
My reflection squirmed in the A-line wedding dress. The lacey neckline and sleeves of the dress made me itch. Taffeta made up the bodice and lower half of the dress. My chest, shoulders and neck itched something fierce. I hated the dress. I felt artificial. I thought I looked like a Wedding Day Barbie doll with two black eyes.
My Mom, Babs bought the dress at a bridal shop auction in Georgia a couple of months ago without me. Proud of herself, Mom went on for weeks about paying only: one hundred and sixty dollars for a new wedding gown. I never had a say in it.
The pretty-white shoes were covered in lace with three inch heels. But, they were a half-size too small. The backs dug into my heels and the fronts squeezed my toes. I hopped from foot to foot trying to find relief.
Mom found the shoes at a secondhand bridal boutique and brought them home to me. They cost eight dollars.
My mother picked the wedding day, and the groom, too. She’s never been one to give me an opportunity to speak.
I swiped at my tears and picked up a hand-mirror on a near-by table to see the back of my head. My headpiece slid midway into my blonde curls, and I adjusted the pearlized combs.
My stepdad, Howard opened the door wide enough to poke his head into the small room the church set aside for brides. He smiled and asked “Are you ready?”
He looked handsome in his black tuxedo, even though his belly hung over his pants. He smoothed back his salt-and-pepper hair, and his usually droopy eyes twinkled.
The mirror reflected that he walked into the room smiling, came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulder. “Lila, you look---.” He fixed his eyes on my runny eye make-up and gave me a wary look. “You look lovely.” He forced out the words. “Seems like yesterday, you were six and falling off your bike. Scraping your knees. And then I’d have to pick you up and carry you into the house to wipe away your tears and put iodine on your scrapes.”
I bowed my head, and my lips quivered. Daddy did his best to make light of a terrible situation.
My mind shouted at me before he spoke again. It shouted and shouted Julio’s name. It shouted that this day should’ve been ours. My brain went into tantrum mode, but I bit my tongue. I knew Mom considered Julio a moot subject and Daddy shied away from it.
“I hope those are tears of happiness, sweet angel?”
He knew better.
I shook my head. “Oh, Daddy I can’t marry Max. It’s all wrong.” Julio jumped into my head. I shouldn’t have broken up with him.
He pulled me to his chest. Cuddling my head against his shoulder like he did when I was little. “Did you tell your mother, this?”
“You know that would bring doom on me.” Mom’s wooden spoon crossed my mind. She never leaves home without it. “Couldn’t you do it?”
He patted my back. “Honey, she’s only doing what she thinks is best for you. You know how she is?”
I lifted my head from his shoulder. “But I’ve only known him three months and I’m barely eighteen. I should’ve taken your advice. I should be allowed to make my own decisions.” I pulled at the high lacey neckline to scratch my neck again. “My stomach’s upset.”
Daddy grabbed a bunch of tissues from a Kleenex box nearby and wiped at the smeared make-up on my face. “Do your best to convey this to your mother. I’m right here, sweet girl.”
A lot of good that would do. Daddy’s never done a great job at standing up to her. I wished he had the guts to do it for me.
The door to the bridal room flew open, hitting the wall. Mom barged in, and the door bounced shut with a click. Her hair looking more fiery red than usual and her eyes piercing, she said, “Why are you still here? You should’ve been out there five minutes ago.” She cocked her left brow at both of us. Her eyebrows were painted on. It was a grimace-inducing sight when she cocked sans paint from a barren forehead. Prone to neuroses about her appearance, she pulled all her eyebrows out lest they wild-hair on her.
Thank God she didn’t come with her weapon. Quick, I looked around but saw nothing she could grab to swat with.