Part Two of The Mater’s Series
Love, Loss and Resurrection
Mahogany-brown eyes gazed back at me from across the table. Aaron’s eyes. Sipping rosé I absorbed his soul, drawing it unto my own, hoping somehow to keep it there forever. Shades of love wavered in from the past, shades I had known as experience transformed illusions into reality. Fractured by violence and the indifference of others, including a condemning husband, I had grown from a young woman with hope to one of vulnerabilities. Mid all the heartache, time I spent with Aaron helped more than anything else. He cared enough to take time to listen, to be there as best he could. We shared fishing trips to the mountains, intellectual conversations invoking mental gymnastics, concerns about personal and family issues and lovemaking in unusual places. During the years we had known each other, our love grew into an inner connection, an interweaving.
On that day in the pizza parlor over thirty years ago I came to know the tapestry would remain incomplete. I needed to end the illicit relationship and design a life with someone who could be there for me full-time. It fractured my heart, as well as his, to do so. Years later when I learned of his death I, again, experienced the loss. He was gone from this life, permanently.
But is permanence, permanent? What if it’s not? So, I’m asking you, if you could resurrect a lost sweetheart so you could be with him or her again, if you could return life to someone who had lost theirs, would you? Yes, no, maybe, I don’t know…these are plausible answers. Honestly, there are circumstances under which I would consider it. Maybe you would too. There are people I miss, those taken from this reality prematurely, as well as those I could have loved better, those who could have taught me more just by being themselves and those I cherish. If I had to the power to fix that, I just might. This was especially true when I was younger.
When we are young we believe in fairytale solutions. We will grow up strong and proud. The tools we use to sculpt our lives will generate our most desired outcomes. All the choices we make will be the right ones. Even if bad things happen, we know we are smart enough to emerge on the other side of these catastrophes unscathed. So it is in our dreams. We are certain this will continue to be true as our lives blossom before us. What we don’t realize during our youth is that there are no abracadabra solutions. Oh, in our inexperience we don’t call them that, but it is a correct label, nonetheless. We are confident that those whose lives do not turn out as they hope, just don’t plan correctly. They do not have the savvy, the inner fortitude, the looks or destiny that we possess. Our inexperience and naivete lead us to believe we will prevail against all comers. When insecurity and contradictions hit we push them aside.
Then life happens. It becomes more personal, more subjective, and we become the proverbial I. That which I planned didn’t work. I try again. Again, it doesn’t work, or it’s only partially successful. People I encounter do not adhere to my ways of thinking. These other people fail to be even slightly compliant. As it turns out, they have their own ideas which seem valid to them. Imagine that. They are wrong, of course. I am right, and I “know” it. I become sure that if these misguided individuals could only see their mistakes in discernment, they could find their own true way. They don’t, but neither do I, at least some of the time. I try other solutions. The results are similar even though the circumstances have been altered. The changes I make do not implement the expected outcomes.
Fretting about the way things can go so haywire, I nurse disillusionment and despair. To pull myself out of the rut I take a class, go to church or to bars and/or engage in one fling after another. I employ my favorite crutch, consider alternative solutions and try them. The solutions seem to be working, when all at once someone I care about does something which harshly impacts my life. There is no way I can avoid it.
I cry out to God, the universe or an empty room for relief. Time passes. Nothing happens. I slosh on as life’s ocean sucks me under, wave after wave. In an inkling, in a time and a way I did not anticipate, a stranger appears. He is kind, concerned and offers sympathy when others have abandoned me.
That’s truly how it happened for me. I met Aaron four months after my brother committed his crimes. My husband at the time was ashamed of me for what my brother had done. He forbid me to tell his old-money family. My entire support system, including my huge extended family, deflated like a soufflé during an earthquake. My brother was charged with murder. As I navigated the undercurrents of the legal system and functioned as my parents’ life vests, I was tugged into the whirlpool.
Never during my youth could I have imagined my life would morph into this kind of horror. Going under in a turbulence not of my making, I took the hand Aaron offered. Over a period of two-and-a-half-years, he and I developed a friendship. He, too, was married. Friendship blossomed into more. As I had anticipated at its inception, this relationship created its own separate issues. After six-and-a-half-years of friendship I decided I needed to end the affair, dismantling my haven of comfort. Still shattered by the murders, I divorced my husband and charted a new direction.
When I learned of Aaron’s death, it had an unsettling impact on me. To work it through I decided to create a work of visionary fiction whereby he and I could resurrect our relationship and be together. Thus, my novel, Resurrection Rose, became a reality, evolving into the second book in The Mater’s Series. To lighten the tale I employed the crazy old women, Tater’s Maters. They plopped themselves into the protagonist’s life at unlikely times and in ways which were not necessarily welcome.
Bethanie, a professional portrait artist, paints people back to life. She just doesn’t know it until they start showing up. While attempting to make sense of her skills, she runs into her former lover, Gabe, a man with an environmental mind set, working on a project to clean trash from the ocean systems in hopes of extending life on the planet. A gutsy gal, Bethanie risks further heartache by resurrecting their once forbidden love…along with Gabe’s deceased grandfather. When she and Gabe catch Gramps fooling around with Lottie, one of Bethanie’s deceased relatives, Bethanie is propelled into a world peopled by nosy, old dead women insistent on helping her abilities unfold and transforming her into something she had no idea she already was. The old women knew, like old women sometimes do.
Exploring the known as well as the unknown, this story reveals the unpredictability of love across time and condition. It explores inaccuracies and perceptions about things which seem to be facts and reveals the role understanding plays in becoming creators, actors and manipulators of our own destinies. Unique in its presentation the work provides the stage for the group of characters to demonstrate love in many of its variations, all circling the romance between the heroine and her lover.
We live in the core of creation. We are that creation, the initial products as well as the creator. So again, my question to you is, if you could paint someone back into your life, no matter the implements used to create this new reality, would you?
The answer is contingent on many variables. As in other aspects of our lives, anything could run amok at any time and turn our plateaus into sinkholes. One of the ways to resolve this conundrum is to realize that life is an experiment with multiple possibilities. Some we can control, but most we can’t. When the waves hit and bowl us over, we can learn to swim parallel to the shoreline and allow those waves to carry us back to beach rather than fight them and drown.
Editor (Saleena Karim): With sincere apologies for the lateness of this post, for which I take personal responsibility!
This is Part 2 of a 3-part article.
A full description of the Mater’s Series novels is available here.
V. M. Franck grew up in a highly religious working class environment. After working at a series of unsatisfying jobs, in her late twenties she earned a B. S. from Oregon State University. Thereafter, she worked with abused and disadvantaged children. A family tragedy changed her perceptions permanently. She wrote and published a book about its impact on herself and her family. She met Philip, who had always wanted to be a writer. They married and moved to the mountains to write full-time. She is currently writing her eleventh book. All but one of them are works of Visionary Fiction. She is also an exhibiting artist with her own online gallery.
Visit her website: whereartmeetstheheart.com
Her works of Visionary Fiction include:
For What Is To Come
Tater’s Maters of Hootenanny Flats, Part 1 The Mater’s Series
Resurrection Rose, Part 2 The Mater’s Series
Final Entry, Part 3 The Mater’s Series
Jesus’ Little Sister Ruth
In Ways We Can’t Imagine, Part 1 The St. Germaine Chronicles
The Pacifist’s War, Part 2 The St. Germaine Chronicles
Once Without Dying