Reconstructing Charlie

“Oh my” my aunt said. Stuart, I believe our girl has photographic memory.” My aunt called me “our girl.” I wanted to dance on rooftops, sing in tall trees, build a monument to them. Uncle said,” It seems you are very much like your aunt. It’s our secret now. This talent will take you far. I watch these dear people, who accepted me at face value walk back to the house and I played with the dogs. I stroked their ears and said, someday I’ll get a degree, a bunch of them. Uncle Stuart opened the door. Chuch tomorrow. Ten o’clock. He paused. “You do go to church, don’t you? and he waited for my answer. Church. Say yes. “Yes.” Aunt and uncle introduced me to elegant people on the way. We sat way down in front. I spied a small gold marker. They owned everyone in Chicago.

Reconstructing Charlie

“Oh my, ” my aunt said. “Stuart, I believe our girl has photograpic memory.”. My aunt called me “our Girl” I wanted to dance on rooftops, sing in tall trees, build a monument to them. Uncle patted his chest with pride. Well, it seems you are very much like your aunt. She has the same gift. It’s our secret now. No one will know and this special talent will take you far. I watched these dear people, who acccepted me at face value, walk back to the house and I stayed outside to play with dogs. I stroked their ears and said, “Someday I’ll get a degree a bunch of them. Uncle Stuart opened the door. “Church tomorrow. Ten o’clock.” He paused. “You do go to church, don’t you?” and he waited for my answer. Church. Say yes. “Yes.” Heartburn. Thats what I experienced for the first time on what seemed like an endless trip to church. Aunt and Uncle introduced me to elegant people on the way up wide steps. I spied a small gold marker. They own the pew and they know everyone in Chicago.

Reconstructing Charlie

A knock at the door and Aunt Eleanor came in, dressed to shop. By comparison, I’d look like a lumberjack. Robert drove the limousine to Michigan Avenue. Aunt Eleanor said that we should have fun because Uncle Stuart wants you to have the best. Who’d a thunk Charlie Costigan in a limousine shopping. It was ten o’clock and the shop just opened. Aunt Eleanor requested Corrine as salesperson. I didn’t have a clue about the clothes but when she mentioned bare midriff, I thought body shirts are out! I needed black leggings stretchy and felt way cool. I needed something to cover my ass. A long forest green sweater did the job.Oh my God, I didn’t recognize myself. Laden with packges, Robert packed the trunk and resumed waiting while we had lunch. Charlie, Stuart and I were never blessed with children. We talked about you far into the night last nightI want you to know you can trust me, confide in me. Don’t ever feel alone. Not ever. Her words gave me hope. The waiter came and I ate my first shrimp salad. Yum. We went home.

Reconstructing Charlie

Fresh from the shower, I was almost ready to meet my uncle. Aunt Eleanor had been horrified to find I had no other shoes but my sneakers and she said she’d remedy the situation either this afternoon or the following day. “Remedy the situation.” What a neat way of speaking. I planned to learn a lot from this wonderful aunt of mine. Manly voices downstairs. I’d been told to stay in my room, no hardship since books filled shelves and I got right back into Anna Karenina. What an idiot to end up on the tracks but the writing was magical. The light voice of Aunt Eleanor floated up the stairs. She’d said Stuart needed a drink when he arrived home. I prayed he wasn’t like Dad. She confided in me, the interloper in their peacful life. Maybe, since she hadn’t talked about kids of her own, she missed friedship of a young woman. Mom had me, deep thinker, Charlie. A tap at the door. “Your presence is requested in the drawing room, Miss. Edgars deep voice echoed in me. I tried not to gallop down the stairs. I entered, offered a shy smile I’d practised while applying a little make-up. Uncle Stuart rose to his feet, a sparkle in his eyes and he liked what he saw. Yes, you are the image of your mother. Let us dine and discuss our situation after dinner. Relieved when dinner ended, almost sure I wouldn’t have to do the dishes, Uncle Stuart said, “Lets relax in my study where we shall discuss the situation, Ladies. He must be a Lawyer, I thought. Charlie, super sleuth. My aunt gestured to a plate on the nearby table. Chocolate. My favorite. We talked for a while. I heard a dog somewhere. Maybe two. Uncle Stuart said, “Follow me. I want you to meet your new job.” Barreling toward me were two furry apricot wriggling pupies, Labradoodles. Once again, life began for me. wewriwa://now://

Reconstructing Charlie

Fresh from the shower, hair ckean from products I’d read about in magazines, I was almost ready to meet my uncle. Aunt Eleanor had been horrified to find I had no other shoes but my sneakers and she said she’d remedy the situation either this afternoon or the following day. “Remedy the situation” What a neat way of speaking. I planned to learn a lot from this wonderful aunt of mine. Manly voices downstairs. I’d been told to stay in my room, no hardship since books filled shelves and I got right back into Anna Karenina. What an idiot to end up on the tracks but the writing was magical. Crime and Punishment called to me. The light voice of Aunt Eleanor floated up the stairs She’d said Stuart needed a drink when he arrived home. I prayed he wasn’t like Dad. Maybe, since she hadn’t talked about kids of her own, Aunt Eleanor missed the friendship of a young woman. Deep thinker, Charlie. A tap at the door. “Your presence is requested in the drawing room, Miss. Edgar’s deep voice echoed in me. Dress smoothed, hair okay, I tried not to gallop down the stairs. Shoulders back, head erect, I entered and offered a shy smile I’d practiced while applying a little make-up. Uncle Stuart rose to his feet. A sparkle in his eyes, not scary like Dad, curious and friendly and he liked what he saw. Yes, you a the image of your mother. How is she? Well, I hope. Well, let us dine and discuss our situation after dinner. He offered one arm to me and one to my aunt we walde to yet another room called the dining room. Back home we we ate all of our meals in the kitchen.

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Reconstructing Charlie

After the delicious meal where I remembered to keep my left hand in my lap-no elbows on the table, a meal complete with an inside story of mom, more than I wanted to know about my aunt and uncle, she showed me to a guest room on the second floor and said I should make myself at home. “There are fresh towels and every thing you might need. Stuart will be home before long. ” She left, footsteps muffled by thick carpets; her scent lingered something light and sweet. “Thank you” I said, and looked around. Breathtaking with every thing so perfect, matched, luxurious plus a four poster. I tried it on, bounced a few times and stretched out. Did the cops believe Mom or were they searching for me, running away like a coward, leaving mom and the kids. What a piece of shit I am. Rolling over on the big bed with silky sheets, I ran to the bathroom. Carefully, I unbuttoned my dress and found a hanger ’cause I didn’t want it to wrinkle it. Too late, I heard a knock and suddenly my aunt was in the doorway of the bathroom. Me in bra and panties and she had a hand over her mouth as she saw my bruises–on my back and arms. “Oh Charlie.” Embarrassed, I covered up with a towel. “I heal fast, aunt Eleanor. In two weeks, they’ll be gone and no one will ever hurt me again.” She held me in her arms. I repeated, ” I’ll be okay.” “Yes you will. I’ll make sure of it.” Backing away with tears in her eyes, my aunt left, her silk dress spotted with guilt and shame

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Reconstructing Charlie

My Aunt Eleanor led the way to what she called the drawing room. “Did you travel by bus to come here?” “Yes.” “From? “Minnesota.” “You traveled all night and must be hungry.” She lifted a small silver bell and shook it. Like magic, Edgar appeared. “This is my niece, Edgar.” His expression didn’t change as if nieces showed up every day. “Please ask Mrs. Appleton to prepare a hearty breakfast as soon as possible. Thank you.” I handed Mom’s letter to my aunt. My aunt. I loved the words. They rolled around in my mouth as I digested the sweet taste of family who might be interested in me. Classes on a gold chain were perched on her slender nose and she read. Finally, she looked at me.”You are the image over your mother, and the dress you’re wearing is one I purchased for her long time ago.” Well, my dear Charlie, whatever in the world is my husband going to think about this and watch his face when he sees you, and watch his face when he sees you.” Her hazel eyes sparkled. “Stuart was quite taken with my baby sister.” Taken. I wondered what that meant. Too soon to ask, I decided.

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Reconstructing Charlie

Patrick drove down the most beautiful wide street I’d ever seen, like something out of a dream. Patrick Donnelly grinned. “This is called the Magnificent Mile: Michigan Avenue. Lake Michigan is just on the other side of all the buildings; Beaches, the Zoo. He gave me a sideways look; “Or maybe tonight?…I said, “I’m fifteen.”He said,:Call me when you’re eighteen. ” We laughed. When the numbers for Lake Shore Drive got closer, I said” Here we are and my aunt told me to go around to the back.Thank you so much, Patrick and when I got out of his car, he said,”Charlie, if you ever a need a friend, call me.” I watched him drive away; and then I hurried to see the front door of a tall old building that looked like a picture come to life. My reflection in the spotless glass door greeted me.I tried out a few smiles, mouthed some hello’s. With Mom’s letter in hand, I rang and chimes echoed somewhere in the house. A man in a dark suit opened the door. “Yes?” he said. A man of few words. “I’m Elizabeth’s daughter.” A woman walked down a curved staircase and moved like she floated on a cloud toward me. She stopped and cried out, “Elizabeth.” Arms outstretched, she embraced me. We both cried just for a minute. With hands so soft, they’d never washed a dish, she held me at arms length. “Edgar, please take her bags upstairs to the first guest room. Thank you.”

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Reconstructing Charlie

Chicago. First off the bus with my gear, first to find the restroom sign. I barreled through a crowd bent on being the first in, first out. Scared and excited by strangers and noise levels never heard before, I used every bit of strength like a linebacker breaking through. I shook my head hard and checked in the mirror. Not good enough for Aunt and Uncle.I locked the door and rummaged through Mom’s suitcase. Sure enough, she’d tucked her favorite pearl comb and brush set in a side pocket.I washed up in the sink, slipped into the long sleeved dress and brushed the hell out of my hair until it shone. I did a twirl around. Charlie Costigan, you don’t exactly look like the cover of Vogue. “Excuse me,” I drawled. “I’m trying to get to my aunt. She works at a house on Lake Shore Drive and everyone here is so nasty. Is there some safe means of transportation I can take?” I blinked my eyes and tried to look dumb and sweet. A big stretch for me.