Summertime for Kelly O'Meara - 2

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A Continuation of Irish Intersection
My apologies for the delay

A garland gay we bring you here
And at your door we stand
It is a sprout well budded out
The work of our Lord's hand
We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay


The girl in the mirror sighed back and frowned in disapproval.

“Who am I trying to kid?” Kelly pulled off the wig and let it drop to the floor. A few minutes later she was dressed in shorts and a maroon tee shirt. Her barely grown-out hair still looked better suited for her old self, as painfully frustrating as that was.

“I….” She would have said ‘I hate myself,’ but her sobs got in the way. And the sentiment still held fast as she fell onto the bed and cried herself to sleep…

Kevin heard the sobbing. Kelly had been crying almost non-stop until her weeping faded into a barely audible moan as sleep finally had overtaken her. Whatever else Kevin had been even in the recent past to his child, he had finally come to a place of more than mere acceptance. Almost like a trope from some of the stories his priest had steered him to, Kevin realized that Kelly was exactly like her late mother.

The boy she had been in a way had always resembled her mother in demeanor as much as appearance. And Kevin stepped closer to that dreaded place of responsibility for his daughter’s heartbreak. It was proving to be a very daunting task to undo the harm he had done to Kelly. But he had to try, regardless of how uncomfortable and guilty it left him feeling….

The Davison home the following day…

“Glynn? Your Mom and I need to talk to you,” Cam said as Glynnis walked in. She dropped her backpack on a kitchen chair and sat down.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Cam said, producing the half empty bottle of scotch Nancy had discovered days before. Glynnis tilted her head and scrunched up her face in a questioning half grin.

“I don’t know, Dad. What is the meaning of that?”

“Don’t speak to your father that way,” Nancy snapped. She immediately thought better of it, as the tendency to enable inserted itself into its familiar place at the kitchen table.

“Sorry, Glynn…do over? Do you know anything about this?” Nancy pointed to the bottle still grasped nervously by Cam.

Glynnis sighed deeply. A secret only has power if it remains in the shadows. And it was better to incur the disappointment of one if only to help the whole family. A recent stealth visit to a teen AA meeting at the encouragement of her therapist helped her get a better perspective about her father’s journey to sobriety. And even at sixteen, she had been used to functioning on occasion as the parent of the family. She shifted that back to Cam and Nancy with a half frown-

“Okay? You both know that after Leelee’s party last summer that I can’t drink without puking, right?” Nancy frowned, more at herself and Cam. Glynnis took it the wrong way, but apart from the tone, her response was spot-on, as they say.

“Daddy stopped. You never drank. And I can’t drink without getting sick. Oh fuck, Mom.”

“Don’t you,” Cam began a rebuke that stopped in mid-sentence as the reality of the moment set in. He recalled what Father Colin had said to him about the baby of the family.

“Maggie?” He stared at Glynnis, hoping he read her wrong. His older daughter didn’t want to be a snitch, as they say, but her sister’s health had to come before any idea of keeping secrets. Nevertheless she began to sob as the same un-deserved guilt that had become a part of her daily routine hit her hard. Nancy stood up and hugged Glynnis from behind.

“No, No,’ honey.” She girl shook in her arms. Nancy looked to Cam. It was their joint responsibility for the harm that had befallen both daughters, regardless of who played which role. But there also was a ‘you started this, you have to fix this’ aspect to the problem, since even if it felt hypocritical, it still often takes one drinker to talk to another.

Rather than make it shameful, Cam did exactly what Father Colin inferred. That the family bore his recovery with kindness even if it was painfully firm. He stood up and walked around the table. He kissed Nancy on the cheek and did the same with Glynnis before walking down the hall. Reaching the last door on the left, he knocked gently on the open doorway and peeked in, finding his younger daughter sitting at her desk rapt in music mixed with homework.

“Maggie, honey? We need to talk, okay.” His words were gentle but still pierced whatever excuse or defense Maggie had prepared, and she put her head down; sobbing softly. He walked slowly to her, praying even step by step for his next words. Maggie made it easy as she looked up.

“Daddy? I’m so sorry,” was all she could manage before she buried her face in his outstretched arm, sobbing hard.

“I know,” he said. The tone could have been permissive or enabling, but his word said exactly what he meant. She knew he had a problem. She knew she had a problem. And He knew that she knew. Simple, but the easiest if still painful beginning of Maggie Davison’s recovery.

And so they linked their hands and danced
Round in circles and in rows
And so the journey of the night descends
When all the shades are gone

Sparta High school. Next to last bell, the final week before summer vacation…

The hallway was crowded with kids making no effort to appreciate the need to get to the next class. Kelly walked down the hall, buffeted by the groups of students mulling about. As she attempted to navigate around a clique of authentic girls as the lies kept telling her, she found herself face to face with Jimmy Santiago.

“Hi,” was all she could manage as she cast her gaze to the floor. He remained silent, which was meaner and more painful than any rebuke or insult. She pushed past a group of boys standing next to the exit at the end of the wing and shoved the crash-bar on the door; fleeing to the safety of solitude.

The sad thing is that solitude not only provided no relief, but the accusations that rattled around in her pushed rudely to the surface as she lapsed into self-condemnation. She kept her head down as she hurried off school grounds and did not see the Pathfinder heading her way.

Even at only 25 mph in the school zone, her distraction and the driver’s texting led to a collision. The SUV glanced off her at the last moment, but not quick enough to avoid harm as she fell back; hitting her head against the soft shoulder of the road. She managed to lift up on her elbows just long enough to see a brilliant array of lights before she collapsed back on the road and darkness took her.

Casa Mia Pizzeria Pastaria, shortly thereafter …

Karen had just walked to the counter after her break when a familiar face announced its presence with a very disarming smile.

“Hi Kevin,” she said with a smile of her own managing to sneak past long deployed defenses.

“Have you seen my child today?” He looked back and forth between Karen and the near empty restaurant.

“She and Glynnie don’t come in until about three-thirty, but they sometimes drop by Moira’s.” Karen resisted the urge to say ‘your daughter’. But correcting him when she knew he was trying to seen Kelly instead of Kevin Jr. was a tough but necessary task, if task was even the right word.

“You want a Coke or something while you wait?"

“Sure. I guess she’s got her cell off since she probably just got out of school.”

”Well, at least he’s using the right pronoun, Karen thought. She smiled and walked over to the fountain.

“Kevin? Do you mind if I say something?” She almost flinched at the anticipated refusal since Kevin had been very reluctant in times past to discuss Kelly and the odd journey upon which she and her father finally embarked. He surprised her.

“Go ahead, Karen. We’ve known each other forever, and you’ve ..Well, you have been like a Mom to her since Heather died. Go ahead,” he said, flinching as well.

“I know you’ve been trying. But she needs to know you’ll support her no matter what.” Kevin bristled at the words, but Karen touched his hand and smiled.

“Her friends are few and the ones she did have except for Glynnis and your niece and a few others? Most abandoned her. It….” Karen frowned at herself. What right did she have to insert herself into Kevin and Kelly’s lives? Who was she to presume to be anything remotely resembling family, much less a mother? But Kevin smiled.

“Go ahead?”

“”When I was just a bit older than the girls are now, I met a nice man An older man. He said he loved me.” Kevin already knew the story and half-frowned. And Karen knew him long enough to know it was from sympathy and not judgment,. She continued.

“He said he loved me when we made love. He said he loved me when I learned I was expecting. He said he loved me when he told me he was married. He said he loved me when he handed me an envelope with money. He stopped talking to me when I told him no. And he never talked to me again, even after I lost my baby…HIS baby. And no one but you and your sweetie held my hand when they told me I’d never have more kids.” She tried oh so hard not to cry, but the tears fell from her face. It was his turn to pat her hand.

“I’ve known Kelly since she was a baby. When Heather would point to the little one everyone thought was a little boy. When she found her own life ebbing away. She charged me with a wonderful task, Kevin, and nothing I will ever deserve. ‘ Help ‘her’ Karen when her Daddy is too tired or too scared to see her?’ I love Glynnis and the other girls like they were family, but I love your daughter just as much as I loved the baby I thought would bless me. She needs you to understand as much as you can.”

“I do, Karen, I’m trying so hard.” Kevin had begun to cry. Karen put up her hand.

“I know you do. Really. But she needs to know that you don’t need to understand. That your love will see things through even when you can’t see your way to accept every bit of who your son has become. That it’s not just seeing your son as a daughter, but treasuring the daughter you’ve had all along, whether or not you ever understand.” Karen smiled and grasped Kevin’s hand.

“Just see me as the spinster aunt who may not know much but she knows what it’s like to be a woman, Okay?”

She went to pull away as a couple of boys entered the restaurant. His hand held fast a wee bit longer than could have expected before she broke away, wiping her hands and face with a paper towel. She walked over to the other end of the counter and around to the booth where the boys sat, and didn’t see Kevin leave. He put his hand to the door and sighed, but with a smile and a nod. And with that he was gone.

Newton Medical Center Emergency Room Waiting Area, minutes later…

Kelly’s cousin Moira sat with her parent’s and her girlfriend Gina as Glynnis paced back and forth past the wide double-door into the ER area.

“Glynnie?,” Tommy, Kelly’s uncle called.

“I haven’t been able to get Kevin. It just keeps saying ‘that number is not in service.’ Maybe his phone isn’t working?” Glynnis looked at him and shook her head in self-rebuke.

“Oh fuck,” she said; immediately following it with another head shake at her word.”

“Sorry. Kel said her Dad had to change phone plans. The new number must be in her cell.” Kelly’s aunt Fiona jumped to her feet and walked quickly to the intake desk. A few minutes later she returned.

“They got her cell and called the new number. There were several voice mails from her Dad, so he may be trying to call. Glynnis looked at her with a half smile but turned away. A moment later she found herself in Fiona’s safe embrace.

“The nurse doesn’t have any details other than that they think she may ‘come round’ soon. We have to hope sweetie.”

“I know,” Glynnis said as she wept in Fiona’s arms.” Fiona reached back into her childhood and recalled the solace she had been given in countless times of fear or sadness and just repeated.

“Shuh, shuh.”

When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair

When owls call the breathless moon
In the blue veil of the night
The shadows of the trees appear
Amidst the lantern light

The girl found herself lying on a very large crocheted comforter in the shade of a Hawthorne by the banks of a rushing stream. The sun was peeking out from behind a cloud and had yet to warmly insist on its own way, leaving the girl in a bit of a shiver. Drawing the edges up, she draped the comforter on her bare legs.

”Calleigh?” A woman’s voice called from over her left shoulder. She turned to find a very kind looking woman beaming with apparent glee.

“Are you well rested, child?” The woman said as she walked around, facing the girl from the front. The girl shook her head, wincing.

“I…I hurt…”

“Tis but a small hurt when stood beside the hurt you feel here,” the woman said with a half-frown as she patted her own breast. The girl pursed her lips and cast her vision down. In a moment, the pain of the present gave way to the very real pain of the past as the girl began to weep.

“I never meant to leave you so hopeless and sad, my sweet girl. You are my life,” the woman said as her soft sobs echoed the girl’s own crying. The girl lifted her head and looked into familiar eyes.

“You do have hope, my baby. I just did not know. I am so sorry, Calleigh,” she said as she gathered her tears in her hand. She touched the girl’s cheek, anointing it in a way.

“Be blessed, Calleigh ni Meadhra. Give your father my love?”” The woman kissed her forehead and spoke her name again.


“Kelly?” The girl looked up into equally kind eyes, heretofore hidden behind a mask of fear and confusion.

“Kelly?” Kevin repeated as he leaned over the rail of the bed and finally greeted her with a proper kiss from a loving father for his treasured daughter.

“Oh, Daddy,” was all Kelly could manage before dissolving into relieved tears mixed with an odd if entirely appropriate giggle.

And so they linked their hands and danced
Round in circles and in rows
And so the journey of the night descends
When all the shades are gone

To be continued...

The Mummer's Dance
Performed by the composer,
Loreena McKennit

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This story is 2696 words long.