Sandy's Romance

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11.Short-Girl-Haircut_0.jpg


by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
previously published in serial form


Sandy wasn't in the least bit more self-centered than anyone else who was mired in their own depression; that no one understood him was likely the most commonality he had with a lot of folks, but he'd never know because he insisted no one understood. He was about to find out just how much he was loved, and from a very unexpected source.



Disillusioned

The Pevour home…Akron, Ohio…

She'd been up all night fiddling with the camera, wanting it to be just so. She wasn't able to sleep after a fitful two hours staring at the ceiling. It had been six weeks since she made the decision to move on. Her boyfriend had grown "tired" of her neediness, as if being someone wanting to have a conversation once and a while were needy. And he had grown tired of her need to be herself, wanting a more traditional relationship. She set the timer and got ready for the new photo.

"I hope this turns out okay," she said to herself. She said that every time like a prayer, wanting so desperately to be accepted. Maybe this time her features would appear softer? Maybe this time she might actually look more appealing? She quickly checked her face in the compact mirror. Like the old 60's hit by Jay and the Americans, it was "now or never."

"Who the hell am I kidding," she said and shook her head. Tears streamed down her face, ruining what she considered only a fair job with her makeup. That was the least of her concerns. Never feeling comfortable with her looks to begin with, she grew more and more insecure as the months passed.

You're the soft words that touch me when I just can't speak. You're the breeze on the ocean in the morning, reminding me to greet the day

"Sandy? Sandy, can you come down and help me? Johnny is coming over for breakfast and I want it to be special. The baby is so cute, and it's her first time out in a while. Okay? Sandy, did you hear me?"

Sandy Pevour looked down at her stomach, as if wishing would make all that lack disappear magically. She wished her mom doted on her like her brother. Too bad that she'd never bear a child, but that's the way things go sometimes.

"Coming, mom," she cried out as she washed her face off quickly. She pulled off her bra and pulled on a bulky sweat shirt. Pulling off her slacks she quickly pulled on some socks and sweatpants before checking herself once again in the mirror. Catching the hint of shadow on her lid, she quickly grabbed a washcloth and scrubbed it hard. Pulling a towel off the rack, she wet down her hair in the sink and bounded down the stairs, looking all the world like she had just taken a shower. She passed the mirror at the foot of the stairs and saw her reflection.

Phillipe "Sandy" Pevour, college junior, Art History major and second son of Collette Pevour.



"Oh, I'm so happy that the baby's coming over." Collette said as she set the table for dinner."

"Does that mean she can drive already? My God, mom, she's only a toddler." Sandy quipped. His mother took it the wrong way, as she did nearly all the time.

"Oh, stop it this second. You always seem to turn a good situation bad; can't you see the good in anything? Don't you love your brother?"

"Not as much as you do," he thought to himself. Johnny was the Golden Child of the family. Marcel Jean Pevour was a Stanford graduate with a beautiful wife, baby daughter, house, car, and exquisite taste. If he had a dog, it would likely be the most beautiful dog in creation, his mother actually said once.

"Mon Dieu! You always seem to make a joke…He's successful!" She would have added , "unlike yourself, but her last conversation with Sandy turned odd and sad all at once as he cried in front of his mother.

"Imagine a grown man crying over something his mother said. I'm glad your father never lived to see you like this." She had said, surprised that her words didn't stir him to act like a 'man." Collette never sounded more French than when she was extolling her older son.

"I've always told you that you can bring your friends to the house. Why do you avoid having friends here?" She would say.

As the conversation turned lukewarm, a knock came at the front door. Sandy walked and opened it, finding his sister-in-law Dana standing on the porch with Carrie in her arms. Johnny was just getting the carry seat out of the back.

"Hey baby brother. You get a job yet? And how's that book coming along?" Johnny teased Sandy with that line every time he saw him. The first time was nice and clever; the second not so nice, and each succeeding time became more and more hurtful. Sandy had tried day after day to write the art history commentary he was working on, but his depression made it nearly impossible to concentrate, even with medication. That spiral had gotten worse when his boyfriend broke off their relationship.

"John…please stop teasing him…you know it hurts…I've told you how many times?" Dana whispered an aside to Johnny as he met them on the front porch. Dana was probably the only person in the world who understood Sandy, and it was painful to know that his own brother had become so arrogant and insensitive.

Sandy wasn't in the least bit more self-centered than anyone else who was mired in their own depression; that no one understood him was likely the most commonality he had with a lot of folks, but he'd never know because he insisted no one understood. He was about to find out just how much he was loved, and from a very unexpected source.

I understand...There may be grief and there may be pain. But I am aware you blind the darkness with who you are because...



At home a few months later...

"So you haven't been over to see me for days," Collette said into the phone to her son.

"I've been busy. Dana really isn't much of a help around the house, and I come home exhausted."

All three statements were true after a fashion, but to say they were truthful? Johnny was busy, but it wasn't just with work. Dana had still held the appearance of a woman recovering from childbirth with virtually no help at home, and Johnny was preoccupied with his latest project. He was building a second career in consulting, which included frequently consulting his secretary, Marta Kovalcek, after hours. So to say he came home exhausted would have been a huge understatement.

"Well, I did warn you," Collette said, shaking her head.

Dana Lynn Pevour was a nice girl; as nice girls go. But Collette always felt Johnny married below his station, as they say. That she was a sweet girl with an adorable spirit made little difference to Collette. That Dana was a giving, caring person who loved children and dogs? Nope, not important as far as Collette was concerned. And that Dana was aware of Johnny's frequent affairs? Collette always knew Johnny would take after his father; she just didn't know how accurate that statement was.

"Just take care of yourself, honey, okay? I'll talk to you tomorrow. Bye now." Collette hung up the phone.

Of course, that Dana had grown up in Galveston, Texas wasn't a plus at all, especially considering that her mother married a policeman of all things. That might have been bad enough for Collette but for the fact that Dana's father's name was Peter Muldoon. Her mother's name was An (Annie) Nguyen, having been born in Saigon in 1962 and a Vietnamese emigré to Texas.

"Mom, did it ever occur to you that she's tired because of her illness and the long labor?" Sandy said as he stood at the fridge, looking for some half & half for his coffee.

"Nonsense, I had you two boys without any trouble. I just don't understand those people." Collette shook her head once again.

"Mind you, I'm not saying she's not a nice girl, but I would have expected her to support her husband."

"'Those" people are considered to be among the most industrious people in this lovely melting pot of ours." Sandy said as he sat down at the table.

"Oh, I know all that, but it's one thing to sit down at a desk and do math and a completely different thing to raise a family. Your brother is working hard to provide a good life for her and the baby, and I would have expected you'd be more sympathetic." His mother usually finished the statement with, "considering he has a job," but today was an especially lovely morning so she skipped that part of their routine.

"Mom…Dana was working two jobs before she got pregnant. And she managed to take care of everything at home until she got sick. They still don't know what she's got, but she's been achy and exhausted since before the baby was born."

"Oh, I suppose so, but in my mother's day, women were made of much sterner stuff, as Granddaddy used to say." Granddaddy being her father Claude, who also had suffered fatigue from trying to bed too many women back in Lyon. And her mother got an epidural after fifteen minutes of labor; not that there's anything wrong with that, but stacked against Dana's thirty hour labor with no medication other than Tylenol?

"All I'm saying is that Johnny is blessed to have a wife as wonderful as her." Sandy regretted saying that as soon as it left his mouth.

"Speaking of which, when are you going to get serious with your life? I never hear you talk about girls and what about your preoccupation with old paintings and the like. How are you going to support a family on that kind of career?" She hit him every time with the "serious" card. It had gotten old after the first twelve hundred times, and it wore on him like a dripping faucet on a hot summer night.

"Mom, I told you, if I get my Master's in Art History, I can teach at the High School and still have time for other things.

The other things were currently on hold. He had most of his time occupied with a TA position at the college and up until six weeks ago had been in a relationship. That his intended was Martin instead of Martine would have disappointed his mother, at one time but hell, at least he was being 'serious."

"Well if she's that feeble, then why did she get pregnant in the first place?" Collette asked. Sandy would have loved to have told her that Johnny had come home one night after a long weekend away with his secretary and had literally forced himself on Dana. And he knew she'd really be disappointed to find out that Dana was pregnant again. so soon after Carrie's birth. It wasn't her design or choice, but she was doing the best she could with what she had.

"I'm going to stop over at their place after my last class today, mom. I'll see if she needs anything." Sandy smiled as he put his mug in the sink.

"Well, if you think that's best, dear. But keep in mind that if you keep helping her she'll never be able to fare for herself. I heard that Dr. Phil talk about that yesterday. I think he said it's called 'enabling.'"

"That's right mom…enabling," Sandy chuckled at the irony of his mother's statement. He picked up his backpack off the counter and kissed her on the cheek before walking out as he said,

"J'aime ta mère!"



On the way from school…

The bike ride to Johnny's house was only a half-hour from school, and Sandy took the time to think and pray as he pedaled. That it was always called Johnny's house instead of 'their' house or even Johnny and Dana's house was telling. She didn't drive because Johnny refused to buy a second car.

"Not necessary; you've got everything you need right here." Johnny had told her. That they could well afford three cars was lost on Sandy's brother; when he was convinced of something there was no debate…no argument. Sandy pulled into the driveway and leaned his bike against the tall cedar fence on the side. He walked up and knocked on the door in greeting.

"Hello, Dana?" He said as he walked into the front hall way. The hall lights were off and the house seemed darker than usual. He called out again.

"Dana, it's Sandy…Dana, Hon? Dana?" Still no answer. He walked into the living room and noticed that Carrie was in her playpen, sleeping. He stepped lightly so as not to wake her, but the hardwood floor creaked under his feet. Not wanting to wake his niece, he slipped off his sneakers and stepped toward the dining room when he felt something wet on the bottom of his sock. He looked down and saw a dark viscous liquid in a trail of drops headed toward the dining room. As he stood, he thought he heard a woman's voice.

"If you need assistance please hang up and dial the operator." He stepped into the dining room and saw a figure on the floor. The phone had fallen just out of her reach, and she was moaning softly.

"Carrie…Mommy's coming honey…ohhh"

"Oh God…Dana!" Sandy knelt down and turned her over. Her slacks were wet with blood and her face was pale.

"God, Dana, I'm here…I'm here." He kissed her on the cheek and leaned over and grabbed the phone. He clicked it off and called 911.

"Hello, I need an ambulance at 12 Violet Court…My sister-in-law...I think she's having a miscarriage and she's bleeding bad…Oh god please hurry."

He cradled her in his arms, weeping in prayer even as he turned back to look through to the living room where Carrie still lay sound asleep.

"It's okay, Dana, I'm here. I'm here...oh god please be okay...Dana...Dana?"

Ohh... you're lovely. You're the center of my universe. A million ways cannot explain, you're lovely.



Discouraged

Let's talk this over…It's not like we're dead…Was it something I did? Was it something you said? Don't leave me hanging in a city so dead held up so high on such a breakable thread…

At the Hospital…

Sandy had been sitting in the waiting area for two hours and had put his head back against the wall and was drifting off when a voice interrupted.

"Excuse me, are you Mr. Pevour?" He looked up to see a woman wearing scrubs and a very tired but urgent expression.

"Ah, yes…er…what?" Sandy sad as the fog quickly dissipated.

"I'm Sandy Pevour."

"No, I'm sorry, you must be a relative? I'm looking for Marcel?" She said quietly with a look of disappointment quickly crossing her face.

"Marcel…Johnny's my brother. How is Dana…my sister-in-law?" Sandy emphasized the words, as if it would change what he knew what the …doctor? What the doctor would say next."

"I'm sorry….I'm Dr. Javid." She stuck out her hand and her expression grew warmer. She took a moment to look away before continuing.

"Please tell me that someone, anyone who is next-of-kin is here?!" She shook her head once again and put her hand on Sandy's arm as Sandy stood up.

"Nobody's been able to reach my brother since Dana was brought in. Her parents are flying up from Galveston, but with their connecting flight, they won't be her for another two hours." Sandy already knew where the conversation was going and he grew fearful as Dr. Javid's face grew angry.

"This is not happening. This can't be happening," she said absentmindedly, forgetting that Sandy was standing in front of her.

"What's going on, Doctor? What's wrong…where Dana is now?" He was surprised to see that Dr. Javid had started toward the access door to the ER suite. She looked frustrated and even sad. He caught up with her and noticed that she had tears in her eyes. She turned and faced him, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. She looked at her arm and realized she was wearing her OR scrubs and she spoke a soft, "oh shit," before speaking to him.

"I don't have any time…we don't have any time." She frowned, scrunching her lower lip while looking past Sandy to the service elevator. She shook her head and grabbed his arm. Something very comforting came across Sandy as he felt peace for the first time all day.

"Come with me…" She didn't wait for a reply. She grabbed his hand and pulled him further down the hall until they were isolated from the noise and people of the waiting area.

"Your sister-in-law lost a lot of blood…a lot of blood. She's still bleeding, and we have to operate now." She looked away for a second and grimaced, as if to steel herself for what she was about to ask. She turned and faced Sandy again, skipping the "I'm really not supposed to say this to you, but" part of the speech.

"Mr. Pevour…I am assuming that any second your brother is going to walk into this hospital. Here's what we're faced with. She's bleeding. I can keep pumping blood into her but she needs surgery…We can't stop the bleeding unless we operate and in this state, I can't operate without your brother's or her parent's signature, do you follow me?" She eyed the clipboard in her hand. It held a consent form.

"I don't understand, what's wrong…what is going…" She cut him off.

"I can't do the procedure that is required unless MR. PEVOUR signs this form…she needs a hysterectomy and I can't…unless your brother signs this form, do I make myself clear?" He nodded hastily.

"I'm going to go over there and speak with the nurse," she said as she pointed to the man standing at the desk. She was risking her job, but it had to play out this way or Dana would never see another birthday.

"Your brother is going to walk through those doors over there in just a few seconds and you are going to get him to sign this form, right?" She half-frowned; her lower lip pushed out into almost a pout. He looked at her with his eye squinting in an almost-peer.

"Right?" she repeated. She didn't wait for his reply but walked away quickly, glancing back once to motion "go ahead" with her eyes.

He looked at her; she had turned her back on him, almost as if to ignore what he was about to do while knowing full well what was about to happen. He took the pen from the holder, scrunched his face and shook his head and signed the form.

"Marcel Jean Pevour"



Upstairs in Dana's Room...

Dana seemed engulfed by the bedl. She had some tubes in her arms and she looked very pale, but with some color returning to her face.

"Carrie…Carrie?" She said weakly, her voice still raspy from the anesthesia.

"She's okay…she's with my mom, hon." Sandy leaned over and kissed her forehead.

"Juh…Johnny?" She looked at Sandy and her eyes had filled with tears. He wasn't going to say anything; she couldn't handle that.

"He…he got stuck in Kansas City…something about the plane…he's on his way." Marcel was likely sitting in bed in a hotel room in Chicago with his mistress. Even Collette had said she was disappointed, but had quickly "understood" about Johnny's "needs."

"Dana? Oh god baby …Dana?" Annie Muldoon walked into the room and went to her daughter' side.

"Dana, oh honey, con tôi. (My child)" she said as she began to stroke her daughter's hair.

"Uây khyếm mẹ…mommy…I'm sorry….I'm sorry." She began to weep.

"No, baby…no...it's alright…no."

"Mom….I…I lost the baby…I lost the baby…I'm sorrrry" Annie kissed her daughter's face over and over.

"I…they had to…they too...ook." Sandy felt helpless. He stepped close and patted Annie on her back while she just kept kissing her daughter."

"Mommy...I can't …never…no …oh god!" She began almost a low wail, like a lament. Her mother collapsed on her chest, weeping almost in a tragically beautiful song.

"Mommy…we have to name him…we have to name him." Dana kept saying it over and over as Annie lifted herself off her daughter's chest. She kissed her on the forehead once and stood up. Tears stills streamed down her cheeks, but she was controlled and calm.

"His name is Quý giá!" (Precious) She said with a half-smile, struggling with her tears.

"Mommy…he…I'm so sorrrry." Dana said once before turning her head to the side, covering her face with her hand. She felt ashamed, and nothing her mother said would change that; at least for the moment.



A while later…

"She should be out for a while…" Peter Muldoon stood across from Sandy in the hallway outside Dana's room. "You saved my girl. I can never repay you…I…." His voice trailed off. Peter Muldoon, Vietnam vet; decorated…Silver Star…retired police officer…medal of valor….cried like a baby. Sandy walked over and cradled the big man in his arms and patted his back awkwardly. Nothing destroys the strength of a man more than the peril of illness or injury to his child. Annie joined the embrace moments later and squeezed Sandy's hand.

"Cảm ơn bạn (thank you)," she mouthed. "You are a blessing, Sandy, a blessing." Too many tears that day…way too many tears shed without an end in sight. Sandy shook his head and turned to bump into a vaguely family young man…at least that's what he thought until 'she' opened her mouth.

"Hey Bro, thanks for saving my baby sister," Dale Muldoon said as she grabbed him close for a hug. Baby sister by about seventeen minutes, Dana was Dale's twin. Fraternal, they resembled each other like Donny and Marie, save for the fact that it was more like Butch Donna and Femme Marie, if you'll excuse the expression.

"If you had't been there, fuck." She shook her head and looked into the room to catch sight of her sister.

"I'm gonna go spend some time with her, Mom, Dad. I'll meet you at the hotel later. It's just a few blocks.

"Mind if I join you?" Sandy asked. Dale nodded heartily while hugging her Dad.

"Sure…maybe we can get a cup of coffee somewhere while she sleeps." She said as she kissed her Mom.

" Tôi yêu bạn. (I love you)" Peter and Annie walked down the hall.

"Where's your fucking brother?" Dale asked, her face in a half-smile.

"Where do you think?" Sandy turned away.

"Hey, it's not your fault he can't keep his pants on. What the fuck, sometimes I think my sister married the wrong brother." She realized what she said and laughed.

"Hey, even if you are gay, you'd still be a better husband to my sister. What a fucking dick." She shook her head once again, but the bravado had been replaced with a sad, almost vulnerable expression.

"She's the best thing to ever happen to the bastard and he just can't see it." Her eyes started to tear up.

"I'm sorry. I promised myself I wouldn't cry...at least until I spent some time with her. Oh fuck."

"It doesn't help that my mother is like some demented cheerleader on the sideline saying,

"Bon travail, Johnny…Make sure you kick her while she's down." He shook his head and laughed. Dale looked at him and said,

"Fuck the coffee…I saw a bar across the street; we need a drink!"



Across the street at the bar…

You were everything, everything that I wanted…We were meant to be, supposed to be, but we lost it…And all of the memories, so close to me, just fade away…All this time you were pretending…so much for my happy ending…Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh...

"Okay…So I was almost 15. I'm in the locker room at school and I'm taking my first public shower. I know it's not the same for boys with a big communal thing, but it's not like the girls care who sees what either, right?" Sandy nodded.

"I've got a towel wrapped around me like a sarong and I'm holding on for dear life. Like I'm gonna turn to stone if someone sees me, you know? And who the fuck comes out of the shower but Olympia Aspasias, our fucking transfer student from fucking Athens. She's wearing nothing but her birthday suit and she's got a rack that's bigger than a stripper."

Sandy laughed and motioned for the waitress to bring two more drinks. He nursed his rum and coke and Dale continued.

"So anyway, she gets right up in my fucking face and says,

"You don't need this. And she pulls off my fucking towel. Not like a tease, but she's looking at me like an eagle looks at a prairie dog, you know?" She smiled and took a swig out of her O'Doul's.

"And then…she gets right up to my ear and whispers, like the sweetest voice I'd ever heard, 'I like you.' She grabs my hand and pulls me into the shower and starts kissing me." Her eyes began to mist.

"'I like you.' She never said another word that day, not another word, but I'm sitting on the bench in front of my locker and she comes up and kisses me…oh so soft and puts her hand on my cheek…" Dale shook her head and bit her lip.

"Last time I ever saw her. Went back to Athens the next day; her brother was in a car accident and the family just brought her home. Fuck…." She wiped her face with her sleeve.

"So when was your first time?" Dale leaned back in the booth and put her head against the wall. Sandy smiled and took a sip from his drink before saying,

"Well…I was twelve, and it was Billy Demuth. He came over to the house to trade comics and we were in my room. " He paused and giggled.

"'Sandy…what's all that noise up there?' My mom is downstairs wondering what the fuck is going on and I just yelled, 'Billy is showing me some wrestling moves.'" He began to laugh and snorted his rum and coke.

"Thing is, it wasn't all that much fun." He shook his head and turned away.

"It's gotten worse, hasn't it?" Dale shook her head and leaned closer to make it less public for him.

You were all the things I thought I knew and I thought we could be…

"After Martin told me he didn't like girls? I mean here we're a couple for two years…you don't know how hard it was to keep that from my mom. And then out of the blue he says,

'No, Sandy...this isn't working out…I wanted a relationship with a boy and fuck, that's what I'm going to get.'"

"He makes me take everything off...everything…and then he screws me…literally wasn't nice at all but the figurative fuck of it hurt worse. I mean we go together for two years and he's just figuring out now that I'm a girl? I mean, where's my happy ending?"

He put his head down and began to cry; not an unfamiliar scene in a bar, especially one directly across from a hospital.

"We're a pair, we are. Hey…I have to apologize." Sandy looked at her and she started to laugh.

"We never did switch… At Dana's... at their wedding....what happened? Oh yeah, your brother's car wouldn't start so I went out and got it going. That would have been the end to a perfectly fucked up day."

"Yeah…there you are in your gown leaning over the radiator with a screwdriver in your hand and I'm hanging back thinking 'shit, life isn't fucking fair.'" He shook his head and put his hand to his face.

"Well, I know you would have looked great in the gown, and I always wanted to know what it would be like to stand up at the front of a church in a tux…Maybe we were switched at birth."

"Yeah…maybe. Oh fuck…I'm sorry." Sandy turned away and laid his head on the back of the booth seat.

"That's okay. Hey…I know… you can be Rudi and I'll be Herbie, okay? We're a couple of misfits…." She smiled and he began to lighten up, grinning ever so small.

"We're a couple of misfits," he sang even while the tears streamed down his cheeks. She joined and sang the tenor to his alto,

"What's the matter with misfits, that's where we fit in"

It's nice to know that you were there…Thanks for acting like you cared…And making me feel like I was the only one…It's nice to know we had it all…Thanks for watching as I fall and letting me know we were done…



Disillusioned Redux

At the bar across from the hospital...

Dale and Sandy were laughing for once after nearly an hour of commiseration and tears.

"Ever...you know? Ever do it with the visiting team?" Dale giggled. She could usually hold her O'Doul's, but the euphoria of commonality had been intoxicating.

"With a girl?" Sandy shook his head. It was an odd question, but maybe not, considering their all too familiar feelings of rejection and sadness.

"Ummm...aaah....yes?" He said with a giggle of his own. While Dale's high was entirely un-aided, Sandy's was due to his failure to remember that Rum and Coke and Sandy aren't a good combination.

"Shut up!" Dale said in her best imitation of Stacy London, who would be appalled at Dale's choice of clothes, which approximated Sandra Bullock's pre-pageant wardrobe in 'Miss Congeniality."

"I was over at Sammy Piccone's house when he suddenly decided he didn't want to be my friend. I suppose coming out to him had something to do with that. I was thirteen and I completely misread him.' Dale patted him on his wrist in sympathy.

"Anyway, he's off down the block, telling all of his buddies about Faggy Pevour and I'm sitting on his front step."

He shook his head and used his sleeve to wipe his eyes; almost as if he were sitting in front of the Piccone house all over again.

"Sue...his sister, comes out and sits down next to me. 'What's wrong Philippe?' she says using my name. I look at her and she knows immediately without me saying." Sandy bit his lip and went to take another sip of his drink. Dale reached over and put her hand on his glass. She handed him her O'Doul's.

"Er...well...she grabs me by the hand and leads me into the house. She pulls me into her bedroom and shuts the door.' Sandy shook his head, almost out of disbelief.

"The only time I can remember that I can't remember." Dale looked at him crosswise.

"I don't remember anything of how it felt down there," he said, almost embarrassed to have pointed to his crotch.

"But up here?" He said pointing to his head.

"And here?" he said patting his heart.

"Beautiful!"

"Wow!" Dale shook her head. Most, if not all of her relationships were fleeting; transitory. The impermanence of them made her feel insecure and fearful. And she had been pushed into a stereotype that didn't suit her; even if it suited her partners.

"That's fucking awesome." Even her use of profanity was disappointing, as if she had to think and act a certain way. She had grown tired of being pushed and shoved and molded. Ever the 'boy,' she longed for a relationship that included someone loving her; cherishing her, valuing her.

"Danny Vanderbeek…..James Vanderbeek? His cousin…for real. Wham bam, thank you butchy. He told his friends he had bedded a lezzie. Like he's bagged an Elk or something." Her eyes teared up as she laughed sarcastically, pointing to her crotch.

"There? Fucking painful! But here?" She said pointing to her head, as if to echo Sandy

"And here?" she said pointing to her heart.

"Fucking nothing. Oh shit," She said, hating that it had become her 'turn" to cry. They were interrupted by the unexpected presence of their waitress.

I need some distraction Oh beautiful release Memory seeps from my veins Let me be empty And weightless and maybe I'll find some peace tonight…

"Are you Sandy Pevour?" Sandy nodded yes.

"The hospital is on the phone. They said they need you." Dale let out a soft cry. Turning to her, the waitress said,

"They told me to tell you it isn't your sister. Do you know what that means?" Sandy nodded and said,

"Unfortunately, yes." He grabbed a twenty and a ten out of his wallet and handed it to the girl and smiled.

"This ought to cover it, okay? Keep the change." He pulled Dale to her feet and they were out the door seconds later.



At the hospital... outside Dana's room...

"Are you going to explain what happened or do I have to find someone else." Johnny stood in the hallways just outside Dana's room, leaning all too closely into the nurse's space

"I'm sorry Mr. Pevour, but I only just arrived a few minutes ago for my shift. Would you mind waiting while I go get the charge nurse?" The girl was backed up against the hallway wall.

"Excuse me, what seems to be the problem here?" Johnny turned to find himself face to face with Dr. Javid.

"I want to know just what you people did to my wife." Johnny stood nearly toe to toe with her, leaving the young nurse to walk away slowly at Persis Javid's nod.

"I'd be happy to explain, Mr. Pevour. Why don't we step into the family room to continue this discussion?

"What's the matter with you people? I just want some answers." He pointed his finger at Persis, nearly poking her in the chest.

"And I'll be happy to answer your questions. I'm only concerned about your privacy at this point, Mr. Pevour." She smiled, but she wanted to slap the stupid arrogant grin off his face. She walked toward the family room and Johnny took the hint and followed her in the room. She shut the door and sat down, wiping her face with her sleeve. He sat down across from her and started in all over again.

"What the fuck did you do to my wife? I'm gonna sue your asses, you can be sure of that!" He laughed and shook his head.

"I'm sorry for your loss, Mr. Pevour, but there was nothing we could do." She frowned as she thought of the procedure and how she had been a reluctant but necessary part of it.

"Fuck…you fucking killed my baby! I'm going to sue your asses." He spat at her. She kept looking at the door, as if she were waiting for reinforcements.

"Mr. Pevour. I am sorry for your loss, but your wife came to us with massive bleeding in her uterus. The ultrasound confirmed what the paramedic had determined; your wife suffered a miscarriage. The baby was gone before the ambulance arrived at your home." She bit her tongue, remembering a day in her own past that mirrored the loss they now discussed.

"Well, what the fuck did you do to save the baby?" He nearly yelled at her; standing up and over her in a second. She looked up at him and spoke calmly.

"Mr. Pevour? Perhaps I didn't make myself clear; your wife had miscarried nearly an hour before she came here; if it weren't for your brother happening onto the scene, you'd be a widower right now." She shook her head, wondering why he was so angry after arriving five hours after Dana had arrived at the ER.

"Johnny…calm down." Sandy said as he closed the door behind him. Johnny turned to find Sandy and Dale standing by the door.

"Mind your own fucking business, baby brother; let the adults handle this, okay?" Johnny snapped. It was more than Dale could take.

"Why you fucking moron…if it weren't for your brother, Dana would have died…do you even fucking care?" She turned and put her hand to her face. She didn't want to cry…she was stronger than that.

"Well if it isn't my butch sister-in-law. What the fuck do you care? This is about my fucking kid, you bitch." He was nearly yelling at this point. Sandy went to put his hand on Johnny's arm but he pushed him away.

"Keep your hands off me. This isn't any of your business." He stared at Sandy until he heard a soft voice behind him. Persis had seen enough.

"Mr. Pevour, if you can't control yourself, the gentleman from security outside the door here will escort you from the hospital. Do I make myself clear?" She said softly while standing back in a neutral stance.

"What…you can't. " He said angrily.

"I can and I will; your choice." She almost purred.

"Okay, Okay…whatever." He said as he sat down.

"Have you even seen her yet?" Dale was in tears. "Go see her and let this go, Johnny." She walked out and down the hall. Sandy turned to his brother and spoke quickly before following her.

"Go see your wife. Mom has Carrie at home…she's okay. Go see Dana." Johnny went to say something but Sandy had already followed Dale down the hallway.

"I am so fucking angry. Did you see who is standing over at the nurse's station? I'm sure that will go over really good later on." Dale pointed to the nicely dressed woman standing by the desk.

"Oh shit." Sandy shook his head as Johnny walked out of the family room and over to his mistress before he walked into Dana's room.

"Hey babe." It was almost like he was announcing his arrival; as if by some magical power he could turn back time and fix everything with his charm.

"Oohhh…hi honey….I…I lost the baby." She turned her face and wept into the pillow. Even silence can be damning as Johnny didn't correct his wife's mis-perception. A moment later he grabbed her hand and spoke, saying what would likely be the most hurtful and insensitive thing he ever uttered in his life.

"Well, it isn't like we wanted to have another kid so soon. This is for the best." She kept her face hidden as she sobbed into the pillow. Johnny might spread his seed all over the Midwest, but Dana would never again know the bliss and reward of bearing a child. He might be a father several times over, but she would never again carry a child in her; hopelessness was overwhelming by contrast as his plenty ignored her lack.

"Joohhhny…I'm so sorry." She wept as her shoulders shook.

"Hell, it's no big deal." He couldn't have hurt her more if he had slapped her in the face.

"Hey...I gotta get to the hotel and register. I'll be back first thing in the morning, okay?" He kissed her on the cheek before leaving the room without another comment. She wept enough that her tremors set off the nurse page under her elbow.

"Yes? Can I help you? Mrs. Pevour…" The nurse at the station said into the monitor before getting up to walk down the hall.

In the arms of an angel Fly away from here from this dark cold hotel room And the endlessness that you fear you are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie you're in the arms of the angel May you find some comfort there.



The next morning in Dana's room…

"How's my patient today?" Persis Javid said as she leafed through the chart at the foot of Dana's bed.

"Still hurts." Dana looked down at her stomach and it was apparent to both doctor and nurse that the patient's pain was more of the mind and heart than of the body.

"I'll see about getting someone to come around with some books, Okay," The petite Filipina nurse smiled before leaving the room. Dana turned and looked out the window absentmindedly.

"It hurts, Dana, I know. We're going to get through this. I know hurts and it seems like it will never get any better, but it does." Alexis said softly as she wrote in the chart. Dana turned quickly and faced her doctor; her eyes flashing with anger as she snapped,

"And what would you know? You took the only chance I will ever have to give my daughter a sister or brother. How would you know how much it hurt…how would you know that?" She bit her lip and turned again toward the window.

"She would have been six." Persis said softly. Dana turned and faced her doctor once again.

"I was in my first year of residency." She shook her head and looked out the window.

"Derek decided that he couldn't handle residency and fatherhood, so he left me. Three weeks later I wake up in a warm wet bed and it feels like God has left me…feels like he's abandoned me just like Derek. It actually felt like I was missing more than….mmmy baby,"

She only stammered at the end as she remembered.

"Endometrial Hyperplasia…" She didn't want to be clinical and she continued.

"My sisters and I all suffer from endometriosis, and we never knew how bad it was because we figured...hell I guess this is what menses is about?" She shook her head.

"Neecie…my sister Bernice…she's a fertile Myrtle…six kids. And Lois too…four." Chloe was seven months along when she died….the only child I'll ever have, you know?"

Persis had never shared any of that before, not with colleagues, not with her supervisor, and certainly not with a patient. But she crossed the line with good cause, she would remember later, because right then and there, Dana needed to know that she wasn't alone. She needed to know that a real live person understood and cared. Maybe Persis cared too much; her supervisor had told her as much only days before. But that was who she was.

"I'm sorry…I didn't know." A typical unnecessary response; of course she wouldn't have known, and at that moment it wasn't about Persis anyway.

"That's okay…Hey, someone is here to see you…just a sec," she said as she left the room. A moment later Collette came in with Carrie. She placed the sleeping child on the bed beside Dana. And then she spoke.

"Dana…can we talk?" Collette said. She had tears in her eyes; Dana had never seen her mother-in-law crying.

"Ma fille...I am so sorry for the way I treated you." An apology from Collette Pevour was a rare thing indeed. It seemed that she must have been apologizing for some trivial offense; never at all known to give attention to truly meaningfully and important things.

"I mean it. I am so sorry." Dana was surprised to see tears streaming down Collette's cheeks.

"I have been so wrong about you and I am so sorry." She said once again. I wanted so bad to raise my boys so they wouldn't turn out like their dad, and I made it too easy for Johnny. It appears that I did just the opposite; he's exactly like his father." She sobbed.

"Oh, Collette, don't…It's not your fault." Dana said weakly. Carried stirred for a moment before settling back in a restful sleep.

"It's entirely my fault. I have been making excuses for my son since he was little. And look what I've done. He cares only about himself. Look at that beautiful girl next to you…She should be the most important thing in his life. I kept telling myself he'd get better, but I kept telling him things that said it was okay to be selfish and insensitive; just like I did with his father I'm so sorry that I spoiled my boy. Will you forgive an old fool?"

Dana reached over and clutched Collette' hand' She pulled her close and kissed her softly on the cheek.

"Of course."



Elsewhere…

"I'm sorry." Sandy said as they rode the elevator down to the lobby. It had been a very long day and night and once again it was as the end of the afternoon, and Dale was exhausted.

"Whatever for? It's your brother who should be apologizing. What a pig." Dale struggled as she left out the expletive.

"Your sister lies in a hospital bed; she lost her baby; she lost her possibilities, and nearly lost her life, and here I am complaining about my fucking gender issues." He shook his head as his face reddened in shame.

"What…you have to be miserable in order for everybody else to be happy? You can't have a life of your own? Fuck that shit." She shook her head as her own face reddened in embarrassment.

"Come on, Sandy, you've known since you were five that you were a girl. Just because everything played out the way it did doesn't change anything, and besides, it's not like you brought it up. I did ask the question." She looked away toward the wall of the elevator car.

"I know how much pain you're in. I want it so bad, too….I told you about Olympia and how it hurt? Felice Cattoni told everybody in the school I was a dyke. A fucking queer. And all I wanted to do is have someone love me. I saw what Mommy and Daddy had and I wanted that. And now Hannah tells me she's found someone she can love. Someone she can love?" By now the tears were streaming down her cheeks.

"So yeah, it fucking hurts and my sister is hurt and and…and….oh fuck…" She punched the wall of the elevator car just as the loud ping announced their arrival at the lobby.

"Look, I gotta get to the hotel…I'll talk to you tomorrow, okay." Dale said as she walked swiftly to the front of the hospital.

"Geez, Dale, it's okay…Wait up, I'll walk you over there." Sandy said trying to catch up.

"Thanks, but that's alright. It's just a few blocks…the mean streets of Akron are well lit, and I've got a can of Campbell's Tomato soup in my bag. I'll be okay. I just need to be alone, alright?" She didn't wait for his answer as she hurried out of the hospital and down the street.

As he rode back up to Dana's floor to collect his mom and Carrie. He looked at the mirrored finish on the stainless steel of the elevator wall and noticed a very handsome young man stare back at him. A nice image but for the fact that he longed for the day when an attractive woman would stare back in approval; he shook his head once before he put his forehead on the elevator wall and wept...

In the arms of an angel Fly away from here From this dark cold hotel room And the endlessness that you fear You are pulled from the wreckage Of your silent reverie

You're in the arms of the angel May you find some comfort there You're in the arms of the angel May you find some comfort here



Discovery

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth...

The Pevour house two days later…

A sharp rap came at the front door. Sandy got up and went and opened it, finding two Akron police officers standing nervously on the porch. A chill went up his spine as he feared the worst; sadly he was not disappointed.

"Excuse me... is this the Pevour residence?" The older of the two cops said as the younger one stepped back and looked away.

"Yes. My mother, Collette Pevour; it's her home. I'm her son Sandy," he said. Even in the midst of this nervous intrusion, he couldn't help but remember how much that word hurt him; 'son'.

"Would you mind coming outside and talking with us for a moment?" The look on the older cop's face said that the request was urgent, and not a request at all. Sandy quickly stepped outside and closed the door behind him. Thankfully Collette was napping in her bedroom and hadn't stirred at the arrival of the police.

"Do you have a brother named Marcel?" The older cop seemed resigned to do all the talking as the younger one grew red from nervous embarrassment.

"Yes...that's my brother Johnny." This was getting scary. Sandy tilted his head and bit his lip in anxious anticipation.

"I...I'm afraid we have bad news. Your brother....there's been a shooting. I'm afraid he's gone." The younger cop swallowed hard as the older one stepped back and held his hands apart as if to apologize.

"What?!!!" Sandy nearly shouted, but remembering his mother, quickly toned down his voice.

"No...that can't be...what are you saying? What...what?" He bit his lip as tears came to his eyes. There was no argument; no plea that would dissuade the cop from his task.

"His...Apparently he was shot by his girlfriend's husband. The man killed him and her and shot himself. I'm sorry." It was the first time the younger cop had been on a call like this, and it got to him immediately. He tapped his partner on the shoulder and waved, indicating he was going to go to the patrol car.

"I'm sorry, but I'm going to need someone from the family to identify the body. Mr. Pevour? I'm so sorry for your loss."

Sandy stood on the porch and began to shake. He slumped back against the front door and began to cry softly. A moment later he composed himself enough to acknowledge the cop's request.

"I have to call someone...My brother's in-laws are in town due to a family emergency. I'll have to have someone come over for my mom and they're going to have to have time to tell my sister-in-law that she just...just became ...a...a widow..." He couldn't finish the sentence and the cop half-frowned while patting him on the back.

"Take all the time you need, kid. If you don't have a cell on you, you can use mine, so you don't have to disturb your mother, okay?"

"Thanks, but I've got one, okay?" He stepped over to the porch swing and sat down and called."

"Pete....Pete...listen...I've got...I've got....." He looked at the cop and broke down. The cop leaned over and gently took the phone from Sandy's hand.

"Excuse me, I'm sorry. Is this Marcel Pevour's father in law? I've got some bad news."



The Muldoon's hotel room thirty minutes later…

"Dale...honey…can you come out here for a second?" Pete said from the hallway of the hotel. Dale walked out and smiled.

"Anything for you, Pops." Her smile quickly left her as she saw the look of sadness etched across her father's face. He took both of her hands in his and spoke haltingly.

"Johnny got killed..., and I need your help telling Dana." The tears fell from his chin as she embraced him. She never liked Johnny Pevour; he had never given anyone in the family reason to. But this was her niece's father; her sister…her twin's husband and she loved him in her own way even as she had loathed his treatment of Dana. She squeezed Pete's hand and they went inside where Dana was sleeping on the couch in the living area of the room with Carrie.

"Dana...Dana..." Pete started but was unable to continue as his voice broke. She looked up at her father and sister and knew what they were about to say.

"NOOO!!!!!!!!! No...Daddy nooooo. nooo...." Dale sat down on the couch and held her sister, rocking her and kissing her and crying; for Johnny more than she ever would have imagined, but mostly for her sister; her best friend and soul mate. She stroked Dana's hair, weeping along with her and trying so desperately to console the inconsolable. Annie walked out from the bedroom of the suite and looked at Pete, who just shook his head and bit his lip.

"Oh, God no....noooo....Dana, my baby....noooo..." She rushed to her daughters and joined the sad embrace, feeling helpless. Carrie woke up and began crying. Dale picked her up and cradled her as her own tears fell upon the baby's face.

"Cháu, Cháu, shhhhhh...shhhhhh." She looked at her father and swallowed hard.

"You stay here with Dana, Dad. I'll take mommy over to Collette's and then Sandy and I will go to the hospital, okay?" He nodded. She wiped her face with her sleeve and handed the baby to him. Annie kissed Dana, her own tears mixing with her daughter's in a sad expression of love.

"My baby...I will be back as soon as I can...Tôi yêu bạn (I love you!)" And they were out the door.



Later at the Pevour home…

"Mom…Mommy?" Sandy hadn't called her that since he was seven after Billy Callahan had knocked him off his bike into a ditch Collette stirred and looked toward him as he knelt at her bedside. Dale and Annie stood behind him rubbing his back.

"Philippe?" She only called him that when she was worried about him; something that hadn't happened in years as well.

"Muh...mom…Juh..Johnny." He barely got the word out when Collette began to sob.

"Ohhhh…nooo…." The realization was complete and overwhelming. There was something so unremarkable; so sadly expected….anticipated. No one seemed surprised and yet everyone was shocked and hurt beyond words.

"AAh... Annie is going to stay with you..." He couldn't continue, falling into his mother's arms as they wept together. After a few moments she grabbed him by his face with both her hands and kissed him over and over, all the while her tears blending with his.

"My baby…my baby….oh…." He began to think of how much she missed Johnny until she continued.

"Mon Petite Philippe, I love you so much….I'm so sorry….so so sorry…." She pulled him closer and buried her face in his chest and wept and wept.



Later at the Pevour home…

"Are you going to be okay?" Dale sat on the railing of the porch while Sandy sat on the porch swing. The trip to the hospital and back took less than an hour but felt longer.

'I guess so…yeah." He was hugging himself and had looked away, almost trying to convince himself as much as Dale.

"Well, I suppose my work is done, she said as she flung back her cape and flew off. Fuck, Sandy, yeah, you're okay, alright." She walked over and sat down next to him.

"I couldn't stand him…I hated what he did to Dana…He was a prick…and I still fucking miss him. I don't know why…but I'm sorry he's gone. Sandy…he was your brother…you loved him! Let it out…Please let it out."

She put her hand on his shoulder and that gesture said to him, "You're safe…it's okay, I'm here." He fell into her arms and wept. He wept for Dana…and Carrie…and his mom. He wept for Johnny and himself. And he wept for her…that part of himself who never had a name or a home or a family; who hurt more than she ever had in her life.

It seemed to have fallen to Dale to be the comforter; nothing wrong at all with that, but so foreign to whom she perceived herself to be. Hannah was the girl in the relationship, right? That meant that Dale must be the guy…the strong one. Dale was the one who laughed it off when the talk came behind her back at work. Dale was the one who sucked it up when her dog died. And Dale was the one who was stoned-faced and stoic when Hannah insisted that she needed someone to love.

"Fuck this," she thought to herself. She held Sandy in her arms and rocked him, pushing the swing back and forth with her legs. She put her head back against the upright of the swing and stared out into the night, feeling spent. She blinked back tears as she thought of how it should be...needed to be, but then she looked down into Sandy's eyes, seeing for the first time the kindest girl she would ever know and she wept.

So remember those who win the game lose the love they sought to gain in debitures of quality and dubious integrity their small-town eyes will gape at you in dull surprise when payment due Exceeds accounts received at seventeen...



The following afternoon at the Pevour home…

"I can't, Mommy. It's too soon." Dana sat at the table in Collette's kitchen. Annie looked at her with a half-frown, her eyes filled with tears. She reached across and grabbed Dana's hand.

"I know, con tôi…but I had to ask. Just let us know what we can do. Daddy can come up at any time and help you, sweetie." Dana got up and walked around to the other side and embraced her mother.

"It won't be forever, but Johnny's hardly been gone and I just can't walk away yet. There's something here for me to do, Mommy. I don't know what, but there's something here for me and Carrie, I just know it. Oh, Mommy...I don't know…it's so confusing ….there's a pull here…like not just feeling like I should stay, but even more like I can't go. Do you understand? I'm so sorry."

"Baby…I don't…but I know that you understand, and that's enough. It's okay. We're just a phone call away, honey." She turned and smiled and kissed Dana on her lips, like a blessing.

"She needs someone to keep an eye on her, right baby sis?" Dale laughed as she walked into the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down.

"I've got an idea that I think surpasses the brilliance of anything I've ever come up with," she said as Dana hugged her before sitting back down.

"I've nothing to keep me at home for the time being." She frowned, thinking about the new-found but sad freedom she had gained when Hannah ended their relationship.

"My grad program is online, and I'm gainfully unemployed. Do you mind some company?'

"Mind?" Dana's lip began to quiver and she covered her face with her hand.

"I'll take that as 'welcome Big Sis!" Dale found herself feeling oddly vulnerable and she began to cry; the stress of the past several days had finally reached a saturation point. But even more, she was moving away from the expected and demanded and insisted and toward the freedom of being and living.

"Wow," she said with a laugh after a few moments. "Where did that come from?" She leaned over and hugged Dana and put her hand out, which her mother grabbed. Collette felt left out, but Annie turned and smiled.

"We're family…all of us, my dear sweet friend."

At that moment Sandy walked in from the living room, holding the day's mail. He noticed that the room was filled with females as it were, including his niece who was fast asleep in her carrier.

"Don't mind me…I'll be just a moment," he said as he poured himself a cup of coffee. Dale looked up at him and smiled a knowing smile; almost an uncomfortable moment of foreboding doom. She winked at him and grabbed his hand. Pulling him down to the chair next to her, she spoke.

"Oh, that's alright, we're all girls here!" She smiled again and his face began to turn a bright red. He looked at her like he had lost his best friend and burst into tears; his own stress and tension reaching their saturation point as well. He began to sob and put his head down on the table. And he wasn't angry or sad or scared, but relieved. At least mostly as he realized on his other side his mother sat silent.

"I'm sooo sorry….Mom I'm so...…..I can't d...d..do this any m...more."

Collette put her hand on his forehead, brushing away a lock of hair before kissing him.

"Mon petite Philippe…Mon doux enfant ne pleure pas je ne suis pas fâché, (my sweet child, do not cry, I am not angry)" she said as she stroked his hair. So often her use of her mothere tongue had been dismissive, but there at that moment, she spoke as only a mother can speak to her heartbroken child.
Her ministrations caused him to cry harder; his shame and guilt and regret overwhelming him until heard her finally say,

"Je t'aime, ma douce fille …"

Dana turned to Dale and half-smiled.

"I took Spanish in high school, but ….did she just say what I think she said?"

"Oui ma soeur, oui," Dana giggled.

"I love you, my sweet daughter."

To those of us who knew the pain of valentines that never came and those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball it was long ago and far away the world was younger than today when dreams were all they gave for free to ugly duckling girls like me...




Distractions

Everybody's searching for answers everybody tries to find some meaning in their life Where do we belong who will be our shelter Looking for salvation A haven from the storm

A few weeks later at the Pevour home…

A fairly attractive college student sat at the kitchen table undergoing the doting ministrations of her friends, a pair of nearly identical twins save for the very short and unflattering haircut one of them wore.

Well, you've got gorgeous eyes, so there's a lot to work with." Dana leaned closer to examine Sandy's brows. Fortunately for you, your bone structure favors your mom, so there's nothing needed on your brow line except to remove a few wandering hairs. She leaned even closer and kissed his forehead.

"Okay...get ready." She plucked the first of several hairs.

"Ow!"

After a few minutes, Sandy looked in the mirror. His brow line appeared normal but neater, and not in the radical "I just had my eyebrows tweezed" way you might see if he'd had it done in the parlor; brows that were neither masculine nor feminine.

"What do you think, sis?" Dana turned as Dale walked into the kitchen.

'Breathtaking...I'd date her." Dale realized what she had just said and backtracked.

"If she weren't family...still looks kind of pretty." She moved quickly to the counter with her back to them, pouring herself some coffee. Her face had grown warm and she realized she must be blushing.

"And this without makeup! It's uncanny how some guys have that type of face, you know?" Dana said as she started to comb Sandy's hair back off his face.

"Put a two-day stubble on this boy here and give him a buzz cut and he'd be on the cover of OK or US. Put make up on this girl here and give her a nice cut from the salon and the boys would beat down her door. It just isn't fair." Dana half-frowned and then stuck her lower lip out in a mock pout.

Dale turned back to see Dana brushing on some blush. Sandy's soft complexion needed little help, and Dale quickly turned away just before Sandy caught her eye.

"Let's see...purple...mauve....hmmm?" Dana absentmindedly bit the tail of the comb.

"I think a dark brown on the lid softening outward up to the brow, Oui?" Sandy looked up to see his mother standing in the kitchen doorway, a frown on her face. She walked over and looked him up and down, as if he were a recruit at inspection.

"Brows look very good! A little too much blush, I fear. Just one thing to make this complete," she said as if she were about to lecture the three of them. She suddenly leaned closer to Sandy and kissed him on the cheek.

"Ces't Magnifique! ma fille." She started to giggle, which immediately became contagious as Dana and Dale began to laugh. Sandy didn't join in; quite the opposite, he began to cry.

"What's wrong, honey?" Dana asked. "I would have thought you'd be happy.

"I am...it's just that this...acceptance is so...overwhelming." He looked into his mother's eyes and saw her start to cry.

"Sandy, I am so sorry I neglected you all these years." She shook her head and Dana walked to her side and embraced her from behind.

"I loved Johnny...In spite of what he became, I still love him; I always will." Dana shuddered at the mention of Johnny's name. Collette reached back and held her hand over her shoulder.

"But I loved him too much and not enough, I think. I doted on him and gave him permission...I'm so sorry Dana...I gave him permission to be cruel and selfish and unfair."

She turned and embraced Dana, who collapsed in her arms.

"But I had another child, a child so precious that I should have treasured....at least treated as kindly and affectionately as my firstborn. I am so sorry I didn't see who you had become."

"Mom...I..." Sandy choked up, the words failing to be said. Dale stepped closer and patted him on the back.

"She knows, Sandy. I think she's known for a while, but couldn't face losing two sons." Dale looked down and again was struck with the beauty of this....girl.

"Johnny was almost destined to depart. I'm sorry, Dana, but it just always seemed like he wasn't...you know." Dana wiped her face with her sleeve and nodded.

"And Philippe? Destined to leave as well, leave as a boy but return as a girl in a way...you've known for awhile, haven't you, Collette?"

"Yesss." She began to cry softly.

"I thought it was a phase...so many boys have them, you know? I read and read, and I figured I'd see him change and become the man like his father. But the more I saw just how much Johnny had become like his father, in my heart of hearts I begged for God to help Philippe, my Sandy.... become something better, kinder, more loving than his brother or his father. I guess in a way God has a sense of humor. He's nothing like his father and only like his brother where Johnny was deep down. Oh baby I am so sorry."

For a moment Dale thought that Collette was talking to Sandy, but she turned her face back to Dana and pulled her closer, kissing her daughter-in-law over and over as their tears mingled together in one last prayer for a husband and a child.

Dale felt awkward. This was the part of the conversation where strong, stoic Dale would make a joke or spout some useless words or just laugh. It was her part in her own psychic drama, and she was expected to be manly; whatever that was. She had a role to fulfill so she took a deep breath in order to say something brave, as if somehow she couldn't be herself and be brave as well

So instead she found herself crying. She sat down at the table and put her head down; much like Sandy had done moments before. Her shoulders bobbed up and down in rhythm with the sobs as she said over and over,

"I can't do this...I can't do this..."

"You don't have to." Dale looked up and found herself gazing once again into the eyes of the kindest woman she had ever known, even if she had only known that part of Sandy for a short while.

"I….I…had to …..Hannah wanted….I…I cuuu couldn't." Dale kept shaking her head, almost in an internal argument with herself

"Sounds like we all have some else's cross to bear." Sandy turned from Dale to look at Dana and his mother.

"We don't have to…," the newest member of the Pevour sisterhood said through her own tears.

"It's okay….we don't have to." Collette smiled at Sandy and nodded.

"We are who we are, and that is a very good thing." She stepped to the table, Dana in tow, their hands clasped. She leaned over and spoke softly in Dale's ear.

"Dana is like a daughter to me so you are also like a daughter to me as well, Oui?" Dale lifted her head as Collette cupped her chin.

"Now, where we? Ah yes…you and Dana were helping my daughter with her makeup. I will make some tea and we can continue; Nes pas?" Her question evoked a nervous giggle from Dale, which got Dana and Sandy laughing as well. Dale sat up and smiled.

"Oui, ma chere femme, Oui."

We all need something to believe in We all need a light to see us through



At the Aldi’s supermarket several days later…

"Oh, what a cute little girl. How old is she?" Dana turned around to see a familiar face.

"Oh, gosh, hello Dr. Javid…you remember Carrie. She's not quite eleven months. Yes she's cute alright. It's so nice to see you. How are you?" They shook hands.

"I'm fine. The question is how are you? I heard about your husband. I am so sorry." Dana smiled nervously.

"I'm doing fairly well, considering. My sister…oh here she is now…My sister Dale is staying with me while I sort things out. Dale, you remember the woman who saved my life." She used her hand in a broad gesture.

"Oh, yes. Thank you so much…She's…" Dale paused a moment. Ordinarily glib and even dismissive at times, she truly wanted to change, so she said,

"I can't thank you enough for saving Dana…I owe you more than I can say" She swallowed and choked back a sob; a newly acquired habit that was helping her be herself.

"Excuse me, if you don't mind, I'm going to take Carrie next door while you finish up. You want me to order?" Dale picked up Carrie, travel seat and all.

"A Diet Coke to start, okay? Maybe some soup…They've got that really good seaweed soup here, don't they?" Dale nodded and walked down the aisle to the exit.

"Well, I've got to go check out and you've got your shopping to do," Dana said as she looked down the aisle awkwardly, trying to make an exit.

"I'm so glad to see you again, Ms. Pevour." Persis said as she smiled warmly.

"Oh, please, call me Dana," she said and smiled.

"Very well, but only if you call me Persis." Dana looked at her and tilted her head.

"What a lovely name. What does it mean?"

"It just means Persian woman …it's a Greek name, but it really describes me. My father was an Indian physician working in Baltimore when he met my mother. She was a doctor as well; she had to leave Teheran when the government fell in '79. I was born and grew up in Baltimore but I moved here with my fiancé' seven years ago."

"Oh yes, I remember you talking about your….oh, gosh, I just remembered…I am so sorry." Dana's face reddened at the recollection of Persis' miscarriage and the breakup of her engagement.

"Dana…Dana it's okay…it's been awhile…I'm alright. Really." She leaned closer to show Dana that she was okay.

"I'm really, really sorry." Dana began to tear up. The mention of Persis' miscarriage caused a flood of emotion as she recalled her own recent loss. It became overwhelming as she began to weep right there. Persis pulled her close and held her, patting her back in comfort.

"Shila tasliyat migam, Dana jan (It's okay, Dana dear)." A few moments later Dana pulled back and wiped her face with her sleeve.

"I don't know what came over me…I'm sorry…I have to go…thank you." She walked down the aisle with her cart and disappeared. Persis watched until she was out of site. Only then did she shake her head as tears began to stream down her face.

"Shila tasliyat migam, Dana jan. At least it will be."

Where do we belong who will be our shelter Looking for salvation A haven from the storm



The Pevour home that evening…

The girl sat on the front porch; anxiously awaiting her escort. It was her first time out after her makeover, and she was filled with hope. It had been months since she had seen him and she wanted to make a big impression on him. She left the porch light off and sat in the dark on the porch swing. A friendly face…two in fact, looked through the window once before closing the curtains.

A few minutes after six a car drove up to the curb. The young man got out and walked purposely up the steps. The girl rose from the swing and walked toward him slowly.

"Hi, Martin. I missed you," she said softly. Her smile quickly disappeared as he frowned angrily.

"Sandy, you fucking lied to me. I told you I didn't want to do this. What part of no don't you fucking understand. I don't want to be with a girl …I don't want this…and I fucking don't want you." Martin turned without another word. He bounded down the steps, got into his car and drove off. Sandy stood in the porch light glow, which revealed a face so filled with hopelessness and horror unlike you've ever seen.

The front door creaked open as Dana and Dale came out onto the porch. They led her to the porch swing where Dana sat down with her. Sandy just sat there shaking her head in sad disbelief while Dale sat across from them. She was shaking her head, but it wasn't only due to sadness. She bit her lip as angry tears streamed down her cheeks. Dana rubbed Sandy's back and kept saying softly,

"It's okay, honey, it's okay." She blinked back her own tears and thought to herself,

"At least it will be."



A little later…

"Are you going to be okay? I've got to get home and get the baby to bed, honey." Dana looked at Dale and saw something odd that she'd never seen before. Not when she was a cellmate in their playpen when they were little. Not when Janine Helwig invited her to the big party in fourth grade. Not when Petra Yankovich kissed her behind the gym in her senior year. There was an almost eerie expression; not the creepy kind, but the otherworldly how in God's name did that happen kind.

"Are you okay, sweetie?" She tilted her head, looking for some clue. Dale smiled and looked over at Sandy, who had fallen asleep on the couch.

"No…I just think she needs someone here when she wakes up. I felt so bad for her." She smiled as Dana picked up Carrie's seat and headed toward the door.

"Okay. I'll be by in the morning. I'll grab some clothes for you." She kissed Dale on the cheek.

"Sure you'll be okay?" Dale pushed her gently toward the door.

"Yes, mother." She laughed and kissed Dana on the cheek before she and Carrie were off down steps to the car.

"Bye…." She waved and closed the door. Turning back, she noticed that Sandy had stirred. She shook her head and walked into the kitchen. Pulling out an O'Doul's, she walked back into the living room and sat down opposite the couch in the recliner. She looked at the sadness that seemed to plague Sandy even in her sleep.

As she gazed at Sandy, she thought of something a friend had told her once back when she came out to the family. Her family had for the most part supported her but some cousins and several of her oldest friends cut her off. She didn't feel like she fit in, and when she got to college she tried very hard to fit the mold that her well-meaning new friends pushed her towards. The TV screen catty-corner to her reflected her image, and the distortion wasn't just from the angle or the glare. She saw someone unlovable and entirely worthless. Someone worthy of scorn or disdain or worse yet, acceptance on their terms.

"Never let anyone define who you are," her friend Stacy had said, "even me." They got a nice laugh out of it, but Stacy had been serious. Dale had to discover who she was and why she was, as Stacy had reminded her.

"Dale…you are here for a reason. Not to wear the right clothes, not to say the right things, not to please the right people; even in our community. You're here because you have a purpose. Like that fellow in Chariots of Fire….God made you for a purpose….and when you find out what that is, honey, you will absolutely know His pleasure!"

She stared at Sandy, perhaps her best friend next to her sister since Stacy and she lost touch and now that she and Hannah were no longer together. Her feelings were very old and brand new at the same time. And once again she beheld the sweetest, kindest woman she ever knew.

"Fuck….why did this have to happen…why me?" She smiled as the tears came, even as she knew that she knew that she knew that the love of her life…the girl she was destined to spend the rest of her life with…was a boy named Philippe Pevour.

We all need something to believe in We all need a light to see us through We all need something to believe in I found something to believe in you I was like a wayward ship drifting out to nowhere Tossing in the raging waters tryin' to find my way home You must be an angel watchin' over me Your lovin' arms my harbor Now I know I'm not alone



Declaration!

Fitting preconceived notions laid upon me I never knew just who I should be Never feeling like I belong Hardly right but always wrong Blinding me to what I failed to see

The Pevour home, much later …

Sandy awoke in the middle of the night. She sat up and looked over at Dale, who had fallen asleep in the recliner. Shaking her head, she got up quickly and walked to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, she cringed at the sight of black streaks on her face from her mascara after an hour of crying. She stripped off her dress and threw it unceremoniously along with her lingerie on the floor and climbed into the shower. Turning on the faucet, she scrubbed her face and tossed the cloth onto the ledge, put her head against the wall of the shower and began to cry.

After a few minutes a knock came at the door.

"Sandy? Sandy? Are you okay?' Dale had her head against the door, trying to hear.

"Dale…Go away! I don't want to talk."

"Can't do that, kiddo!" She tried the door; it was locked.

"Come on, Sandy. Please." A moment later she heard the water stop running. A few moments after that, she heard a loud buzzing sound.

"Oh shit! No…Sandy for God's sake no!" She heard no response as the buzzing continued for a minute or so longer before stopping abruptly, only to be replaced by sobbing from behind the door.

"Sandy… Please?" She tried the door again, without success until she heard the latch turn in the lock.

"I need you to give me some time," the sadly familiar face said. Dale stood horrified to see the sad woman standing in front of her with the crew cut and tears streaming down her cheeks.

"Oh no….Sandy…no." Dale shook her head and grabbed his arm.

"Why?"

"I don't fit in…like we sang…I'm a misfit. I'm tired of trying. I don't care anymore. Go home, Dale." He smiled weakly and closed the door.

I found my twin in you neither knowing what to do but fitting in as best as we could



The following morning at Sandusky Women's Health Center…

"Oh, Mrs. Pevour, I'm glad you're here. Dr. Bettincourt had a cancellation; she'll be able to see you in a few minutes." Dana nodded at the receptionist and sat down. A moment later her attention to the three-month old People magazine was interrupted by a friendly and familiar voice.

"Hi Dana…this is a surprise. Melanie is my doctor as well. I've known her since I moved here. She was with me…" Persis' voice trailed off. "I'm so sorry."

"Don't be…you care. You saved my life, and your words of comfort yesterday meant the world to me. I know things are going to be alright, and I have you to thank for that." Dana put her hand on Persis' arm and a shiver went up her back. She looked into her eyes and saw the most welcoming caring expression she'd ever beheld.

"Listen, I'm still here waiting for some paperwork to be faxed. Are you busy for lunch? My treat."

"Okay, that would be wonderful. " Dana said quickly as the nurse called her. Persis put her head back against the wall and closed her eyes and smiled.

Finding comfort in you acceptance yes it's true and loving you the way you knew I would

Later, in the elevator…

"If you don't mind…oh gosh this is so embarrassing." Dana turned red and looked away.

"Sure, go ahead…no worries." Persis smiled as they rode the elevator down to the lobby.

"I'm really embarrassed…I'm sorry…but I don't really care for curry or even much Indian cuisine." Persis began to laugh softly in a way that didn't add to Dana's embarrassment. She put her hand on Dana's shoulder, evincing yet another shiver.

"Me too, honey. We had so much of it growing up, and I can make it any time at home. They have this great new French restaurant over on Beasley. Sound okay?"

Dana tried to retreat, but an elevator is such a small place with corners in too-close proximity.

"Ssure…that would bb...bee fine." She felt her cheeks grow almost hot and the mirrored wall revealed a nice shade of red which quickly approximated magenta.

"Dana, it's okay…it's just lunch." Persis' smile was so disarming and so relaxing and so wonderful that Dana became flustered.

"Sussshure. French…nice…You're nice …it's all nice! " She was babbling by now.

"Dana…It's okay…really…"

Persis tried to pat her on the back to comfort her but all that did was send Dana into the wall of the elevator. She leaned too close, perhaps, and when Dana turned around they were face to face. Dana's eyes got wide as she relaxed in every way possible save one, which actually was ultimately unfortunate or fortunate as it turned out for her. She tried to push away from the wall at the moment the elevator stopped on the ground floor abruptly, causing her to lose her balance. She fell forward into Persis' arms, and their lips met.

"Staaahp," Persis said, all the while kissing Dana back.

"Yooou stahhhp," Dana cried as she kissed Persis. Soon the two gave up entirely and enjoyed the moment. A second later the car doors opened up, revealing two very nice women in a nice embrace. A surprised elderly couple stood at the doors of the elevator; they looked at each other and smiled.

"That's okay…we'll take the next car." The old man chuckled as the doors closed and the elevator began its return ascent carrying two women, both decidedly red-faced but also decidedly okay!



The same morning at the Pevour home…

"You're still here…Go home, Dale," Sandy said as he walked into the living room. Dale glared at him, and her face betrayed her obvious disappointment.

"Look, you don't have to like this; I don't myself, but I really haven't been left with many choices here," he said as he pointed to himself. "Just don't be angry with me, okay? I couldn't bear another rejection."

"Oh God, Sandy, I'm not angry with you. I'm angry with me." She said as she turned away, afraid to face him.

"What? I don't understand?" Sandy said, shaking his head. He walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder, prompting her to shrug it off.

"I feel I've been such a poor friend to you; you deserve more than what I've given you lately and it shows." She wiped her face with her hand and sniffled. Sandy grabbed a box of tissue off the mantel and handed it to her.

"You're my best friend and you just hurt yourself so badly I can't bear it. I'm so sorry you feel so bad about yourself and I'm partly to blame because I haven't told you how precious you are."

"Wwhhaat? Dale...what are you saying?"

"You are precious…a wonder to me, Sandy. I've been so stuck in my own stuff and everything other people put on me that I didn't appreciate just what a beautiful person you are." She grabbed his hand and kissed it. Now it was his turn to pull away.

"I can't be what you want from me." He shook his head.

"Yes you can…if you listen to me.” She refused to let go of his hand.

"You don't even know what I want…what I need." She began to weep; her tears falling at his feet.

"I'm not the man for you." Sandy shook his head, continuing to try to pull away.

"No you're not…you're the girl for me." She looked up into his… her eyes and smiled.

I found my love in you finally knowing what to do fit together like a hand and glove being precious to you and treasured yes it's true becoming one as we begin to share this love

"Sandy…you're the most precious woman I have ever known. You're thoughtful…kind…caring; more than anyone I've ever met…and you just don't see yourself the way I see you…you're beautiful." Sandy felt her hand go limp as her resistance left. Dale pulled her down onto the couch and kissed her.

It really wasn't about sex or even about kissing at that point, but about two friends finding something brand new about each other; learning that their acceptance led to them accepting themselves. Sandy broke down and wept, perhaps harder than she had ever, since there were so many dimensions to her tears. For her brother and even her father, for her mother, for her niece and for the nephew who never took a breath, for Dana …for Dale, and for her dreams, hopes, and herself…each of them had perished in some way with such a sense of loss and sadness as to overwhelm.

But Sandy was also crying from relief over the knowing of herself; the self she feared had died and been buried like her sad past. The relief fostered by the love and confidence and faith that a resurrection was possible. The little girl who sat at Jesus' feet while the brother labored and was neglected. The girl who stood face to face with her Lord and spoke the sad words… If you had been here I would not have died, failing to realize He had sent Dale to resurrect her.

"Don't be ashamed…you're okay…you're just so wonderful…please hold me. I need you to hold me like I matter."

Dale wept as well, feeling unlovable most of her life; she was almost right since she had failed to love herself; failed to realize how dear she was even with the love of her sister…of her parents. Convinced that she'd never enjoy the things other girls wanted and needed. And now finally finding her sense of self…and discovering her love for Sandy.

And so the 'lesbian' from Galveston loved the 'transwoman' from Akron; each then losing restrictions… both falling into each other as the cold labels were replaced by a new love of selves and new identities. Gone were the stereotypes and expectations, replaced by Dale Tran Muldoon, dear sweet daughter of Annie and Peter; sister of Dana, and Sandy…Sandra Jean Pevour, sister of Johnny and daughter of Collette; two precious women discovering each other and themselves for the very first time.

Becoming free with acceptance laid upon me I finally know just who I should be At last feeling I belong Giving words to my sweet song My eyes open to the blessing you are to me



Decisions!

East of the sun and west of the moon we'll build a dream house of love dear close to the sun in the day

A little later, in Dana's car in the Center Parking Garage…

"Oh God...I've never done anything like that before," Dana put her hand over her face. Any casual observer might have thought she was crying, but she was trying to stop laughing. She held Persis hand as they sat in her car, reeling with almost a hilarious afterglow from the kiss...THE KISS.

"Oh, like I'm experienced in this..." Persis began to chuckle, mostly out of nervous tension. She had wanted to approach Dana with her concerns over the feelings she had suddenly developed, but this was too much.

"Well, you could have fooled me." She leaned closer to tease, as if she were going to kiss Persis again. And of course Persis took it the wrong way, happily, and leaned in as well and kissed Dana again. They made all the nice sounds we all like to hear...mmm'ing and oooohhh'ing for all they were worth. After a few moments, the tension had completely dissipated, leaving both women relaxed and with their guards completely down. Dana put her head back on the headrest and breathed out a relaxed sigh. Persis looked at her and burst into tears. Dana turned her head and smile and said softly,

"It's okay...I understand." She bit her lip and tears came to her eyes.

"This was fun...and sweet and wonderful and special...but I know this was...you know...us helping each other." She shook her head slightly and continued, but in a softer, sadder tone.

"I'm sorry...I didn't mean to be so selfish...and I'm presuming too much. You were so kind and tender. I can't expect you to know how much that meant. I didn't want to put anything on you, but you've been so...nice to me since we met." She closed her eyes and began to weep softly herself until she felt a hand touch her face.

"No...Dana...I...I wanted that for me...not to appease...not to placate the hurt. I saw you in the hospital. Even in your pain and sadness, you had the most precious look I had ever seen. I've loved you since that moment. It is I who should apologize for taking advantage. I feel so ashamed."

She buried her face in the back of the seat. This time a hand caressed her cheek and she found herself being kissed again, this time with none of the playfulness of the previous moments but all of the tenderness and warmth; this time accompanied by a soft whisper.

"No shame....you said to me...'It's okay' I looked it up...you comforted me and loved me in that one moment like no other human being." She began kissing Persis all over her face.

"And I say to you, Anh Yeu Em...Pardon, Je vous aime, ma douce Persis." Dana kissed Persis ear as she spoke.

"You...you love me? Dana? Oh God....NO...you can't...I ....noooo." Persis covered her face and wept.

"I'm not...I can't ...." She pleaded. Dana redoubled her effort and kissed Persis' nose, kissing away her tears.

"I can't either...remember." Dana began to sob softly, but she kept kissing Persis.

"You.....you saved me.....I....can't thank....only way....." She kept kissed Persis until their lips met once again. This time...The Third Time, as some say, was the charm. From exploration to apprehension and self-doubt to certain and sure and earnestly true love.

Asheghetam, Anh Yeu Em, Je vous aime...all saying I love you in harmony as the two began to find their blessings in each other as well as feel alive; providing joy and comfort and love, perhaps for the very first time in a way that fulfilled them.

After several minutes, they parted lips, only to find a very surprised and happy older couple standing next to the car in the garage. The two smiled at them and the gentleman pointed to his ring finger while mouthing,

"Forty-six years tomorrow." He kissed his wife on the cheek before adding with a smile,

"Be happy!"

Near to the moon at night we'll live in a lovely way dear sharing our love in the pale moonlight



At the Pevour home a few weeks later...

"Okay, you've got to sit still. I know you haven't worn makeup that much, but that doesn't mean it won't look good." Dana smiled as she applied a light dusting of powder to Dale's face.

"We may not be identical, but you're every bit as pretty as me...maybe more so because you got Mom's cheeks." She smiled and began working on Dale's eyelids with some shadow.

"Where's the mirror, sis. Just what are you doing to me?" Dale squirmed, almost as if she were a boy whose sister was dressing him up, so foreign and strange had she felt all her life. But she was all girl, as they say, even if she was only realizing it for the first time in recent weeks.

"Oh, no, sister! NO peeking. We agreed. You just have to trust me on this, okay?" Dana pouted and scowled in mock disappointment.

"Okay...just be sure that I don't come out looking like a French whore!" Dale teased until she realized just who was in the room with her.

"Oh..pardon mon mere!" She said as she turned to Collette, who frowned once before laughing.

"No one in my family like that...of course zat doesn't take into account my cousine Marie," she said, enhancing her accent for the occasion.

"Oh mon Dieu vous êtes très belle!" Collette actually opened her mouth after she spoke and left it open in pleasant surprise.

"What...what???" Dale looked up at Dana, who was beginning to cry.

"What's wrong?" She cried out, afraid of what she'd seen Dana turned the mirror toward her and she beheld one of the prettiest faces she had ever seen. With a hint of eastern mystique from her mother and soft pale skin adorned with a sprinkle of freckles courtesy of her father, she was pretty in the truest sense of the word. Her face featured an uncharacteristic broad smile and her eyes seem to sparkle with life never seen before. Dana leaned closer and hugged her. They embraced as only sisters can until they heard another voice coming from living room.

"Et nous avons ici une autre belle fille!" Persis said as she walked into the kitchen, a figure trailing behind her, nervously clasping her hand.

"Mesdames, permettez-moi d'introduire Mademoselle Sandra Pevour." She stepped out of the way and used her hand in a broad gesture to point to a pretty girl. Not a beauty in the classic sense, never the less she was as beautiful as Dale imagined she would be. Dana handed the mirror to Persis, who in turn handed it to Collette.

"Ma douce fille vous fera une belle mariée! (My sweet daughter, you will make a beautiful bride.)

"Oh gosh...is this me?" Sandy looked in the mirror as if she were meeting a new friend for the first time. Dale stood up and walked to her, pulling her in for an embrace.

"Yes, and you're all mine." She smiled and spoke, almost as if to everyone.

"At the risk of spoiling my makeup..." And they kissed.

Just you and I, forever and a day Love will not die; we'll keep it that way

And so the girl from Galveston and the girl from Akron were married. Shortly after the ceremony, Sandy had all of her pesky details adjusted and doctors visited and psychologists consulted and so on until one day a few years later the girl from Galveston was now married to the new girl from Akron.

And the girl from Baltimore who lived in Akrob and the other girl from Galveston who also lived in Akron drove to Iowa, where they became the spouses from Council Bluffs. And they raised their daughter Carrie and adopted a little boy named Sergei.

And while everyone had some bumps and glitches like we all do from time to time in real life, I am thrilled to say....

They all lived happily ever after...

Up among the stars we'll find a harmony of life to a lovely tune east of the sun and west of the moon dear east of the sun and west of the moon



Lovely
As sung by
Trish Thuy Trang
from the Album
Waiting for You
words and music by
Michelle Tumes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXQbiWUHXlg

My Happy Ending
words and music by
Avril Lavigne and Butch Walker,
as performed by Avril Lavgne
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFGbSWP-G-o

We're a Couple of Misfits
words and music by
Johnny Marks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q41SwDf2CU

Angel
Words and music by
Sarah Mclachlan
as performed by
Katherine Jenkins
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC7TcH-3MVs

At Seventeen
words and music by
Janis Ian
as sung by Natalie Merchant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5gu2_Wy3aA

Becoming Free
words and music by
Andrea Lena DiMaggio

East of the Sun
words and music by
Brooks Bowman
as performed by Diana Krall
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS9bYIvu73c



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