Brief journal entries of Lacey Stephens, a character from the story Desert Dreams .
These are the original journal entries of Lacey Stephens, a character in Desert Dreams by Kennedy Northcutt. No reproduction of any kind without the express permission of the author is permitted, especially if you know what's good for you.
Adult content: These entries explore a loving relationship between two women. There is coarse language, as well as some graphic violence. Be warned.
To all of you military jargon folks: For those of you currently serving or formerly serving in the U.S. Military, this is a work of fiction (solely my imagination). Although some content may appear to be non-fiction, it's not. I do not intend to offend those who serve or have served our country. I respect and revere our service men and women. After all, you are the reason we are the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. I'm just not versed in military protocol and have not had the opportunity to sit down and pick the brains of those who are. I'll save those changes for the printed version of Desert Dreams. Thanks!
Feedback is always appreciated. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 6, 2005
My therapist suggested I purchase a notebook and keep a journal of my thoughts, feelings and other stuff that comes up during the course of a day. I have to admit, I wasn't too keen on the idea. After all, what could there possibly be in this head of mine that would justify writing a journal? Then again, maybe it's not the worst idea in the world. Who is going to read it anyway? And I did promise a certain someone that I would go to all my therapy sessions from now until Christmas.
Okay, so here goes. I miss her so much already. Yes, I miss Mackenzie like crazy. She went home to Wyoming after completing her initial physical therapy sessions and her final checkup with Dr. Granby at the VA, in Dallas. He's a good guy and recommended she continue the PT when she gets back to Jackson.
God! Is she really that far away? Jackson seems like it's halfway around the damned world. Can't believe I said that. Wrote that. And I can't believe I'm writing in a damned journal! Who does that? I'm not twelve. If I wanted someone in my head, I'd just let my shrink scramble around up there. She seems really good at that. Even helped me remember some things—like Mac. And the chopper accident. Damn! I really don't want to remember what happened during that ordeal. Why can't I just remember the good stuff and continue to suppress the shit? I know there's far more in here (my head) than I care to remember. I saw it in Mac's eyes those times when I was grilling her to tell me what she knew.
Mac. God, I miss her terribly. Oops, already wrote that down. But it's true. Although I don't remember everything that we had together in the Desert, I still feel so many things when I'm with her. I hate to admit it, but I actually feel alive when she's around. Not dead, like I feel right now. That smile alone can light up a room. And those eyes…They're so blue that it's like staring up into a cloudless summer sky. And I also love running my fingers through her hair. It's so soft and silky and thick. Ugh! Listen to me. I sound like a school girl with her first crush. What the f*** is up with that?
Saying goodbye to her was the hardest thing I've had to do in recent months—other than tell my father to go to hell. And sitting here in my empty condo is so lonely that I want to throw something at the damned wall. No, actually, I just want to pack a bag and take the first flight to Jackson. So, why don't I? Yeah, that's the question of the day. I could call a cab, head to the airport and probably be at her brother's ranch in time for breakfast. Mac told me her sister-in-law serves a mean stack of flapjacks, mouthwatering bacon and sausage, and eggs so fluffy they almost float right off the plate and into your mouth. My mouth is watering just thinking of all that delicious food.
I'm so sick of microwavable meals that I'm seriously considering taking a course in basic cooking. Do they even have those? I guess the first session would have to be “How to boil water”. Yeah, never really had much time or energy to learn the basics of the culinary arts. We had servants for that. Not to mention, I was really busy becoming a doctor when I still lived with my parents. There's not much time to do much when you're in medical school and doing your residency and all. And our cooks at home were always the best money could buy. Father wasn't one to cut corners where his stomach was concerned. I'm just surprised we were never obese, for all the fine foods we had to eat.
But, I digress. Where was I? Oh, yeah, Mac. It was so much fun to stay in that hotel with her family after she got out of the hospital. The boys really enjoyed the indoor water park. I've never been around kids all that much. Those boys could run a person ragged, which they did. But they were so sweet and charming, too. Especially little DJ. He called me Aunt Lacey right from the get-go and never stopped the entire time they were here.
It was so incredible to think that I could be part of that family. Ben and Carrie are such down-to-earth people and so warm and real. They kept a close eye on Mac, but were also watching the two of us interact. I think they were worried at first that Mac was going to be disappointed in us. But the more they saw us together—and Mac is such a touchy-feely kinda person—the more they just accepted us—and me. I wish I could say the same, though. I still don't know why there's this terrifying urge inside of me to put distance between us. I know her so well, even after only a week of being together, yet…
Is it because of the memories? Is it because she is part of not only the good ones, but the bad ones, too? Am I scared that when I remember it all, there will be something there between us that will make this fairy tale come crashing to a complete stop? Maybe. I just don't know. Anyway, I'm going to take all this to bed and let it stew. Maybe I'll talk to Dr. Gilchrist tomorrow and see what she thinks. For now, I'm signing off and going to my lonely bed. Ugh! I hate living alone.
November 8, 2005
Not a good day yesterday. Was too tired, both physically and emotionally, to journal. Lil came over early in the a.m. to take me to my bi-monthly PT session with my new therapist, Angie. We argued and Lily told me I was being stubborn and pigheaded. All I said was I didn't really need for her to take time out of her busy schedule to chauffeur me around all the time. I really need to get my own wheels. She told me good luck with driving myself.
When I asked Angie what my chances were to get a driver's license—apparently I never needed one before this—she laughed and put me through my paces. Talk about a real downer. By the time we were done and she'd given me my home exercises for the next two weeks, I was exhausted. And I really wasn't in the mood to see my shrink.
When Lily and I returned to her car, she asked what Angie's response to the driving thing was. I didn't answer. I just couldn't voice my frustration at that point. Other people get driver's licenses all the time. Why can't I? And they have those disabled plates for a reason, right? Anyway, Lily kept poking and prodding me until I finally blew up at her and told her to mind her own damned business. Besides, Angie said I was getting stronger. I just needed to have patience. The drivers license would come in due time. It was a goal we could shoot for. UGH!!!
The appointment with Gilchrist didn't go much better, let me tell you. She decided to delve into my feelings about being a f***ing helpless gimp—my terminology, not hers. I kind of lost it at that point and ranted about being on my own without transportation. Having to rely on my sister for a ride to my appointments came up, as did my need to get out and go places without a chaperone. Karen listened to the entire tirade and then suggested I look at things from a different point of view. Driving might not be a good idea until I'm able to build my stamina and get my leg into better working order.
How long does it take to recover from whatever it was I went through, anyway? Oh, and the nightmares last night were particularly terrifying. I think I was awake more than I was asleep. Good thing I didn't have to be anywhere today. Just sitting here watching the sunset over the lake and listening to some Brandi Carlisle. Don't remember doing that all that much before. Did we have music to listen to in the desert? I have no idea.
November 16, 2005
I hate my life! Had another nightmare last night. I actually remembered some of it. Blood. That's what I remember. There was so much of the disgusting red stuff that I actually felt like I was drowning in it. I hate blood! I hate my life! Why was I ever born???
November 20, 2005
Received an invite from my parents to Thanksgiving dinner. UGH!!! I sent the invitation back with a note that told them not to bother. My mother actually brought the invitation to the main gate and left it with one of the guards. She asked him to deliver it personally to my door. UGH!!!
I didn't want to open the stupid thing. I really didn't. But then it was sitting on my center island, and I couldn't not look at it. Even moved it to the small table underneath the phone. I grabbed it and was about to throw it in the garbage, when a small hand-written message caught my eye. It said: “We're family and family is there for each other.”
Guilt. My mother was always good at that. I opened the damned invitation and actually read it. Mother had written a personal note to me and asked if I would please be there at the house for Thanksgiving. UGH!!! I still hate my life! And the nightmares just keep getting better and better. Not!
Called Karen and set an appointment with her for this afternoon. Will see how that goes. I really miss Mac, too. But this shit with my family is taking all my time and mental energy. I keep trying to see her face, except all I can conjure is those stunning blue eyes. Wish she could be here for Thanksgiving. Got an email from her the other day. She's doing great. Had her first PT session with a guy named Bryce. Bryce? Seriously? Bryce from Jackson, Wyoming. I'll just bet he has some serious muscles and flexes them for her every chance he gets. God, I actually think I'm jealous of Mac's therapist. What is up with that?
I really need to sit down with Karen and discuss this stuff before I have a complete meltdown.
November 22, 2005
Haven't been keeping up with this journal thing as much as I should. Actually, I tucked the notebook into a corner of the couch the other day and completely forgot about it, until now. Had to tear the condo apart just to find it. Was going to do that when I got home from therapy, after Karen asked how my journaling was going, then forgot about it when I got home.
That session did not go well. I ranted about everything from the upcoming dinner with my parents to my feelings about Mac and my jealousy issues. I got home and collapsed for an hour. At least I didn't have nightmares during my brief nap.
PT went well yesterday and Angie says I'm well on my way to that driver's license. I'm actually excited about that. I think Lily is, too. She keeps giving me the “stinker eye.” That's what we used to call it when we were kids. I hate that I pissed her off. She's my only friend right now.
It's Tuesday and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Actually, the holiday is just two days away. Not looking forward to it this year. Accepting their invitation to dinner was only the beginning. Now my parents think we're on speaking terms again. Ugh! Karen is so on my hit list right now, too. I really wish she hadn't suggested I accept the invitation. All the mucky-mucks will be there, including some of the higher-ups from Father's practice. I have a feeling my invitation has an ulterior motive behind it. And if Paul shows up again, I'm out of there. I will not have another confrontation with him. So, yeah, I guess I'm going to the dinner and wearing a dress, too. Ugh! Am I really that stupid? Strike that. I think I'm actually crazy. Yeah, that's it.
Karen says it's good to put the past behind me, move forward and forgive. I just don't think I'm ready to forgive my father for all the things he did to me when I was a kid. The man used to beat the hell out of me anytime I didn't act the way he thought a proper young lady should act. What is up with that? I asked Karen about it and she didn't have an opinion. Actually, I just don't think she was willing to share it with me. She did spend the better part of our conversation writing notes, though. I'm sure that's going to come up at a later date. Maybe I need a new therapist.
So, anyway, getting back to Thanksgiving. I hate holidays with the family. I do remember that much. We get all dressed up and eat in the formal dining room. The place is like a pharaoh's tomb with all the fancy trappings. There's even a crystal chandelier over the table that looks like something out of Gone With the Wind . Mother hired extra staff for the evening and Lily's husband is flying in to be with us. Yippee.
No one has mentioned the L-word since I “came out” with it at my parents' house a few months ago. As a matter of fact, Father and Mother seem to think I'm just being stubborn and obstinate. Mother asked if there was anyone I wanted to invite along for dinner. She thought I should at least have a companion at the table with me. I told her to go to hell. Good thing Mother and Father haven't attempted to visit the condo once since I kicked them out when Mac was here. Ha! That's got to count for something. I wish Mother would stop calling, though. She's driving me crazy with all the questions. I can most certainly pick out a dress to wear to dinner, even if I think the things are just modified straightjackets.
Oh, almost forgot. I got a packet from the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense yesterday. There was a letter included that stated I'm to receive the Silver Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal. Whatever the hell those are. They're also giving me the Iraqi Campaign Medal, as well as the Purple Heart. Another letter stated I was promoted from Major to Lt. Colonel. Apparently they lost my paperwork while I was in the Desert. There was actually a formal letter of apology included in the packet, too. Like all of that's not confusing, especially since I don't remember which rank I was when our chopper went down. I'm also not sure I deserve all the recognition for outstanding service and achievement—their words, not mine. I have no recollection of what I did.
I'm also to return to duty as soon as I'm medically cleared or apply for a permanent discharge or something like that. I have no idea where I'm supposed to do that, though. I guess I should probably contact someone and find out. But I have no idea if they'll even want me back, especially since I can't even get a lousy driver's license, yet. My mail was being diverted to my parents' place until just recently. I hope nothing else of importance went there before I submitted the official change-of-address with the Post Office. There's no telling what my father might do with something that came to me from the military. He is so very adamant that I not return to active duty. I can't bring myself to tell him I probably won't be able to anyway. I actually enjoy bating him. Haha! Is that mature or what?
My heart is heavy these days. As I sit out on my small deck, I see the sky and think of Mac. God, I really wish I could remember our time together. My heart tells me she's been there for a while, but my head just won't open up and spill the beans.
November 25, 2005
Thanksgiving was a complete disaster. That's all I want to say about it, but I won't. I bummed a ride from Lily and Bill, who were more than happy to take me home before dessert was served. The limo Bill is using is nice, but reminds me too much of all those years that Father insisted we “travel in style.”
My father is such a complete ass. Yes, I said it. He takes the cake. Really. I showed up at the family mausoleum in a nice dress that Lily and I picked out during a grueling shopping trip, and all he could say was I looked like a prostitute. Can you believe it? Lily spent hours on my hair and I even found a nice pair of designer flats to go with the emerald-green dress. What the f***!!!
So, what happened? What didn't? Paul was there, for starters. And to top that off, he had Tiffany Benson on his arm. Apparently, she and her present husband are having marital problems. Big surprise! She spends money like it's going out of style. Anyway, Paul had the gall to flaunt her in front of my father. It wasn't five minutes later that my father walked right up to me and said my insipience (yeah, had to look that one up in a dictionary) was intolerable. Apparently, he thinks I'm not smart enough to see that Paul is still quite the catch. I should have dropped the L-word on him again, but decided to just keep my mouth shut.
Anyway, when conversation at the dinner table turned to my being a doctor, things just went downhill from there. One of Father's partners piped up that he would love to have me sit down with them to discuss joining the practice. Father actually beamed with pride. I nearly threw up the cold cucumber soup that was served as an appetizer—not exactly an appetizer you serve at Thanksgiving dinner. Father insisted I set an appointment as soon as possible. I decided to take that opportunity to excuse myself from the table and walked out onto the balcony. That fountain really grates on my nerves.
When I returned to the table from my quick breather, Father and his cronies were regaling everyone with their innumerable “war” stories. Plastic surgery for the rich and famous is apparently a very entertaining, as well as lucrative, business. When Father asked me if I'd decided when I would stop by the practice, I evaded. I told him I'd have to check my calendar and tried to leave it at that.
Thank the Lord dinner was served before I could say what I really thought of the offer. Father made a spectacle of carving the enormous turkey that was surrounded by so many garnishes on the platter that I thought the thing looked like it was grazing. Of course, it was headless, so…Yeah, my loudly-whispered comment went over like a lead brick. It earned a scowl from Mother and a giggle from my sister, who tried to hide her reaction behind the cloth napkin she raised to her lips.
The fireworks actually started when Paul tried to give a toast. He looked right at me with his upraised glass and toasted the Army for bringing me safely home. Well, everything definitely went to hell after that. My father went into one of his tirades about how I joined the Army just to spite him—which is probably not too far off the mark. Mother tried to play peacemaker and said everything worked out the way the Good Lord planned it. I told my father that my time in the Army was the best time of my life, much to his chagrin. He argued that I can't even remember my time in the Army. I threw the medals and commendations back in his face and cited my service record, as well as my promotion to Lt. Colonel. Of course, I really had no idea what I was talking about and just made up a bunch of stuff to spite him. Yes, that worked, for the most part.
The conversation degraded miserably after that. My father ordered me to his study. I told him to go to hell. He told me to act like a proper young lady. I told him to go to hell again and stormed out of the dining room. Mother followed—which she never did when I was a child—and tried to smooth my ruffled feathers. My father showed up in the parlor, where I'd retreated. Another argument ensued. And then my father slapped my face in front of my mother. I decked him. Punched him right in the nose. He went down in a spray of blood and a series of curses that a sailor would envy. Don't know how I did it, but I did and it felt damned good.
Mother just stood there in shocked silence, her eyes wide and her mouth open. It was priceless. I can't believe I actually let him get the first blow in, though. My hand hurts today and my knuckles and cheek are bruised. But I feel a hell of a lot better for what I did. F***ing son of a bitch! Serves him right for slapping me.
My sister showed up, shortly thereafter, to see if she could help. She saw me with my hand on my cheek and Father on the floor with his hand over his nose. Mother was still standing there in shocked silence when Lily arrived. My sister, bless her heart, knew what he'd done just by looking at us. Father jumped to his feet, blood pouring from his nose, tried to get her on his side with a lame story and ordered me from his house. I told him I'd be more than happy to oblige, as I'd lost my appetite. He called me a name not worth repeating and told me I was no longer his daughter. I told him that was one thing we agreed on, at least.
Mother silently returned to the dining room to see to the guests. Father followed in her wake and veered toward the stairs—probably wanted to change his suit and stop his nose from bleeding before he faced the other suits. Lily asked me if I wanted a ride home and I just nodded. We rode towards the condo in relative silence, until the limo pulled up in front of my home. I thanked my sister and Bill for the ride, entered my lonely dwelling and went straight to bed. And then the damned nightmares returned full-force. Urgh!!!
November 29, 2005
Received an invitation to spend Christmas with Mac at her brother's ranch in Wyoming. I sent my reply this morning. I'm going. I may just stay there permanently. Open a practice. Completely change my life and start fresh. I can't live here in Houston any longer. Father did something that I can't possibly ever forgive him for. It was the last straw. I'm done. Maybe I'll change my name and completely divorce myself from the family. I just can't take it any longer. I also told Karen Gilchrist where she can go with her psycho-babble. Yes, to hell. I will not check myself into a mental health facility, no matter what they say. And I will not give my father the chance to have me involuntarily committed on the grounds that I am a danger to society.
SON OF A BITCH!!!
The End (for now)
Stay tuned for Mountain Memories, coming soon to a desktop near you.
Return to the Academy