30th July 2019 All Rights Reserved
I sat there on the front porch and looked out over the yard at the view I have always enjoyed looking at every single time I came here. I had dropped my head down into my hands when I realised just how lost I was feeling after being so stupid and tossing aside the best thing I ever had.
It was a moment of insanity that caused all this to happen which lead to my stupidity and desperation in trying to hold onto something that was not really worth it compared to the other thing that really had the worth.
How stupid of me.
The look in her eyes when she realised who Lois was as she stood in the store that she made for herself after she saw how useless I was in supporting her and the two beautiful girls we eventually had together. The two might have their mothers coloring and heritage coming through from their American side, but I can see the Joifield side growing in them too.
I can't help but smile when I think of them and remember them. But it will be my own fault that don't get to see them any more or even get to see them growing up. I lost that privilege when I literally turned my back on their mother like I did.
But they are gone now. The moment my wife saw that I had betrayed her, the light she had in her eyes when she usually came home and saw me died as if a candle had been snuffed out. That was how much any affection Lila had for me disappeared. And how quickly.
But like the lady she was, she did all she could in making sure that nothing that happened with us affected the way the girls saw me or my family.
Except it was us who caused the girls the most damage. Or rather, it was me after I had to come clean to my parents about me taking out that horrendous loan that I used to help Lois and the son I thought was mine. I thought it was all going to work out. But it didn't.
The boy got sick and ended up needing help. Help that none of us in my family could give him because he had no blood from our family running through his veins.
Lois lied. She must have already been pregnant when I slept with her that very first time. Stupid. That is what I think of myself. It didn't matter that Lois plotted the whole thing all because of some slight her own grandmother faced years ago.
I know of the story. My grandfather told us younger ones about it. We couldn't help but laugh as Pop told us. It was more the way Gran giggled about it more than anything. To imagine a cow crapping in some chicks car and then the chick getting locked in it and unable to open the door was too much for some of us. I still can't help but smile when I think of my Pop telling us that story over the years.
I do miss them.
I don't think I even realised it until that very moment that my grandmother was half American. Her grandmother may have been the infamous Violet Shaw Roberts the family knew her to be. But my gran was a very well known history buff with degrees in a field of history that not many women would have. My gran was a treasure hunter, in other words.
But she came from America. As did my great-great-great grandfather Robert Joifield. I would sometimes pull out the albums and the footage we have of them all.
Maggie and her Robert, her Bobby. I think us kids lived for those stories. We still all meet in Armidale to talk about them and the family that came before us who knew them. It seems to be the one thing that keeps us, as a family, together.
Or, it did. Until I stuffed it up. And stuffed it up really good. I brushed my hands up and down my face feeling very tired for the first time in a long time. I look up at the sun as it begins to set behind the hills off to the distance in front of me. I love the orange glows that come as the sun sets and lowers when the evening begins to creep up behind us and night soon to follow. I love this country. I love this farm.
I had hoped to raise my own family here as other families did before me. But that is not going to happen. I lost that chance because I couldn't keep it to myself. All my own fault.
" Here." I looked up to see a hand holding a mug in front of me. I can see the steam from the coffee as it wafts up leaving me with the urge to lean forward and have a sip. I glanced up to the patient woman who was standing there just watching me.
" Thank you." I said to her.
Joan was my younger sisters friend. She has been coming out fairly regularly to visit with Madgie. her real name is Margaret. But we call her Madgie because she is like a magpie who can't wait for the dawn to start and once it comes, she is like her namesake and starts singing away. But we all like the song of the magpie as it starts it's day singing as well as singing during the day as they call to their families as well as the songs they sing goodnight to when they all settle down for the day.
My kid sister is just like that.
I noticed that Joan settled herself down beside me. She just sat there and sipped from her own mug as she too appreciated the view in front of us.
I think I have been wallowing in unfortunate regrets for long enough. I can not change the past. But I can certainly change the future. Starting now.
" She talked me into staying again, tonight." Joan quietly said to me without looking my way.
" She's a good kid." I muttered a little as I looked to see the barren paddocks devoid of any of the usual animals that would normally call out to each other.
But they had been sold off early to give us a couple of months to try and make some arrangement with the bank about the loan. The whole family had been closing ranks and offering solutions. That, and a few dollars. Some of that being a considerable amount. But it won't be enough to repay the loan. Not by a long shot.
But it held the bank off for a couple of months. Just enough to get us breathing again and see what we can do.
The door opened behind us and mother stepped outside. Shew as holding the phone and I frowned when I saw that she had been crying. Which was something she has been doing a lot lately.
Especially when she was caught doing the unthinkable. Mother had plotted to get the girls here and then sell them back to Lila. Oh, hell no.
When I found out what she had been thinking of doing, I was horrified. I was mortified that my own mother had become so irrational over losing both, her granddaughters and the grandson she thought was hers that she had to go and see someone about it. It was mother who approached lawyers about getting the girls back through the Hague Convention.
My mother thought she was doing the right thing and she had to be shown that what she was actually doing was criminal. When Thomas Kearney came out and spoke to us along with this other gentleman who turned out to be an investigator for Kingsley Investigations, we were all shocked. That was when we found out what mother planned to do.
Dad became so sick we had to call the doctor for him when he collapsed onto the settee behind him. Mother sort of deflated in on herself and admitted what she tried to do.
" But this is our home. It's their home too. We can't lose our home. It's been int he family for years." She was blubbering as she cried.
I might have been shocked at what mother did. But I also knew that I was the only one to finish this. That was when I approached Thomas and told him what I was going to do. His acquaintance stayed in the room with us as we talked about it and after he nodded, I told Tom to set up the paperwork and I will come into town and sign them as soon as he got them ready.
It was time to let them go.
But about the farm, I don't know what is going to happen there. The bank had called earlier and said that they sold off the loan to a private investor who was going to get in touch with us in the near future. But we are still waiting.
I just hope they will be reasonable about it and let us make some kind of deal to pay it off.
But just for now, I am going to enjoy sitting here on the top step of the porch where I remember my Pop saying he sat with my Gran all those years ago before and after they got married.
I smiled at the young woman sitting beside me and thought how pretty her hair was as the last of the sunlight hit it and brought out the reddish glows hidden within the long lockes.
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