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12/20/05 11:48 - 20ºF - ID#20545
a story by me
"Turn Yourself On"
By: Alicia Seguin
Standing on the edge of the great lake made her feel part of it, and she liked it. Her blue as ice eyes stared blankly out at the vast emptiness in front of her. The water lapping the shore was the only sound to be heard. It was a sunny morning in late fall, but the Lord's blow was already dusted over the land. One might find it hard to believe, but only a few short months earlier there were babes in bikinis playing volleyball on that very snow covered beach.
There was a muffled bark in the distance. This caused the young woman to whip her black mop around to look back at the house. She squinted hard and could see Murry, her two-year-old German Shepherd, standing behind the sliding glass doors, wagging his tail. "I despise that house," she thought. The previous owners called the house "Brightside". Natalie could not imagine why. Obviously they did not love it all that much either, she assumed, because they let it go to hell. Paint peeled off the house slowly, reminding her of a reptile shedding its skin. Inside was no better. "Oh Natalie, the house even comes furnished!" her mother had exclaimed. "Furnished like the set of a 1970's porno flick, maybe.," she thought. The carpet in the living room was growing dreadlocks. Natalie was disgusted by it all. "The house is old Natalie," her mother replied, "embrace its vibrations." Natalie rolled her eyes as far as she could back into her head.
Her mother, Mrs. Dawn Lee, was a widow turned real estate agent with curly blond hair. Mrs. Lee had scored a nice deal on the one story beach house. She promptly sold the house in the city Natalie had grown up in. "The two of us can be beach bums all year round!" she told Natalie. "Besides, new experiences are good for your soul." "Mother, all I need to be happy are my friends, Roy and the mall...the country has none of those things," was Natalie's response. There was not much burning in this girl, it seemed, other than desires of the flesh.
"Good boy Murry," Natalie mumbled under her breath. She turned her gaze back toward the lake. The worst part of it all was not that she now had to drive an hour to get to a mall. It was not the fact that her friends stopped coming to see her as soon as summer ended. The worst part of it all for her was Roy. He had left her alone to rot in the country with no civilized people to speak of around. Natalie had been with Roy for almost two years when she moved out to the wasteland, as she called it. The two of them had spent that time doing keg stands and having lots of sex. Roy got a DWI right before she moved. He used it as an excuse to break up. "I won't be able to come see you, Babe," he had told her, with his Cheshire cat grin. Natalie was no fool. Roy had been spotted the week before at Dumpty's, their Thursday night hole, with some other broad.
Roy's parents owned a construction company. They were bonafied millionaires. This was the steak in the heart for Natalie. "How am I ever gonna find someone else who can take care of me like that" she told her mother. Mrs. Lee looked into her daughter's icy blue eyes. "When are you gonna realize what's really important in life. You need to open your mind." Natalie grimaced at the thought. What did that mean? Four semesters of college had not brought her enlightenment and neither had partying. Direction was what she lacked in school, and in life. She really wanted to design jewelry, but the thought of making a living out of that made Natalie scoff. That sort of thing was just a hobby to her. Making earrings out of fishing line and random household items was not the ticket to happiness.
Since the breakup, Mrs. Lee had been playing matchmaker for her precarious daughter. She told Natalie she looked for noble, kind, hardworking boys. The kind of boy a girl can fall in love with for real. Natalie pondered this as she began to fumble sporadically down the white lumpy beach.
Just the other day Mrs. Lee had brought up Lance to Natalie. He was the Nature's Spring Water delivery boy who delivered a couple of times a month to the house. Mrs. Lee could not stand the sulfur taste of well water. She would also constantly order things off the internet. Mrs. Lee was on a first name basis with the UPS delivery woman Sheila, as well. Lance was around Natalie's age. He was good looking but timid. Lance had never said a word to Natalie. He would just smile and nod along with Mrs. Lee's banter about mortgage rates and how slow time passes in the country. It was obvious he could care less but listened just to please her. This bothered Natalie as she watched from the sofa. Roy would have interrupted with a joke about Jewish people, and then told her mother peace out, as he sped away in his brand new apple red Jaguar. That car was 8-cylinders of pure manliness. Anyway, what kind of future could Lance possibly have, she thought. The salary of a head delivery boy just was not going to cut it.
Suddenly, a bone chilling wind whipped through Natalie, bringing her back into the moment. The sun had decided to hide behind a menacing silver cloud. "I should head back," she told herself. "I only have one hour to get ready." Plans for the day were lacking excitement, except for lunch with the girlfriends whom she had not seen in weeks. She had no school because she took the semester off to deal with the move. Getting a job was not at the top of her to do list. She had her mother taking care of her. The world seemed so drab and boring. Strangely, the loneliness and despair wafting off the lake seemed to be the only thing that consoled her. If the lake could be content with it, so could she.
Natalie started toward the house and then stopped in her tracks. "Goddamn!" she exclaimed aloud. She remembered she had to pick up a little black dress for her mother, from Daphne across the street. Mrs. Lee had to attend a retirement party for her boss that night. Natalie was to drop the dress off at her mother's office on her way to the city. Daphne lived by herself in what Natalie considered a shack. Mrs. Lee called it a "cottage." Whatever it was, it was tiny. All the houses in the neighborhoods surrounding the lake were small one-story cottages or ranch homes.
Natalie sighed and began trudging toward the rear deck of the house. She did not like dealing with Daphne. The woman was a kook, in Natalie's mind. Daphne was almost thirty and working at a gas station. She sewed her own clothes, and then sold them for extra money. This was all according to Mrs. Lee, who had befriended the young woman and often had her over for coffee and cigarettes. Apparently, Daphne had lived in the shack her whole life. Previously with her older brother, who had long since moved out, and her father who passed away. Mrs. Lee said Daphne had spent a lot of time rambling over the earth, and possessed great worldly knowledge. "She reminds me of a gypsy", Natalie told herself. "With her long wavy hair and dark skin." She gritted her teeth as she slid open the sliding glass door. People like that disturbed her.
The house was warm inside and Murry sniffed Natalie excitedly as she kicked off her boots and headed for the shower. As the warm water caressed her cold skin, her thoughts changed back to Roy. Natalie was tormented by the fact that he was seeing someone else. Beth and Stacey, her friends she was meeting for lunch, had wanted her to come back to their apartment afterward. They wanted Natalie to go out with them that night to a bar Roy was expected to be at, with his new lady. Natalie had planned on showing up to cause ruckus, but something in her did not feel quite normal. She was having second thoughts about the whole thing.
Natalie got dressed, fed Murry, locked the house and headed across the road. She planned on grabbing the garment and making a hurried exit, telling Daphne she was on her way to lunch. Something fluttered inside Natalie as she stepped onto the tiny concrete porch of the cottage. The air tasted sweet as she drew in a breath. The sun had broken through the clouds, illuminating the sky. She checked her surroundings and became aware of the beauty radiating from nature. The lake could not be seen from where she was standing but Natalie knew it would have looked glorious.
Daphne abruptly swung open the door, jolting Natalie out of her trance. "Hello, my dear!" she smiled at Natalie, teeth white as pearls against her bronze skin. Daphne was wearing a long harem dress, brass bangles and some sort of scarf on her head. She reminded Natalie of a gypsy-pirate, if there was such a thing. "Step inside for a moment won't cha?" Daphne cooed softly. Natalie did so without hesitation. She felt like she was on autopilot. She stepped right into the living room, which was also the kitchen. It was cloudy inside; a stick of incense was burning on the kitchen counter. The smell was overwhelming. Natalie took a deep breath and coughed. "Do I smell Opium?" she thought. She had smoked it once in the dorm room of her artsy friend from school. She would never forget that distinct scent, how it smelled similar to incense.
A garment rack and a sewing machine stood in the corner of the living room. Mrs. Lee's gown hung on the rack in its entire splendor. Black sequins were right up Mrs. Lee's alley. Daphne walked over to the dress and without saying a word placed it in a garment bag. Natalie swallowed hard. Her throat was scratchy and dry. She felt she wanted to speak but did not know what she should say.
Daphne handed Natalie the dress and grabbed her shoulders. "You don't look so well child," she said in almost a whisper. Her coal black eyes peered deeply into Natalie's icy blue ones. Daphne took a step back and smiled again, toothy and bright, causing Natalie to squint. "Heartache, I know." Daphne bellowed with laughter for what seemed like an eternity. She gazed back at Natalie and said, "Your mother told me." she smiled again, "no fear child, I have things to help you." Daphne opened her hand. In her palm sat three little stones. "They're healing stones; they can help mend your body, mind and soul." She placed them into Natalie's hand. Natalie fingered the smooth surface of each stone. She felt the energy from the stones enter her body. "The light pink one is Rose Quartz, the lilac one is amethyst, and the deep red one is a garnet." Daphne explained. "Just keep them with you in your pocket for now; they will bring you much comfort." Her dark eyes were burning into Natalie's blue ones. "I will" Natalie said softly, and placed them in the pocket of her parka. Normally she would have told this wacko to stuff those gems up her you know what, but not after her experience a few minutes earlier. "I have to be on my way, Daphne; I'm meeting my friends for lunch in the city." Natalie said with a smile. She could not explain why, but she suddenly liked this woman. "Alright" Daphne replied, "but don't be a stranger, we have more in common than you think."
Natalie opened the door and stepped once more onto the tiny concrete porch. It suddenly came to her what she wanted to ask Daphne in the house before. "One more thing" Natalie said, looking back at those dark eyes, "do you know why our house is called Brightside?" This question had secretly plagued Natalie since they moved in. Daphne chuckled. "Well you see, the previous owners used to light that gigantic spotlight on the roof of your house facing the lake. They lit it for anyone out on the water who might need to find their way to land. That whole side of the cove did it, some still do. The locals nicknamed your house "Brightside" because your light was always the brightest on the bright side of the cove." Natalie bit her lip. The bulb in the spotlight was burned out. There was a ladder and a replacement bulb in the tool shed. Neither Natalie nor Mrs. Lee was motivated to change it. "That's nice" Natalie exclaimed. Daphne smiled back at her approvingly. "Have fun" she said, and shut her door.
The whole car ride into the city Natalie was aware of the stones in her pocket. She dropped the dress off at her mother's office. Mrs. Lee was out to lunch as well. Natalie headed over to the restaurant to meet the girls. Lunch was pleasant, but Natalie's friends told her she seemed distant. The truth was the usual topics of conversation, like Beth's new cell phone, were of no interest to Natalie on that afternoon. When Stacey asked if she was coming with them to ambush Roy, she flat out said no. Natalie felt she had better things to do with her time now. She was not sure exactly why, but she had an urge to get back to the lake as soon as possible.
On the way home, strange thoughts began popping into Natalie's head. "I am in control of my future.," she thought to herself. The sun hung low in the sky. It would set in a few hours due to daylight savings. "Look how beautiful nature is" Natalie felt the energy from the beauty fill her. The stones seemed to dance in her pocket. "I know the Lake must look luminous right now," she thought. "I have to get home."
The sky above the lake looked like a painting as Natalie pulled the car into the driveway. She tumbled out of the car and began running. She was drawn to that lake stronger than ever before. The lake used to represent something empty and dead, now she could hear it calling to her, a beautiful body of water alive with energy. Natalie huffed and puffed as she reached the point where the waves kissed the earth. She drew in a deep, fulfilling breath of air. "Heaven itself is right here" she thought this, but had no idea where it was coming from. "I just haven't opened up to enough inner energy to see it until now." Her black hair bobbed joyously as she began skipping across the shore. The sky caught her eye again, light gleamed from it. Even the meaning gray snow cloud looked splendid against the cool sky, which was illuminated by the sun peaking out behind the clouds. "Am I tripping? " she thought, then chuckled out loud. What she felt was more powerful than any drug.
"I'll never find anyone to take car of me like Roy could." the thought invaded Natalie's mind out of nowhere. Goosebumps formed on the back of her neck. She stopped skipping and bolted for the house. Murry started barking furiously as Natalie slid the glass door shut with a thud. "Shut up Murry", she mumbled, and headed for the living room. Natalie plunked herself down on the sofa, took the stones out of her pocket, and held them loosely in her hand. "Anger and fear kill my energy. I must prevent that from happening by following my intuitions and expectations about life." These thoughts rang so true, because at that moment Natalie realized it was her subconscious speaking.
At that same moment, the doorbell rang. Natalie took another deep breath and slowly rose from the couch. She now felt like she was radiating love and beauty from her soul, while simultaneously taking it in. She placed the stones back in her coat pocket, and walked over to the front door with a look of serenity on her face. It was no surprise to Natalie to find Lance standing on the porch in his delivery boy uniform, clipboard in hand. She twisted her mouth into a wide toothy grin; her whole face seemed to glow.
"I wouldn't be experiencing this right now if I would have made the decision to start trouble in the city tonight. I chose to be here in this moment." She was not sure if she just spoke this or thought it. Neither of them flinched. Natalie noticed Lance for the first time. His eyes were light brown and his hair was blond. It seemed to Natalie like the perfect complement to her dark hair and blue eyes. They were perfect opposites. Natalie stared directly into Lance's eyes and for a moment, she saw it all. They date, get married and have a few kids, typical scenario. The Only difference is they are actually happy.
"Hi," Lance says, "I'm here to deliver a case of drinking water, just sign here and I'll be on my way." Natalie smiled harder, if that was possible. "Yes, I know, your Lance right?" Natalie said, while stretching out her arm. "I'm Natalie, nice to meet you. My mother speaks well of you." The right side of Lance's mouth rose to form a sheepish half smile as he shook her hand. "It's Nice to finally be introduced." He said. "Why don't you come in for a minute to chat and have some hot chocolate, its cold out there?" Natalie could not believe those words were actually coming out of her; it felt surreal, but so right. She just felt so at peace and in control. "Sure that sounds great." Lance replied. He smiled at her fully now as he entered the house, proceeding to sit on the sofa at Natalie's request. She caught a shimmer of something in his eye, and she knew he could feel her vibrations.
The pair has to know each other a little better that evening. Natalie discovered Lance had ambitions of attending the local community college to become a mechanic. He hoped that one day he would own his own shop. Lance thought Natalie's jewelry she showed him was wonderful, especially the ankle bracelet made from a pipe cleaner, glue, tinfoil and a little paint. Lance said he had better get going because he still had one more delivery to make before he could go home. They exchanged numbers. "I had a wicked sweet time with you, hope to do it again." Lance said with a confident smile as he stepped out the front door.
Natalie breathed a sigh of contentment and closed the door behind him. Suddenly, something Daphne said earlier came to mind. Natalie recalled what Daphne had said about the house. "Shine that light, Natalie.," she told herself. She went outside to the tool shed and took out the ladder and the replacement bulb. Natalie had never done something like climb a ladder before, the deed was beneath her, but now she did it with grace. Natalie changed the bulb, climbed down the ladder and raced onto the beach. The sun had almost sunk into the lake A few other houses had lights shining toward the lake as well, but none was brighter than bright side's. Natalie felt her chest swell with pride as she marveled over her accomplishment.
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