I grabbed my bag and got out to the curb and looked around for Rhia. Ah, there she was, flirting with one of the baggage guys. I should have known. She tossed that long light brown hair of hers over her shoulder and our eyes met. She grinned a little sheepishly, gave her new friend a little wave goodbye and hurried over to me.
“Reg, I can hardly believe you’re here,” she said in that gorgeous soft drawl of hers. “You look so different from when I saw you last. Must be the hair. I like it longer.”
I pulled her in for a hug. “And you haven’t changed a bit,” I admonish her. “Isn’t there anybody left for me to flirt with in this whole state? What happened to Jimmy, wasn’t that his name? The guy you were seeing?” “Oh, hon, bless your heart, that was ages ago,” Rhia laughs. “I’m free as a bird right now.” “Well, that makes two of us,” I say as we head toward her little red hybrid. Rhia smiles at that and nods. “Good, then this week can be just about the two of us catching up.”
I lean back against the headrest as she pulls out of the lot, through the airport and onto the expressway. We’re heading toward the Beach and for a minute I’m confused and then I remember that Rhia put an offer in on a Virginia Beach townhouse last year. Before long we’re pulling into a parking space not too far off of Princess Anne, and I’m pleased to see that her building looks really nice. She’s a couple years younger than me and I’ve always felt protective of her, like a little sister.
“I can’t thank you enough for letting me stay with you, Rhia,” I say, giving her a big hug as we walk into the front room of her place. “This is gorgeous!” I’m stunned, spinning around to see everything. She really has done a great job decorating the place. It’s all soft blues and greens and grays and looks like it’s right out of a fashion magazine. “Did you make these pieces yourself?” I cannot believe the artwork on the walls. I knew she studied art in school, but these are crazy beautiful prints.
“I wanted to show you them before I told you my news,” she says. “I’ve got a showing at one of the galleries on the Boardwalk! And I sold two prints already, for an obscene amount! I can hardly believe it myself…” Rhia’s practically dancing with excitement and I’m so proud of her I could burst. There’s even a picture of a firefly lit night, exactly like those nights on the porch with me and Bobby and Rhia. It pulls me in, even though I don’t really want to go there anymore. I’m not going to ask, I’m not going to…
“How is he, Ree? I’ve lost touch over the years,” I say quietly. “Be honest, Reg, you didn’t lose touch with my big brother. You pulled away, hid away, wouldn’t even answer your phone anymore!” There’s a vehemence in her voice that catches me by surprise. I forget that she doesn’t know what really happened between us.
“Ree, I know you think I’m the bad guy here, but he didn’t want me anymore. He went off to college and that was that.” “Well, you went off to college, too,” she points out. “Did you find someone else right away, too — I mean, did you find someone else,” she finishes lamely. “See?” I say. “Sorry I brought it up, let’s just leave that subject alone, okay? I need to see my mom while I’m here, find out how she’s doing. See what happened with the dickwad she married.”
“Bobby dated around some, but he never brought a girl home, Reg. He’s not married,” Rhia says hurriedly. “I don’t know if he’s dating anyone right now since he moved away. I’ll be happy to go with to visit your mom if you want. I remember someone saying she was in rehab and I think she kicked her husband out and divorced him. You know she felt terrible about what happened.”
“Well, she sure as hell had a funny way of showing it,” I say. “I told her how he was all touchy-feely, practically molested me that time I came home for Christmas, grabbing my boobs and trying to stick his tongue down my throat when he trapped me in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, no less.” It makes me feel like gagging just talking about it. “I tried to tell her what happened, but she didn’t want to hear it. She actually said I must have done something to encourage him. God, when your own mother practically calls you a whore, it really, really hurts, you know?”
Rhia hugs me again and sighs. “I can’t imagine how that feels when it’s your own stepdad. What an ass he was. But I heard your mom was going to AA meetings now.” “Yeah, I know, she called me to apologize. One of the steps, I guess,” I say bitterly. Even after all this time it still hurts that she didn’t believe me and I don’t know if I’m ready to forgive and forget yet. But she’s my mom and I still miss her. I’ll call her tomorrow…
I wish that I could run again through fields of fireflies
And childhood Dreams of Skies
Of stars and moons with those who’ve passed but loved and left so long ago
My friends, I miss those nights of moons and fireflies…with you……..
(Reggie’s childhood was inspired by Rob at The V Pub and his song, Fireflies. That’s the outro in the paragraph up above, and you can find all the lyrics here. Thanks, Rob, for letting me link up!)
Photo found on browsedeviantart.com through Pinterest