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Friday, August 19, 2011

The Story of Me part 2

*Here's part of the first chapter. Let me know what you think!*

People Who Loved Me

Lily MacDougal

Lilith Ann MacDougal or Lily, as she liked to be called, was my mother. I do not remember her and I can’t say that I loved her. I’m not even sure that she loved me. However, through the years I have convinced myself that she did love me. She must have loved me. She was my mother. If my own mother didn’t find me worthy of loving how could anyone else? So, whether she loved me or not, I added her to the small group of people who did because I needed her there.

I have been told that Lily was beautiful with long blonde hair and green eyes and a voice that was made for singing. I have never seen a picture of Lily, but I also have blonde hair and green eyes so I believe that part is true. I can not sing, but then I’ve never had much to sing about. Perhaps it was Lily’s love of singing that made her chose my name, Harmony. My name is Harmony Ann MacDougal.

Lily was seventeen when she gave birth to me. She never told anyone who my father was, but again I have heard stories. One story was that Lily had no idea who my father was. She was beautiful and there were always boys around vying for her attention. No one could ever name a particular boy that she was especially close to and that’s how the rumor of multiple options began.

The other rumor that floated around about my father’s identity and the one that I think is most likely true is that he was an older and married man. His name was Stephen. He was fresh out of college and newly married when he and his wife moved to Miami and three houses away from Lily. Stephen had been a music major in college and in the evenings he taught piano and voice lessons out of his home while his wife worked the night shift at a local drugstore.

Lily had no money for music lessons, but she loved to sing and I’ve been told that once Stephen heard her voice he offered to give her lessons for free. She would go to his home on the evenings that he didn’t have a paying student, but it was always after his wife left for work. People said that the neighbors would sit in their yard to listen as Stephen played the piano and Lily sang because it sounded beautiful. I was also told that plenty of laughter could be heard coming from inside the house.

Lily was fifteen when these free music lessons started and Stephen was all she would talk about. Everyone thought that her school girl crush was cute and encouraged her to keep singing. The neighbors figured it was a harmless crush on a happily married man and the music lessons kept her off the street and out of her mother’s house. Lily’s mother, my grandmother, drank. She drank a lot, but this is Lily’s story so I’ll tell you about that later.

As time went by Stephen started seeing fewer paying music students and started spending more time on his free lessons with Lily. In the evenings, the neighbors could hear Stephen and his wife arguing more nights than not before she left for work. Lily would often be seen waiting outside as she listened to them argue with a smile on her face. After the wife left, Lily would go into Stephen’s home for her music lessons. As time went by, Lily’s lessons lasted for longer periods of time even though less music could be heard coming from inside the house.

Eventually the neighbors started whispering about what could possibly be going on between the handsome music teacher and the young girl from the neighborhood. Whispering was all they ever did. No one ever confronted Lily or Stephen. No one ever told Stephen’s wife or Lily’s mother. No one ever contacted child services. This is Miami, a beautiful city with lots of seedy characters, and people learn at an early age not to question the actions of others.

Maybe if someone had asked the right questions or told the correct person Lily’s life and mine could have taken a different path. While I learned not to question the things people around me were doing I also learned that I can’t live a life of maybes. Therefore, I won’t dwell on what could have been and will simply stick to the facts of my life.

According to the stories I heard no one remembers ever being told that Lily was pregnant. She never confided in anyone about the pregnancy. It wasn’t until she started showing that anyone in the neighborhood knew. It’s hard to hide a baby bump under baggy clothing in the Miami heat.

Once it became obvious that Lily was pregnant the teenage boys that had followed her around moved on. Whether they were afraid of being named the father or just considered Lily damaged goods was never made clear. The only thing that was abundantly clear was that not one of them wanted anything to do with a pregnant teenage girl no matter how beautiful she was or how well she sang.

Lily continued to visit Stephen’s house for her free music lessons although no one heard her singing or his piano playing any longer. Lily and Stephen were never seen in public together. According to the stories I was told, the larger Lily became with me the less anyone saw of Stephen. He stopped going to whatever job he had held during the day. No one knew if he quit or if he was fired. The music students he had stopped showing up and he was never seen out with his wife.

My grandmother had shown no interest in Lily’s pregnancy. The neighbors used to laugh and say that she was too drunk to notice the changes Lily and her body were going through. She never talked about the pregnancy. She never purchased baby clothes or furniture for her future grandchild. There was no baby shower. Other than the time she spent with Stephen, Lily was completely on her own.

Have you gotten your copy of The Day Ginger Snapped?

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