Read Chapter 39 here with Cupcakemummy
In sign language you spell your name out letter for letter. You do this until someone gives you a sign that is specific to you. Normally something physical or a short sign for the meaning of your name. I R I S, I R I S. I practice it over and over again until my hands move in an almost fluid motion. The sign I was given for my name is a one handed movement meaning flower. Not the most creative but it will do I guess. I sign good bye to the very patient little old lady at the Centre for the Deaf who took the time to give me extra lessons.
I choose to walk home from the centre tonight because it such lovely weather out. The sun is setting later and later. Winter seems to be over. I soak up the last bit of sunlight filtering through the tree tops as I take my time walking home. It has been such a crazy couple of months and I am enjoying slowing it down just a tad. Just a little. Enough to take in everything that has happened. I count the light posts as I pas them and in my mind I list everything that has gone so, so right in the last few months.
1 – Winter. I found a best friend in a person I have never met. Winter might be over but my Winter, has just begun.
2 – Mark. Turns out letting people in will hurt. But for a select few the hurt is worth it. His love and affection is worth every little bit of hurt it could ever cause. Because someone along the line it will hurt. Something will break and we will have to put it back together. I have found the person I am willing to break, bend and be put together again for.
3 – Feathers and Fur. My swearing ass wrote a children’s book. Every word in there came from my drunken heart. I miss those boys every day and I know my life would have been much different if they were still with us. But for the first time I am starting to believe that it can still be a good life. A life worth living.
4 – The stupid dog finally likes me. He even did “Hand Shake” with me this morning.
5 – I remembered to buy roll on and have been shaving my legs everyday this month.
6 – I can taste food again. I know this sounds silly but for so long my life was…grey. It had no joy. Or maybe it did I just refused to feel any of it. For the first time years I taste the sour of a lemon and pull my face, the bitter taste of good wine. The saltiness of oysters as Mark fed them to me. I taste things now.
7 – Writing. I am thankful for finding my voice again. my written voice. It may rhyme in children’s books but I still have it. People still want to read what I write and I wonder if anything will ever compare to that feeling.
I turn into my street and stop counting. Its getting darker and the street lamps flicker as they come on. They light my last little path home.
I pour myself a glass of wine and sit down by the dining room table and pull my laptop closer. I saw there was a mail from Winter earlier but didn’t want to read it in class. The launch is at Mateo’s tomorrow and she has set it all up. Great. I was so hoping this would all come together.
Email : To Winter
Subject: One last time.
Paperwork has been sorted, the books go to shelves tomorrow across the country. I will courier a box for display purposes over to the restaurant in the morning.
Winter we did it. We are launching a children’s book and its the first of at least 3. I have never worked with an illustrator like you and for as long as I have you I will never work with anyone else ever again. Even if I write a sequel to T.I.T.S.
I mean it Winter. You made this book possible.
All my love.
See you tomorrow.
I close my laptop and set my alarm for 8am.
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ
Its so early even the dog doesn’t want to get up. But the excitement washes over me as I stretch. ITS LAUNCH DAY! I stretch so wide I accidently push the dog over the edge and its safe to say he is awake now.
The books have been sent to the venue, everything is ready but me. Today has been a haze of last minute arrangement flowers being sent around and congratulatory phone calls. My family got the books. They were thrilled. Now everything is ready but me. I have gone through everything in my cupboard and nothing works or looks right and just as I have given up all hope of looking hot tonight Mark knocks on the door. He plants a kiss on my nose and hands me a beautiful bunch of flowers. Long stem blue irises. Stunning. He pulls out his other hand and is holding the most gorgeous blue dress I have ever seen. It is perfect! I was going to argue and do the whole “How did you know” but there is no time. Mark laughs at me as I try to get dressed mid run back to my bedroom.
Heels on, out the door. This is it. My hear is pounding so fast I can’t believe Mark doesn’t stop the car to ask what that “doef” sound is.
We pull up to the restaurant and I take one last deep breath in. My life as I know it is about to change. A teary Mama meets me at the door. I was so afraid of seeing them after the whole debacle. But the hug and kiss prove my worries were unwarranted.
Before heading out to the crowd the Mateo’s and I step into the kitchen.
“Iris, we love you. We always have. Please know that.” Papa says as he points up to the wall above the arch way to the open dining room. Right there on the wall is the book I sent them. Framed up with the page of the inscription open. I walk over and softly touch the glass. I tried to thank them but my voice is replaced with tears. Of all hugs in the history of hugs I think this one is the hug novels were written about. They squeezed every bit of fear and sadness out of me. Papa gives me a handkerchief to dry my tears and I take a few seconds to compose myself before I head into the dinning room.
In the far corner of the room I see Michael his tall head. Next to him is a fury of red curls in a white dress. She is bouncing up and down as she is signing something. She is short and I can see so much of her words in her. Like he drawings she is whimsical. Covered in beautiful tattoos. Like her emails she wears a kind smile but seems a little all over the place. I love it. I love her.
I tap on her shoulder and her red curls bounce as she turns around to face me. It takes all my courage but I lift my hands and sign, I R I S. And smile.
I can her eyes are as wet as mine.
She takes my hands and squeezes them tightly while she says
“ I am winter”