Fiction—Freedom for Cassie—Candace M. Meredith
Previous works including poetry and fiction have appeared in Backbone Mountain Review of the Western Appalachia, The Broadkill Review, a literary journal of Delaware, Anthology 17, Green Silk Journal, Saltfront of Salt Lake City, Utah and Bittersweet of Frostburg State University. The following is a short bio:
Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals Bittersweet, The Backbone Mountain Review, The Broadkill Review, In God’s Hands/ Writers of Grace, A Flash of Dark, Greensilk Journal, Saltfront, Mojave River Press and Review, Scryptic Magazine, Unlikely Stories Mark V, The Sirens Call Magazine, The Great Void, Foreign Literary Magazine, Lion and Lilac Magazine, Snow Leopard Publishing, BAM Writes and various others. Candace currently resides in Virginia with her two sons and her daughter, her fiancé and their three dogs and six cats. She has earned her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) from West Virginia University.
Here is my website:
Freedom for Cassie
She used a plush colored cloth to wipe off the lip stain: who is this person? She thought to herself as she delicately re-applied the eye liner and decided on a stain of satin pink over the dark, deep red that stained like resin on the paper.
“Cassie are you there?” Her mother Celine said from the first floor.
“Yes, mom.” She was candid.
“Come down and join us.”
Cassie was visiting her parents for the holiday. Every year in May the family gets together to send love and condolences to those who served the country.
With having a military father the rules were “to code.” She knew her mother would not tolerate that shade of red. At twenty years old Cassie still felt awkward in her social turmoil. She was still unable to feel anything like the general public which Cassie saw as “the norm.” As a daughter of a high ranking official she was sworn to maintain that level of significance within the community. Cassie felt alone.
Within the common area she was doted on for her performance in Peter Pan in the ballet recital as though she were still ten.
“Let’s talk about something else though…”
Her words were met with a dead stare.
“Why would we do that dear?” Her mother was morose.
“Do you have a boyfriend these days?” Her grandmother wasn’t much help.
“Grandmother Hazel,” she maintained the composure that had always been required of her, “I don’t currently have…”
“Don’t have a boyfriend? By this day and age?” Hazel cut her off.
“No, I’m sorry…”
“Never be sorry dear.” Her mother did the same.
“It’s okay sometimes…”
“To be sorry.”
“Nonsense. Not in this moment.”
“We’ll why not?” Hazel dove back in, “shouldn’t she have someone suitable by now?”
“She is only twenty…”
“I had your father at sixteen.”
Cassie left them to ponder it over.
“Where are you going Cassandra?” Her mother called her by her full name when it was time to be in control.”
“Please excuse me mother.” She was equally composed as her mother.
Cassie entered the dining hall where they would have exquisite and fabulous meals.
Then she passed by the window to find a boy from her childhood ambling on by - seemingly without a care in the world. He had always been so cool, casual and composed.
His name was Logan Black. Cassie adored his physique and overall composure; he stumbled once and dropped his keys. When he bent over to retrieve them she glared heavily at his tone, his biceps, his fabulously long, sleek and textured hair. Logan was a Seminole and she wanted to know more about him. His culture. His beliefs - if there still were any.
Her family were comprised of deeply rooted American sentiment; her sentiment ran deep too for the indigenous nation.
She wanted to speak his language, dance in his circle, and wear turquoise because that shade of blue would never be too eccentric.
Then Logan waved at her. She felt foolish but she waved back.
“What are you staring at?” Her mother was behind her.
“Logan Black.” She wasn’t ashamed.
“Oh?“ Celine huffed, “come eat. It’s time to meet in the dining …”
“One minute mother.” She said and entered the outside.
“Hello.” She smiled.
“Hi.” Logan removed an ear piece; he was connected to the radio.
How modern. Cassie thought to herself.
“Are you listening to music?”
“I am.” He was amused. “You look surprised.”
“Well, what are you listening to?”
For the first time she was doing something out of the ordinary when her mother filed outside.
“Cassandra!” She called for her.
“I’ll be right back.”
She held up the “one minute” finger.
Her mother grumbled but she went inside.
“What are you listening to?” She was earnest and in that moment she wished she had kept the maroon-red resin.
“It’s indie pop.”
“Isn’t that kind of an oxymoron?”
He laughed. “It kind of is.”
“Do you mind if I walk with you?”
“Sure. Yeah. But don’t you have to be somewhere?”
“She can entertain without me. Where are you going?”
“I’m going home on the reservation.”
“What is it like there?”
“Dry.” He was still amused.
“That’s not much like Florida is it?”
“Well it’s a drought this season.”
She was already intrigued because something else was out of the ordinary. Then she reached out her hand.
“You want to hold my hand?”
“Do you remember me?” She ignored the question.
“Yes. Because in there I just lied.”
“Lied about what?”
“I just told my entire family I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Do you care to join me?”
“Sure. I guess. I mean yeah.”
“Very well then.” She held his hand and led him inside the grand plaza that was complete with a pianist. She approached her table where she would ordinarily be seated but instead she grabbed for the bottle of sweet red wine that matched the resin.
“Next time I’m wearing red.” She said. And she held his hand while her mother, and her mother’s mother gasped initially and her grandmother turned a glance over her shoulder, “I thought she said…”
“She did say…”
Cassie walked further still, hand-in-hand behind the pianist, with the bottle in her fist and she entered the door marked exit when her mother had an inkling to pursue them when her own mother took her by the shoulder.
“If we are too strong we lose them.” She said of her daughter’s brother. “I cannot lose another one.”
They sat down at the table while Cassie turned into her room to lose it all; she would lose her everything.
“Let them judge me now.” She said to him behind lips of satin pink and when he kissed her she felt his hands that were subtle and soft as he took down her spaghetti strap bra.
And she wondered if they would ever speak of her again.