THE BIG RESET
A story about Annie & Evie & money & a book
December 22nd, 1954:
$20,000. Christ almighty. When my Lloyd passed away, bless his soul, he kept his mouth shut tight. He already did not talk very much, always tired, but he kept things moving along. Work kept us afloat. We made love when we made love and it was always good. He was daring, he was quite daring… He never mentioned any life insurance because I think he never thought he had to. It’s a nice surprise, but who am I going to thank? Sorry. Why am I apologizing? He never wanted me to see a therapist but I started to see one recently. His idea to keep this journal.
“Whenever you feel like writing, Annabelle, just write.” I always loved it, always wanted to do more of it. Maybe I will, in my little black book. I don’t know… I don’t know much of anything right now, only that my Lloyd is dead, I have some money, and our little one is 6 months away from entering this crazy world. I hope she isn’t a wild child. I, of course, don’t know if it’s going to be a boy or girl but lord, I hope it’s a girl. For so many reasons, I hope it’s a girl.
December 27th, 1954:
I am sorry I have not written in you in some days. The holidays, family—in-laws especially—they take up so much time. And they knew about the money, so imagine having to answer those questions.
“We never knew he had that! It would do his entire family some good! You know, we don’t all have that luxury! Some of us have debts!”
Expectations are dangerous. Sometimes I feel as if I can plan, plan, plan and I still have no control over this money or my future. I miss him, I do, but his family, heck, even my family—it’s a bit much.
I do miss him. He provided. We made love when we made love. Our kid will be here soon.
January 2nd, 1955:
Here I go again, 5 days since I last wrote. New Year’s with my mother and trust me, I would have much rather been writing in you all day than suffer her presence for that long. I told her I didn’t need her there! I was okay on my own! Christ almighty there she was anyway, fruitcake in one hand, a basket of opinions in the other.
We had one good conversation, however. When my daddy died, he left my mother only a letter and this was all I knew of him. Like my child to be, I entered into this world without a daddy. Mother said it was the only time he ever apologized for anything. Here it is:
Beatrice, I am sorry. I know I should have left more but the world the way it is, I hope love was enough. And I am sorry, I don’t believe you were ever rightly happy. I am sorry I will not meet our kid, but I hope they are like you. Funny, smarter than I ever was, and good at doing damn near everything you set your mind to. I hope it’s a girl, not a boy. Never liked boys much. Never liked me much myself now I think about it. But I hope for all my flawed ways, you liked me a little. No matter what, Bee, do one thing: Whatever the hell you want. I should have said this sooner. Do whatever the hell you want now. Just be happy. I love you. I always loved you. Paul.
She said he was quiet, like Lloyd, and passionate. If he believed in something, you better get out of the way! He had drive. He shirked at what everyone expected of him all the time. He would have fought in The Great War had they let him, which really hurt. He couldn’t fight on account of a deformity he suffered as a child, one leg was about 6 inches shorter than the other. He broke his leg when he was born, never healed quite right for whatever reason. They say babies are usually stronger than that but there’s always an exception…
I have a question: Once we become widows, do we become widows from our husband’s family as well? I sure hope so.
If I get one more complaint
January 3rd, 1955:
Christ almighty! I was going to finish the entry yesterday but so much happened. I was interrupted by a knock at the door and speak of the devil, it was my brother-in-law. He wanted the money! I don’t normally curse, so please forgive me, but I told him to go fuck his mother. He swung at me and got me a little on the cheek but thank the lord, we were in the kitchen and I had a frying pan out waiting to start cooking. I let him have it right on the head, one big wallop!
He’s okay, I didn’t kill him, just shocked and scared him. I told him to tell his mother she could fuck her only living son if she wanted the money so much and he stumbled out to his car. I haven’t heard from his family since yesterday. You’d think they’d call but that’s because he was probably too scared to relay the message.
Oh God, my cheek hurts me something fierce but let me tell you… I’ve never felt better. I felt like little bits of electricity or something ran through me, like one of those characters in a kid’s comic books. Needless to say, I didn’t end up cooking dinner. I went out and bought a bucket of fried chicken and watched Ed Sullivan on the TV in the living room. I don’t have much time before I can’t be kid anymore, so I decided I would be like a kid last night.
I’ll be honest, I cried quite a bit after that. My brother-in-law’s attack was scary, but it was more about that feeling after. What was going to happen next? Could I feel this good forever? I don’t know, I don’t reckon I’ll know for a while. One thing I do know, I think I am going to go out and buy dinner again tonight.
January 10th, 1955:
I finally received the phone call from my mother-in-law. She told me my husband was right, I was a mean old bitch who was never grateful for nothing. I told her to drink gasoline and swallow a lit match then I hung up.
I don’t know if I’ve been completely honest with you. I know I haven’t. My husband was a quiet and he was… I guess the word would be mean, but quietly. He used to call me names like it was nothing and I didn’t think anything of it at the time but now, looking back, it hurts. It hurts a lot. His mother sure raised ‘em right. My husband, the quiet bully and his brother, the brute. Their father was never around, he died before my brother-in-law was born. My husband knew him for the first 3 years of his life but who really knows anyone then anyway?
Last week after I went off for dinner again, I met the saddest, most remarkable girl. Her name is Evie and she was right by the fried chicken restaurant, just sitting on the ground when I came upon her. She was crying and crying, unsure where to go or who to talk to. I asked if she was hungry and, lonely as I am, brought her home for dinner. It was raining, her skirt was and jacket were soaked, and she said her daddy wanted nothing to do with her.
Poor girl, got pregnant and she’s in her last year of high school. Wanted to go off to college, start her life over. “The Big Reset,” she calls it. She’s still here with me, trying to figure out what to do. I know my husband’s family wants to come by and “talk things out” but I don’t know how that’s going to happen with Evie here or what they’ll think. I’ll have to figure something out.
January 12th, 1955:
Last night, everything came apart. My husband’s family came by and caught Evie hiding in one of the guest rooms. They asked who she was, why she was there and she told them. They called the cops and eventually, Evie’s angry dad came by, took a swing at ne, and grabbed Evie and took her home.
My brother-in-law and mother-in-law took turns trying to chase me with baseball bats but they didn’t realize my husband didn’t take his little gun to the grave with him. I shot two shots into the ceiling and told them if they ever returned, I’d tie them up, back to back, and shoot one through the mouth so the bullet would come out the other one’s mouth. They left. You know what? I love a good threat!
I need to call my realtor.
January 14th, 1955:
Our house has picked up considerable value since we bought it years ago, which I’m very excited about.
I spoke with Evie on the phone last night, asked how she was doing. Asked if she wanted a new life. I didn’t want to replace her mama or scare her, but it’s time for a change.
After the episode with my in-laws, I remembered something I long tucked away in the back of my memory. My husband once put a cigarette out on my arm and forced me to have sex with him. It wasn’t once, it was a few times. The evil that men do… Why did I ever forget that? My therapist says these things are common, our brains sometimes do that.
I’m still waiting for Evie to answer. Until then, I’ll have to work on getting this house off my hands.
February 2nd, 1955:
Memory: My first pregnancy. It was maybe two months after we were married that I was with child. Lloyd panicked and punched me right the stomach, told me he wasn’t ready. The fact I’m still expecting now is a miracle. The doctor thinks I am going to have a girl, the way my belly is round and how sick I’ve been getting lately, more and more.
I hope he’s right.
We got a couple of offers on the house. We bought it for $5,300 about six years ago and now it’s worth over $8,000! Lucky me. I still haven’t heard from Evie. I wish she would answer. I might not write in you for a while, diary, it’s going to be a long month if I accept an offer. A lot of packing, a lot of planning.
Wish me luck.
March 5th, 1955:
This baby’s kicking! Oh is she kicking. I’m deciding to call her a she now. Might as well! I haven’t seen my in-laws almost two months. Heard nothing. I don’t know what they have planned but it won’t matter much because, tonight, I am leaving. They probably know the house was up for sale, maybe they’ve admitted defeat.
Evie never contacted me since last we talked so last night, I went by her house and knocked on her window. She told me to get away, she can’t see me and I told her that if she wants a new life, she can have it.
I got $7,900 for the house and after fees and the last couple payments, walked away with $7,600. I gave her half of that and half of the $20,000.
“If you can’t come with me, that’s okay. But don’t let yourself get here,” I said as I motioned to myself. “And get yourself a gun and learn some nice threats.” I hope she does right by herself.
I’ll write you from the road, wherever I
About the Creator
Andrew Martin Dodson
Author, music snob, husband, parent, amateur neck cracker. A quintuple threat, if you will. This is a space for personal essays, life stories (and lessons learned), as well as unfinished/belongs-nowhere-else fiction. Enjoy!
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.