SHE’S LEAVING HOME. BYE, BYE!

Melanie! Breakfast is ready. Better hurry or you’ll be late for school!” Evelyn Coe yelled up to her daughter from the bottom of the stairs.

Frank, I don’t know what’s gotten into Melanie lately” Evelyn complained to her husband. “I can’t keep up with her mood swings.”

Remember when she was dating that loser Jeffrey and we insisted she end the relationship?” Frank asked. “I wonder where he is and what he’s up to. You don’t think she’s still seeing him, do you?”

Last I heard he was selling used cars. Melanie said something about him working at that lot on Matthew Street near the Cavern Club, I think. I hope she didn’t go behind our backs and continue seeing him. She wouldn’t do that to us, Frank, would she?”

Stubborn girl!” bellowed Frank. “Don’t forget how she fought us about going to public school with the ‘cool kids’ instead of attending Rigby Academy! She has never wanted for a single thing her entire life. She takes everything for granted. She’ll be going to college in a couple of months. Hopefully she’ll get her head on straight.”

You’re right, Frank” Evelyn agreed. “But now she’s talking about taking a break before college to ‘find herself’. I can easily find her; she’s upstairs sleeping!”

Evelyn marched to the stairs and called out: “Melanie! You better be down here in two minutes or I’m coming up!”

“There’s no way in hell Melanie is taking time off to go gallivanting around God knows where!” Frank threatened. “Tonight we’re going to have a serious conversation. She’s had a very privileged life and if she thinks she’s going to take advantage of our generosity, she better think again!”

I’m going upstairs and dragging her out of bed.” Evelyn thumped up the stairs to Melanie’s room but moments later came running into the kitchen clutching her handkerchief, tears in her eyes.

“Frank! Melanie wasn’t in her room. I found this letter. She’s gone! Our baby’s gone!” Evelyn wailed.

What do you mean ‘gone’? Let me see that” and Frank snatched the piece of paper from Evelyn’s hands. He read out loud:

Mother and Father.
I’ve run away with Jeffrey. I want my freedom.
I’ve lived under your thumbs long enough and
for the first time in my life I’m doing what makes me happy,
not what you want me to do.
Please don’t come after me or try to find me. Goodbye, Melanie

Running out of the house, Frank yelled for Evelyn to call the police. When he returned he breathlessly informed his wife that Melanie’s car was gone.

The police arrived soon after; Detective McKenzie asked the usual questions: Did the Coes think Melanie was forced to write the note? Did she leave against her will? Were any of her things missing?

Tearfully Evelyn answered the detective’s questions. “Her suitcase and some of her clothes are gone. She wasn’t forced to leave. She left us for Jeffrey. She did this to hurt us!”

I’m sorry, folks, but unfortunately we have to wait 24 hours before filing a missing persons report. My hands are tied” Detective McKenzie replied sympathetically.

God knows where they are by now!” Frank exclaimed.

I can’t believe she would leave us!” Evelyn lamented. “She has everything here; a nice home, lots of clothes and her own car. Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly? How could she do this to me?”

We never thought for ourselves. We worked so hard all our lives to get by. What did we do that was wrong?” Frank cried in desperation and frustration.

Hundreds of miles away Melanie and Jeffrey were speeding down the highway heading for a new life.

Any regrets leaving home like that?” Jeffrey asked.

None!” Melanie replied without hesitation. “I’m finally having fun and that’s the one thing my parent’s money can’t buy!”

She snuggled close to him and they sped away without looking back.

Melanie Coe

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Countless numbers of people are familiar with the song “She’s Leaving Home” by The Beatles. In 1966 Paul McCartney read a newspaper story in the Daily Mirror about a girl named Melanie Coe which inspired him to write the song. Although most of the content in the song was embellished, McCartney said that a great deal of the story about Coe, who was 17-years-old at the time, was accurate. Coe left with her boyfriend, a croupier; she did not meet a man from the motor trade (as the song says), although her boyfriend previously had been in that business. She left in the afternoon while her parents were at work while the girl in the song (and in this story) left in the early morning as her parents slept. The names of Melanie’s parents, Frank and Evelyn Coe, as well as her boyfriend Jeffrey, are fictitious. Coe was found ten days later having previously mentioned where her boyfriend worked. When she returned home, she was pregnant and her mother took her for an abortion. An update on Coe appeared in The Guardian in December 2008 and she was interviewed about the song on the BBC program The One Show on November 24, 2010. In May 2017 Rolling Stone magazine carried an interview with Coe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

NAR © 2020

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS

Papers and leaves were snatched by the gusty autumn wind and scattered about the street like so many pieces of flotsam and jetsam.  It was getting dark and Frederick knew he had to find his wife Helene before something bad happened, before she hurt herself – or worse. Helene had been terribly distraught this morning – more so than usual – and judging by the quantity of bourbon missing from the bottle, she was also probably quite drunk. Another horrible fight with his mother, Frederick assumed. 

Shoving his hands into his coat pockets, Frederick hunched his shoulders against the cold harsh wind. As he searched the streets for Helene his mind began to wander back to a time years ago when things were better, back to when Helene was whole. How happy they had been, just the two of them so in love. They bought a cute brownstone soon after getting married, living there blissfully by themselves, making plans for the future. 

When Helene learned she was pregnant they were ecstatic; she even began knitting a baby blanket. Then the miscarriage happened, followed by three more. Four babies lost and a multitude of dreams crumbled and forgotten. Helene had to have a hysterectomy and fell into a depression. No babies ever for the young couple – only the two of them alone in a sad empty house. Frederick urged Helene to consider adoption, but she refused and her depression deepened. How could one woman bear a sorrow so heavy?  

A few months later Frederick’s father committed suicide, due in no small part to his mother’s constant badgering and belittling. Not wanting his mother to be alone and despite Helene’s protests, Frederick moved his mother in with them. He thought Helene and his mother might provide some companionship for each other but the two women soon began arguing. Helene could do nothing right in Frederick’s mother’s eyes. She even went so far as to flaunt Helene’s inability to have a baby, goading her on by calling her a dried up empty vessel, a disappointing failure. 

As Frederick walked rapidly through the streets, he tried to figure out what had happened earlier. He had arrived home from work to find the door wide open and the house in disarray. Dishes were shattered on the kitchen floor. The phonograph had been knocked over, his mother’s favorite record in smithereens. Frederick had called out but no one answered. He’d frantically raced through the house, stopping at the entrance to his mother’s room; her door was slightly open and he could see she was asleep, curled up in her bed. Helene’s coat and purse were hanging on a rack by the front door but she was nowhere in sight. 

Suddenly Frederick snapped back to the present as he spied Helene at the train station; she was standing perilously close to the edge of the platform. Cautiously he walked toward her and whispered her name. Helene whirled around and Frederick was shocked to see the crazed look in her eyes and the cuts on her face. Helene tried to run but Frederick caught her. He cradled her in his arms as they walked home. 

When they reached the house, Helene began giggling like a little girl and told Frederick she had a surprise for him. Bewildered, he followed her up the stairs to his mother’s room. Helene motioned for Frederick to be quiet as she tip-toed to the bed. She threw back the covers, revealing his mother’s bloody body, knitting needles deeply embedded in her neck. Frederick recoiled in horror. Helene grabbed her knitting needles and lunged at him, stabbing him repeatedly while screaming maniacally “This is your fault! You brought her here! This is all your fault! ALL YOUR FAULT!!” 

Frederick collapsed to the floor in a bloody heap. The last thing he saw was Helene plunging out the bedroom window.

NAR © 2019

PILLOW TALK

Other is a word that rhymes with mother, which also happens to rhyme with smother. Which begs the question: Am I a dreadful person for wanting to smother my mother ?”

Mother wasn’t a bad person; there was no physical abuse  – just a major lack of tenderness which can leave greater, more permanent scars. She was a perfectionist who found it very difficult to show warmth or affection, even to her children. She was also “a classic crazy maker”. 

I don’t remember her saying “I love you”, tickling me till I squealed or reading bedtime stories. What I do remember is proudly showing her a drawing I made in school with the inscription “Skyscrapers scrape the sky while butterflies flutter by”. My teacher called it “highly imaginative”; mother said it was foolishness – butterflies can’t fly that high.

As a teenager I was forbidden to shave my legs but did anyway. Not wanting my secret revealed, I wore jeans all the time, even to the beach in the middle of summer! I also used a self-tanner which turned my skin orange! Mother watched as I scrubbed in water mixed with bleach – a humiliating experience. It was at that time she discovered  my shaved legs, causing her to erupt like a gas explosion. I was probably grounded but it was worth it. 

Many days after arriving home from school I would find the contents of my dresser drawers dumped on my bed, simply because mother didn’t approve of how my clothes were folded. If I wanted to sleep that night, I’d have to put all my things away (or push them to the floor, which I often did!) I’d get hell the next day but it was a trip seeing her bulging veins and bugged-out eyes.

Years later when I had kids, mother would pop in unannounced and examine my house like the “White-Glove Lady” checking for dust. If my oven didn’t meet her standards of cleanliness, she would clean it! Well, pardon my mess; I have two little ones who are more important to me than a spotless houseStill, when she did that it drove me crazy. Never once did she play with my kids.

Lately I’ve been having a recurring dream about smothering mother with a pillow. When I wake up, I’m smiling. I guess my earlier question bears repeating: Does that make me a dreadful person?” 

NAR © 2018