(As this serial has been posting sections from a story that I began many years ago and never finished, there are some segments that are missing. I know they are written somewhere, just nowhere that I can find. So, forgive me as I play Fill-in-the-blanks this month with my intro. I will do my best to give you a more complete chapter next time. – Ruth Davis Hays)
The ice in the bottom of the well proved too far for the two girls to reach alone. They broke off their investigative frenzy to drive to the store for a much belated meal.
Thinking on a course of action, they decide to convince a friend Dale who was working on a nearby construction site (while he studied at college to become an architect) to help them dig up the well. At least then they could pull out the huge block of ice and use all their collective resources to find out why it existed in Florida, at this time of year.
Their endeavors will have to wait until Dale’s day off during the week, which will cause the girls to have to delay it until after work or take the risk of calling in sick. Cat daydreams that the ice holds something mysterious, but Roxi doubts that it will have anything besides really cold bacteria. Sunday evening finds Roxi in the neighboring town of Jacksonville, trying to sort out her feelings.
She had been drowning in a river of darkness. Being pulled along against her will. Reaching out to grasp with numb hands to anything that would steady her and offer the slightest chance of freedom. But each weed or stone she clung to would give way or slip from her grasp before she could pull herself clear of the stinking water. If she screamed, she would drown in madness. If she struggled, the water pulled her quicker. She was lost. The only thing she could do was let go, let the river claim her as it had thousands of others. It would be the easiest thing to do.
Roxi sat on the stone bench staring at the St.John’s River as it labored north to the ocean. The bench was cold beneath her and it seeped into her bones. The ache she felt, as she rested near the large cement fountain in downtown Jacksonville, was not the chill of a cold body but that of a frozen soul.
She had come to the science museum to sit by the river and think but she had found that most of her time had been spent staring at the dark waters and letting her mind wander. Her mind had wandered down some very dark paths and only frustrated her more instead of clearing things up for her. The only thing that kept repeating in her thoughts was the idea that she was stuck. Stuck in Orange Grove. Stuck in a dead-end job. Stuck in her father’s house. Stuck in the mud of her life, alone.
The limits of her possibilities crowded against her so tight that she wanted to scream and rip her hair out by the roots in the frustration. Not that that would have changed anything. Except that she would be bald, she mused. A small smile touched her lips.
There was no prince on a white stallion to rescue her. There would be no one announcing that she had just won a million dollars. All her problems would not be swept away by a benevolent genie that would give her three wishes. It was all up to her to change her life and she had run out of ideas and energy. The small town had beaten her. It had won. She had no money to move or do the things she wanted to do with her life. She had no resources that she could trust. No one that could help her achieve her goals.
Cat was her best friend, but despite all their big dreams of childhood, they had never been able to get any of the things accomplished. Nothing to show for all their combined talents and efforts. She had a closet full of fancy and outlandish costumes that she had designed and, with Cat’s help, had made. But, she could not wear them. There were no occasions in her life that she could give them the proper debut without feeling out of place and silly. They belonged on the runways of New York, not the streets of Jacksonville. So, what had they accomplished? Nothing but her having a closet full of clothes that no one would see unless she got famous. Got Famous, she pondered that one with a bitter smirk. What a frustrating dream that had been. Get noticed, get recognized, get famous. That was how it was supposed to go, right? Ha! she thought. Sounded easy enough when the celebrities on television said it.
Except that with all her reputed “talent,” here she sat. In Jacksonville. A data entry clerk for the city of Orange Grove. A nobody.
“I hate life,” she muttered to the soft autumn wind. “I’m sick of it. If I didn’t think suicide was a waste, I’d jump in that river right now and get it over with. At least then, I wouldn’t have all these stupid worries anymore.”
She sighed and looked over her shoulder at the tall office buildings surrounding the little green park in which she sat. “And, I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Or worry about money.”
The day was growing darker and the evening’s lavender hues were painting the city all around her. She decided that it was time to head home. Before all the crazies came out, she chuckled. That was definitely not the way to die; at gunpoint or on a knife, over a twenty dollar bill. She decided that that would truly be pointless, and unpoetic.
Wanting to end her life did not rob her of her sense of the dramatic. Now, falling victim to a fatal disease or something totally out of her control… that would be dramatically tragic. And, might even make the newspapers.
She laughed at herself. Even in choosing a death, she wanted to get noticed!