Hello!

Thank you for visiting my blog! My name is Ann G. Kroger. For years now, I have thought of myself as a writer. The problem, though, was that I was always too fearful to actually let anyone read my writing. My stories were always in a state of flux, never quite good enough to suffer the blows of criticism.

Then one day, with the help of some friends, I realized I just needed an extra dose of courage. I decided to spend a year writing to see what happens. I write almost every day, but a couple of times a week, I take a deep breath and push the “Publish” button. Holy cow.

Anywho, a few weeks ago, I starting writing about this character, Lydia. It was a little thing about how bad things should not happen on sunny, bright Houston days. And in this story, Lydia’s husband left her. I liked the story very much. So, I decided to write the story of how Lydia and her husband (who I subsequently named Henry) met. Then I wrote about Lydia entering recovery.

I’ve grown very fond of Lydia and Henry. Most of my posts are about their parallel journeys through life. As I post them, they are a bit neurotic and disordered. I think confusion has made it difficult for new readers to catch up to whats happening.

Therefore, I have rearranged my website to accommodate Lydia and Henry. You can click on the Lydia and Henry tabs where I have re-posted the stories in a chronological timeline. Hopefully, this will make it easier to catch up. Then you can join the roller coaster in progress as the episodes post.

Thank you for reading. I know there are never enough hours in the day, so it means a lot to me when even five people set aside a few minutes of their life to support me and my writing. Feel free to email or post comments. I would love to know who you are and what you are thinking.  Thanks again.

 

Best regards,

Ann G. Kroger

Lydia

Lydia liked to drink alone. She liked to drink with people too, liked the camaraderie, the gradual loosing of ties as the twinkle of laughter increased in volume and frequency. But drinking, Lydia thought, was best done in solitude. Only alone could she shape her environment perfectly. And only alone could Lydia drink the quantity she wanted without having to hear that irritating throat clearing sound Henry makes when he feels like she had had enough. Who did he think he was, monitoring her drinking? Every time he did it, Lydia wanted to punch him straight in the throat. But alone, in the house, Lydia was happy. Today, Lydia planned to be happy.

Whether or not she knew it conscientiously, Lydia had a routine surrounding her alone drinking. Far from the casualness that once surrounded the popping of the occasional bottle of wine, Lydia’s routine surrounded a very complex series of deceptions.

Lydia had long stopped going to the local Spec’s Liquor Store for fear of being judged by the counter help. One afternoon, Lydia walked in with her usual nonchalance. The counter girl looked up as Lydia entered and politely pointed out that the Smirnoff was on quantity sale, buy six bottles and Lydia would get 10 percent off. Lydia spun around and stared at the girl through the dark tint of her Gucci sunglasses. The girl showed no signs of being derisive. In fact, she looked like she was being helpful. Maybe she did not even know Lydia mostly drank vodka out because she incorrectly believed it lacked odor. Lydia looked at the girl for a couple more seconds. She bought her liquor that day, but made it white rum and kept it to a single bottle. She hadn’t been back since, except for a emergency bottle every now and then.

Lydia got into her car on the blistering Houston afternoon to make the long drive to the store before rush hour traffic. Lydia resented how much her actions, even drinking, even buying the alcohol, were dominated by what others thought of her. Lydia wanted nothing more than to be left alone to be who she was. Some days she felt every part of her was a fictitious reflection of someone’s opinion of who they thought she ought to be.

As she drove down Memorial Drive, Lydia reflected back on the person she thought she might have been back before she got cancer. Just like that, with not a skip of a heartbeat, anger exploded in her chest. It was the god-damn cancer! Every time. Lydia slammed her fist down on the armrest of her car. It changed everything. It changed how her parents and friends thought of her, with that worrisome pitying in their eyes. Oh, she’s so strong, they would say. Lydia might have portrayed strength, but she certainly didn’t feel it. What Lydia felt was terrifying, heart-wrenching despair. She was too young to die. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair. That was what Henry had seen in her. That is what she had fallen in love with. Henry didn’t need her to be strong. He knew, somehow, that she wasn’t strong. Lydia slammed on the brakes as she almost read-ended the Mercedes in front of her. With a flick of her thumb across her cheek, she wiped away her tears. Lydia turned up her radio. Fuck him. Fuck ‘em all.

When Sad Things Happen on Sunny Days

It is somehow worse, Lydia thought, when sad things happen on sunny days.

Lydia sat by the pool, two ice cubes melting under the stare of the hot in her glass of bourbon. Any other day, any other time, one might have thought she was luxuriating under the elms in order to bring a rose hint to her cheeks. But today, unable to move, to move put one foot in front of the other, she was sitting.

He just left. He came home, packed a bag and left. There was no fight, no hysteria. She wanted to muster the energy to throw something or cause a scene, but a scene for who? Why? To what end? He had left a long time ago, or so it seemed. All he did now was occupy a space in the closet. Its good he’s gone. Lydia thought for a moment about the kind of fear, stagnation that caused a person to stay, against all hopes of happiness, for just a little longer.

Yes, there should have been an argument, Lydia determined. It would have looked better. It would have made a better story for the girls. Lydia imagined a handful of select women scattered around her den, sipping some sort of cocktail appropriate for the solemn occasion. Someone would pat her back as she sobbed and recounted the tearful accusations, the appeals to stay, the shattered Baccarat, and finally the pointed finger showing the way out.

But instead, he just left. He came home, packed a bag and left. Left a note. She wouldn’t have even noticed he was gone had he not left the note. Lydia looked down at the bonded paper she had been holding this whole time. There was no need to read it again. It held no answers. Nor did it need to. Lydia knew the problems. Had known it for years. She originally said she was staying for the kids, but they had left a long time ago, off to lived their own lives in distant places. But then she still stayed. With a sigh, Lydia realized she stayed because she wanted to. No, it was true; the marriage was over a long time ago. But Lydia loved the house with the trees and the sparking pool. She loved her place amongst their society. And she loved her husband.

As she put the rocks glass against her lips, she smiled. She loved the bourbon.

What Lydia did not love was being the subject of speculation. It was hard to contemplate Christmas while the shone so brightly, but she knew it would be here faster than she could imagine. Lydia squinted off into the distance as if this small change in perspective would somehow give her foresight into the future. In her daydream, Lydia saw women leaning conspiratorially over the dinner table to their husbands, “But we can’t invite both of them. It’s too soon. Do you think she found out?” Lydia and her husband had this conversation themselves many times over. They feigned concern, but in the light of the summer afternoon, Lydia admitted to only the trees that it was really just a way to pass idle gossip off as something more than it was. They would invite her husband, of course, save a select few.

Lydia looked down at the empty glass. She wanted more. But she usually wanted more. That was nothing new. Lydia hoisted herself up from the pool chair and walked towards the backdoor. That’s the odd thing about change, it seems to happen quickly, without warning. He just left. He came home, packed a bag and left. It felt like an instant, but in reality, it had taken years. One shirt in the bag this year, a pair of shoes the next, until twenty-five years later the bag was packed.

Lydia paused as she looked at her reflection in the glass of the backdoor. She was still young. Weathered, perhaps, but still beautiful in certain lights. Lydia knew one day she would have to sell the house and leave the neighborhood that she knew she could not afford by herself. But she will find a new house. And new friends. She will find a new lover, feel new fingers press into her hips. A sly smile crossed her lips. She might even quit drinking. Lydia took the bottle in one hand, the glass in the other, and walked further into the recesses of her dark house. But none of that would happen today. All she had to do today was this.

When Sad Things Happen on Sunny Days

It is somehow worse, Lydia thought, when sad things happen on sunny days.

Lydia sat by the pool, two ice cubes melting under the stare of the hot sun in her glass of bourbon. Any other day, any other time, one might have thought she was luxuriating under the elms in order to bring a rose hint to her cheeks. But today, unable to move, to move put one foot in front of the other, she was just sitting.

He just left. He came home, packed a bag and left. There was no fight, no hysteria. She wanted to muster the energy to throw something or cause a scene, but a scene for who? Why? To what end? He had left a long time ago, or so it seemed. All he did now was occupy a space in the closet. Its good he’s gone. Lydia thought for a moment about the kind of fear, stagnation that caused a person to stay, against all hopes of happiness, for just a little longer.

Yes, there should have been an argument, Lydia determined. It would have looked better. It would have made a better story for the girls. Lydia imagined a handful of select women scattered around her den, sipping some sort of cocktail appropriate for the solemn occasion. Someone would pat her back as she sobbed and recounted the tearful accusations, the appeals to stay, the shattered Baccarat, and finally the pointed finger showing the way out.

But instead, he just left. He came home, packed a bag and left. Left a note. She wouldn’t have even noticed he was gone had he not left the note. Lydia looked down at the bonded paper she had been holding this whole time. There was no need to read it again. It held no answers. Nor did it need to. Lydia knew the problems. Had known it for years. She originally said she was staying for the kids, but they had left a long time ago, off to live their own lives in distant places. But then she still stayed. With a sigh, Lydia realized she stayed because she wanted to. No, it was true; the marriage was over a long time ago. But Lydia loved the house. She loved her place amongst their society. She even loved the trees and the sparkling pool. And she loved the bourbon.

TO BE CONTINUED…