Elizabeth Herlong was a pain in the ass. That was the only way to describe her mother-in-law, who tried very hard to get in the way of raising the twins. Robert, of course, saw nothing wrong with this. Trying to argue with Elizabeth about what was best for the twins was a lonely and tiring battle for Rachel. From getting their immunizations to giving them sweets at night right before going to bed, Elizabeth tried to make parental decisions for the twins.
A year into their stay, Elizabeth actually had the nerve to bring a document to Rachel and instructed her to give up her rights to her own children. Rachel refused and the argument almost escalated to blows being thrown. Robert had to drag her to their bedroom they shared in the attic where it was cold and damp, but Robert didnt sleep in there. He slept in the living room in front of the television, while the twins occupied his old room.
Just shut the fuck up! he sneered slamming their door because they could both hear Elizabeth still yelling from the remarks Rachel had made quite eloquently of where her mother in law could stick that custody document.
Very tired of being the only one to fight against Elizabeth, she screamed back at her husband, You shut the fuck up!
Robert hauled off and knocked her to the floor with a fist to the side of her face. Rachel was more shocked than ever that he had done something like that and wept in frustration at her situation as Robert left the room.
The next morning, she walked the twins with her to the local post office station to pick up the mal from the states. It was a ten-minute walk there and ten minutes back, but it gave the twins time to run off their extra energy. She was surprised to see that Tonya had finally delivered the box from the school to her. Rachel had been unable to make any calls to the United States from the house phone. When she was ever allowed to go to town with Elizabeth, because her home was located in a rural section about an hour away from Windsor, Canada, she didnt have any money to buy the expensive phone cards to call the United States. Robert kept careful control of the money, if he had any and anything she needed she either had to have Elizabeth buy it or ask Robert to buy it. Once she went three weeks with sanitary napkins and was forced to go old school and use an old cloth.
Reluctant to dig through her boxes where she had hidden her stash of about $5000 American dollars for fear of Elizabeth finding that out, Rachel just put up with the fact that she was always broke and hoped to get a job soon teaching again.
She had tried to apply to teach at a local school and had even received accreditation with Canada on a teaching certificate, but Elizabeth had cut that dream short because she was on the local school board and had too many connections. Her application was currently sitting on someones desk because they were all too scared of Elizabeth Herlong and making her upset.
When she came back home, she opened it after putting the children in cribs for an afternoon nap. As usual, Robert wasnt home and Elizabeth was out on her flea market sprees the penny-pinching bat!
Tonya had written a letter to Rachel:
Dear Mrs. Herlong,
We really missy you and cant wait for you to come back. Our last semester as twelfth graders has been really difficult for Arwin and me. Our new teacher isnt as creative as you were. Ive decided thought that when I graduate Im going to work in the school system in some capacity. Wish me luck.
At the bottom of this box, Ive included some newspaper that I thought you would like to read. Arwin says I shouldnt send them, but I thought you needed to know about Derrick.
Hope to see you soon, before I graduate, if not, then hope to see you at least at our reunion in ten years.
Love you Mrs. Herlong. We all love you and miss you.
Rachel dug through the box. It had been almost a year and she ha thought Tonya had decided not to send the box. It had been almost a year and she had thought Tonya had decided not to send the box. Why the girl had kept it so long was a mystery since Rachel had even given her extra money to send it by mail to Canada.
The first newspaper was the first shocker as the headlines read: THE MISTAKES OF THE SON: Son kills Stepfather in Self-Defense, shoots mother by mistake.
Slumping on the bed, she noted that the paper was dated the day after her departure.
From what she read and saw in the paper, Derrick was brought into the Sawyer County Courthouse chained from wrist to ankle looking unemotional for the self-defense shooting of Ernest Smith, his stepfather, and the accidental shooting of his own mother. Davenport Times Newspaper went on to report that when the youth was questioned about the incidents, he only recalls that there was a big argument between his mother and stepfather that he tried to intervene. When things got violent, Derrick used the gun to ward off his drunken stepfather, but his mother got in the way and he shot her. Ernest wrestled Derrick for the gun and he was shot three times.
Rachel read another paper where the sentence was finalized. Derrick would be sent to prison for three years and then reprimanded over to his father until he was twenty-one.
Sneaking into Elizabeths bedroom, she used the only computer that had Internet. Rachel looked up everything she could about a Jerald James in Canada, but as she started to gather the information, she wondered what the hell could she do? Derrick would be in prison for the next two years and then what? Would she really be allowed to see him? Jerald James wouldnt allow his son to see an older woman who used to be his sons teacher.
Give it up, she told herself and just accept the cards life had given her. Turning off the computer and sneaking out, she went into her cold dank room, lay on the bed and closed her eyes. She would accept it and not think about Derrick James ever again.
Teach Me To Love – Chapter 14 (c) Sylvia Hubbard
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