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Orion Jenkins

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The Search for Level Ground
by Orion Jenkins   

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  Published America ISBN-10:  1588513874 Type: 


Copyright:  Jun 10, 1998

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This story takes place in a little southern town. The year is 1952. Suzanna is searching for her true identity.

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Chapter One

     My name is Suzanna Stoggins, I live in a small southern town, about thirty miles south of Atlanta, Georgia.  I've lived here almost all my life. My story begins in l952, I was sixteen when my voice came to live within me. The first few times the voice spoke to me, I pushed it aside, telling myself it was my imagination.  As time passed, however, the voice didn't go away.  I finally realized, I would have to talk to someone, about the voice.  I definitely didn't want to tell my very best friend, for I was afraid she wouldn't be a friend anymore.  She might even think I am crazy.  I've decided to tell my mother.  Mother isn't the most stable person in the world. This is why I haven't talked to her already.  I know I can't talk to Daddy, for he is my biggest critic.  I can just hear him say: "Suzanna don't get dramatic with me, it's just your wild imagination at work again."

     I talked to Mother, and she became hysterical, just as I knew she would. She grabbed the phone, and dialed Doctor Browne's office to make an appointment right away. She told the receptionist that it was an emergency, therefore the receptionist told my mother to bring me in right away.  Mother insisted, that she should talk to Dr. Browne alone, before I talked to him. I sure wish I were a fly on the wall, to hear what's being said about me.  Knowing Mother as well as I do, I'm sure she is falling apart by now.  Here she comes, and it's evident that she has been crying.  Now it's my turn to see doctor Browne.

      "Well now, Suzanna, I've heard your mother's version, how about giving me yours.  Tell me all about this voice you hear."

     "There's not that much to tell Dr. Browne, I'm aware it's always with me, even when it doesn't speak."

     "Uh-huh, tell me Suzanna, has it ever told you to do harm to anyone?"

     "Oh no, nothing like that, sometimes it's only a whisper, maybe just to get my attention. It's like someone else is speaking to me from inside me.  Sometimes I feel it is there to protect me, then other times it makes me anxious, as if something bad is going to happen."

     "And you say this voice has never told you to harm anyone, has it ever suggested that you harm yourself?"

     "No, never, I don't feel any evil presence, it's not that kind of voice. Actually I sometimes think it's God speaking to me."

     Doctor Browne is nodding his head, with a puzzled look on his face. He doesn't seem to have any idea what the voice means, or what to do about it. Then he says he wants to do some blood work. He tells me the tests will be back in a week or so, and his office will call to make another appointment.

     On our way home I asked Mother what the doctor told her.  I can tell by her mannerism, that she is not going to be truthful with me.  My mother is an attractive person, she has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen.  She has kept her figure all these years.  I think Daddy has destroyed all her confidence.  Though Daddy is the ruler of our house, and no one, but no one, better challenge him.  Mother is from a family of eight, and she is the oldest.  Her daddy was a sharecropper in Dothan, Alabama, and it's needless to say they were very poor.  Mother told me they only got one pair of shoes a year, that was in the fall right before it got real cold.  My mother's aunt May, married a man from Atlanta, and they both worked at the Fulton Bag Mills. They didn't have any children, so when Aunt May had an operation, and had to have bed rest for six weeks. My grandmother let Mother come to Atlanta to help aunt May, until she could get on her feet again. This is how my mother met my daddy, who lived in Atlanta.

      My daddy is an only child, and his daddy owned his own business, therefore my mother thought Daddy's family was rich, and they were compared to Mother's family.  Daddy has a college degree, and he runs his own successful business, but he puts himself a notch above my mother. She allows him to tell her what to do, and even what to wear. Daddy is a perfectionist,  therefore no one can do anything as well as he can.  I have never been able to do anything well enough for Daddy.  I know this sounds like I don't love my daddy, but I do, we just don't see eye to eye on anything.  Daddy is a handsome man, and he has those true blue eyes just like my mother.  To tell the truth, this has made me wonder about myself, and if I am really my parents daughter.  You see, I have dark brown eyes, almost ebony in fact.  I asked my mother a long time ago, why my eyes were so dark, and she said her mother had brown eyes, so that is probably why mine are brown.

       The doctors' office called today, I guess I will find out something tomorrow.  All they would say on the phone, is that the tests are back, and Doctor Browne wants to see me.  The waiting room is packed as usual, mother and I can't even find two seats together.  I guess that is to be expected though, doctor Browne is the only M. D. in town.  Naturally, my mother will get to go in first to talk with the doctor, it's like they are deciding on how much to tell me, which probably won't be the complete truth.  After forever it seems, I get to talk with Dr. Browne.

     "Come right in Suzanna," how are you feeling? How is that voice doing, is it still with you?"

     "Yes sir, the voice is still with me, but I don't think it's that big a deal anymore, do you?  I'll bet you have other patients who hear voices."

     "No, Suzanna, as a mater of fact, I don't have any other patients with that problem. But no two patients are just alike, as you well know.  The blood work shows that you are dangerously anemic, so therefore, I want you to come in every two weeks and get an iron shot. The nurse can give it, so you won't have to make appointments.  I'm also going to give you medication to take by mouth each day."

     "Then when I get well from anemia Doctor, will that mean the voice will be gone?"

     "That I can't say, we will just have to wait and see," he answered.

     The nurse gave me my first iron shot, and I could taste it instantly. It's the first shot I've ever had, that hurts like the dickens. Getting well is going to take a while I'm afraid, but I surely hope not.  On our way home, I asked mother what doctor Browne told her, but just like last time she preferred not to hear me.

      "Do you think this will make the voice go away, Mother?"

     "Oh, I'm sure it will honey, let's just not talk about the voice anymore, okay?"

      The message is loud and clear, my parents think I am crazy, and it's embarrassing for them. I've made a vow to myself, to never mention the voice again to anyone.  It's taken close to three months to get over my anemia, and when I saw doctor Brown the last visit, I lied and told him the voice was gone. I could tell, by looking at his expression, that he was relieved with my answer.

I have a friend, a best friend actually, her name is Janet.  I don't know what I would do without her.  We've been friends since the second grade.  I think the reason we are such good friends, is because we are opposites.  Janet is a vivacious, energetic, and a beautiful person.  She loves people and parties, the more people the merrier.  She is a true extrovert. I envy her at times, because I am a true introvert.  Janet is taller and thinner than me.  She has beautiful blue eyes, and lovely light brown hair.  She is a great dancer, not me I've got two left feet. Janet has had a tough life really. Her mother died when she was thirteen, and her mother's sister, aunt Missy took her in. Aunt Missy doesn't have any children of her own, actually she never liked children.  She makes life pretty rough for Janet, she never lets Janet forget how much she is doing for her.  So in turn, out of guilt, Janet made herself a slave to her Aunt. She did all the heavy housework. Now that Janet is in high school, her aunt is sending her away, to a private all girl school, just to get her out of her home. Janet says it is understood, that when she graduates, she will be on her own, in other words, she need not even think she can come back here, to live with her aunt.  Janet is a really strong person, in spite of her childhood and her aunt.  Janet will graduate a year ahead of me, because in the private school, she could double up on subjects and go all year, this makes it possible to get the required credits sooner. Janet came back to our little home town when she finished school.  She went to Atlanta and got a job with the C&S bank. She's rented a room in the little town of Stockbridge, and she rides the greyhound bus back and forth to work. About six months ago, Janet met Rick, after dating for three months, they were married.  I am still in my last year of high school, and Janet and I have lost contact temporarily.


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