remembering helen

You think of Mr. Rochester, mad wives
in attics, Jane herself, as plain as flan.
You don’t remember Helen Burns, Jane’s friend

from school. Reader, I married her. I pressed
my eighth-grade self between those pages like
a flower, left for later hands. Helen.

“I like to have you near me,” she would cough,
romantically consumptive, after Jane
sneaked to her sick-bed. “Are you warm, darling?”

We’ll always find ourselves inside the book,
no matter what the book, no matter how
little we’re given. I was twelve; gay meant

nothing to me. I only knew I’d go
to Lowood Institution, rise at dawn,
bare knuckles to the switch, choke down the gruel,

pray to the bell, if this meant I could hold
another girl all night, if I could clasp—
this even if she died there while I slept,
this even if I died there in my sleep.

—  Jane Eyre Unbanned: (x)

A/N: Hi guys! How are you? I hope everything’s fine! I’m really sorry about my absence but I’m quite busy right now with college and so. I’ll try to write more! Moreover, I just DIED when I saw Seb’s photo so that made me think of a sort of drabble. I hope you all like it. As always, feel free to correct me and feedback would be appreciated!

Warnings: Masturbation, Dirty talk, Bucky’s noises, etc.

Words: 1,537.

Tag list and those who might like it!: @msmarvelchick @sebastian-bucky-stan @eileenlikesyou-maybe @a-girl-who-loves-disney @whotheeffisbucky @plumfondler @totheendofthelinepal @thatawkwardtinyperson @theh3aven @themistsofmyavalon @pleasecallmecaptain @writemarvelousthings @writingbarnes @sebbytrash-old @stephvera @shaerose98 @hollycornish @marvelfanuniverse @totheendofthelinepal @just-call-me-mrs-captain @bovaria @writing-soldiers @marvelouslymarvelousimagines @mangosoldier @rchlnwtn  @goldwanderer @fourtyninekirbygamzeegirl  @bvckys-doll @suvi-hearthcrow @justareader  @themortallife @perrychastain @petitelaurie9 @inlovewithmydreams @happiness-is-sebstan @marvelous-fvcks

You groaned in pain as the warm water ran down your naked body. Soon the shower was filthy as the dirt you had from the battlefield fell off from your skin along with blood. You had been injured by one of the Hydra agents and Helen Cho had patched you as she could, warning you not to move for a few days. Fury had sent you to the Avengers’ towers as soon as he knew and there you were.

You threw yourself on your mattress, feeling the warmness welcoming you. Your eyes shut as you fell asleep. Unconsciously, you hugged your pillow, noticing Bucky’s aroma on it. You loved it as much as you loved wearing his t-shirts when he was not there. Or when he was. It didn’t really matter.

You had been dating the supersoldier for a year after months of curious behaviour. What started as a friendship became slowly something else. When Bucky came, he was shy and barely spoke to anyone but Steve. You didn’t push him and talked to him about music, books or whatever just to make him laugh. He started to open to you and hang up with you.

Sometimes he would look for you all over the whole tower just to tell you about the last book he had read or what he had found on Wikipedia. You still remembered his face as he talked to you about Star Wars or Back to the Future.

It was during an especially rough mission when he trusted you completely. You had been days monitoring a Hydra base and sending the information to Steve, who was in the tower. Bucky had been sent with you due to his knowledge.

But something went wrong.

Agents prepared to catch you, dead or alive, suddenly surrounded you. You fought until your muscles were sore but a bullet hit you in your arm and you fell on the muddy ground, watching the man approaching you. He raised his gun and you tried to defend yourself, when he hit the ground. Bucky lowered the smoky gun and carried you bridal style to the motorbike you had hidden.

“Let’s go, doll” He had said, driving to the safe house Tony had offered to you two. Bucky healed you as much as he could and talked to you about his first scar.

After that, you became inseparable and closer until one night you two were staring at the star when he kissed you. Your first steps were hesitant but soon you knew you loved him more than you had ever loved someone. And it was mutual. Bucky felt you were what he needed to be himself again.

Your phone started to ring and you groaned under the duvet. Your hand went out the burrito you had become and took it, looking at your messages. Your lips curved into a smile when you saw the name written on the screen.

“Winter Boo Bear”

Good morning, sleeping beauty.

How did you know I was sleeping?

You couldn’t stop the chuckle that escaped your mouth as Bucky sent you an emoji that seemed to say Really?

Okay, maybe I was having a nap. But I was tired.

Was the mission okay?

You touched the bruises and remembered Helen Cho healing you. Your fingers travelled quick down they keyboard, typing.

Nothing to worry about. Just a few bruises. I’m a big girl.

You added the emoji with the tighten muscle as your teeth grabbed your bottom lip, smiling. The phone showed the “Typing…” thing from Bucky.

I know you’re a big girl, doll.

I’m really craving to see you.

Oh, oh.

You felt heat rising to your neck as you blushed, knowing where the conversation was going. He had done this several times before when one or the other or even both were in missions.

Oh yeah? I’m sure you don’t. I mean. You have Steve. I’m sure he will be a beautiful view in the morning.


Doll, you know I love this punk but I’d prefer to wake up with you naked by my side than him. 

Oh, so that’s the only reason why you want to be here, huh?

Oh, honey…there are several reasons.

You sent Bucky the rolling eyes emoji and he typed a laugh. You bit your lip as you stared at the screen. Your lips curved into a smirk as an idea grew up in your mind.

What were you doing?

I was going to have a shower. I’m filthy.

Yeah, you usually are. That’s your natural state.

You couldn’t avoid roaring with laughter as you sent the last message, hoping you could see your boyfriend’s face at that. His state changed to “Typing” again before it stopped. You took advantage of it as your fingers flew over the keyboard.

What are you wearing? Let me see ya, Sarge.


That made you bit your bottom lip. You could almost hear Bucky’s growl in your mind and you decided to make him as horny and frustrated as he sometimes made you when you were having sex. 

Sergeant Barnes, it’s an order.

The phone stayed silent for a few minutes before it buzzed again. You took it and grinned at the answer, knowing it was all yours.

Yes, Ma’am.

You waited patiently as your fingers drew abstract forms on your naked skin. The touch of your fingertips, almost like feathers sent shivers down your spine and you craved for Bucky’s touch. His fingers were calloused and rough from the missions, yet they rubbed your sensitive skin, knowing all your sweet spots. 

You heard the answer getting to your phone and you almost jumped to take it. Your fingers opened the message and you waited until the image was completely charged.

Oh, my.

Your mouth fell open and you felt as if it had dried. You swallowed hard as your eyes examined the photo. Bucky was in the hotel’s bathroom. A expensive one, you thought. Probably Tony had afforded it. He was shirtless and his red briefs appeared above his sweatpants. He was muscled and his left arm shone with the light of the bathroom. 

Like what you see?

Yes. It’s a shame I couldn’t have you here in my bed, right now.

You’re missing my naked body, Sarge.

Your hands started to rub your breast slowly as your eyes stared at the photo. You bit your lip and moaned softly, feeling your fingertips grazing the sensitive bud. The phone buzzed again and you looked at the message.

Fuck doll. Don’t say that. Show me.

You whimpered and hurried to type an answer.

No, Sarge. I’m in charge here. 

Are you touching yourself? Are you all wet?

I am.

With my legs spread, as you like. I’m touching my nipple now. 

A minute after the message was delivered the screen lightened, showing a photo of you and Bucky in Disneyland. You smirked and waited a few minutes. You loved teasing him. Making him to wait before giving what he craved for. 

Obviously, that would cause him to do the same.

“Doll?” He panted as you picked up the phone. You took a deep breath to avoid the moan that wanted to escape your lips as you pinched your nipple. 


“Are you touching yourself? Without me?” Bucky chuckled and you whimpered as your hand travelled down your abdomen towards your legs. The cold air made you shiver and your body jolted as your fingers grazed slightly your core. “Bad girl. You know what will happen when I get home, right?”

You moaned when your fingertips rubbed your clit in circles, slowly at the beginning. Bucky’s gasps were audible through the speaker and you recognised the sound of pants being removed.

“Tell me, doll. C’mon”

“I’m naked. On my bed, hmmm…”You bit your lip as you introduced a finger inside you while touching yourself.

“Fuck. I wish I could see ya.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” You muttered a fainted yes as your fingers continued on your clit, making you to moan. “God, yes. Y/N, more. I want to hear them all”

“Are you touching yourself?”

“Yes, doll. I’m hard right now. I hope it was your hand. I want to be between your legs. My tongue sucking all over. Licking your clit” You moaned higher this time at the image of your boyfriend between your legs. “I’d make you scream my name until you couldn’t take it any longer”

“Fuck, yes. Don’t stop” You rubbed your fingers harder, feeling your whole body burning and shaking. You knew you were close and Bucky knew too. His pants and whimpers were rhythmic with yours and you imagined him naked on the bathroom, his hand moving along his length.

“I’m gonna fuck when I get home, doll. I’m gonna eat you until you are writhing and moaning”

“Fuck…JAMES!” You shouted when your whole body trembled as waves of pleasure went over it. You continued touching yourself as you heard your boyfriend’s pants and  your legs shook. He whimpered your name and you tried to catch your breath, feeling your body relaxing from that.

“I miss you, Bucky”

“Me too. I’ll be as soon as possible”

“I love you”

“I love you too”

white knight

Lukas isn’t used to his dad taking pictures of him. He isn’t really used to anyone taking pictures of him but Philip. But his dad is standing alongside Helen and Gabe and all three of them are smiling and Lukas doesn’t feel as stupid in his cap and gown as he thought he would. He’s seen other schools in bright oranges and blues and shit, but they lucked out with black. Philip looks fucking adorable, and Lukas plans on telling him later, when they’re alone, just how goddamn cute he is. But for now he wraps an arm around his waist, pulling him a little closer, and grins for the camera.

“How many more pictures?” Philip asks, through gritted teeth.

“As many as we want,” Helen says, snapping a couple more.

“You took about a hundred before the ceremony,” Lukas says, raising his eyebrows at his dad. People are still streaming out of the auditorium and Lukas sees a bunch of other kids having to deal with the same crap they’re dealing with right now.

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also today the kids were playing dress up after they finished their worksheets, and one of the boys came up to me with a dress and asked me to put it on

and i was like “of course!” and THEN another little boy came and told him it was for “”“”“girls”“”“”“ so i quickly said, "it’s for anyone who wants to wear it”

and i do that ALL THE TIME with comments like that. i want them to THINK outside of what they’re being “taught” to think and do

If You Were There, Beware

Originally posted by 4lcooliz4d4

Michael Gray x Reader

Request: You could write about Michael and the reader married at a young age and have a child before moving to Small Heath and finding Polly?

This is going to have multiple parts. As always, let me know what you guys think!

Y/N peered out of the kitchen window, drying her hands on a cloth. There was a well dressed man talking to a perplexed Henry. Henry looked to the ground, still listening, but Y/N didn’t like the look he had. Nor did she like the look of the fellow speaking to her husband. Henry gave a nod in the direction of the house, the other man looked at Y/N in the window. He gave her a small smile and a polite nod, yet she stayed stoic.

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John Lennon and Helen Shapiro

British pop music phenomenon Helen Shapiro toured with The Beatles in 1963. She was only sixteen at the time, and had a major crush on John Lennon. In this excerpt from Lennon, the biography by Ray Coleman, Helen remembers her special connection with John:

The protectiveness of John towards “Helly” [John’s nickname for her] contrasted sharply with the “hard man” image which built up even in the early days of the Beatles. She saw, so early in his successful career, the tender, caring side of the man. “He would always look after me. I looked up to him not in a fatherlike way, but as a teenage girl with a wild crush. He never took advantage of me. He was always such a soft, warm, attentive fellow.

“He’d make sure I ate properly when we were travelling. He’d put his arm round me and make sure I crossed the road properly. Of all the Beatles he was by far the most polite.” At Abbey Road recording studios the Beatles were occupying studio two, which Helen normally used, and she had to make do with studio three. “It was John who came in with a cup of tea and kind of apologized because he’d heard I had been moved to make way for them,” says Helen. “He came in with a cup of tea for me and big hug.”


You know, I keep hoping that I’m gonna wake up and that you’ll be gone.

too good to be true

Happy Birthday @smolbeansaddict <3

“I’m not sick.”

Lukas is sitting on their couch, bent over, one arm wrapped around his middle. Philip can see the sweat on his forehead from the front door. He closes it fast, dropping his bag on the ground.

“Not a good way to lead if you want me to believe you,” Philip says, immediately approaching him. When he gets closer he sees Lukas is trembling, and he presses his hand to Lukas’s forehead and panics at how hot it is. “Lukas,” he says, accusingly.

“I’m not sick,” Lukas repeats, but he bends over a little bit more, groaning.

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Jim the Housemate (Academy!Jim x reader)

Summary: You take the days stresses out on Jim, but he always knows how to cheer you up.

Pairing: Jim x reader (Academy!Jim)

Warnings: language

a/n: I would like to thank my housemates and university for the inspiration behind this piece. If you replace the hug with a tenderly offered shot of vodka and the towel for nerf guns you essentially have the last two years of my life. More of a best friend pairing in this one but platonic love is just as important as romantic.

Words: 905

“JIM KIRK GET YOUR ARSE DOWN HERE NOW!” Jim was in trouble. Obviously.

It wasn’t really in your nature to get angry, but seeing the state of your shared kitchen made your blood boil. It was a small space, in a small house, with small rooms and small doors. Your housemate Jim was a big mess. Right now you were staring at a pile of dishes which had seemingly begun to develop their own eco system.

“You called?” Jim said, appearing round the corner with a tentative smile on his face.

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ultron doesn’t speak english to people who’s native language isn’t english (:

Age's Future Shade

Julia Beauchamp (nee Moriston) didn’t die in the crash that killed her husband, Henry and left their five year-old daughter, Claire, an orphan. She is, however, seriously injured and finds herself in a hospital with no memory of the tragic event, nor of the daughter she left behind. 


Chapter 1

A bang… A screech of tires…Glass shattering…Then… Darkness…

A blinding pain in her left temple.

Then the darkness engulfs her once again.


She woke with the sun streaming into the room, its warmth caressing the soft lids over her eyes. She couldn’t open them. Not yet.

And her head.

That was the first thing she noticed. Her head. It ached like nothing had ever ached before. So did the rest of her body, particularly the spot right over her left rib.

Broken? Shattered?

She slowly lifted her hand to feel on the side of her head. Strange. There was something soft and scratchy where her hair should have been.

A bandage? Why would there be a bandage over her ear? Had she injured it recently?

This conclusive stream of thought was interrupted by the slight squeaking of the door as it opened, and the soft footsteps of someone coming to stand beside her bed. A cheery female voice jarred its way painfully into her muddled thoughts.

“Ah, glad to see you are awake, dear! How are we feeling this morning? Lovely morning, isn’t it. Sun’s shinin’ birds singin’”

Who was this woman and why was she so damn happy? She just wanted to sleep. Forever, maybe. Just listening to that voice was already exhausting her.  

“My head” came a dry, croaking noise that suddenly seemed to be coming from her own throat.

Funny how it felt like said throat hadn’t done this in a while. Days? Years?

“Of course, dearie. That’s to be expected. Let’s get this medicine into you and then you can get some rest”, bubbled the cloyingly sweet tone again.

A brief taste of sandpaper in her mouth, and she slept.


She awoke-for the second time-to the soft glow of a light near her bed and darkness behind the window outside. This time, slightly clearer thoughts flooded her consciousness, like the daintiest butterflies, and she snatched at one to examine it.


That was the name that kept flitting through her mind, and with a start, she realized it was her own.

Julia what, though? Did she even have a surname? M- Mor— Moriston! That was it. She was Julia Moriston–and that was the extent of what she remembered. She briefly wondered how she’d even remembered that much, but that thought was instantly pushed out of the way by the realization that she was in a hospital, of all places.

Yes, it was a hospital!

There was the bare frame of the bed, white paint peeling from the bars of the footboard. Over the noise of her confused brain she could hear the slight clatter of metal against metal and louder still, hushed voices calling to each other beyond the bare grey walls her room. The white sheath on her pain-wracked body and the bandage around the left side of her head.

Thirsty. She was so thirsty. It felt like she hadn’t seen a drop of water since…?

“Water” came the croaking from her throat again, this time a little louder, a little clearer. “Water!”, she tried again, and was immediately rewarded with footsteps hurrying towards her door.

“The patient has finally wakened!”, announced the white-cloaked older gentleman as he entered the room. He had a cropped head of yellow-white hair, neatly parted down the side, and a pair of wiry glasses perched on his long nose. He also had a stethoscope hanging beneath the lapels of his coat, in true doctorly fashion, thought Julia wryly. He exuded an air of kind authority and smiled down at her from his bespectacled, twinkling blue eyes. Julia grinned back weakly, gingerly accepted the glass of water he was holding, and gratefully sipped the cool liquid. The sip quickly turned into a gulp as her body quenched its thirst for the first time in days. She drained the glass in seconds, and blinked up at the doctor.

“How are you feeling, my dear?” he asked and patted the hand lying on the bed with his soft, wrinkled one. Before she could answer, he continued, “My name is Dr. Woodward and I have been supervising your treatment. It seems you were involved in a large-scale injury about three weeks ago, possibly by an automobile collision, and-” he trailed off, apparently seeing nothing but blank acknowledgement in the patient’s eyes. “Oh God.” His eyes widened with understanding. “Do you not remember anything? Helen said she suspected as much. Hmmm…Tell me, darling, do you remember your name, at least?”

“Julia” she blurted. “My name is Julia Moriston”. And she burst into tears.


The Chronicles of Narnia // Ben Cocks

And I’m just left alone to cry

(inspiration for this comes from these two posts)

(Feel free to delete my rambling if you’d like! I just have a lot of Susan feelings that I thought I’d try and put into words, especially after having read those two posts while listening to that song!) I find myself agreeing a lot with those two posts. “Susan is not seeking forgiveness”. It hurts to say but I can see Susan being unforgiving, not to her family, but to Aslan who took them and her parents all away from her in one moment. He who took them away from her just as much as he kept them away from her. She didn’t just bury one member of her family that horrific day. She buried them all. Her father, mother, brothers, and baby sister. But the betrayal she feels for Aslan goes beyond that. 

The first time he breaks her heart she doesn’t understand why. He took her, a grown woman, from the home she had painstakingly built through blood and tears with her siblings and sent her back, in a child’s body. Maybe he did have his reasons but she never fully understood why. First comes the ever growing impatience for the return that Susan is so sure will be just around the corner. ‘Today’s it! I can feel it!’ she repeats to herself, a mantra as she gazes back at the girl in the mirror, head held high and mind strong in her belief. She finds herself wandering the house looking for Narnia pretending she doesn’t see as her siblings do the same. As days fly past the self blame hits. ‘Did I do something wrong? Maybe we all did.’ she thinks. She finds herself awake late into night, the questions swirling around and around in her restless mind. Lucy sleeps soundly in her bed, already having accepted her situation yet unaware the extent of the heartbreak her sister goes through night after night, trying and failing to find the logic in the situation. Her mother grows worried as the bags start to grow more prominent under her eldest daughter’s eyes. She seeks her other children out in a bid to figure out what has got into Susan. Lucy shrugs, not uncaring but unaware of how to explain it to her mother. ‘She misses home,’ Lucy finds herself almost saying but biting her lip back at the last second. How can she say that when to her mother this is home. Her mother never went to Narnia so she can’t possibly understand. Instead of answering, Lucy distracts her by jumping from topic to topic until Helen can hardly be blamed for not remembering what prompted this entire confusing conversation that she can hardly keep up with. Next thing she knows she turns her back on her youngest child for one second, just one, and Lucy’s gone having already seized the opportunity to find her escape. When Helen does remember, she stands alone in a room just barely able to hear Lucy’s steps the further they get from her. Helen, although hesitant, tries speaking to Edmund next. She still thinks of him as the impatient and angry young boy he was before he had boarded the train. Instead, Edmund gives her a look of understanding and compassion having carefully witnessed the affect that being back is having on his older sister. The look he gives her leaves Helen Pevensie reeling because ‘When did my little boy grow so much?’. ‘I’ll talk to her.’ he promises with a hug he reserves just for his mother, small arms wrapped tight around her waist. She’s surprised by the hug because he used to barely even let her pat his arm before fleeing but now he’s relaxing into the hug letting it linger in a way that brings tears to her eyes. His mother doesn’t realize he hasn’t answered her question until he’s already half way out of her sight on his way to find Susan. Peter is angry. He doesn’t seem to be able to pay attention long enough to hear his mother’s growing growing concerns. ‘Susan’s fine.’ he says impatiently waving the matter away. He stalks out the room before she can elaborate on how no, Susan is not “fine”. He’s grown so bitter and she finds herself unpleasantly surprised to find that it is Peter not Edmund that starts the fights in and out of the house now. Speaking to Susan gets her nowhere. ‘I’m fine mother. Just a bit under the weather.’ Susan responds even though it can’t be that’s she’s just sick. Susan has, after all, been like this for weeks now. She can’t seem to comprehend the toll this everlasting waiting and blame is taking on her body. Sunken eyes and hollowed cheeks greet her when she looks in the mirror now. Third comes the pleading. ‘Please Aslan. You said you would always hear us.’ she finds herself saying quietly as a lone tear escapes. ‘Please can we-can we come home now?’ she asks, her voice breaking as Lucy sleeps on, looking at the bright moon until it blurs. Lucy awakes the next morning to find her leaning against the window, another sleepless night evident from the slowness when Lucy gets her to move away. Then she breaks. All the tears she’s kept in, all the fears that had been so craftily left in the back of her mind arise in wave after wave of crushing defeat. She’s locked the door of her room now and collapses in the center crying out as she feels her heart break into a thousand pieces that she’s not sure will ever be fixed. When she’s finally comes to, she feels a piercing relief strike through the very core of her heart. She finds that the weight that’s been smothering her day after day has finally, finally somewhat slightly eased away. She finds herself by the window again, this time looking at the setting sun with tired weary eyes. She takes a breath as the acceptance settles in. She can do this. She can be strong. Her feet carry her to the door and her hand unlocks it only to find her younger brother tumbling in as soon as the knob is turned. ‘Edmund!’ she gasps out in a raspy surprised voice. He looks up at her somewhat sheepishly as he responds ‘Hello.’ from where he is on the ground. She finds her mouth quirking up somewhat as she looks down at him. ‘What were you doing?’ she questions, though she finds herself already knowing his answer. ‘I heard you.’ he says quietly looking her in the eyes. And again she finds her face crumpling when she realization of what he’s done for her hits her. He stayed with her until she was finally ready. Just like he jumped in when Peter was in another fight. Just like he listened again and again as Lucy would speak on and on of Narnia. Just as he’s done even though he’s been grieving along with them. He’s up in an instant, arms around her holding her tight as she clutches him, understanding why. When she’s got herself back in control again, she presses a kiss to the side of his head before letting him go with a small smile. ‘Where’s Lu?’ she finally asks. ‘Distracting mom,’ he responds quietly. And Susan is almost overwhelmed again by the affection that surges up for her baby sister. Edmund’s soft knowing smile becomes slightly blurred to her as her eyes fill with unshed tears. She smiles in return before following him out of the room. She and Edmund find Lucy in the kitchen with their mother and, judging from the sounds that arise, she’s talking their mother’s ear off again. Susan smiles a full smile when she enters even if her heart breaks a bit on the realization that the only one missing is their stubborn and hurt older brother. Peter who gave everything he had for Aslan and Narnia only to be sent home like them. It’s different for Peter, she muses to herself as she finds herself seated along with Edmund at the table with a cup of tea her mother sets down in front of her with a warm smile as the concern for Susan ebbs slightly away from her mother’s eyes. He’s the oldest and thus got it in his head that he has to protect them from any pain. But, she thinks, he’s feeling so helpless now because he knows he can’t protect them from this. Maybe he’s not okay now, Susan thinks as she recalls her days of heartbreak, but he will be. Helen Pevensie turns around and flounders as she finds Queen Susan staring back sitting regally in her chair, even though it’s not her throne, with her head held high and a familiar gleam in her eyes that causes Lucy and Edmund to share a knowing look as they find themselves subconsciously straightening in her presence until Queen Lucy and King Edmund look to her. ‘I can do this,’ she thinks as she looks back at them with a small gentle smile. This isn’t home yet but it will be she decides as she looks around.

They find themselves back in Narnia again, suddenly, as if they never left. Peter’s joy is tremendous as his face breaks out into a full blown out grin that she has rarely seen since they were sent back. Edmund grins because the brother he knew and missed has finally returned. Lucy is overjoyed but not surprised because she always knew, hoped, they’d come back. Susan grins as she breaths in the fresh Narnian air. Despite the fact that she was finally starting to feel at home in England being back was like greeting a long lost friend who she always remembered fondly and missed. ‘But this isn’t home,’ she thinks, horrified at discovering what has happened her home. It’s not her Narnia anymore. Her heart breaks when she finds that the trees remain silent to her queries until she finally trails off into silence. The animals don’t speak anymore either. They are vicious and cruel, not lively and happy as the ones she knew. There’s no Mr. Tumnus, Mr. Beaver, or Mrs. Beaver to greet her from a long journey home. No Cair Paravel to greet her eyes, only dust and ruins remain, an echo of a memory. She fights for this Narnia, though, because it was still home whether it remembered or not. She would not be so easily forgotten. When the story of the Telmarines is finally revealed she finds her gentle heart starting to pound fast and hard. Rage courses through her because they took her home and ruined it until it was barely recognizable. When they win and the Telmaries are pushed back from her Narnia and Aslan greets her, she can feel her heart drop as she looks at him. She knows, don’t ask her how but she just does, that they won’t be able to stay anymore. Her eyes seek her siblings out. Peter is at peace with a easy relaxed grin, Edmund is quiet but the corner of his mouth quirks up, and Lucy, brave ever-faithful Lucy, is smiling the biggest beautiful smile she’s seen in a while as she looks up at Aslan. Susan’s heart starts to beat quicker as she realizes that they can’t possibly know. Except, somehow, Peter does. He finds her eyes looking over them all and sends a small shrug and smile her way as in ‘What can we do when it’s already decided?’. Caspian’s coronation goes off without a problem and she finds herself relaxing in the joy and love she feels around her. ‘One last time,’ she thinks to herself as she finds herself pulled into an enthusiastic dance by her younger sister. Then Aslan comes and her and Peter find themselves walking with him. Peter’s the most relaxed as she’s ever seen. ‘He needed this,’ she thinks as she finds herself watching him from the corner of her eyes. ‘One last win.’ When her eyes turn back to Aslan, the protector, she finds his solemn gaze looking back. They speak at length, her and Peter, with Aslan. They have to go back. Narnia doesn’t need them anymore. He makes sure to stress that this will be their last visit and she feels her heart breaking all over again because now she won’t even have the flicker of hope to keep her going that someday she and Peter will come back for more adventures. She doesn’t let it show though. She won’t. She tilts her head higher and gives a single nod to Aslan in understanding. His head lowers a fraction in return. She won’t break from this, she decides firmly, as she watches Lucy ask Aslan why she and Peter can’t come back. ‘Did they do something wrong?’ No, she thinks, they did everything right and more. She feels herself finally feeling at peace as she takes one last lingering look before marching through the portal without a backwards glance. ‘Move forward,’ she thinks as she steps through, ‘No more lingering.’ she decides. 

She’s back in England now and she’s thriving. She can’t go back to Narnia, not when this world needs her. This is her home now, actually, she corrects herself, this has always been her home too. She just hadn’t realized it yet. She’s doing the same as she once did for Narnia and fixing the world, fixing this world. Even as Peter looks at her now with judgement shining in his eyes when she goes out in skirts and dresses of the latest fashion, the armour of modern days, brandishing her lipstick like her old bow (though he doesn’t realize). He doesn’t understand and maybe he feels betrayed that she seems to be forgetting. But she’s not, not really. She’s just taking what she learnt and applying it to the new situation. Lucy’s confused, hurt, and disappointed all the time when Susan doesn’t listen or contribute to the talks of Narnia and Aslan. ‘What happened to Su?’ Lucy asks Peter quietly one night, not knowing Susan can hear them speaking. Edmund does though and he glances sharply at her to see if she’s okay. ‘She’s forgotten Narnia, she’s forgotten Aslan, and she’s forgotten herself.’ comes Peter’s brash response and Edmund wonders just why his older brother never could learn to be more subtle and observant because Susan’s right there,  just as she’s always been. Edmund finds himself going in defense mode because this is Susan. Susan who worried whenever one of them got sick and stayed with them the whole time even though more often than not she’d catch it too. Susan who laughed and teased them with a smile on her face. ‘She’s still Susan!!’ he wants to yell at their obtuse older brother and disheartened little sister. But he stops because she just smiles when his eyes land on her, a small smile she reserves just for him. ‘They don’t want to understand.’ she says one night to Edmund when he wants to blow up at them for their judgement while she sits reading the latest happenings in the world. ‘It’s not fair,’ he bites out with hunched shoulders. She just smiles to him in response.

Then her world shatters into a million pieces to never be okay again. She’s running before she knows it, shoving people aside without apologies. She wants to get away from everyone. From anyone. She wants to scream until her voice grows hoarse, until her heart stops breaking, until the onslaught of memory after memory just stops. Brave and protecting Peter, the Magnificent. Gone. Clever and silent Edmund, the Just. Gone. And small tiny vibrant Lucy, the Valiant. Gone. Her mother, warm and loving. Gone. Her father, intelligent and stern. Gone. Gone. Gone. Ripped away before they even finished living. Gone in all ways but body. And that will be gone too one day. And she collapses. ‘This is it,’ she thinks to herself, as her body curls in on itself trying to shield her from the pain, ‘There’s no way past this.’. When she finally moves, it’s late. She doesn’t know how late and she can’t find it in herself to care. The pain fades in the face of her growing unyielding rage, lighting a fire in her and warming her in ways that she didn’t know could. Fueling her and getting her to finally move. ‘You did this,’ she thinks. Not at herself, no, because she knows without a doubt who it was who took them. ‘You did this,’ she repeats out loud, saying it once and finding her shoulders slump downwards at the crushing realization that she’s right. Once isn’t enough though, she repeats it over and over again until she’s yelling, screaming, angry tears streaming down her face. ‘YOU DID THIS!” she shouts at the top of her lungs, uncaring who else hears but the one who is to blame, as she snatches a vase from the table near her and flings it against the wall until it’s in a million pieces. Just. Like. Her. Heart. She’s doing it again and again, picking up any and every object she finds and throwing it with deadly accuracy, hitting walls and mirrors, until her chest is heaving and her breath comes out in pants while she stands with broken jagged pieces all around her. ‘You did this.’ she repeats one last time slowly, her voice ringing out deadly in the quiet that comes in the aftermath of her reaction. The walls hold their breath, the quiet that follows is all-consuming, loud in the wake of her statement. She knows He can hear and see her. He always could. ‘I’m done,’ she states abruptly, disturbing the quiet. She won’t forgive, no, not for this. Not Him. Maybe Queen Susan could find it in her gentle heart to forgive, once upon a time. But that girl is gone just like her family. He did this. ‘I won’t forgive you.’ she says out loud again, clearly, in a hardened voice laced with steel. Queen Susan isn’t here anymore. She won’t forgive him unless he apologizes, she decides.  ‘And until you do,’ she states as a sharp knowing realization pierces through her heart, ‘They won’t either, not fully.’ she finishes, her thoughts revolving to her family once again. While they may be happy to be in Narnia, they won’t be at peace. Not when they aren’t complete. Not until Susan’s there. Not until she forgives Aslan, not the other way around. 

Queen Susan the Gentle, she thinks mockingly of her title, is gone like the rest of her family and Susan is all that’s left to take her place. 

U.S. 50 to Lake Tahoe

Dearest Mom & Pop: We are en route to Lake Tahoe for 10 days — staying in Placerville overnight Saturday, August 12th. Will arrive at the Lake today.  Zelma & I are with Lorene and Winifred, the two girls you met when we went up the hill and someone had stuck a fist through their window.  Remember?  Love, Helen. It is 102°! Plenty Hot!

This postcard was sent when Helen and Zelma were still a young couple.  They would remain together for the rest of their lives (60 years!).  Before the time when not every couple was free to marry.

Josephine Henning on music and why she likes latin music. 

“In France, there’s a rule where on the radio, you have to have something like 70 percent French songs, so what they do sometimes is translate the English songs to a French version. Something like 50 Cent in a French version, it doesn’t work; the first time I heard it, I was like ’what’s that?!’

“Shirley Cruz, though, I lived with her for a time in Paris, so we heard a lot of Spanish songs; I remember some salsa choruses with her. They’re so laid-back, but in a happy way, not boring, and I love that.

“I remember Helene Fischer was the music of the (2013) Euros in Sweden, so it can bring you together when you play a song and you remember it from a time you had. I think that’s great.”