Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

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bluedahlia3
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Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by bluedahlia3 »

Rating: PG

Standard disclaimers apply. Moonlight is not mine and no copyright infringement is intended. Special thanks to Jill Blotevogel for What’s Left Behind, episode 1.15. Thanks are also extended to Allegrita for gently tolerating my errors and showing me a better way.

The time frame is the early 1950’s and we are in a sleepy neighborhood in the West Adams section of LA.


Facade

Forgive me Ray. Forgive me.

“Can I have a cookie?” A small hand reaches up to me.

“Just one,” I said. “It’s close to dinner Robert.”

“I’ll eat it all, I promise.”

“You don’t even know what it is, young man.”

“Sure I do, its pot roast. Daddy said so, and I like pot roast.”

Evelyn looked up with a smile. “That boy looks more like you every day with that dark curly hair and those long fingers.” She was sitting at the kitchen, cutting up the carrots. She was a fixture at our house these days, ever since she moved in next door about three years ago.

I frowned. “No, I think he looks like Ray.”

“Well I don’t see that but it may come. He’s young yet.”

I stood frozen. This was a familiar conversation that I never seemed to win however hard I tried. “No, I see Ray,” I said with a firm tone.

Evie finished cutting up the carrots. She pressed her lips together and looked at me, her brow a little creased. “I know money is tight right now, but are you and Ray trying for another baby? Robert might like a little brother or a sister.”

Trying. It had been five years since Robert was born and yes, there had been tries. Tries and attempts, and sometimes rejections and tears. Tears held back and tears in the cold cellar and tears now frozen behind a mask. It wasn’t as if Ray didn’t want to, at least in the beginning. Now….

Please God let there be another. If only there was another I might believe…


“Now where do you drift off to, daydreaming again?” Evelyn had started peeling the potatoes.

“Nowhere I’m still here in the kitchen with you.” I dried my hands on the cotton towel and hung it up to dry. There was still a pie to bake, and that meant paring the apples. A simple chore. These days were filled with simple tasks done over and over again.


***


“Mrs. Fordham?” Mabel Johnson and I went to school together. Outside of the doctor’s office we can chat in church, just like we were kids. But here she’s formal. I guess it helps; the formality is sort of a barrier. In high school she was a bit of a gossip. Here we are not friends. She’s the nurse and I the patient. “Up on the scale.”

I dread this each month. I’m gaining a lot of weight. The older, more experienced women at church keep commenting on my growing belly. Everyone is so happy for Ray, for us.


***


“I’ve got apples in the cold cellar, be right back.” I said. The stairs creaked under my weight, even though I tried not to make any sound. Noise was not wanted here. I returned to the kitchen and set the fruit gently down on the wooden table.

“You look tired. Robert keep you up last night?”

“No, it was Ray. A car back-fired and woke him.”

“He woke screaming again, didn’t he?”

I blinked back tears. “He did, and then the tremors started, and Robert got up, and it took a while to get him back to bed.”

This was not the first time Evie had heard the story, but she listened patiently. She knew that Ray didn’t fall back to sleep on those nights. He was afraid of the nightmares, so he just sat or sometimes he paced. Either way, the house was up. I always stayed up with him, but he didn’t talk about it. He just withdrew into himself and shook.”

“I’m sorry, Lilah, so sorry.”

“I sighed. It’s not all bad, Evie, he’s a good man. He talks to Father Andrew and that has helped some. He’s not as irritable as he was. It’s just the way it is.”

“Honey, no one came back from the war the same, some just worse than others. Did you want the potatoes whole or cut up tonight?”

***

“You’re doing well Lilah, this should be a healthy baby. Watch your weight, you’re a bit above where you should be for four months. You don’t want to put too much on yet, it’s not good for either of you.”

“Thank you Doctor, I’ll try to be more careful.” A bit above. I’ll count the days again when I get home. I count the days a lot -- 266 days for a full term baby, 38 weeks. The number never changes.


***

The swing moves back and forth with a soft swoosh. It’s early evening; dinner has been eaten and Ray and I sit together on the front porch. I’m tucked into his chest, cuddled under his arm. This seems so natural. This has been our special place for years. We sat here when Ray’s parents owned the house and we were kids in high school and then later when we knew we would be married. It’s a nice house, a Victorian with lots of charm. One day a realtor came by hoping we’d sell. He said it had lots of appeal, with all the gingerbread trim and the big front porch. This house has a lovely façade and it’s just what young couples are looking for. There are nooks and built-in bookcases, and plenty of space for growing families.

We sit here pretending the years have been kind to us, and for a moment everything else pales. Ray and I are together, and that’s all that matters. If I look at the porch deck I’ll see the canes that allow Ray to move slowly from one room to another. But for tonight, just for these minutes, I won’t look down. I know this time will end soon enough and he’ll go to bed. I’ll stay up to listen to the radio for a while and be alone with my thoughts.



***

“Lilah, those are contractions you’re describing.” The doctor has that studied look on his face and a measured tone in his voice. “I don’t want you to worry, but that baby is ready to come anytime. He’s dropped down into your pelvis and your cervix is dilating. Is there anyway you could be wrong about the time of conception?”

“No doctor, it’s been just seven months.”

“Seven months since Ray came back. Lilah sometimes…” Dr. Barker was our family doctor. He treated my parents and Rays parents and now he’ll bring this baby into our lives.

“No Doctor Barker, I’m sure. It’s seven months.” He just stares at me. He’s trying to help, I know that, but he can’t. His hands are holding my hands and he just waits. The tears come, I can’t help it, the hormones are out of control today.


***

It’s been seven months since I got the second letter from the War Department. My husband had been found alive and they were bringing him home. Ray was coming home a war hero. He had been injured, lost his dog tags and remained in a coma for months. They didn’t know that though -- they thought he was dead. The first letter had said so. The first letter said Ray was dead.

It had been seven months since we read the second letter and realized what we had done. Mick was Rays’ best friend -- my best friend too. We were inseparable as kids. They had served together and been wounded in the same attack. Mick said he would look after me. Ray made him promise.

How is it possible to love two men so passionately?

***

Tiny hands grasp at my breast and his mouth searches for the ripe nipple. My finger guides it into an impatient baby hungry for his first meal. He suckles eagerly, and over his gentle breathing I hear Dr. Barker taking to Ray in the hall.

“It’s a boy Ray, a healthy boy, with all ten fingers and toes. Yes, I know he’s a bit early, but he’s doing well. Lilah’s going to be ok too… You’ve got a miracle baby. And you’ve chosen Robert, that’s a good name, a strong name for your boy. He’s the biggest preemie I’ve seen. Congratulations Ray, you’ve got a fine son. A fine son indeed.



Gentle readers if you enjoyed this glimpse into Lilah please watch for Wisteria. It’s an R-17 companion piece that I’ll post soon.


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Last edited by bluedahlia3 on Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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allegrita
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by allegrita »

I'm so glad you wrote this, Blue. Lilah's voice needed to be heard. And of course she probably thought Robert was Mick's... I never thought about it before you showed me the story, but she must have lived with the guilt and shame of having betrayed Ray... plus lived with her sorrow over losing Mick, for the rest of her life. Poor Lilah. And every time she looked at Robert, did she see Mick in him? Did she try to see Mick?

This is just a wonderful, touching, sad story. :rose:
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by francis »

How wonderful! We saw Mick's POV in the show, glimpses only, but I hardly ever thought what this would have done to Lilah. Of course she had no way to know who's son Robert was, without DNA tests back then. And as she was dark, a dark locked son wouldn't tell her anything. :hankie:
This is such a sad story, but it has a strength. Lilah goes on doing her daily chores, being a good wife and mother and neighbor and friend, keeping her deep sorrow to herself. I think a lot of women, maybe most, did that.
A great story. You've given Lilah a voice, thank you
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by bluedahlia3 »

Thanks for reading and commenting on my latest story. Sorry to go all Lifetime TV on everyone but the story had been one I was thinking about and so I wrote it. :mdrama:

Allegrita - I'm sure there was a lot of guilt and shame after the shock of receiving the second letter. Did she see Mick in Robert?...I bet she did. First because of the timing of the baby and then later on she would have wondered what her life would have been like without Ray.

Francis - Thank you for commenting. Deep sorrow, that's says a lot doesn't it. A women in that time, she would have had limited choices.
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by darkstarrising »

blue,

this is a wonderful glimpse into what Lilah went through waiting for her baby to be born...looking forward to the companion pieces :hearts:
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by bluedahlia3 »

Thanks for reading drs. I had remembered how shocked Mick was to think he might have had a son and I wondered what Lilah might have thought. I'm glad you enjoyed this. :rose:
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by nutmegger911 »

Blue, I absolutely love this! Lilah loved Ray and had been faithful to him in every sense of the word. She and Mick would not have allowed things to go so far had they not believed Ray was dead. Yet they all were profoundly affected by the circumstance. Still, in the end, Lilah remained faithful, sticking with her husband when that second part of the vows was presented to her.
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by Lucy »

Love the perspective......always wanted to hear her side.

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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by wollstonecraft61 »

Oh, Val, you are so good at writing. This is just beautiful. :hankie:
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by wpgrace »

Oh this is really really good! Finally to have Lilah personalized, seem real. And you're so right! She must've thought Robert was Mick's!

Back then, with no way to tell, a big preemie.... she must've lived with that all her life. I wonder if it made her sad, or made her happy to think she still had a part of Mick... tho it likely always made her fearful of being caught. Someone on that block had to have noticed the handsome guy hanging on her before Ray came home...

And I wonder if Ray ever suspected... there's a whole soap opera in that relationship, isn't there, that Mick left behind when he went off to star in his own Coraline drama.

I enjoyed giving thought to this, really nice piece, blue!
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by bluedahlia3 »

Thanks ladies for taking the time to stop by and enjoy the soap opera. :snicker:

nm - Yes, Lilah stayed faithful, although her life couldn't have been easy.

Lucy - I wonder if she wanted Mick to come back, and of course, he never did. Sad.

wollstonecraft61 - I'm so glad you enjoyed this. It's a different sort of writing than I usually work at.

wpgrace - Oh grace you caught it all. Lilah lived with this when Mick was able to move on. She must have been angry, sad, fearful, and glad .... a whole range of emotions. Had Ray ever suspected? I bet he did too! And without another child, ummmmm that would have been sort of a...gift, Mick's gift. Think how sad it would have been without the child.

Thank you all for commenting. :rose:
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by Sparrow »

*sniffles* I'm almost convinced Robert wasn't Rays. Maybe the DNA sample was too old...or too small..or ..something. *sniffles*

Anyway taht's my option and I'm stickin to it! Great one Blue!
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by Shadow »

Thank you so much for writing a Lilah story! I was really fascinated with her character and this is a wonderful look at things from her point of view. As hard as things were for Mick when they parted, it must have been so much harder for her. And she certainly must have always believed that Mick was Robert's father ...

(I'm with Sparrow, too - I still have to believe that he could have been! Clerical error at the lab, Robert wearing a really good hairpiece that night, who knows?)

This is a really lovely and evocative story. And as soon as I get some proper free time I'll be back to check out Wisteria .....
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by Phoenix »

Wonderful, BD. :hankie:
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Re: Facade - PG. Lilah Fordham

Post by jen »

How sad.

Beautifully done. Thank you!

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