Authors: Keira D. Skye
A Breath Until Forever
Keira D. Skye
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to any real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
A Breath Until Forever”
Text copyright @ 2012 by Keira D. Skye
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Printed in the United States of America.
Photo cover reserve all copyrights and all property may be removed. To have it removed, please contact the author.
For love itself – in it's purest form.
There are sometimes a story in which neither wins, but neither loses. A story that you will forever remember, yet will never forget. There are certain heartstrings played that are free and wild and come from the undomesticated of hearts and the youngest of spirits. This is such a story. A story of love, bravery, and a strength. A story between Meredith Hurley, a traditional artist who paints the lush green grasses of Southern nature hospitality from the sandy earth of Sedona's spiritualistic memoirs, and Joshua Aspen, a machine operator and rancher from the deep south. Joshua, is 26, and a lost soul. Once a troublemaker of the law, he has straightened up his act, and lives thirty miles outside the city walls of Raleigh in a small, sparsely populated valley of North Carolina, with wavering memories of a narcotic and haunting past. Meredith, 40, married with a closed heart, almost spiritual traveler of picturesque towns and novelty American lands, who feels out of touch with the essence of the vibrant, much happier younger woman she used to be. Each of them is content, yet when Meredith Hurley drives through the valley searching for new scenery to paint for a commissioned line of paintings for a wealthy client in the Hotel Industry, through the extreme heat and dust of a North Carolinian summer, turning into Joshua's family's ranch into the perfect material for her, their misconceptions of age fall away, and indulge in an experience that will be with them forever.
As the painter Hurley uses her emotions to paint what she sees, which results in rather lyrical heartwarming canvases of her own personal truth. Her feelings are deep, and they seem to come to life with each brush stoke she makes love between the paintbrush and the canvas. The result is a deeply passionate journey of self discovery, and an inflamed reawakening that moves in a spiral of a heavenly experience that will prove to touch the lives of both her and Joshua. Joshua, tries to understand the deep feelings he finds so rare and brilliant, which are of no ordinary emotions, but within the difficulty, the newness preserves, separating it from his past, almost empty relationships, evolving as a prism of light and a deep and more meaningful understanding. Transforming his ordinary emotions into a passion that helps him to learn the lesson of true, and genuine love, Joshua discovers that love is more then love – rather, it is a height that only one can reach when there is nowhere else left to go, except into the arms of Meredith Hurley – the woman he wants, but knows he can never have.
“I'm leaving.” Meredith Hurley told her husband, who was looked blankly outside her front window to her husband, who was enjoying an early cup of coffee. Her husband didn't respond to her announcement of departure, but rather returned to his cup of warmth, taking another sip as he read the news. But, feeling guilty that he had not replied, he felt compelled to do so, and so he wished her, “Goodbye Meredith. Be safe.” and it was enough, to make Meredith feel like there was the possibility she would be missed. She kissed the top of her husband's head, and he lightly smiled, although it was considerably forced, getting back to current events and the caffeine he so loved to fill his veins with so early in the morning before work. Meredith was used to his bittersweet coldness, especially before her departure for new open lands that would take her to places where the wind would blow. She was a gypsy directed by her heart, but also by her profession of being a painter, and leaving had a gilded sensitivity that made her feel rather anxious.
The rain had just stopped, leaving a fresh smell of cleanliness to perfume the Seattle air. The aromatic flavor of lavenders, deliciously danced along edges of well groomed sidewalks and perfect square postage stamp like yards complimented a very yuppie neighborhood of complete perfection. Everything was absolutely orderly, and neat and trim. It was a perfect picture of the American dream, where people spent years trying to buy and get into but only the few lucky ones were every fortunate enough to live and prosper.
Cars passed by as wind often does, swift and without invitation. The blur of their movement replicated passing ships in the night, haunting the morning with ghost like fever that dissipates, as soon as it prospects.
Meredith Hurley watched as a small car passed and disappeared down her street. She looked at her watch. 8:40 am. Time to go. For a moment she had been distracted by random thoughts; thoughts that often enveloped her in a paradoxical mental relapse that drew her away from focusing on what mattered the most. And that was to get on the road, before heavy traffic infiltrated the thruway with their congestion and angry beehive like swarms of commuting hell.
It was early morning of July 21, 1971, Meredith Hurley quickly locked up the door of her large, three bedroom townhouse on the corner of Mercer and Harrison Street. of a brownstone building. She carried a tote bag full of art supplies and a sturdy, leather suitcase down squeaky wooden stairs and through a narrow hallway to where her old weathered, but still very cool 1959 Jeep Wrangler truck was waiting patiently for her out in the street. She had, by mistake, left the top down, and now her fabric seats, and the whole inside of her Jeep was soaking wet from the rain. She had no time to dry it out, she was running behind schedule as it was, and it was just going to have to air dry on its own when she would ride it like a free bird on the highway.
Her Jeep was red; as red the apples that she had out in her small orchard out in her backyard that were as delicious as tasting a ray of summer's sunshine. She loved the color red, and even though the Jeep was vintage over a decade old, weathered, bruised, and broken, it was a color that still gave it a zest of flattery, and made her feel sporty.
Another tote bag, a small satchel of apples from her orchard, a folded up portable easel, were already in the back. Soaked, but not ruined. Inside the truck, was a guitar case, which hid a very special guitar that was graciously given to her by her husband on their 10
wedding anniversary. She could only play a few chords on it, but with those very few chords, she could summon up lots of heartfelt songs.
Meredith climbed into the truck and she braced everything down, by lying everything on the muddied floor, with the heavy items on top, so nothing would go flying in the wind. She made sure she had her jack and a spare tire, and also a small little shovel, just in case she got stuck somewhere muddy and she had to dig herself out. Which always seemed to be the case anymore, especially with the off road beaten paths that she had adventured to just to find the perfect scenery to paint. When others like to take photographs of their scenery and bring them back to their studio, Meredith, on the other hand, rather liked to stay at the scenery and it showed in her paintings that sold in art galleries all around the world for thousands of dollars. When Meredith painted, there just wasn't the whimsical flair of brush strokes, rather infused within the paint and the time and the subject matter itself, was Meredith's soul. Painting was her passion, but what got her even more excited was Mother Nature and all the beautiful gifts that she had to offer her in an ongoing scenic panoramic and childlike view of the world. Nature was crushingly beautiful. But not without a price. So often, mother nature hides these wonderful gifts beyond old dirt roads and windy steep hills and old logging trails where her weathered Jeep was always tested to its ultimate capacity of four wheel drive. It was always worth the digging through, the endless getting stuck, and the where sunsets waited for her beyond luscious green Iowa pastures, and rainbow kaleidoscope of many different virgin colors in Missouri's deep heartlands greeted her after a hearty and aggressive rain.
Meredith placed an old ratty towel down, then she climbed in the passenger seat, behind the steering wheel, opened up a bottle of water, and took a nice, long refreshing sip. The water was exhilarating, and she could feel her parched throat become instantly satisfied with it's generous quench. She went through a mental checklist, seeing if she had forgotten something; anything, she could ever possibly think of. Kodak Polaroid camera with lots of film, a couple packs of spearmint flavored gum, acrylic and oil paints in an army of tubes, a couple of feminine dresses in case she got asked out to go dancing, ghost white colored canvases, horse hair paintbrushes, old plaid rags, three free flowing Bohemian shirts, a pair of old Levi cut off shorts, a few pairs of warm insulated socks, medications for her miserable sinus's, and a picture of Daniel, her 17 year old son dressed to the military nines in a very stuffy army dress code. Although in the picture Daniel had no smile in his face, when Meredith looked at it, she saw a hidden smile unseen behind the strictness of a disciplined school, often by the military school's rigid strict discipline. It was the same smile that would appear often, after spending hours at their vacation beach house in the Central coast of California in Monterrey, sifting through sand for perfect seashells while feeling the happiness of small waves of the ocean lap up against their ankles, and their souls.
Meredith wore a pair of bleached, acid washed cut off jean shorts, too tight, uncomfortably so, sticking into a tiny belly overhang, feeling the top of her metal button pressurize into her middle of softness. She wore a white, clean crisp shirt unbuttoned to partially expose the upper lace of her push up C size bra, a pair of combat field boots dusted with last month's desert dirt, and a pair of dark aviator sunglasses which mirrored the morning in its reflection. In her hair she wore a pretty orange Hibiscus flower, large and prominent, which petals seem to dance every time she flicked her naturally soft hair to settle after a brief and quickened shower. Her hair was long, straight and linear, with light honey highlights and had a carelessness to it that was the epiphany of her own self felt freedom. Her eyes glowed as gingerly as the sun saluting to a new day, and her shy smile was hidden beneath a few fine wrinkles and an anxious new beginning.
Meredith looked at her watch again. She was already late. She had wanted to be on the road by 7 am, so that she may avoid rush hour traffic. But, she was now obviously running late. She turned the key, and ignited the truck's powerful engine. It instantly lit up like a match set by rich gasoline, and the rev of the motor purred wildly as she pushed down on the gas pedal, to give the truck life. For as old as it was, and as beaten and bruised, her Jeep had an engine equivalent to a mechanical god, and it was always reliable to start right up to take her away on the wings of a new adventure. Meredith pulled out into the street, shifted the Jeep into first, then second gear, and the Jeep moved ever so swift and sturdy down the street under a shy sun, desperately trying to make it's appearance behind looming moody clouds that wanted to burst a tsunami of rain once more.
Through the winding, snake like streets of Seattle, Meredith went forward heading north on Second Street, running along the heavy sodden streets for a few miles, then she followed the ever predictable thruway as it steered toward the North before meeting US Route 62.
Driving towards a distant sun, she began the long, winding drive through Seattle. She liked Seattle, and felt at home, however it was nothing in comparison to the inviting outdoors and all the beautiful states she had visited in the past to paint. She stopped at a store, for a pack of smokes, and then made notes for future expeditions. But they were just going to have to wait. Today, she was a woman on a mission and had a meaning and a purpose. She was to paint the scenic overlay of the valleys of Southern North Carolina. The man who hired her, was a Hotel entrepreneur who owned a luxurious chain of Southern style hotels, which offered luxury at its most exquisite peak. Not wanting to fill his rooms with machine printed reprints of scenes, but offer a more personal touch for his clients, for his newest and great addition in the family of rich hotels in upper Florida, he hired Meredith, after hearing about her artistic expertise from a friend who had bought a painting from the Winwest Gallery in Seattle, and wanted her to right away venture off into North Carolinian territory where the lands were untouched by the ever closing in industrialized city fathom, which reminded him of his childhood place where he never wanted to return to again, but to be reminded of of all the beauty and utopian wonder that such a place offers when untouched by the spoils of man man industrialization. Her early start was a complete disaster from the moment she woke up, where nothing seemed to go right, like the plumbing that went cold instead of hot and the burnt toast, however, she marched through like a true warrior and now here she was, about to disembark where the highway off the city's radar, and take her into unknown territory. Although well traveled, she had never traveled through the hot sunny channels of the Carolina's before, and was very excited to go somewhere that he had never been.