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Book 1 Website Chapters 1-2

Time measures my look up

Time measures my look up his frame but I am denied, his look held by the notes. Muslin barriers of contempt and confidence fall, the eyes that once held me in wonder are stolen by his resolve, his dissent, and his private anguish. I listen to his breath and bravely, slide the envelope to the edge. His misted look ices. His skilled hand slides it back to me. He lifts his brows then walks away. My tears heat. Time is a master. The Voice whispers. Fisting my sodden tissues, I obey and turn to the windows. My daughter’s friends posture and pose as he crosses the path leading to the open arms of our daughter Gwen. Held by him, she kisses his cheek. I lick my lips to remember. He walks to the field. Our son stops the play and jogs to greet him. I face my wall. I am accountable. My choices have deceived who I am. I turn to the worn page of my journal, a flash of humored insight that I had no idea would lead to this: November 11, 2015, My childish worldview (CWV) straight from the birth canal to say, age 4: 1. Look at all the sparkly things! I want some too! 2. Be nice. 3. The sun always comes out (wear those rose-colored glasses, because baby, this place is bright!) My parental worldview (PWV), taught from the earliest signs of cognition. 1. There are no guarantees. In other words, hold on sister, this is one hell of a ride. You need a degree to secure a steady job with excellent benefits (so you never return home was just implied). The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: Melissa@therulesoflifebook.com 615-669-5643 4

2. Life isn’t a fairytale. People who believe those miracle stories are suckers who can’t handle the truth of their drab existence and unexceptional selves so they live in some ‘other world’. Don’t waste your time. It belittles your intelligence. 3. Women don’t need men. Men want to use you. Women are baggage to be towed and opened occasionally. All sexual references intended. 4. Be happy with what you’re given. Don’t want for more, it’s greedy and will lead to disappointment. See PWV #2. 5. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. You’re small in this world and well, frankly, unimportant. Special roles are reserved for exceptional people and you’re not one of them. See PWV number 1 and 6 for more detail. And finally, 6. Life is difficult and then you die. Survival is the only measure in this world; those worried about happiness are simply delusional. Chapter 1 Wednesday, September 28, 1988 Three Men and a Shower Mobs of colossal neon polka-dotted cockroaches and their leaders chase me down a dark and abandoned Michigan Avenue. Armies of panicked frogs on amphetamines whip in my chest. I leap over a pothole but screech to a halt at the Neiman Marcus display window. Stage lights atop the mob’s antennas reveal my horror; I’m naked. I throw up my hand and halt the dream. Cockroaches freeze mid-air. I yank the Led Zeppelin Father Time concert-I’ve-never-been-to t-shirt out of the The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: Melissa@therulesoflifebook.com 615-669-5643 5

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