Lovers by Irina Vitalievna Karkabi
With Valentine’s Day this week, it’s the perfect time to reflect on relationships of all kinds especially the romantic kind. Being a Type Four, the Romantic, I spend more time than most on the subject of relationships. It has certainly been one of my favorite subjects to write about, showing up in two of my books.
My first book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System highlights the journey of the Romantic in life, and especially in relationships.
My second book, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives is a novel based on the love story of my grandparents, Clara & Irving Fisher – a true story of a Romantic. Told through the eyes of Clara, and her granddaughter, Danielle, the novel spans their lives from the 1920’s to 2010. The story takes place on Cape Cod, Massachusetts with many scenes at the Zeiterion Theatre of New Bedford, MA. It’s not your traditional romance novel, but more of a story for those who have pondered the soul connections that we share with others that seem to transcend time. Since it’s not possible to write a Past Life memoir, I decided to share this story in a fiction format, but many of the events in this novel are based on actual events. I invite you to take this journey back in time. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The excerpt below captures the romantic tales of Clara and Danielle in this novel.
Reviews of Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives
“Donna Fisher-Jackson has woven an exceptional story into a beautifully written tapestry of the life of her grandmother whom she discovers to be intimately connected with in a past life. This story will amaze you and keep you interested from the beginning to the end, when all the threads get tied together. From the moment the story opens in the graveyard where she and her family finally get a headstone for her father’s mother, Clara, I became intrigued. I love the way she moves from Clara’s life in the early 1900’s to her present life as Danielle. This is a love story you just can’t put down!” Constance S. Rodriguez PhD, Author of “Gifts of the Soul: Experience the Mystical in Everyday Life” Llewellyn, 2007.
“I have read and enjoyed your lovely story of Clara and Irving (and the other interesting characters who touched their lives). Your writing has a clarity of description that I found very easy to follow in my imagination and your detailed attention, particularly regarding nature, weather, the changing seasons and the clothing and appearance of the characters, was very impressive. I loved the dual timelines and the setting of the Z Theatre! It was very romantic, indeed, and with a nice touch of passion…and the eventual clarity, wisdom and understanding gained in the course of all those experiences… I also felt that your book in its’ entirety was excellent and very well-crafted: including the acknowledgements, historical background on the theater itself, beautiful cover and gorgeous author photo on the back with your bio!” Emerald Alurin Stara: Author, Actor, Intuitive Consultant
The excerpt from Chapter 21 & 22 of Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives
Torn in Two
“I don’t know what I’m going to do about F.” Clara wrote in her diary. “I never expected to see him again.” On sunny days on her lunch hour, Clara liked to walk along the Onset Bluff. Today, she had stopped to rest on a wooden bench high up on the bluff. In early April, the beach’s only visitors were the seagulls roosting on pilings by the pier. This time of year, the downtown streets were deserted. The locals reveled in a leisurely pace at the coffee shops and restaurants.
Clara gazed out at the calm waters of the bay and wrote: “As soon as I met Irving, I closed the chapter on that part of my life. Now, F shows up again in my life, and he’s flirting with me as if time hasn’t passed by. I’m going to stay away from the theatre. I’m a wife and a mother now. This is my life.” Clara closed her diary.
Clara knew she should spend more time in the teacher’s lounge catching up on the latest news, but it all sounded like gossip to her. She had so little time to herself. She treasured her solitary moments when everyone left the classroom for the day, and she could correct papers and make lesson plans for the next day. And now that Fred had re-appeared in her life, she spent too much time daydreaming about him. At least he respected her privacy and didn’t call her at home or at school. But he had given her his work and apartment phone numbers. She tucked the numbers in a side pocket in her wallet, knowing she should toss the paper away because she had no intention of calling him.
All week, Clara flirted with the idea of going to the theatre on Saturday. Onset now had a theatre of its own showing silent movies and an occasional vaudeville review. Since it was only around the corner from her apartment, she could steal away for a couple of hours while Emma watched the boys.
On Thursday night she rang up her close friend Marie who lived in Wareham. “Hello, the Richards residence.” Marie answered.
Clara grinned into the phone. “Don’t you think that’s putting the cart before the horse? I mean you’re not Mrs. Richards yet.”
Marie let out a peal of laughter. Clara pictured her red-headed friend holding the phone under her chin while she filed her nails. Marie said, “I thought I’d give the name some practice in case Pete calls.” Pete was her fiancé, and they planned to marry the following June when he finished medical school.
“Since you’re still single, how about seeing a matinee in Onset this Saturday?”
“In Onset? Let’s go see a talkie in New Bedford. Your namesake Clara Bow is starring in her latest picture, The Wild Party. Maybe, your special friend can set aside some tickets for us,” said Marie.
“I can only get away for a couple of hours unless Emma can watch the boys longer,” said Clara, twisting the phone cord between her fingers.
“Please say you can go. You can meet me at the theatre and I’ll do my shopping beforehand,” said Marie.
“You always have to stir up trouble, don’t you? Wait until you have a mother-in-law and you’ll know what I mean,” said Clara, giving into Marie’s wishes with a sigh.
Clara thought she needed more married friends, but they only spent time at each other’s homes with the children around. Because she was a teacher, they always asked her for advice on their children’s school work. But she wanted to talk about other subjects – not just about raising children. At least with Marie, they discussed stimulating topics such as theatre, art, politics, and of course, men.
Clara finished her call with Marie. She placed a bunch of daffodils from the garden in a lavender pitcher and set it on the windowsill above the sink. It gave her something to look at when washing the dishes. As she filled up the sink, she looked down at her long fingers and her gold wedding band. Always more household chores to do. Her heart cried out for something new and exciting – a break from the daily routine. Fred offered her that break, but it could also break up her marriage. She loved Irving in spite of his nightly drinking. Most nights he came home too exhausted to go out to the theatre. He played with his sons, read the newspaper while he sipped his whiskey, and then collapsed into bed. She missed the time when it was just the two of them. After dinner, they would go for walks around town or even on the beach when the weather warmed up. Those days were now misty memories. As a young woman, she had high expectations for her life. Now she wondered if she had settled for less than what she really wanted. She felt a headache coming on and thought it’s time to go to sleep.
On Saturday, Clara chose a special dress for her afternoon at the theatre. She slid on a peach sheath dress and wore her gold locket. She placed a matching cloche on her short, dark hair. She liked getting dolled up to surprise Fred especially since he didn’t know she was coming to the theatre.
Arm in arm, she and Marie strolled into the elegant lobby of the Orpheum. Fred stood by the lobby bar talking to the bartender. As if sensing her presence, he turned and beamed when he saw Clara and Marie stepping across the lobby.
“What a welcome surprise to see you two ladies.” Fred gave them both a European kiss on both cheeks. He squeezed Clara’s arm with a disarming smile.
“Wait here, I’ll get you some tickets,” said Fred.
Clara and Marie gathered at the corner of the gleaming cherry bar by the velvet ropes and brass poles. Marie opened up her compact and freshened up her rose lipstick. Clara gazed in the bar’s mirror, following Fred as he moved across the lobby.
“Here you are, ladies. Join me at intermission for some punch,” said Fred, as he handed each one of them a ticket envelope, winking at Clara.
Clara touched Marie’s arm. “I’m going to the ladies lounge. I’ll be right back.” She left Marie chatting with Fred about the new talkies.
Once safely inside the ladies lounge, Clara opened the ticket envelope and discovered a piece of paper – “C, Overjoyed to see you today. Can’t wait to be alone with you. I’ve some special news for you. Yours, F” Clara’s hand trembled and a warm flush spread throughout her body as she imagined Fred’s sweet caresses. She hurried back to the lobby.
The ushers led Marie and Clara to their seats and the lights dimmed. Lost in her thoughts about Fred, Clara could barely concentrate on the new talkie. At intermission, Fred had their glasses of punch waiting at the bar. The bartender took out a champagne bottle from underneath the bar and spiked their drinks. Clara sipped the tingly bubbles feeling light-headed. Marie giggled a little too much.
When Marie went to the ladies lounge, the two lovers had a moment alone. Fred whispered in her ear, “You look so fetching. I can’t wait to unwrap you.” Clara’s cheeks grew pink.
Clara whispered back, “You make my heart race. I wish we could leave right now.”
Fred said, “Let’s go.” But Clara knew he had to stay until the end of the matinee. Then he would have time to sneak away for a secret rendezvous.
The second half of the movie dragged on. Clara couldn’t wait to see it end. Marie gave her a quick kiss and ran off to meet her fiancé for dinner. Clara went the back way to Fred’s apartment, knowing it would take him more than a half hour to leave the theatre. She rushed up the now familiar stone steps, and withdrew the key from the plant pot on the stoop. No snooping neighbors so she slipped in the door.
As she expected, the apartment was in disarray since Fred didn’t plan on her coming today. She tidied it up and searched in the ice box for something to drink. She found a half bottle of wine, and some soda pop, but not much else. Clara poured herself some soda and rifled through the bedroom closet for something inviting to wear. She chose one of her favorite nightgowns – a midnight blue, silk gown with a slit up one thigh, and slid on her white high-heeled slippers. Clara spritzed on her favorite perfume that Freddie had bought her at Christmas. She fluffed up her short bob and freshened up her ruby-red lipstick. When she finished primping, she heard someone at the door. Clara hid in the bathroom until Fred yelled out, “Hey, Doll!”
Fred met her in the parlor with an armful of early spring flowers of daffodils and tulips. Tucked under his other arm, he carried a loaf of French bread, along with cheese. She couldn’t believe he had taken time to stop at the store. He kissed her lips lightly, handing her the bouquet.
“Picked just for you, Madam,” he said, giving her an exaggerated bow.
Clara reciprocated with her finest curtsey. “Merci beaucoup, mon Cheri.”
Fred clasped her hand and twirled her around. “Let me look at you. You’re more swanky than Clara Bow.” She did feel like the “It” girl with him. They sat at his dining room table, sipping their wine with slices of bread and cheese. With Fred, each time was different. Sometimes they ate first and caught up on each other’s news. Other times he couldn’t keep his hands off of her.
Tonight, he couldn’t wait to share his news. “I’ve some great news about work. They purchased five theatres on Cape Cod. I’ll run all of them including the New Bedford and Fall River theatres.”
“That’s wonderful, Darling,” Clara said, as she nibbled on a piece of French bread.
“That means we can meet on the Cape, and have a picnic on the beach in the summertime. You can take the train down to Buzzards Bay and I’ll pick you up,” said Fred, caught up in his own romantic plans.
Clara didn’t want to spoil his fun to remind him that she had three sons to take care of in the summer. It wouldn’t be that easy for her to get away. By her second glass of wine, Clara agreed with him, caught up in his grand plans for the both of them.
Fred peeked at her over his wine glass. “Ready for dessert?” He carried her off into the bedroom, where they spent the rest of his free time between shows making love. This time Fred took his time caressing her until she melted with desire. Her life in Onset seemed a million miles away.
Chapter Twenty-Two: Danielle
Music by Midori
One cool night in May as Danielle finished some press releases, she heard the distant strains of a violin. It must be Midori, the classical violinist, rehearsing on stage. The lyrical notes of the music drifted down the hall. After the staff left for the night, Danielle tiptoed down the hall into the technical director’s office. The door to the fly rail stood wide open. She peered down upon the stage, where Midori feverishly practiced a piece of music over and over again. She admired Midori’s demand for perfection. She wondered how someone so young could have such intense self-discipline.
Enchanted with the music, Danielle didn’t hear the footsteps behind her until she felt hands upon her waist. Not prone to screaming, she took a sharp intake of breath as a man’s lips pressed against her neck. As his hands moved up her body to her breasts, she recognized the hands and relaxed into Rob as he kissed her more passionately on her neck. As Midori stroked her violin reaching higher and higher crescendos, Rob reached under her sweater. When she couldn’t take it any longer, she turned around to face her seducer and kissed him hard on the lips. Pulling her in, Rob held her tight as Midori’s music quieted down. Rob whispered in her ear, “Saved by the violin.”
She whispered back, “You’re quite the bandit…sneaking up on me like that.”
Rob closed the fly rail door, leaving only a slice of light. “So you’re complaining?”
“I’d just like some fair warning for a change.”
“I’m warning you now…I’ve got my eye on you,” said Rob, as he brushed a strand of hair away from her face.
Midori’s music had stopped. Rob said, “I’m helping Mike out tonight…keeping an eye on the star performer. Better go check on her. Be back in a moment.”
Still mesmerized by her music, Danielle gazed down upon Midori as she pointed at a sheet of music in front of her pianist. The fly rail offered an eagle’s eye view of the stage, but it was mostly used by the stagehands, who climbed out to drop down curtains, and adjust lights. Danielle hurried back to her office to check her makeup. She studied her flushed face in the mirror hidden behind the door. Her blue eyes sparkled. She found the rush of being taken by storm intoxicating. But it seemed to be the only way Rob could have a relationship with her. When he came back from checking on the “star,” she hoped they could talk. She had some questions for him.
A few moments later, she heard someone coming up the steps two at a time. Rob strode down the hall back to the TD’s office. When he noticed Danielle missing, he backtracked down the hall and stopped short at her office. Holding a Coke and a Diet Coke in his hands, he said, “I thought you had disappeared into thin air.” Danielle accepted the Diet Coke and took a big sip.
“Now, I’m dying for a smoke,” said Rob.
Danielle held on tight to her soda can. “Sounds like an addiction to me. I’m only addicted to love myself.”
Rob stopped playing with his cigarette pack. “Yeah, I can see that. Betcha have lots of admirers.”
“Is that what you think? That I have men lined up at my door?” Danielle set the can down on her desk.
Rob backed off a little. “No, but if you wanted to, you could.”
“So what’s your story? Do you have a woman in every port like Casanova?” Danielle challenged him with a direct look.
He burst out laughing and sat down on the other chair in her office. He leaned back in the chair with a big grin. “That’s my game. A woman in every port from Maine to Florida.”
Danielle sensed he didn’t want to talk seriously. He still basked in the high from their romantic encounter.
Danielle probed some more. “I’m wondering where we stand,” she said emphasizing the ‘we.’ “Is this only a casual fling for you?” Danielle pursed her lips, watching him sweat.
Rob dropped his chair legs back down to the floor and slid his chair, backing himself into a corner. “I hadn’t really thought about it. I’m enjoying living in the moment.”
Danielle crossed her arms over her breasts. “Sounds pretty casual to me…at least I know where I stand… another woman waiting on Casanova…except this woman wants more.” Danielle hopped out of her chair, reaching over to hold Rob’s chin. She gave him a firm kiss on the lips. “Something to remember me by…It’s been fun while it lasted.” As she strutted down the hall, she called back, “Shut the door when you leave.”
The next morning, Danielle found a note tucked into her desk blotter. She unfolded the theatre’s ivory stationary and read, “To the Fairest Woman in any port, I hope we can find a way to be together again,” signed with a flourish of a “Z.” She instantly recognized the “Z” as the mark of Zorro, another mysterious man. She could see the resemblance between the two men: both men liked to hide behind a mask, dress in black, and only revealed themselves in the dark of night. Danielle wondered when Zorro would strike again.
By Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2018
Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A., CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Western Astrologer and Author who counsels clients through her business of Iris Holistic Counseling Services at http://www.DonnaFisherJackson.com. She has published the self-help book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System and a novel, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives, based on the true story of a Romantic. And now her latest book, a travel adventure book, Living the RV Lifestyle: Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road. All of her books are available in a print and Kindle edition on Amazon.