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Fiction: Jacaranda Returns Home For Good

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“Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act.” Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary- General International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Fiction: Jacaranda Returns Home For Good…

Fiction: Jacaranda Returns Home For Good… lady in venetian mask

Jacaranda was laid to rest in May. Dressed in a red tutu with fake fur trim, she wore a white Venetian mask on her face, and beat up, pink doc martens on her feet; the tutu and mask were her signature Halloween outfit for 11 years. We forged a friendship the summer before grade school; first grade to be exact. In a class of pretty blondes, we were the only kids with coke bottle glasses and mousy brown hair. I was the sulking outsider; poor, living with a single mother on the other side of the train tracks. She, the new kid in class, moved into town with her mom in late summer; right next door to our dilapidated cottage.

Our moms became friends, but we held off out of shyness and a fear of rejection. One night, my mom invited them over for a frozen chicken dinner, opening the doorway to our friendship. After dinner, as our moms chugged down beers, we watched TV. We loved the Rugrats, we agreed, but disliked Angelica Pickles; she was the epitome of mean girls we knew. That night, as we swapped notes on low points in our short lives, we bonded. When school started, we met at 8:00am and walked briskly along the tracks to our small town school. It took us 10 minutes yet nurtured a friendship that lasted many years.

Years later, I found out that Jacaranda and her mom, Mira, were fugitives.  Mira had married young; at 16.  It was a shotgun wedding to the grocery store boy, Jim, who had raped her. Mira’s parents died in a fiery car crash soon after the wedding and, 6 months later, Jacaranda was born. Jim, Jacaranda’s fucked up dad, spent the next six years abusing her mother; he even poured acid on her.

One hot summer day in August, Mira had had enough. She pulled a huge steak knife from the kitchen sink, sinking it deep into Jim’s right eye as he pummeled her with jabs to the head. He keeled over; hit his head hard on the cold kitchen floor, dying instantly, as blood spurted everywhere. His death put an end to the daily beatings and cigarette burns Mira had received for six miserable years. They packed up what they could carry and left town.

Fiction: Jacaranda Returns Home For Good…

Fiction: Jacaranda Returns Home For Good… acid victim

UNITE Survivor Stories: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Like me, Jacaranda was quiet, bookish and sad. We spent countless hours walking the train tracks, running errands together, and sharing imaginary stories about our family lives. Our stories ran the gamut: from our version of the Addams Family, to that eccentric family in Jodie Foster’s movie: Home for the Holidays. We were the two J’s – Jacaranda and Jacinta; Jaca and Jaci for short.

Every Halloween, we’d dress up and head to town to trick-a-treat; I wore my black tutu, an African mask (our masks hid our pain), and an old pair of  boots my mom bought at the Salvation Army.   This was the only time we got good candy and rubbed shoulders with local hoi poi. It was the only time, Old Man Jones, the barber shop owner and local drunk, would train his beady eyes on us and invite us in to check out his tools in the back room.

“Nah, not tonight!” Jaca always said.
“Maybe, next year…?” I’d add.

We’d grab the candy, dash for the door, and not think much of it. We never said a word to our moms. As we got older, we added a few choice words to our repartee, running out the door as Old Man Jones reached for one of his sharp razors. Was he a pedophile? Rumors swirled for years that he did cup an occasional feel from a curious teen with raging hormones, but no one could confirm it. It remained a small town sleaze story, embellished and shared every year, at Halloween, like prettily wrapped cheap candy.

After high school, Jaca joined the military and got shipped to Germany. I stayed local, attended community college, and worked as a cashier at the supermarket. One day, I got a surprise call. It was Jaca. “Meet me on the corner of Vine and Rose, I’m home!” I ran out to meet her and, as I turned the corner, watched in horror as Old Man Jones lost control of his old jalopy and killed her.  I’m still mourning …  In a flash, my best friend was gone.  From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.  (750 words)

Speakeasy #137. This week’s piece must include the following sentence as our LAST line: “From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.”

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and it is a sober reminder that acts of violence against women; domestic and public, remain a global problem.  To date, UN figures (click on the pdf for more data) show that 70% of women experience violence; 80% of the 500,000 – 2 million trafficked victims are female; over 130 million girls have suffered the brutality of female genital mutilation FGM/C;  50% of sexual assaults are on underage girls (16 and under); and  in the USA, “intimate partner violence” costs more than $5.8 billion (4.1 for medical and 1.8 in lost productivity).

About 60 million girls leave home to become child brides, often to much older men.  We’ve come a long way and still have a lot of work ahead of us. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, is often cited as an international bill of rights for women, but it remains under consideration as some member nations continue to challenge its contents, and demand changes. One day, all men and women will live equitably and harmoniously on p lanet Earth. I remain hopeful this will come to pass.

♥What are your thoughts? Have you ever been a victim of domestic violence? Or knew someone and spoke out? Do share! Thank you.

*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience!

For More: Women’s Lives & Issues 

Positive Motivation Tip: We can empower ourselves and others by reporting domestic violence, showing support to abused women, and speaking out against bullies and abusers. Take a stand.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos  Venetian Mask, Acid Attack victim,  via Wikipedia, Flickr, or my personal collections.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

79 Comments leave one →
  1. 26/11/2013 2:59 am

    Every word felt real Eliz!! God knows I have seen enough acid victims here to relate to it. Brilliant job. Have missed you 🙂

    • 26/11/2013 8:19 am

      TY dear Madhu! I’ve missed you and your fab blog too. Life got in the way and you know the rest. I hope to, at least, do all the photo challenges I missed. We shall see. 🙂

  2. 26/11/2013 3:27 am

    The story is powerful and gripping. Who would expect any else from you. I really miss your Blog. Violence against anyone horrifies me, but against the elderly and women and children it is horrifically chilling, and any words condemning it are important. I have a book coming out around Christmas. I’d love you to go over to my Blog, and ‘Like’ my FB page. Just sayin, but its my old Blogging friends whose company on my journey has given me the most warmth and encouragement

    • 26/11/2013 8:22 am

      TY dear Peter! Glad to hear the book is on schedule. Actually, I did everything you mentioned above last week and even added your book cover on my Facebook fan page. I’ve been applauding your efforts on my end… I guess you didn’t know it. 😆
      All’s well and I’m excited for you. 🙂

  3. 26/11/2013 4:10 am

    Powerfully poignant, dearest Elizabeth. Hope you are fine. Are you back?

    • 26/11/2013 8:23 am

      Hi Cee! Glad to see you here… At this point, only time and effort will tell if I’m back. I do miss you all for sure. TY! 🙂

  4. 26/11/2013 5:10 am

    Heartbreaking – I have missed you.

    • 26/11/2013 8:25 am

      Dearest JM! I’ve missed you too. Must dust off my extra laptop and get back on track with all. TY for checking in. 😉

      • 28/11/2013 3:47 am

        Thanks so much!

      • 28/11/2013 6:23 am

        ☻/ღ˚ •。* ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。°♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ
        /▌*˛˚ღ •˚Wishing You Happy Thanksgiving Blessings & A Holiday Season Filled with Bliss, Peace, Love, and Gratitude!★.✰
        / \ ˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚ ” •* ˚ “

  5. 26/11/2013 7:52 am

    had missed you too… what an awesome rendition of what some have endured…fantastic writing!

    • 26/11/2013 8:39 am

      TY Dear Marilyn … so glad to see you here. It’s been a long while and I hope to reconnect with you all too. 🙂

  6. 26/11/2013 7:56 am

    Quite a story. I liked your descriptions of the girls and the use of masks. I also learned something.

    • 26/11/2013 8:40 am

      Hi Ted! TY for stopping by… much appreciated. It is a topic close to my heart so I’m grateful for the feedback. Merci! 😉

  7. 26/11/2013 8:36 am

    First of all…I was so excited to see a blog post from you in my in-box today! The story is chilling, and much to real. Welcome back!! I’ve missed you!

    • 26/11/2013 8:42 am

      Dearest Barb! Lady, do I owe you plenty! TY for sticking with this ole girl. Hope to really catch up with everyone soon enough. I’ve been gone too long and it’s time for me to move forward. 🙂

  8. 26/11/2013 9:39 am

    wow. WOW. your voice in this piece was SO real to me. there was SO much story, yet I was able to keep up very easily… and I had even forgotten the piece started with a funeral. this will stay with me for a while. well done.

    • 26/11/2013 11:27 pm

      TY for your feedback Christina. I’m glad the story touched you. The pain and suffering victims endure is real; ditto the hate spewed by those who choose to ignore it.

  9. 26/11/2013 9:54 am

    Eliz the way you write fiction to fit with a real issue, it really makes it hit home. I’ve worked with survivors of abuse and I thank you for this powerful read.

    • 26/11/2013 11:28 pm

      TY and so good to see you here. I’m grateful for your insight and work…. We need to do so much work in this arena.

  10. 26/11/2013 2:12 pm

    So glad I found my way back to reading your amazing blog, Eliz! And so sorry I was MIA for so long.:(
    Thank you for continuing to shout-out about violence and abuse against women…perhaps if the media here in the US would reveal instead of conceal, people would take notice and take action!

    • 26/11/2013 11:39 pm

      TY too Vivian! I’ve been on hiatus for 6+ months and I’m slowly thawing out from the self-imposed freeze. I agree with you on the need for more coverage. Also, more education is sorely needed too. I appreciate the feedback.

  11. 26/11/2013 6:26 pm

    What a terribly sad and horrifying story! I can’t blame Mira for doing what she needed to in order to live. I can’t imagine watching my best friend get run over.

    • 26/11/2013 11:42 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It is a horrifying story and, sadly, many continue to suffer at the hands of loved ones.

  12. 26/11/2013 7:13 pm

    HiHo E. Welcome back and what a grand entrance to be the voice for these women. And these are just a few. Thank you for posting.

    • 26/11/2013 11:45 pm

      HiHo! So good to see you here again. Indeed, these are but a few, and more hands are needed. So good to reconnect w/you.

  13. 26/11/2013 10:46 pm

    That was a pretty amazing piece of fiction. It was so honest and believable. I am grateful that I have never known any personal violence, but in my friendships, I have many sad stories. I have friends with scars both visible and hidden. It’s good to have you back, Eliz. I hope you are well. ox

    • 26/11/2013 11:51 pm

      Dear Debra, I’m delighted to see you! How are you? TY for checking in to read my post on a subject dear to my heart. Domestic violence touches us all, directly or indirectly, and the pain and suffering is lifelong. I’m doing okay and will catch up with all soon. 😉

  14. 27/11/2013 6:08 am

    Eliz, you have a gift with words and story. Domestic violence is a tough subject, one I’ve experienced myself, but not to the degree of the characters in your story. My experience is that it is possible to stand up for peace and kindness, and experience transformation in yourself and those that hurt you. But I had to leave a toxic situation as I believe most people do who find themselves in harm’s way, and it took many years of being strong and peaceful for deep change to happen. I felt a deep spiritual healing occurred after years of praying and standing firm for peace.
    My hope is that we can transform abusers and the abused in a way that cruelty doesn’t have to end cruelty. Sometimes, fighting back is the only answer, and I see the truth and tragedy in your story.
    Domestic violence is something that needs to end, and I believe we need to transform our overall society in order for that to happen. I suspect that telling stories such as the one you wrote is part of the awareness building that needs to occur.
    Hope your Thanksgiving is a peaceful, joyous and blessed one, and thank you for the positive messages of hope and inspiration that you send out into the world!

    • 28/11/2013 7:57 am

      TY Karen, WoW! I had no idea how close to the raw you were… I am thankful we are connected and this makes it all the more imperative that we don’t remain silent. Blessings to you!

      • 28/11/2013 5:21 pm

        This is something I haven’t talked about or written about very much, mostly for the sake of everyone involved, but I certainly care deeply about creating more peace in the world because of the experiences that I’ve had.
        Blessings to you too Eliz! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      • 28/11/2013 8:13 pm

        I appreciate you adding your voice to this at a time many feel it is ubiquitous and as critical a subject. For that I thank you! Thanksgiving blessings to you too!

  15. 27/11/2013 7:22 am

    so wonderful to see you back, E. i did catch a few of your haiku offerings over at Carpe Diem. lovely. your story today, powerful and very sad. even though written as fiction, for many this is their reality. heartbreaking.

    • 27/11/2013 9:53 am

      TY for your comment Sun! I appreciate the feedback on a subject that makes many of us so, so sad. I hope to see more done globally.
      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Season!

  16. 27/11/2013 10:09 am

    Aw, what a sad ending. But such a great story. Intense and tragic. Great take on the prompts!

    Thanks for linking up with the Speakeasy this week!

    • 28/11/2013 7:59 am

      TY Suzanne for your feedback. I’m delighted to connect with other writers and explore new prompts. TY for stopping by. I’ve visited several on the list and will complete the rounds to read, comment, support and say hello.

  17. Kianwi permalink
    27/11/2013 12:21 pm

    You built a lifetime in a few paragraphs. I of course was disturbed, but also glad for the lovely relationship that softened the bad. Well done.

    • 28/11/2013 8:01 am

      TY Kianwi, I felt Jaca’s spirit in me and the words flowed unprompted. Of course, I wish the muse would take up permanent residence in me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share. 😉

  18. 27/11/2013 1:12 pm

    It’s awesome the way you wrote your cause into your fiction. What a sad ending 🙁

  19. 28/11/2013 7:58 am

    It is such a sad story.

    • 28/11/2013 8:03 am

      TY Ranu and close to the raw, painful experience of many women who live with violence in their daily lives. TY for your comment.

  20. 28/11/2013 8:38 am

    You’ve captured the horror and unhappiness of abuse, this is such a very sad story…sounds so real.

  21. 29/11/2013 12:06 am

    Oh my! This is such a tragic story. So much injustice! It makes me so angry.

  22. 29/11/2013 12:37 am

    ☻/ღ˚ •。* ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。°♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ
    /▌*˛˚ღ •˚Wishing All A Happy Thanksgiving, Hanukkah & Holiday Season Filled with Bliss, Peace, Love, and Gratitude!★.✰
    / \ ˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚ ” •* ˚ “

  23. 29/11/2013 8:55 am

    I hope you had a fine Thanksgiving Day, Eliz?

  24. 03/12/2013 3:08 am

    Happy (late) Thanksgiving Elizabeth!

    Such tragedy. I was writing about a local very sad case where a woman was left for dead in her own home in Melbourne. As far as I know she is still in hospital, rated as “stable”, but do not know yet if she will ever recover.

    • 04/12/2013 9:59 am

      It is sad and the incidences rise during the holiday season too. TY for checking in… I’ve been AWOL too. 😉

  25. 10/12/2013 8:59 pm

    That’s a very sad and touching story it feels real. Now I learned you also write stories Eliz, I’m looking forward for more. 😉

  26. Robin (Masshole Mommy) permalink
    27/01/2014 12:58 pm

    Violence against anyone is horrible. It’s one of the reasons I take martial arts – so I never become a victim.

  27. kneecole3 permalink
    27/01/2014 1:22 pm

    I have witnessed, first hand, domestic violence. Having seen that I will never tolerate it. It’s heartbreaking how often the violence occurs.

  28. 27/01/2014 1:47 pm

    Why violence against women is still pandemic in this country amazes me–it also saddens me. There is so much work to be done all over the world to stop this from happening.

  29. 27/01/2014 1:52 pm

    I just finished watching the unite survivor stories and it was so powerful.

  30. 27/01/2014 2:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Domestic violence is such an important subject.

  31. 27/01/2014 3:09 pm

    Quite the story! And yes, I know far too many who have been victims of violence. It’s never the answer!

  32. Melanie Scout (@GameOnMom) permalink
    27/01/2014 4:12 pm

    In a previous job, I worked with someone who worked with victims of a domestic violence. Their stories were so, so sad.

  33. Aisha Kristine Chong permalink
    27/01/2014 4:22 pm

    A very sad one – but I do believe this has its lesson and very inspirational, too. No one should be silent with violence on the line – you are right, we need to take a stand on these things.

  34. 27/01/2014 5:14 pm

    What a sad story 🙁 Wow, that is powerful as well. You’ve reached me quickly. It’s nice to find your blog 🙂

  35. 27/01/2014 5:53 pm

    Very moving, sad story your words always hit so deep – ring so true. x

  36. Maria permalink
    27/01/2014 6:54 pm

    What an amazing story!! I hope all is well with you after returning. Great story with great meaning behind it!

  37. Jennifer Williams permalink
    27/01/2014 7:24 pm

    I was attacked when I was younger and still work daily to overcome my fear of people. I did turn my experience into a position to help other victims so at least something good did come from my experience. I still struggle daily though, going out alone and even though it has been over 20 years I do not think I will ever go out after dark again. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue. Love your story, you are an amazing writer.

  38. 27/01/2014 7:35 pm

    wow, so sad! What a compelling story.

  39. JadeLouise Designs (@JadeLDesigns) permalink
    27/01/2014 8:03 pm

    What a powerful story!
    My sister was a victim of abuse from her husband. it was years before we could help her escape. And then it was years of hiding from him until he was killed in a drinking/driving incident. The horrors of this subject are very real for us.

  40. 27/01/2014 8:36 pm

    This is such an important cause to raise awareness about. It’s imperative to empower women who might be going through a similar experience.

  41. Liz Mays permalink
    27/01/2014 8:36 pm

    I’ve never been a victim myself and I’m grateful for that. It’s a cause near and dear to my heart though because of friends who’ve been through it.

  42. Chubskulit Rose permalink
    27/01/2014 8:59 pm

    It’s disheartening to see women go through abusive relationship.

  43. casavilorainteriors permalink
    27/01/2014 9:40 pm

    Quite a gripping story! It’s hard to understand why anyone should go through this kind of violence – any kind for that matter.

  44. pamatiw permalink
    28/01/2014 12:14 am

    I have never know domestic violence personally but have certainly witnessed others misery and have tried to help. It is a subject that needs to be addressed and featured so others know there are places to get help.

  45. 28/01/2014 3:12 am

    Thank you for sharing this is something that everyone should hear more about not enough effort goes in to stopping things like this.

  46. 28/01/2014 7:32 am

    Domestic violence against women is well and alive in every culture and every part of the globe. Many times it is the women who incite such voilence. I feel for these girls.

  47. 28/01/2014 9:48 am

    wow – this looks like something that would really be gripping!

  48. 28/01/2014 9:48 am

    What a story. Domestic violence really needs to be focused on and shared with everyone. I have a friend who was abused but she was able to get out. Thanks for sharing the story.

  49. prettyopinionated permalink
    28/01/2014 2:33 pm

    That was a powerful short story! I have to admit, though, the first picture totally freaks me out! I’m scared of clowns, mimes or anything that resembles either. It did put me in the right state of mind for the story though.

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