Good Morning, Bellingham
By Marina Raydun
Genre: Literary Fiction
When Peta goes missing, a two-decade old secret threatens to rip at the seams and come out in the open. Relationships are tested as one dysfunctional family comes together in search of their daughter, sister, and wife. What they find instead will change each one of them forever.
Peta’s Journal Entry
I want to fall asleep. Rather, to fall asleep and not wake up. Ever. I just want the wheel to stop turning. Correction— it should feel free to continue turning, but I want off it.
It’s ungrateful of me. I don’t need you to remind me of that, Dr. Burgos. I know all about second chances and how precious they are, and how my daughter needs me despite her full-time nanny. I know, I know. And yet, here I am at half past midnight, eyes open and on the monitor showing a grainy black and white image of Gwenny sleeping with her arms thrown up in the surrender position, wishing to just fall asleep and call it a day. Kind of permanently. Peter, I feel for but don’t dare look, is on the other side of the bed, curled up in the fetal position. I don’t need to look to know this. I’m half expecting to see him sucking his thumb if I actually turn in his direction. And I sit up and write this all down, instead. I’m beginning to resent you, Doc—you really could be helping me with this. Sometimes a crutch is necessary; I’d give it back when I’m good and ready, I promise. I’m fully aware of how happy I should be. I should at least be happier than I am, right? Something tragic happened, but, hey, look, something good is here, instead. Take it! Let’s make the best of it, no? I’m trying, I’ll tell you that much. I am trying. Some pharmaceutical magic would surely go a long way here, but I can’t be expected to beg. I’m just saying, my mind would be quieter, and a quiet mind is a mind I’d kill for at the moment.
It wasn’t easy bringing Gwenny into this world. Harry took a couple of enthusiastic fifteen-minute amorous nights, whereas Gwenny took almost three exhausting years. They’d become mechanical, our attempts. There was some light, some humor to it when it was just us trying to become three, but, after Harry, we no longer bothered to even look at each as we did it, there were no big productions made, no words (loving, dirty, or otherwise) uttered. Forget that, I’m not sure if we even knew why we kept going. There was a goal and we were set on accomplishing it like the professionals that we are. So, every other night, like clockwork, we each did the bare minimum we knew would get the other off before curling up on our respective sides, our backs barely touching to get our requisite six hours of sleep before having to wake up at 3:30am to make it to the studio on time and wake up the rest of Bellingham Bay. Once there, makeup would be stippled on and everyone would proceed to pretend to forget that we were the couple who’d buried their son not a year ago, not two years ago, and so on. Obviously, eventually the right sperm found the right egg and ta da— Gwenny. No, not Gwen! Never Gwen! Gwenny. This pink and translucent newborn lay in my shaking arms and all I could do was blink. She looked like Harry, but blonder. Something in my throat constricted and the rest became route. I think I’d stopped looking at Peter some time around then, too. But I can’t help but wonder—what if having to fight for something this hard means you weren’t meant to have it to begin with? When does determination become arrogance?
I’m so tired, Doctor. I am not making sense. I want to fall asleep. And not wake up. Ever. Do you have anything for that? Oh, that’s right—you’d rather not medicate and mask the symptoms because you would much rather heal. Well, good luck with that. If not medication, can you at least give me a distraction? Anything to make the wheel stop.
About the Author:
Marina Raydun’s published works of fiction include a compilation of novellas One Year in Berlin/Foreign Bride, a suspense novel entitled Joe After Maya, and a two-part series, Effortless. Born in the former Soviet Union, Marina grew up in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a J.D. from New York Law School and a B.A. in history from Pace University. She is an avid music fan, a cat lover, and an enthusiastic learner of American Sign Language. Whenever she is not writing, Marina enjoys spending time with her family, catching up on Netflix, and baking.
Twitter & Instagram: @Author_MRaydun
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