sandandwater: (secrets)

Spring, 1990

Eight years old and deeply serious about the task at hand, Phillipa Kerr has settled herself behind the building her mother insists is ‘The Carriage House’ but all of the grounds people refer to as ‘the garage’. After all, it is where the cars are parked. This has assured her a certain amount of freedom from strict supervision. Her mother won’t bother to look for her here; it’s filthy and smells of motor oil and other unpleasantness. It’s perfect.

Not that she cares for the dirt or the scents herself; the prissy child has brought amongst her needed supplies an old linen tablecloth to sit upon. She will not dirty her play clothes, not that she can really ‘play’ at anything in a lace-collared blouse or penny loafers whose soles have no traction. But she can create. This is why the rest of her things are so very necessary. The candles she took from the piano room, the book of matches she lifted from the butler’s pantry and the sheets of card stock that came from an artists’ kit she’d received at Christmas.

The little redheaded girl has no use for charcoal pencils and palettes of watercolor paints. Pastels weren’t very interesting either since no one would permit her to scribble the walkways with them. The paper and canvases had potential but really, it is the packing materials that are the most useful. It is what she will use as a foundation, a place to work her magic.

And to little Pippa, it certainly is magic while she melts down the candles, pours the colored wax and shapes it with her nimble fingers. She tests what happens when trying to control the flow of the hot liquid, dribble it and make it splatter. Her observations lead to decisions and new ideas, plans to make her visions concrete. The seemingly free-form little sculptures are exactly as she intends them to be.

It’s a shame she can’t keep any of them, her mother would have fits if she found out that the girl was playing with fire and garbage. Pippa keeps her artwork for as long as she dares (this is roughly as long as it takes for one of the maids to come looking for her, calling her name from across the lawn) and then she carefully folds them inside of the cardstock along with the burnt matches and candle-stubs. There’s a large green waste bin behind the garage—she likes the word better, and this is where she places everything save for the tablecloth.

The linen is left on the ground, a small act of defiance. Undeniable proof that something was here.
sandandwater: (with marcus)

I posted this once before, but here I am as a baby.

A toddler.

A teenager.

and now for something a little bit different... )
sandandwater: (new york girl)
Picture meme round TWO:
Post a picture of yourself under the age of five.
Post these instructions with your picture.

I'm not doing round one but here are a couple of baby pictures:

Yes, that's part of the silver tea service I am playing with.

sandandwater: (big shades)
don’t want to lose it // it must be worth losing // if it is worth something
(Tori Amos – ‘Talula’)

don’t want to lose it

She loved regardless of the possible foolishness involved. She loved completely, with her whole self. She did what she had been raised to believe she shouldn’t, disregarding the restrictions placed on her by others. It also freed her in ways most people will never imagine or even comprehend. To this end, love was the tool that allowed her to become.

it must be worth losing

The second time it was a different kind of love. Love in progress, on the move. In the process of changing and attempting to define herself. A mother to her child—a child she would never know. The only way she could bring herself to feel, to care. She let it go, gave it away. Her choice, her decision, their acceptance. Love was a gift that allowed her to share.

if it is worth something

She found love again, halfway around the world. Love of herself, her passion and talent. Love of a new language and land. The simple act of creation and in destruction. Discipline and control, in escape and frivolity. She learned from the best, flourished under tutelage, made the knowledge her own. Love was a lesson in mastery and contradiction.

Pippa Kerr//Last Call//188 (not including lyrics)
sandandwater: (come hither)
“Happy Birthday November’s Sweethearts, Rory and Pippa”

November’s a great month.

Same sign, different vintage.

Just think, a few days earlier and you could very well have been a birthday present of mine.

Well, I’m glad I wasn’t. You deserve to have the day to yourself.

Sharing with you wouldn’t be so bad.

No, Ro.


She sighed as she stood there looking at the sheet cake on the bar before her. She’d expressly asked they
do the joint birthday celebration. It wasn’t from being selfish or trying to put a damper on anyone’s good cheer. Not in the least. No, Pippa simply hadn’t celebrated the day of her birth in recent years and had no real desire to start again. It was just a day.

A day that paid homage not just to the redheaded waitress but to the woman who birthed her. Someone Pippa had no intention of honoring in any way, shape or form. Whitney Kerr didn’t deserve accolades for bringing a child into the world, not if you asked Phillipa.

As she picked up a sharp knife, Pippa frowned, lips forming a pout that was anything but childish. The expression was full of hurt and determination as she used the fine edge of the blade to lift and remove the unwanted parts of the frosted message from the cake. Starting with the letters of her name, extricating and then smearing them across a paper towel, she thought about the last birthday she had been forced to commemorate.


Her mother was still trying to keep up appearances, uphold the pretense of a perfect family. Pippa wasn’t. Hadn’t been since she’d returned from college, brokenhearted and pregnant. By November, her normally slight frame had begun to already show signs of pregnancy: fuller breasts, a swell to the curve of her belly, thicker, shinier hair.

Her mother’s solution had been to tell people that it was the dreaded freshman ten that refused to leave, and on this particular occasion, had forced Pippa into a body restricting, breath stealing corseted affair of a dress. It was physically uncomfortable, something she suspected her mother intended from the outset, and emotionally painful. She was hated and more, the child she was carrying was abhorred.

And yet, at just nineteen, Pippa hadn’t quite been pushed to the point of not wanting to redeem herself in the eyes of her parents. She meekly went along with the dress, the angry looks and accusatory tones, agreed to the dinner party and the show of wanting a birthday party.

The guest list had been typical of her mother’s soirees: business partners belonging to her father’s firm and their spouses, women she played bridge with at the country club, the minor local celebrity of the day…no one from Pippa’s so-called circle of friends. Not that it mattered; she hadn’t spoken to any of them in months, most of them still away a school. Where she should have been. Another point her mother belabored at every turn.

It had been a tiring bore, a formal dinner affair with multiple courses of foods that turned her stomach. Not that she had much room to eat what with the bodice of her dress cutting her in half, but Pippa attempted to choke down the caviar, the lamb, the nauseating snails in garlic sauce. She did refuse to so much as sip her drink during the champagne toast in her honor. Some things she just wouldn’t be a party to.

Under the guise of feeling overwhelmed she excused herself, taking brief refuge in the kitchen and accepting the only genuine well wishes of the night—the ones from the house staff. Her reprieve was short-lived, her mother fast on her heels, coming into the kitchen only moments later, needing to be a conscientious hostess and assure that the cake would be served on time.

Or more to the point, to take yet another shot at her daughter.

They had stood on opposite sides of the kitchen island, perfectly decorated cake situated between them, candles yet to be lit. It wasn’t until she dared meet her mother’s cold gaze that the older woman spoke.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, would you look at that?” She gestured to the standard birthday wishes written on the cake’s surface, “They misspelled ‘whore’.”


Pippa studied her handiwork; it didn’t look bad now that she’d placed candles and a few decorative icing flourishes on the cake. “Happy Birthday, November’s Sweetheart, Rory”

No one would need to know that the cake had been doctored, corrected, undefiled.

Rory Stone was someone Pippa would gladly celebrate.

Pippa Kerr//Last Call//770 words
sandandwater: (hot stuff)
Don't say it's easy to follow a process // There's nothing harder than keeping a promise

(Editors – ‘Blood’)

Bene, bene. Magnifico, bella.
” Alessandro murmured in quiet approval as he stood behind Pippa, absently twisting and turning her curly red locks in his hands, tucking them into the back of her shirt to keep her hair from being further singed in the fire’s heat. He was like that, gentle and quiet when she did something right. One little mistake and he’d be screaming in her ear, gesticulating wildly and cursing her into the next decade. He had a flair for the dramatic, to say the least. “
Per favore
, Pippa…keep going, do not take the time to think, just feel it,
. Feel the pull…let gravity,
si. Si
, like that.

She’d been there, in Italy, apprenticing with this man for nearly two years. So much learned and still feeling like so much more she needed to know. She had the basics, understood the process but now came the hard part. Learning to trust her instincts, knowing when to break the rules to let creativity reign.

Faster, hurry…” He was reaching for the pipe then, not controlling, merely assisting as she spun the heavy rod. Keeping it balanced for her, his hands so much larger and stronger. Calluses thicker. His sense of timing perfected. “Look at it, Pippa!
See what you make here,
la mia stella brillante

Pippa laughed at the praise, laughed more at grin on the old man’s face as they worked in tandem, watching as the glass thinned and flared, fanned out from the centrifugal force they were creating in the sweltering studio. Faster, they turned the pontil, hand over hand hers and his, moving in sync. “
Sei pazzo, Signore !
You’re crazy!”

Later that evening, hours later, they sat on the terrazzo steps that made up the front of Alessandro’s home, drinking wine bottled from vineyards belonging to his sister in Tuscany and sharing a loaf of bread baked fresh by his neighbor. Between them sat the vessel she had been spinning. A platter of vibrant colors, the process of marvering it—rolling it over a marble slab layered in chemicals to add color to the glass, all Pippa’s own doing. She’d done it all herself: the initial gathering of molten glass, forming the first bubbled shape with breath from her own lungs, the following gathers, back and forth to the marver, reheating it in the glory hole. All he had done was watch. Watch and spin as her second pair of hands.

That had been her job for the longest time. Today, master handed over the reins to the apprentice and let her take control. And she’d done
. He was proud, she could tell by the speculative glances he kept giving the platter. It had only been in the annealing oven for a few hours, the glass so thin that it didn’t take long for it to gradually cool. Very tricky, what she had done. Avoided the stress fractures common to a piece so delicate.

Mia bella
…you have the touch. A gift. It’s not only a talent, not just a skill. A gift.
” He took her hands in his, thumbs rubbing over the rough skin of her palms before lifting each, in turn, to his lips for a tender kiss. “A gift.”

, Alessandro…thank you. I couldn’t possibly—“

“No, no. You do not thank me for this, Phillipa. You thank the Mother Mary, you thank the Holy Father. You thank these.” He lifted her hands again, squeezed them tightly. “This gift I did not give to you, you had it all along. I see it. I knew. When you came around my shop. When you with that awful American Italian asked me for work. When you didn’t cry every time I yell at you. When you get burned and you kept working. I knew,

She smiled at him then, always picking on her Italian even as his English sometimes left something to be desired. She never once commented on it, even then she opted for, “I had a good teacher.”

“The best.” Oh, that machismo. He had it in spades. He dropped one of her hands to run a finger along the rim of her glass. “This is very good. Very lovely.”

Releasing her other hand he lifted the platter and looked her right in the eye. “But is only one piece. Promise you can do it again, just the same.”

She bit her bottom lip as she returned his gaze, blue eyes fixed on dark brown. It was a challenge; she recognized it. Pippa had been flying high all evening with a sense of accomplishment but he’d never let her get too full of herself. Alessandro was a good teacher for a reason. “I promise.”

.” He let go of her platter and watched it shatter across the terrazzo, a million glimmering slivers catching the moonlight. “Tomorrow.”

“I promise.”

Pippa Kerr//Last Call//802
sandandwater: (secrets)
Nineteen years old, privileged and cultured.

“It hurts! Oh, my God…make it just stop!” Completely undone and screaming in pain, eyes wide with fear. All the prep schools, private lessons, moneyed friends and world travel couldn’t change the fact that child birth was a messy, painful and at times terrifying undertaking.

Especially if you were a nineteen year old girl who was facing this head on and alone.

Her choice, of course. This had been her choice. Pippa tried to remember that as a nurse slid an arm behind her back, pulled her into a half seated position. Another one was pushing Pippa’s leg back even as the girl grabbed at her own knees.

Bear down, push…breathe. Scream. No, breathe. Breathing was more helpful. And for God’s sake…PUSH.

A scream, a wail, a primal grunt and then a gasp as she collapsed back against the sweat-soaked sheets—it was done. She knew because she suddenly felt hollow. She hurt but it wasn’t with fierce intensity. And there was a baby crying somewhere in the room.

She kept her eyes closed, didn’t want to see. But oh, she could hear. Angry. That’s what Pippa thought, the baby sounded angry. She. It was a girl. That much could be gathered from the other voices. She was angry.

I’m sorry.

And Pippa was very sorry. Sorry that she was here, that her life had turned out this way and sorry that she wasn’t keeping this angry, screaming girl. That’s why she didn’t want to look at the child; afraid she’d renege on the adoption that had been put in place months prior. Maybe she was sorry for that too.

And then it was quiet, the baby gone. Taken to the nursery perhaps or to meet her new parents. Pippa didn’t know and she didn’t ask. She was tired, bone-weary and emotionally drained, and yet she wasn’t done here. Not yet. She gave in and followed the nurse’s commands, the doctor’s instructions. One more push to deliver the after birth.

What comes after the birth? No more. That’s what Pippa decided. No. More. No one would tell her what to do any more. No one would take away her choices, paint her into corners and nobody was going to take anything else away from her.

No more.
sandandwater: (come hither)

(trŭst) n.
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

2. Custody; care.

3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.

4. a. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one: violated a public trust.
b. One in which confidence is placed.

5. Reliance on something in the future; hope.

Trust is a funny thing, isn’t it? Just look at the definitions there. There’s one event in my life that all five of those meanings brings to mind. It’s not something I speak about to anyone. Not that it’s a great secret, it isn’t. It’s simply a private thing. A choice I made that isn’t up for debate so I think it’s better to not volunteer information about it for the most part. If you need to know, I’ve surely told you.

[locked from everyone save for Rory, who does know]

1. I trusted them with the most precious part of me: a child that was created, at least on my part, from an act of love and selflessness. I met them (and so many other prospective parents) long before I gave birth to that six pound, three ounce baby girl. There was just something about them from that first meeting that struck me, let me know I was doing the right thing in selecting them out of the sea of virtual strangers.

2. This one really goes without saying. They adopted her. Made her theirs. Gave her a family and the home she deserves.

3. I hope that she gives them the same. The loving bond between parent and child that they so longed for.

4. Me. I had to trust myself. And I do. I know I made the right, best, decision when I decided to continue the pregnancy. I know I did the right thing by giving her up as well. I’m happy that something beautiful and perfect came out of what turned into a lot of heartache. I’m so happy that I could change the lives of that couple for the better, that I could give that to a baby as well. And I know I did the best thing for myself by letting go and giving myself permission to start my life anew.

5. I trust that one day she’ll understand my choice, that I did it for her. Should her parents ever choose to tell her that she’s adopted, I trust that they will also tell her that she was special enough, loved enough by me to be given the best life I could assure for her. And that was the one she has now, with the people that wanted a child more than anything else and they wanted mine.
sandandwater: (secrets)
She takes the chairs, one by one, from the tabletops and turns them right side up.

Pippa grew up in a house; some would call it an estate, away from the city and is the only child to a pair of image conscious socialites. Old money. She called them Mother and Father, never Mommy and Daddy, not that she saw them overmuch. Most of her days were spent with a nanny, a maid, a teacher or instructor. Some sort of handler for the child. That’s what was done, is done. Turning out a refined and seemingly proper young lady, well learned in all things sophisticated.

Plugs in the juke box and selects a few songs, letting canned music fill the empty bar.

She had suitable hobbies: played the piano, learned to ride a horse. She could speak French and discuss the latest polo match. Time was spent at the country club. There was a formal debutant ball when she turned sixteen. She was presented to society as if some sort of parental achievement. Minor royalty in an insular little world. She was sent on a tour of Europe to see the right places, appreciate the right art, and drink the correct wines.

Ties an apron around her waist.

Servants did for her even the most trivial of things. She couldn’t have told you where the laundry room was let alone how you should go about washing something soiled. Food was prepared, beds were made, messes tidied. Dust, dirt and detritus were never part of her world. Everything was clean and polished, shining and if not new, well kept.

Her hair gets pulled back from her face even if a few wild ringlets refuse to be tamed.

She kept the company her parents chose for her. Friends were the children of people of influence. Her confidences and connections parlayed for her father’s benefit or her mother’s whims. She wore the newest fashions and wore them well; it would never do to look slovenly or unkempt. Dignity, always dignity.

Notepad is tucked into a pocket, pen just beside.

Going away to attend university (the proper one, chosen for her of course) was a small taste of freedom from the constricting environment in which she’d been raised. Certainly the things she did were filtered back to her parents by classmates (by way of their parents) and faculty. By Pippa herself, even if she omitted selected details. Still, it was freeing and new. Sides of life she never encountered before. Messy and loud. Chaotic. There were parties where the music was rock not waltz. Food that was cheap and greasy not catered. And of course the studies and the work, all done with diligence. That was to be expected.

Wipes down tray after tray of clean glasses, ensuring there are no spots and streaks.

Then there was him. He was worldly in a way that she wasn’t. Not as high class or sophisticated but he’d had experiences that Pippa found thrilling and intriguing. He found her naive and charming. She was in love, he was in lust and she didn’t know the difference. It was a heady and joyful thing to her, it made her finally feel the sophistication she was told she possessed, having this secret lover. It was something of the adult world, after all.

Someone else is adjusting the lighting, making her laugh with the playful strobe light effects on the bar.

And secret he stayed even after it was forced to an end. A professor that impregnates a student isn’t all that unique, even if it is unethical. When she told him she was going to have his baby, he told her the truth: he didn’t love her and she wasn’t the only one he’d been seeing. Not that he’d deliberately deceived her in the first place. He never made promises or confessed to anything he didn’t mean. Pippa did love him and though it broke her heart, this hard lesson in life, she refused to tell anyone his identity. She’d protect him, his career. His tenure. Why should his life be ruined over something that she’d thought was beautiful while it lasted?

Citrus fruits are washed and then sliced into wedges, placed in bins full of ice.

Her parents were enraged, embarrassed, appalled. How could she be so thoughtless, clueless, careless, and stupid? And what would their friends think? Her father’s associates? A bastard child created (as they imagined in the most lurid of ways) and she didn’t even have a respectable man she could pin it on. Her mother tried to be a diplomat about things, suggested Pippa be adult and ‘take care of it.’ Make her first experience with love a dirty little secret best forgotten, all traces of it erased, disposed of like so much waste.

She sorts the cash register drawer, makes sure there is tape and ink in the printer.

She was anything but clueless or careless and never has she been heartless. She wouldn’t do as her parents wanted but she also refused to use the child as an act of defiance. She did see the pregnancy through and with the calm acceptance and knowledge that she wasn’t ready for this life change, couldn’t be what this child, their child, deserved, a little girl was put up for adoption. It was an act of love and selflessness, sacrifice to be sure, but her heart had already been wounded; now it would need more time to heal.

Plasters a smile upon her pretty face, unlocks the front doors.

She never did go back to the college; she didn’t want to face him again. Her family and so-called friends simply assumed she was embarrassed and ashamed. She wasn’t, not ever. But she did have some pride. She wouldn’t go back to that privileged cage she grew up in, not when it came with condemnation and more stipulations now that she was a scandal of her own making. She took the only good advice she’d been given about the whole affair and on her grandmother’s urging, Pippa spent time in Italy. Venice, to be exact. She studied and apprenticed in the art of glass making. She had a natural talent for it and the patience along with the ability to excise extreme control necessary. In front of the fiery hot furnaces she not only shaped melted sand and chemicals into beautiful art, she shaped herself. The woman she wanted to be said good-bye to the girl that she had been.

It’s going to be a good night.


sandandwater: (Default)

October 2009

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