Roller coaster

Page 60… in a fiction series

Miranda decided it was time to buy a house.  Life at the Petoskey City Marina was disastrous… loud music, crazy drunks, and people running around on the docks all night.  She found herself missing the stillness and strange beauty of the boat basin in Charlevoix.  And she missed the people there, too– except Niel Lipman.

By August she couldn’t wait to get out.  One morning, as a tribe of undisciplined children set off bottle rockets near her aft deck,  Miranda sat reading the local paper.  According to the business section, interest rates were at an all time low.  Miranda sipped her coffee, studied the fine print, and thought about the money she had in the bank.  Maybe it was enough to buy a home of her own…

She scanned the real estate pages, called the agent, and set up a time to look at some houses.  She fell in love with the first one, made an offer, and moved in two weeks later.  Like her marriages, Miranda didn’t waste time making important decisions.  But unlike Brian Parker Hall and Harry Stowe, this choice turned out to be perfect.

With the same joy she found in restoring her old boat, making the necessary improvements to her little house was a welcomed endeavour.  Woodwork was stripped of its thick layers of paint, stain and varnish were lovingly applied.  Wood floors were brought back to their original lustre, and the kitchen countertops were covered with ceramic tile.  It helped that Drew Becker, with his power tools and strong hands, was  experienced with this sort of thing.

Even though Miranda faithfully took her lithium every day, and shunned even the smell of alcohol, she was becoming restless, staying up late at night, excited about her next project.  Thoughts about paint colors, draperies, and leather furniture began swirling around in her head while she was trying to get to sleep.  These were warning signs of an approaching manic episode, but she was so busy at work, there was really no time to address it.

She would try her best to go to bed a little earlier, drink warm milk, and spend more time at the gym burning up all that energy.  More than anything, Miranda didn’t want Tiller to know.  He had done so much for her, she would never want to let him down. 

But Miranda secretly knew what was happening.  There were doctors and medications that could quiet the oncoming storm, save her from whatever consequences lie ahead.  But the spinning in her head felt familiar and good– like the highest roller coaster at her favorite amusement park.  Miranda wanted to ride in the front seat.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

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18 Responses to Roller coaster

  1. Jan says:

    Remodeling can become an addiction! We have done this again and again–living in a house while redoing it. I love watching old wood reveal its beauty, and unearthing architectual details hidden by layers and layers of paint.
    The trouble with riding in the front seat of the roller coaster is that you come down even faster than you went up. I was hoping Miranda would find some equilibrium, between the job with Tiller and the new house.

    • Linda says:

      It’s amazing how the smallest thing can set off a bipolar episode. Even with excellent treatment, the bridge between serenity and chaos is very fragile. P.S. Just loved your book review… you are such an inspiring writer! ; )

      • Jan says:

        Linda, thanks for your kind response. I have a doctorate in British Lit, and taught for 11 years university level, before becoming an adult Probation Officer for 4 years, and then teaching for 16 years in public schools. I had some stuff published here and there, and did a lot of presentations, at professional seminars, continuing ed, etc. I have a few more papers I plan to post at intervals, so come back soon!
        Seems like you and I have a mutual admiration for each other’s writing!

        • Linda says:

          Well for Pete’s sake, Jan… I guess that explains alot!

          Now that I know all these details, I am like BLOWN AWAY that you’re keeping up with all my silly stories… very flattered. I might have to start using spell check now and then! : )

          With your probabtion work, it’s no wonder you have an interest in addiction and mental illness issues. Can I ask what university? My dad taught at Franklin University and Columbus State for . ten yearsThat must have been a wonderful experience for you!

          I can’t wait to read more of you work. Wish I could meet you f2f. ; )

          • Jan says:

            I would love to meet F2F! If you ever come to Texas, be sure to let me know, so I can send you our phone # and directions to our cabin!
            My e-mail address is that blond (without the space), that a with the circle thingy, at hot mail dot com (in the usual format. I say it this way to keep “bots” from picking up the address. E-mail me any time, and we can have more of a “conversation”!
            I taught at Southeastern Ok. State U., and University of North Texas, as well as a couple of community colleges. Post-rad work at UNT, PhD from ACU.
            Prob. Offcr in Grayson County, Texas.
            Specialized caseload. My master’s degree had a large psych. component.

          • Linda says:

            Jan, I just know you are writing a book about all this! Every season had to be so interesting! And you didn’t even mention the fifth wheel camping years! Thanks for the contact info… I would really enjoy talking to you, too! ; )

    • Linda says:

      I think the reason it takes so many tries to get well is because the rush of a manic episode is not like anything else– not drugs, not alcohol. It reigns supreme while it lasts, so why in the world would someone with that condition show up at a doctors office and ask to be treated? Once the depravity is so grave that is seems life is over, depression sets in and treatment is welcome.

      That’s just the way it goes.

  2. ann says:

    Hi Linda

    I can also identify with the positive feelings that come from seeing something beautiful come out of what appears to be chaos. ;-) (How great is our God!!)

    I’m very happy Miranda is able to ‘control’ redecorating and remodeling. Hopefully this will help her as she tries to balance the other aspects of her life….

    *Putting on detective hat*
    Thinking Tiller will figure prominently in helping her get help :-)

    Blessings,
    ann

    • Linda says:

      I would never say anything bad about Tiller (especially because I’m having lunch with him next week!). But I think he saw what was happening and didn’t want to cross that line into my personal life. During the coming chaos, he always pushed me along, but looked the other way, too. It was a tough spot to be in.

      Yes, balance is so important, and such a struggle to hold on to. : l

  3. Linda, I love roller coasters! But it is always a disappointment when they are over much too fast. I suspect it is the same with Miranda’s impending manic episode. It’ll be fun while it lasts, but will end too quickly in disappointment. I do hope she will let Tiller in on what lies ahead because I think he would be more than willing to help. I’m tightening my seat belt – I think there might be a bumpy ride ahead in the next few installments of this story. Peace, Linda

    • Linda says:

      Here is the last page of the book: Hahaha!

      Your’re right on target about a ride that ends too quickly. One way to avoid that is to sit calmly and take deep breaths at every doctors appointment. Speak slowly. Don’t act manic, don’t get treated, and ride the roller coaster round and round.

      Yes, it gets pretty dark. But it paints a true picture of what bipolar disorder looks like. ; )

  4. Theresa says:

    I have mixed feelings for Miranda at this point. Part of me is happy that she has bought the house even if the decision to buy it was somewhat hasty. If I had been a neighbor I would have thought, “Oh, I have a new neighbor, and she is fixing the house up with such zeal! I am so glad she has come to our neighborhood.” I identify with the mania that was driving her to take on this project. I get that way too, but when I burn out it doesn’t hurt me as bad, because I have not worked much outside of the home these past 25 years, and I have an understanding husband. I also do not have the same degree of what Miranda suffers from. I think my case is much milder. But still I really can sympathize with her.

    Hugs,

    Theresa

    • Linda says:

      I’m not sure about Miranda, either. She can really make a mess of things, even if the landscaping looks great.

      Thank you, Theresa, for your compassion. Even though I haven’t had a full blown episode in twenty years, there is a condition called “hypo manic”, which means that symptons are breaking through, but not at the extreme level, or for the duration, that defines a manic episode. They usually pass without medication but can still create plenty of chaos. Thanks for a comment to ponder… : )

  5. Larry Who says:

    “…Miranda wanted to ride in the front seat…”

    Great last sentence.

    What makes a great story is when the reader gets involved with the character. Then, when warning signs of impending conflict flare up, you don’t want the character to ignore the warnings. You want her (or him) to pay attention and avoid the trouble.

    But my advice to every author is to ignore the warnings and push the pedal to the metal, breaking through the warning signs so that the character flies off the cliff and crashes onto the rocks below. This is what keeps readers turning the pages.

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s turn the page.

    • Linda says:

      “Pedal to the metal… and crashing to the rocks below.” My therapist is concerned that I’m even going to write about this stuff… but I agree that pushing through the limits might make an interesting read.

      Very cool that now I’m an “author”. Thank you! ; )

  6. Debbie says:

    Oh boy . . .I have to follow Larry’s comment? What can I say now? :)
    For me, there was something in her knowing , really, what was going on . .. but it feeling familiar and good. A lesson for me in this, Linda! Really, really good writing! You keep getting better and better! God bless you! Buckling up with Linda K!

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