Bullet Points 2 – The Fire Consumes

Posted: June 23, 2016 in journal, Women, Writing

Night Fire Lg

Night Fire, oil, 30×24

“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves”
― Laura EsquivelLike Water for Chocolate……

 

The story continues……….

-The call came on my cell while I driving across the bridge into New Orleans to visit Nan. My aunt was frantic, tears breaking up her voice. I must come immediately. Arriving 5 minutes later I could hear the shouting from outside, it was HIS voice. I entered though the back door as I always did, and saw my aunt cowered down in a chair, her face hidden in her hands with Capitan leaning over her, bombarding her with words. She would flinch as if the words were like a whip.

“What in the hell do you think you are doing?” I yelled from the doorway. “Get away from her!”

He looked up his face flushed with anger brows knitted and very slowly in a dark voice he said, “You!”

I moved myself between him and my aunt, stood my ground and met him word for word and then requested he leave which started a whole new round of insults, about this being “his” house. Ah, the house, the great eternal bone of contention! I suggested again he leave or I would call the police and have him thrown out, he laughed. I called the police.

They came and escorted him out under much duress and protest. This was the Garden District so the police were very polite. He stood on the sidewalk, still ranting while my aunt and I stood on the porch. “Leave her alone,” I told him, “or I will get a restraining order against you.”

He laughed and said; “I will see you dead or at the bottom of some jail before that ever happens.

“Either way, dear sir, on your grave I will dance.” These, my final words to him would one day in the not too distant future haunt him to the extent that he would cut me out of his will and demand that no one tell me when, where or how he died or where his ashes laid, and no one ever did. But I am ahead of myself.

My poor aunt was decimated, distraught, near hysterical, her own brother, how could he, what was the matter with everybody. I stayed silent and just comforted her the best I could and swore again that I would do everything within my power to protect her from him and anyone else.

– Meanwhile…….

We had put our house in New Mexico up for sale and within a week there was a bidding war and we sold the property for triple what we paid for it 14 years before. That made us happy. I then notified the attorney we were ready to proceed with the purchase of the Lacombe property.

Just one week later I would get a call from the attorney saying the family was taking me to court over the purchase of the property. In a little dark corner of Louisiana’s Napoleonic Law there is a tiny clause that says the “curator” of an estate (moi) cannot sell any portion of said property to themselves. The attorney thought we could fight this as it was a minor clause and what was transpiring would not take money away from the estate but add to it since I would be paying a fair market price. In addition, the property would be sold to my husband, not necessarily directly to me, and it would not be in my name.

Consequently, the judge upheld the law and I was denied the right to buy the property. We were in effect homeless. If I had really wanted to stay, I should have done what my grandmother did nearly 100 years ago and that was to have someone else buy the property and then sell it to me. But I took this event, piled it on top of everything else that was happening and saw it as an omen.

– Thus began a six-month period where I would be dragged into court by Capitan’s attorney, saying he was also representing my aunt as family, almost bi-weekly for some cause or another, each trying to dispose me as curator and prove my falsehood. They failed each time as I kept meticulous records and my attorney could counter any allegations. It began to be pure harassment and countersuits were filed accordingly.

– Being homeless after having had a home for so long, was working its way into my soul. My energy levels were dropping, my desire to even finish the Lacombe property were subsiding, I was sinking into greater and greater depression, seeing my aunt less often as she was now “busy” all the time it seemed. We began taking 2 and 3-day jaunts to different locations across the US, looking for a place to live. Having lost our real home we were not emotionally able to go back to New Mexico.

– My work as curator was winding down with all the properties sold, except for the Lacombe property where we were living and renovating. Nan’s affairs in order and she was maintaining an even keel, I had more time on my hands and was able to dedicate more time to working on the house. We had of course already decided it was time to leave and find that new home, so when I received a formal letter from my aunt’s first attorney I was taken aback. The letter stated that new arrangements had been reached by the formal beneficiary and from this point on I could not remain at the Lacombe property unless I started paying rent to the estate.

I do not think anyone except me heard the resounding crack in my armour. I remember I started shaking, and then crying, and then pulling myself together and then crying again, and again, and again. I was collapsing, but still holding it together. Notified my attorney who notified my aunt’s attorney that this was against the original agreement with Nan and my aunt and there were witnesses, aside from not be legally binding since I was the curator not my aunt who had no authority in anything. My aunt’s attorney sited another obscure case where one party was laid incapacitated the other two had the ability to change the agreement. Although verbal agreements between parties are legal, this was something that was never was put to paper since there were witnesses.

I finally reached my aunt on the phone and she cried saying she just could not take this anymore, she didn’t understand anything and she never wanted this to happen. I assured her there would be nothing more to take; we would leave her to her family.

We put the Lacombe property up for sale.

 

– On a weekend trip to Florida, there in St. Petersburg, my husband ran into an old business acquaintance and we began to think sunshine and ocean and decided it would be here we would make our new home.

I was still being dragged into court for one thing or another, sometimes only for 10 min before the case was dismissed, but it continued as harassment, no matter the counter suits as my family had powerful connections. My aunt would tell me I could just forget about paying any rent and please stay…..but I had been broken and there was nothing left to do but move on. Besides the sale of the Lacombe property was in full swing with buyers showing interest.

– The only thing that was not improving was my mental health and I finally sought help from a professional, who confirmed what I already knew, I had to get out of the vipers nest and go on with my life.

The property sold at a fair market price, we found a house in Florida, we packed up our cares and woes, sold everything else, and we drove away to a new life.

– I would travel back to New Orleans once a week for just a day and spend it with Nan. I no longer had contact with my aunt.

On one of these visits, I would be called into one last private meeting with all the attorneys, my aunt and my cousin Nora, as they tried once again to prove I had stolen thousands of dollars. The conversations were as vile as the accusations and it went on for nearly and hour when my aunt finally burst into tears and said, “Stop it now, I can no longer do this to someone I love as a daughter!”

– Two months later during my visit, Nan had one of her “awakenings” and asked me, “Is everything taken care of?” I said yes. “Then would it be all right if I left now?” she asked. Tears formed in my eyes and I said, “Whenever you are ready my dear, I know they are all waiting for you.” “Yes, they are.” She responded and then faded back into that other world. Five days later the nursing home called me and told me she had died in her sleep. I called the funeral home and make the arrangements and was back in New Orleans to lay her to rest. No one came to the wake and as I told the funeral director to go ahead and shut everything down and proceed with the burial my aunt and my cousin Nora appeared.

My aunt was in a wheel chair. I gasped at her appearance. It was obvious she had not been in beauty pallor for quite sometime, her clothes were disheveled, she did not even have lipstick on, I felt my heart crunch. “What have you done to her?” I asked Nora. I won’t repeat the hateful and vile conversation that followed, it just broke my heart to see what was wrought. I think Nora who was behind everything, along with my sister and Capitan, brought my aunt to the wake just in spite, because it was apparent they had stopped all her medication and she had little or no idea where she was and what was going on.

It was over now. After the burial I went to the attorney’s office signed the final papers transferring everything to my aunt and flew back to really begin a new life.

 

That was in 1997. From 1997 to 2007 I opened a new studio and dedicated my life to my art. The rest is history.

About two years after we left, I felt a great ripple in the force and knew my aunt had died. A month later I confirmed it by looking up the obituaries for the New Orleans Times Picayune. It was just a small insignificant notice. It makes my heart cry to this day for the love lost, and what my ‘family’ wrought in their greed and jealously.

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Comments
  1. Patty Greene says:

    It is so very sad how people waste time on silly things instead of putting their energy into loving each other & taking care of each other. You deserved better treatment, so sorry to hear how you were treated.

    Patty G.

    Liked by 1 person

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