Leona, Pt. 1
She was, by all accounts, a miserable woman. Middle-aged, short, broad and strong, with full cheeks and fuller hair, she acted as if the world revolved around her or she was the only person of merit on it. With Ralph (her second husband), she enjoyed more than her fair share of Jack Daniels. Her vernacular was laced with enough profanity to arouse the most callous of shoremen and she had a mean streak to match. She was a caricature, the type of woman that would pinch small children for amusement.
In 1976, she found herself alone. Ralph, an uncle to Paul, had died of liver disease. She had alienated most of her family, and (as the story goes) she had very little to live for. She did not self-medicate like she had twenty years earlier. Instead, she stayed in her home with 3 cats, rarely leaving the house but to shop for groceries. Her only contacts were Paul (an honorable man who had promised his uncle that he would care for her) and Paul’s mother, Ruth. Her life was consumed by emptiness and devoid of meaning or purpose, until the spring of 1977.
On March 11th of that year, a child was born. The son of Paul, the boy became her beacon, lighting a path once ignored or unseen, he was her last opportunity to make things right. The boy would give her purpose and a reason to live.
He would also abandon her, turning his back when she needed him most.