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The Poem (standard:romance, 3521 words)
Author: AnnmarieAdded: Feb 17 2004Views/Reads: 1818/1173Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Kaye Campbell's poem travels 1400 miles and over 15 years to bring back her lost love.



Ann Marie Cologna 

Kaye Campbell drove her red Toyota into the garage.  After turning off
the ignition, she exited to the lingering smells of gasoline and 
yesterday's grass clippings emitted by the lawn mower stored there.  
Wearily she moved to the back of the car and opened the trunk.  “I hate 
grocery shopping.” she thought to herself.   Kaye was not a planner, 
and a whole week of meal planning while contending with broken carts 
and grumpy old men who slowly roamed the aisles of the grocery store 
were not her idea of an acceptable Friday night diversion. 

“Please help me carry the groceries to the kitchen.” she charged her
eighteen-year-old daughter, Laura.  Laura was a good kid and usually 
responsive to her mother's requests, but she also carried an aversion 
to grocery shopping.  A groan escaped Laura's lips as she exited the 
car and met her mother at the trunk. 

While Kaye grabbed the handles of a plastic bag, Laura gazed out the
garage door and down the length of the driveway. “Mom, there is a man 
standing at the end of our driveway and he is staring at us.” she 
whispered. “What?” Kaye questioned exasperated while she extracted her 
upper body from the trunk.  As Kaye straightened herself, her eyes 
rested on a tall, brawny man dressed in heavy boots, jeans and a white 
tee shirt.  His hair was the color of parched grass and his tanned skin 
the color of light caramel.  At first Kaye stood there confused by his 
presence.  She felt there was something familiar about the man, but she 
could not match his countenance to her memory.  Kaye's gaze continued 
an upward scan and as she made contact with his blue eyes, realization 
caused her to drop the plastic bag she had been holding in her clenched 
fingers.  Suddenly, she was galvanized by a fifteen year old memory of 
the first time she had met the stranger now standing at her driveway. 

His name was Stephen Brentwood.  Kaye was only twenty-two and married to
Scott Campbell, Laura's father.  Stephen was just nineteen and they had 
met in Louisville, Kentucky.  To understand the relationship that Kaye 
had with Stephen requires an understanding of the relationship Kaye had 
with Scott Campbell. 

Scott and Kaye married when she was eighteen years old.  Six months
later Laura was born.  Shortly after her Laura's birth, Kaye returned 
to work as a cashier at Whitney Food Stores, a large grocery chain that 
dotted the mid-west and filtered just south over the Mason-Dixon Line.  
The pay was good, and Kaye enjoyed conversing with the steady stream of 
customers that rolled through her checkout. 

Three years later, Kaye was still conversing with those same customers. 
Scott, employed at the Jefferson Distilleries, had graduated from 
sampling the liquors at work to full-blown alcoholism.  As the control 
over his life waned, Kaye endured waxing verbal and physical abuse.  To 
complicate her predicament, Kaye's father was transferred to 
Connecticut removing the only family she had in Kentucky.  She was 
frightened and ashamed of the marriage between her and her fear.  Upon 
this canvas, Stephen Brentwood entered. 

Stephen was assigned to Kaye as a trainee, and he spent the first few
weeks at the end of Kaye's checkout station bagging the groceries she 
placed on the conveyor.  He was tall and lean with none of the bulk 
that is usually added to a man during his twenties.  This was his first 
job outside of his family's farm, so Kaye became protective of her 
charge.  Stephen, although shy, was affable and conversed easily about 
life on his parent's farm in Oldham County.  His plans were to 
supplement his income by working at Whitney Foods while he took night 
classes at the University of Louisville to obtain a business degree.  
Stephen's good manners and understated confidence belied his youth, and 
his quiet country wisdom stood in stark contrast to the 
self-destruction and foolishness Kaye found at home. 

Marion Carrolton, the fifty-year old manager of the frozen food
department had recommended Stephen for the trainee's position and as 
she and Stephen's parents were old friends, Marion felt a 
responsibility to oversee Stephen's employment.  Subsequently she was 

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