I’ll be assisting Trish with a presentation on Saturday October 3RD on the October Book and Business Bonanza and you can meet her by following and joining us on Facebook: https://fb.me/e/1Q29cbuRE
And now, Part 2 of her time travel series.
By: Trish Hubschman
The following is the second part of a two-part series, the first part called Blind, which we read a couple weeks ago.
November 3, 2013
That was the date on the front page of this morning’s Boston Globe, Braille edition. Was I reading it right? I slid my fingers across the line three times and the result was the same. The present date was not in my lifetime! I came to Perkins eight months ago in 1early March, 1850. According to the date on the newspaper, it was nearly one hundred and sixty-five years later.
“Anything interesting happening out there?” Emma asked, placing her food tray down on the table. A chair squeaked as she pulled it out. Emma was my Personal Instructor in the present day at Perkins. She was okay, though I couldn’t confide in her the way I did with Samantha, my personal Perkins instructor from 1850.
“I just started reading the paper,” I told Anna. “So, I’m still in the dark about current events.”
Emma chuckled. She changed the subject, talking while munching her food. “How’s Dr. Andrews? Are you seeing him today?”
I knew what she was asking. It was more than just professional between me and Drake, Dr. Andrews. We’d become good friends in the four months I’d been his patient. Two weeks ago, I underwent the first eye surgery. Like with all the tests he’d done, Drake explained the procedure to me in detail. I didn’t understand any of it. I’m not stupid but I’m not from this century either. I nodded, smiled and put my full faith in Dr. Drake Andrews.
“Your eyeballs are perfect,” Drake teased, helping me to sit up after the operation. My head felt heavy and I was dizzy. I’d been awake through the whole thing and saw step by step what was going on. It was terrifying. My eyes had to be open, though I didn’t feel anything. “If the astigmatism doesn’t come back, and I haven’t seen a case where it has, it’ll make adjustment easier when we begin taking the scar tissue off.” He didn’t want to do that yet, not for a few weeks.
“Drake is picking me up in about an hour,” I told Emma, reading the time on my Braille wristwatch. Foreseeing her next question, I held my hand up. “All I know is that we’re going for a ride. Where we land up, is up to Drake.” We both laughed.
“You’ll have fun with the great doctor,” Emma teased.
I had a question for her. “What are you doing at the school so early on a Saturday morning? You live off-campus.”
She nodded. “I do but I was here so late last night doing paperwork, I decided just to stay over. It was easier.”
It made sense. “Well, I hope your family didn’t miss you too much,” I said.
Emma chuckled. “Speaking of families, I’d love to know more about yours, Margaret. Maybe sometime we can get together outside of Perkins and do some girl stuff. I’d love for you to see my condo.”
I narrowed my eyes. That was another word I didn’t know. I’m intrigued by Drake’s motorized carriage, or car. He has what’s called a Mercedes convertible. I ran my hands along it. It was smooth and sleek. The excitement welled up in me. Drake was excited too.
“Would you like to get in and go for a ride?” he asked.
I turned wide eyes at him. Of course, that’s what I wanted to do but how did this thing go? I couldn’t ask him. It would look silly. “That would be very nice,” I replied, trying to keep my tone light. I found the door handle and yanked it open so fast that I lost my balance and fell backwards, right into Drake Andrews arms. it felt warm and cozy, but then embarrassment surged in me. “Oh, I’m so sorry. How clumsy of me.”
After that, Drake helped me to my feet and into the car. He reached over me and buckled a strap across my chest and middle. I looked up at him with querying eyes. “It’s a safety belt,” he explained. “These babies can go much too fast and be far too dangerous,” he said, slapping the dashboard. “Stay here. I’ll run around and get in on my side,” which he did and we were off, with the top down.
He took me on a tour of his beloved city, Boston, telling me with great pride about the sites he was showing me. Some of them I knew, like the Boston Tea Party and Battle of Lexington and Concord. Drake was talking about the Civil War. I was interested but confused and saddened. My mind must have wandered. Drake interrupted my thoughts. “You okay?” he asked.
I jumped. “Yes, I’m fine. There’s so much history here, it’s overwhelming.”
“True,” he said. We were rolling along smoothly. The wind was whipping my hair all over the place. It was both exciting and terrifying. “Oh, by the way, I forgot to ask,” he went on. “Did you see the bronze bust of Helen Keller in the lobby of Perkins?”
I smiled. Drake Andrews seemed to be testing me, though I’m not sure why. “I ran my hands over the bust countless times since I got to this century. I’d also read a lot of material in the school’s library on her. I answered that I had and it was lovely.
After our ride, Drake and I had lunch at his house. We sat at a patio table in a screened-in porch. It was cozy, bright, sunny and, despite the chill outside, warm in there. Drake set two salads and glasses of wine on the table, then sat down in the chair beside mine.
Before I could pick up my fork, Drake reached out and grasped my hand. I was startled by the depth of the mood. “Tell me about you?” he urged. “Who are you Margaret, really?”
I felt my cheeks burning. I’d been right, Drake had been testing me. I wasn’t angry, just embarrassed. I smiled. “I’m just your average blind lady from Connecticut.”
Drake shook his head. “You’re not average at all, Marg, you’re different and very special.”
I was touched by his words and lowered my eyes. “Would you believe me if I told you I was an alien from another planet?”
He chuckled. “That would be bizarre, yes, but I have a feeling your story isn’t that far off.” Drake sighed. “I read your Dr. Morris’s report. The tone and medical terminology seem archaic, and when was the last time a doctor made house calls?” he added.
I giggled. “That’s when it was written, when I fell, when he came to my house to take care of me,” I blurted out. “So, you think I’m crazy, if you want but when I came to Perkins in March, it was 1850 and my father brought me here in a carriage carriage drawn by two of his own horses that he raised.”
Drake took my hand. “I want to know everything, Marg, about your life then and your family.”
So, I told him. “I was a teacher in a small one-room schoolhouse and loved each of my students. I don’t know if I can do it anymore as a blind person, which is why I came for training at Perkins.”
Drake squeezed my hand. “Do you want to go home, Marg?”
The tears started to fall. As much as I missed my family, I didn’t have a clear-cut answer for that. I wanted it both ways. “Not right now,” I whispered. “I want to keep working with the famous neuro-eye guy, Dr. Andrews and to continue getting to know the very sweet man, Drake.”
Drake leaned toward me and I felt his lips brush mine.
“Me too, on both counts.” He sat back and was suddenly all business. “I scheduled the next surgery in two weeks to start removing the scar tissue from your left eye. We’re going to be into a new Year before this process is even half finished.”
I wasn’t complaining. “Forgive me, Mama and Papa,” I said silently. “I want to come back whole.”
. . .
“I’m going to take the patches off your eyes, Margaret,” Drake explained. We were in his office at Massachusetts General Hospital. Emma and Mr. Nelson were with us too. “Close your eyes and keep them shut until I tell you to open them, then do it slowly. “You might see fuzz or you might see nothing,” he cautioned.
1“I wish your family could be here for this,” Emma said. but
“I do too,” I replied.
“Are you ready?” Drake asked. I quickly closed my eyes and nodded. “The left eye first,” he said, placing a hand on my forehead and, with the other, slowly peeled the patch away. I did not open my left eye. Before I could ask him why my left eye was still closed, he was peeling the patch off my right eye. I chided myself for not having patience. “Okay, now open both eyes, slowly,” he instructed. I did. I said nothing, just stared straight ahead, trying to focus. “What do you see?” he asked.
I looked at him and smiled. After a brief pause, Drake smiled back and guffawed. “It’s a little blurry, but I can make out shapes, people. I can see your white coat Dr. Andrews,” I teased. I looked over at Emma, trying to pick out a distinguishing feature, but she was further away and I couldn’t do it. I narrowed my eyes.
Drake patted my shoulder. “It’ll get better with time, Margaret,” he told me. “But you’re doing fantastic already, better than I originally thought.” He turned to Emma and Mr. Nelson. To my sheer embarrassment, they started to applaud.
“Practice makes perfect,” Emma chimed.
I had a fearful thought. I glanced at Mr. Nelson. “Am I going to be expelled from Perkins?”
Mr. Nelson chuckled. “At the moment, no, you’re still considered blind and can continue you training. If your vision does come back in full, and we should all hope it does, we’ll talk. You mentioned you were a teacher before your disability. I’m sure we can find a position for you.”
I was relieved. What would I do if I was suddenly booted into the street? I had no family, no home, no real credentials and no place to go in the Twenty-first Century.
. . .
As the weeks went by, my vision did improve. I was thrilled but also scared. I didn’t tell Mr. Nelson about my newfound fortune and continued my blind training. He would know soon enough.
Drake and I sat in his living room. A basketball game was in progress on the television. The volume was turned low. We were talking about the future. I missed teaching. ”I was certified over one hundred and fifty years ago. I doubt my credentials would be usable now.” “
Drake chuckled. “Do you want to teach at Perkins? Nelson said he would find a position for you if you’re interested.”
I nodded. “Not in this century, Drake. I want to teach blind children in my time.” I took a deep breath. “I want to go home.”
His expression didn’t change. He was quiet for a long time. “I’m going with you.”
My eyes widened. My mouth dropped open. “But you can’t,” I fired back. Pain flickered across his eyes. I hurried to explain. “You’re a famous eye surgeon here, Drake,” I almost pleaded. “You won’t be if you go back with me. There’s no such thing as laser surgery in my time.”
He chuckled, then reached out and took my hand. He began playing with my fingers, then brought them to his lips and brushed his mouth over the knuckles. I shivered. “I know that,” he whispered. “But I have to be there for you.” Sighing, he sat back on the sofa. “Margie, I can’t guarantee that you’ll retain your vision if you leave present day.”
Yes, that idea did upset me, nonetheless, I knew I couldn’t stay here. “I can still teach blind children if I’m blind in 1850, Drake.” I knew what his next protest was going to be. I held up a hand to ward it off. “I have to go back,” I insisted.
He nodded. “And I have to go with you, even if my stay is only for a short time.”
What could I say to that? “Thank you,” I whispered.
Drake slapped both hands on his knees. “Okay, let’s get started. How did you get here in the first place?”
I told him the whole story.
. . .
A few days later
It was late at night. The school was quiet. Drake and I sat on the bed in my room. We faced each other, holding hands. An incense candle burned on the nightstand.
“I was engaged to a man who lived down the road named Robert Freedmont, but when I lost my sight Robert found someone else. My brother, Philip, sent me a letter before I came into this Century.” I told Drake everything, not just about Robert’s betrayal, but about Philip too. “He’s lonely, Drake, I just know it,” I said. I told him how wonderful and supportive Mama and Papa were and our peaceful Connecticut life. I kept yawning. Talking my heart and soul out was so exhausting.
Drake smiled and squeezed my hand. “This brings us even closer together, Margie.” His tone was deep, his voice low. “You’re sleepy?” I nodded. “Why don’t you close your eyes and let yourself drift off for a while.” Drake laid his hand on my shoulder. “I’ll pull that chair over to the bed and sit with you. I’ll wake you if anything happens.” I nodded again. Drake rose, pulled a deep-cushioned chair closer to the bed and sat down in it. I smiled, then stretched myself out on the bed, laid my head on the pillow and was asleep in no time.
I was awakened with a jolt by a rapping on my door, I don’t know how much later. I glanced with confusion around my darkened dormitory room. The candle that had been on the nightstand was gone and, to my horror, so was Drake. The room was empty. The chair beside my bed was a straight-backed wooden affair. I closed my eyes as a tear slid down my cheek. Something was most definitely different. The rap sounded again. “Yes, I’m coming,” I called out, jumping to my feet and nearly tripping over my long skirt. I regained my balance and went to the door. I opened it. Bright light flooded on that side. I stared into Drake’s face. I almost threw my arms around him but stopped myself. It wasn’t Drake. The man staring back at me wore horseman’s clothing. He held his wide-brimmed hat in his hands.
“Your father sent me, Miss, to gather you up and bring you home in a hurry. Your mother has taken ill. My horse is outside.” He turned and gestured. “Horseback would be faster than a carriage.”
I swallowed. “Let me get a few things,” I told the horseman. I turned back to my room and gathered up a small satchel of personal items. I returned to the hall and closed my door. “I am ready mow.” It was time to go home once and for all.
Will there be more?
Ask Trish during our event.
Other work by Trish Hubschman…
JUST PUBLISHED: the prequel to the Tracy Gayle mystery series
by Trish Hubschman
Available in e-book and print from Amazon and Smashwords.
Details, cover image, link to a free text sample, and purchasing links: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
Tidalwave’s tour bus bursts into flames while the band is relaxing on the beach. The band’s leader, Danny Tide, hires private detective Tracy Gayle to do some discreet investigation into the matter. She’s joining the band on tour as security chief. The arsonist is discovered, but much deeper, more dangerous things come to light as well: an assault, an attempted murder, and then two murders. Tracy is faced with far more than she bargained for, and her stint with the band goes further than just that summer tour. She is fully determined to protect America’s favorite rock and roll heartthrob, and they become the best of friends along the way.
About the Author
Trish Hubschman and her husband, Kevin, along with their dog, Henry, recently moved to Northern Pennsylvania. They formerly lived on Long Island, New York. Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is the author of the popular Tracy Gayle mystery series, Stiff Competition and Ratings Game. Tidalwave is the eagerly awaited prequel to the series. For more information about Trish’s three books, please visit her website, linked to above.
See her on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14473430.Trish_Hubschman