The Poetry Cure
Release Date: October 27, 2022
Thirty-year-old Annie Thomas struggles as her marriage falls apart. Searching for a healing outlet, she joins a poetry writing group where she meets a man, George Taffer, whose name the Ouija Board had spelled out years ago as the man she would marry. Mystified, she enjoys their unfolding friendship as writing poetry fills the empty place in her heart.
Early in their marriage, Annie had slipped into depression after the death of her mother and abrupt remarriage of her father. Once she recovers, she finds her husband, Harry, an ambitious lawyer, either remote or angry. Annie persuades him to go to marriage counseling which he hates and quits abruptly. She suspects he might be having an affair. With the help of her therapist, she learns she must stop being the “good girl” and take charge of her life.
A new student joined the class that night. He swam in a quarter hour late after the early spring storm had dropped on them like a bucket of water upturned. Fortunately, he was dressed for it—in a bright yellow slicker with a hood that made him appear like a giant firefly beaming light in defiance of the angry thunderstorm that had them all hunkered down awaiting the next blow. Lightning struck again and again. He must have had trouble finding them and who could blame him? No other class roved from coffeehouse to coffeehouse every Sunday night. Annie had thought it strange when she signed up. But after that first class, sipping cappuccino while pouring over poems seemed better than sitting in the same cold classroom. This coffeehouse even had a fireplace. Group members had pulled their chairs in a semicircle in front of it, fluttering their pages like moth wings and peeling wet layers as they struggled to warm themselves and dry off.
Their instructor, Ian Bartlett, ever the warm host, pulled another chair into the circle. His black hair and Irish white skin made his blue eyes appear to glow atop his tall frame. “And who might you be, coming in late on such a wet night?” he sang out. “We've only just begun. Please come dry out next to me and the fire.”
“Sorry, but I couldn't find you,” said the newcomer. “It took me forever to find someone at the community arts center who knew where you'd wandered to from last time. And then the storm hit. Ye-ow! What a downpour.” He threw back his head and chortled in a way that made all seven of them join in with him.
The stranger began peeling his layers of yellow rubber then maroon jacket down to a red and brown flannel shirt that rang out back country camper. He set the yellow slicker beside his chair. It stood at attention, a valet in waiting, raindrops flowing down and puddling on the floor. His smile lit up his rugged features. His unwrinkled skin showed him to be in his early 30s. His thick sandy-colored hair waved around his head like a halo. “A name? Yes, indeed. My name's Taffer, George Taffer.
When his name hit her ears, a current ran through her. Annie froze, her slim body folded in her chair, her ankles crossed, her hands held her notebook in her lap. She stared, but her eyes did not focus on him. Instead, she saw herself years ago, in her college dorm room with her roommate, Nancy, and a few others, sitting on the floor with the Ouija Board between them. They asked it the usual questions: Where will I live? What work will I do? Whom will I marry? They touched the planchette lightly with their fingertips. It moved across the letters on the board as if guided by some invisible hand. They roared at the answers given. The Ouija Board told her she would live in France her last two years of college—well, that never happened. It told her she would become an actress—that never happened. And it told her she would marry a man named G-e-o-r-g-e-T-a-f-f-e-r.
She didn't marry anyone right out of college. She traveled (to France) then joined the Peace Corps and served in a small town in northeast Brazil for two years and lived in a dirt shack teaching English to the Portuguese-speaking natives, helping with water projects, and anything else they needed. Then, lonely and in culture shock back in the US, she married Harry Thomas, a tall, dark, and handsome lawyer, the strong silent type. Here she was five years later and nearly thirty years old. His silences felt hostile to her. His strength seemed like that of a stone post. She turned to writing poetry, first as an outlet, then as a serious pursuit. Here she was in this poetry class with someone she had thought existed only in the amusement of the Ouija Board. George Taffer. There really is a George Taffer.
“Annie, let's do your poem now.” Ian's voice shocked her awake. She blinked brown eyes at him then quickly looked down at the pile of papers in her lap. Her light brown wavy hair fell across her face like a curtain. Ruffling through her pages, she dropped some. They slid out of reach, multiple copies of one short poem, spread like a fan on the floor, within easy reach of George Taffer who picked them up one by one and passed them out.
“The World of Spiders. Is this the poem you want to share, Annie?” George grinned. “What a unique method of distribution.” He chuckled.