The Ladies Who Love the Bryant Brothers. Meet Alicia
The origin of Alicia Drummond’s character in “Glitter and Grief” closes out The Ladies Who Love the Bryant Brothers blog series. While there is another book after “Glitter and Grief” (“A Nautical Twist.” It’s good; you should read it.), the main female character doesn’t technically love a Bryant Brother. No more hints or I’ll spoil it for you.
Originally, "Glitter and Grief" was called "Fall Season," and Gabriel Bryant was going to careen into Alicia's life, tumbling to the ground from a bicycle at breakneck speed, landing at her feet. Injury, hilarity, and love would ensue, but fate had other plans. One Friday morning in February 2021, the entire narrative changed when I was locked inside a chicken run.
Piece of cake
I couldn't believe it. I'd cared for this client's chickens for years and their dogs much longer. Everything had gone according to plan, the same routine I had always kept. First, I'd been pulled down a wooded path for thirty minutes by three exuberant full-sized dogs. Next, the mist and dirt from their paws and coats were wiped off until they were dry and clean. And finally, I fed them breakfast and let them back outside to play before I had to go.
It was time to gather chicken eggs, make sure they had plenty of food, and toss in a few handfuls of mealworms to remind them life is good. The water level was low, and I didn’t want a chicken sneaking out while I retrieved the plastic jug, so I pulled the door behind me.
I grabbed the water container, turned, and pushed at the door. Odd. It didn’t budge.
I pushed again.
The same result, except for my belly dropping, that sinking feeling when you know what you just did is undoable.
I was stuck in a chicken run that was too short to stand in fully. The lever locking me in was heavy-duty, as was the extra layer of hardware fencing. I know because I tried kicking the door open. But having to do it in a crouched position meant the momentum wasn’t there.
I needed help.
Begs the question: What are you keeping out?
As a claustrophobic person, inside a coop wrapped in opaque plastic to protect the chickens from inclement weather with only the smallest triangle cut-out for me to see the world beyond that kept getting blown closed by the wind, this meant I needed help now.
I was not at my psychological best, but my brain tried to maintain focus by listing potential rescue options. The police seemed obvious, except my client was a cop. If I called the precinct, this story would spread like wildfire, and I didn’t want to risk my client looking as dumb as I was starting to feel. Next came my sister, husband, and nephew. No, no, and no. They were all working at least an hour away.
My breathing was coming short and fast. The chickens had long finished their snack and fled into the confines of the coop to avoid the frightened and frightening interloper.
I considered heroic efforts like crawling through the tiny doorway into the coop after them to kick my way out that door. But, thankfully, I remembered in my hysteria that that door had two extra duty locks before covering myself from head to toe in guano.
Maybe I’d be stuck here all day. But, eventually, someone would notice, right? After my husband came home from work, fed our pets, and made himself dinner, he would realize something was amiss after not hearing back from his text of inquiry. But that was hours away—to the tune of about twelve hours.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
My breathing cadence didn’t improve, but somehow, some way, a rational thought made its way through the growing panic. Call Kerry.
And I did. Because sometimes, in our darkest moments, our hour of need, we’re shown the way.
When my friend Kerry answered the phone, I envisioned myself calmly explaining the situation, but she heard the panic in my first syllables. “Where are you?” she asked before promising, “I’m leaving immediately.”
Things I love about Kerry:
Is there a greater gift than a friend in need?
Not only did Kerry come to my rescue, but she also came equipped with her husband, a toolbox, and a pocketful of dog treats. She had no idea what she'd find after arriving and overpacked. Within ten minutes, Kerry and Pat left their morning coffee to grow cold, jumped in their car, and found my location with their map app.
I called them through the peephole, and they crossed the grass to lift the lever. I was free! “That was easy,” quipped Kerry, and the angels celebrated.
Is it hard to breathe?
Whew! Just writing this brings me back to those moments locked up and alone and why "Fall Season" became "Glitter and Grief." I couldn't get the experience out of my head. I'd clean dishes and gasp for air because, mentally, I was in the chicken run. I'd drive down the road to run an errand and hear the snick of the door lock behind me. I'd imagine all the scenarios of how much worse it could have been and have to force myself back to where I was. If you don't have claustrophobia, you may not understand. If you do, you may be breathing shallowly as you read. So feel free to pause and take a few deep belly breaths.
Because I was about to pen “Fall Season,” my brain was ripe for ideas, and a doozy slammed in. Begin “Glitter and Grief” inside a coop.
I used the opening scene to help heal, and it worked. The more I wrote, the less fear arose. As Alicia and Gabriel showed themselves to me, I’d catch myself laughing. Before my experience, I had the barest of outlines, but as I opened up and released my story to theirs, their histories unfolded and then intertwined.
So Alicia's character is loosely based on my friend. The lady who loves Gabriel Bryant shares the resilience, strength, and fortitude that came from Kerry's willingness to help without question or hesitation.
Could this mean I'm Gabriel?
No. I don't think so.
Were we both locked in a coop and had lovely ladies come to our rescue? Yes. But, as Kerry and Pat will attest, I did not pee my pants!