Story-a-Day Flashback!

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I’ve been working on my current manuscript as much as possible today. I had physical therapy and family time, but then I got to stare a lot at my novel and doubt my ability to pull everything together.

For a change of pace, I pulled up an manuscript-in-progress waiting for my love and attention. I hadn’t looked at this story in years, and it was fun to scroll through the scenes and be reminded of what I wrote ages ago. Some parts, I remembered. Other parts I have no memory of at all. It’s nice to be surprised by your own writing!

In any event, I went over a short scene and I’m going to post it here. I do plan to go back to this (after I finish Drowning Karma and The Fairy Tale Asylum–so, you know, in no time at all!).

Evan crawled through the window. He had forgotten his key, or lost it, in some bushes somewhere along the street, but he couldn’t be sure, because he was too drunk. But he did at least remember that the side window was cracked open, and he managed to push it open.

He landed with a thud on the wood floor, where he stayed a few minutes, thinking about sleep and the softness of bed. The sound of the dog padding down the hall made him stir but not get out of way. Alley’s nose nudged his face, his paws dug in his side. Evan moaned, rolled over onto his back and tried to push Alley away when the dog licked his forehead. “Go away,” he whispered, sitting up, with one hand on his forehead. The whir and click of the refrigerator reminded him that he was home, and that he needed to get to bed before his parents found him. He took off his shoes before standing up to slip across the floor and into the living room.

If his parents heard him, he knew what would happen, but he didn’t want to think about why he took such risks when the fun and rebellion he wanted were rarely worth the punishment. A smarter man, he thought, followed the rules or whatever it took to make life easier. He, however, sought his father’s wrath out. The bathroom door creaked and Evan wished he’d taken a leak outside, but he might as well make the hangover pay for itself by being sure his parents knew he’d been drinking.

The house was cold, especially in the dark. It was always cold no matter the heat outside, as if the confines of the house had long ago wrung out any warmth there’d been in the living spaces. Nothing in the house gave warmth, not even the people. Only the dog and the stove offered any heat at all, and the stove Evan had learned to stay from. He had a faint scar across his hand from when his parents had taught him the dangers of heat. Evan wished he could move out. He was old enough, but every time he talked about leaving, saved some money, and found a friend share a place with, his parents came back at him with reasons to stay, they needed his help, the friend wasn’t trustworthy, and his pathetic income rightfully theirs for all that they did for him. After all, they said, they didn’t ask for rent, his mother cooked all his meals, but nothing in life came free and he wasn’t ready to be on his own. “You must pay for what you take,” his father liked to say, “and you take a lot.”

Now in his room, Evan tossed his shoes on a pile of clothes and flopped on the bed, telling himself that he should make it look like he’d gone to bed at a decent hour in his pajamas, but he laid there, staring out into the darkness of his room. The red numbers of the clock read three in the morning. His mind drifted. He thought about the friends he’d been hanging out with that night. They weren’t really friends because it was hard to be friends with people you kept secrets from and couldn’t bring home. He thought about Celia, the one person he didn’t keep secrets from, not yet anyway, and wondered what she was doing.

She was so far away—he tried to figure out the time where she was, but in the alcohol soup of his mind, he didn’t know which way the clock should go—she was either eating breakfast, or finishing dinner or…. He wondered who she had breakfast with and if she thought about or missed him at all. When she’d left, her fingers had tapped the clasp on her purse and her expression told him to please make this farewell brief. He had said he’d wait for her. Celia said that wasn’t realistic—two years was a long time. He promised to wait. How could he not wait for someone who would save him?

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2 responses to “Story-a-Day Flashback!

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