Another scene from Abe’s Turn, this one piggybacks on the scene a couple weeks ago, in which Ike and Mira kissed.
I’m emotionally exhausted this weekend, having written some pretty intense scenes in this chapter and the chapter to come. Plus there was my worst review ever, which actually ended up making me feel pretty good, a lot more focused on where I want to go as a writer. Long story short, I’m still doing the right thing and going in the right direction. I’ll probably screw up in the process, but that’s a good thing… And that’s another blog post, which I only have half-written right now.
Remember this article on Holly Lisle’s site? “Live to Write Another Day: Writers, Depression, and Suicide”? I wasn’t going to mention this, because I think it sounds pretty creepy. But maybe there’s a lot of sympathy among writers in this area. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll end up like Sylvia Plath. Fortunately, my situation has never been that dire. But sometimes, I do sympathize with Sylvia.
Clydene paced across the kitchen floor, down the back hallway, through her tiny office, up to the window. She caught a glimpse of the picket fence dividing their property from the neighbors’ as she whipped her body around and headed back to the kitchen. Lather, rinse, repeat. As she made this round trip again and again, she had a conversation with the air around her.
“Don’t tell me not to take it personally. Beady-eyes made it personal! He comes after innocent people, because he hates us. Anything he can get away with, he just does it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re innocent. But if you’re not on his side, God help you! God help us all! He tortures the innocent, locks them up without council, without sleep, badgers them until they give in. He punishes his enemies at will. He is lawless, a criminal in uniform.”And they support him! Don’t they realize that anyone who approves of him approves of what he does? Don’t they know we will all be held accountable for the things of which we approve? And if you vote for him, you have signed your own warrant. I would not choose to face the Great and Mighty with that record on my account.
“Eventually, he’ll come after us all, hunt you down.” She set her teeth. “And there won’t be anything you can do.”
She was stomping by now. A tear streamed down the side of her nose. She felt angry and hurt, helpless and victimized.
“Damn it! I did this… It started only after I… But if I had not, how much worse off would we be?”
The doorbell rang. Clyde wiped the tears from her eyes and sniffled. She reached the door, paused, breathed, then opened it. Cold air wafted over her body, mixed with a hint of perfume. On the landing just outside stood small, dark-haired woman, bundled in a puffy, blue, winter coat. Because the landing was a step lower than the house proper, she looked even shorter than she actually was. Her head came up to Clyde’s chest. Despite that, the woman stood tall and proud. Clyde reminisced for a moment, noticing for the first time in a long time how big her friend made her feel, regardless of her physical stature.”Mira,” Clyde said. “What’s up?”
“I need your advice.”
“Come in,” Clyde said.
Mira didn’t seem to notice that her friend had been crying. she spoke as she removed her coat. “I had lunch with Ike.”
“I thought you couldn’t be around him.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“You changed your mind?”
“Kinda.” Mira paused, then blurted out, “He kissed me.”
Clyde stood, nonplussed, mouth gaping wide. That reaction just seemed right for the occasion. But truthfully, Clyde wasn’t surprised.
Mira beamed, radiated, as though she had just had sex.
“Are you sure it was just a kiss?” Clyde asked salaciously.
“No, it was just… He just kissed me. He put his arm around me and ran his fingers through my hair, and we kissed, just like that.”
“Well…” Mira giggled like a teenager.
So Mira told Clyde all that had happened that afternoon. Clyde interjected occasionally with comments like “It would be like hugging Poppin’ Fresh,” or “Was he wearing tight jeans?” Clyde knew she could be crude, sometimes inappropriately so. But Mira kept talking. It felt like they were having a slumber party.
“So, what do you think I should do?” Mira asked.
That sobered Clyde. She thought about it. There was a good reason Mira had stopped calling Ike, had stopped carpooling with him, had stopped talking to him, had cut him out of her life. When Mira was around Ike, something happened to her. His presence made her lose control of her feelings. Mira had fallen in love with this man, this man who had shown so little interest in her, and she ended up drenching Clyde’s shoulder with her tears. That had been months ago, and Mira was just beginning to get back on her feet. Clyde shuddered.
Clydene understood how her friend felt. Which one of us hasn’t fallen inexplicably for someone? Mira never lost that adolescent innocence. Mira was a visionary, and she felt deep feelings. Both sometimes got her into trouble.
“Clyde?” Mira interrupted.”Yeah… What was the question again?”
“I’m too close to it to think straight. What should I do?”
Well, she could do as Nancy Reagan and just say no. But what if things would have worked out? Mira lived in loneliness, and Clyde had often felt lonely for her friend. Clyde glanced at the tulips Ted had sent, now displayed on the coffee table. She remembered what it was like in the beginning, before Ted, before the end of loneliness.
On the other hand, she would hate for Mira to get hurt again. Yes, to love and be loved entails a certain of risk. You risk getting hurt, just as surely as you risk living happily ever after. Still, why allow yourself to fall in love with the wrong guy? It would be a shame if Mira allowed herself to fall in love again, only to be hurt again…
That is, if she hadn’t already fallen in love.
“Do you love him?” Clyde asked.
Mira blushed. “No. That’s silly.”
“But it’s Ike,” Clyde protested.”So? How much can you fall in love during lunch? It wasn’t even a real date.” Mira’s eyes seemed to light up at the thought of a date with Ike.
The next words came out of Clyde’s mouth almost without a thought. “Does he love you?”
Mira’s face froze for a few seconds. Then it fell. The color seemed to drain out of Mira’s cheeks. Then she forced a smile and said, “I don’t know. What does it matter? We can figure that out later.”
“You asked me what I thought you should do. I think you should find out how he really feels about you and how far he’s willing to take this relationship.”
Other Friday Snippets
The way Friday Snippets works is that fiction authors can leave a link to their own snippet on others’ blog posts that are part of the meme. Many of the participating writers are using one of Mister Linky’s Autolink Widgets to streamline this process. See “Friday Snippets” at Holly Lisle’s blog for more information.