So, I have been kicking around writing a book for a long time! I have dreams that I wake up from and say…”Geez, that has to be a book! And I have to write it!” But then time goes by and the dreams blur around the edges and life gets in the way. Well, I got the first paragraph shot into my brain this morning in the shower and have been running with it. Tell me what you think? Would you keep reading?
Part 1 – Kate
She shakily reaches for another Marlboro from her pack. Her dry cracked hands tremble as she brings the cigarette to her lips. Struggling to light the lighter with her pained fingers, she winces while the flame ignites the tobacco and a plume of smoke escapes her chapped lips. A hair tickles her tear-stained right cheek and she reaches up to brush it away.
Kate looks around the dull, neutral bathroom and realizes she has pushed her back against the door. She hadn’t even remembered her bare feet hitting the cold tile as she entered, but the harsh vanity lights reveal that is where she has ended up. She hates this room. She has hated it since she stepped in this place four days ago, and yet, some part of her has come here seeking safety.
She unsteadily walks her tired hands up the wall and reaches for the exhaust fan. Kate knows she will get another stern lecture about smoking in the room if she doesn’t let the whispering blades carry the smoke out. “Too bad I can’t turn into smoke and let the fan carry me out of here,” Kate thinks as she braces herself for movement.
Never feeling so tired and achy in all her life, she groans as her body erects itself. Part of her still feels puddled on the floor, like the remnants after a thunderous storm. She props herself up using the beveled edge of the vanity and peers at the sad and broken stranger in the mirror. “I used to be so strong and beautiful,” Kate thinks to herself as she smudges the trailing mascara from her face. The black war paint barely budges. Looking more and more ridiculous, Kate grabs for the soap and scrubs the make-up from her face. As she splashes a handful of cool water on her clean face, flashes of the nightmare that pushed her into the bathroom seeking safety come flooding back. Like a skipping record, some parts replay over and over again and others are a jumble of mismatched moments. Kate’s head starts to spin, her chest feels as if a boa constrictor is tightening around her, and she struggles to breath. Tears flood her eyes and come pouring out over her newly cleaned skin. The tears sting as they slide down her cheeks and land on her split lips.
Finally Kate decides to face the day. There is no more hiding in the windowless restroom; plus, Kate is starving. Her stomach turns at the mere thought of food but after the turning stops, it grumbles with desire. Cautiously, Kate opens the bathroom door; knowing full well that what causes her nightmares is not on the other side. Pushing the last snippets of the nightmare to the very back of her mind, she enters the small living room of her new home. Seeing a lonely tube of Chapstick on the coffee table, Kate instantly runs her fingers across her pained lips. Feeling the ragged dry skin and deep cracks, she reaches for the tube and carefully slides the ointment across them.
Kate turns toward the bedroom with the terribly hard full sized bed and heads to change out of her shabby sleep shirt. It was her husband, Grant’s old college t shirt. He was a big guy, so his shirt engulfs Kate’s waif like body. The tattered hem falls right above her knees and the threadbare shirt sleeves brush her elbows. She can remember a time when this shirt fell flatteringly across her ample breasts and the navy color brought out the ocean blue color in her eyes. Now, remembering her reflection in the mirror, she thought, “the only thing this shirt does is bring out the color of the bags under my eyes.”
She slowly slips out of the large t-shirt and lets it fall to the floor. Struggling to make a decision on whether to place in the laundry bag hanging on a hook behind her door or wear it one more night, she stands frozen. If she puts it in the laundry bag, it may come back changed. Never to feel the same against her skin again. Never to bring the comfort and security she felt with it on. Never to cover her with thoughts and memories of her previous life.
Walking over to her unpacked suitcase, she selects one of the many pairs of black yoga pants and a simple black long tank top. She had left the sleeping shirt exactly where it had fallen, deciding that the choice she was wrestling with could wait until after some sort of breakfast. Kate slides on her short black anklet socks and laces up her simple black Nike tennis shoes. She knows when she opens the door to her apartment and sees nothing but darkness outside, that she won’t be eating breakfast for quite a while. It was only 3 am. Since she had awoken in the brightly lit bathroom, she hadn’t realized it was so early.
Since Kate was already pointed in the direction of leaving her stale room, she decides to continue in that direction. She would head toward the peaceful walking path and wander through the darkness for a while to pass the time, she planned. Kate was comfortable in darkness, she lived with it inside herself anyway. There are no monsters in darkness, they are all around no matter how much light exists in the day. At least in the early morning foggy darkness Kate thought she was less likely to pass by anyone.
Kate spies an iron bench being showered by lamplight and floating particles of morning dew. She decides to sit on the damp iron, getting a cold chill up her spine reminding her that she is alive, and pulls her tiny notepad from her yoga pants pouch. The pouch is supposed to fit her cell phone so that if she is out and finds herself in an emergency, she can call for help. Kate’s cell phone was abducted from her belongings and she considers, “it’s not like I would have anyone to call anyway”.
I suppose I should tell him that I don’t love him anymore. I think it would be the right thing to do, after all for over fifteen years he has been my best friend. I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe it’s because I may be so utterly bored without him, maybe it’s because I have no idea who I am if I am not “Grant’s wife”, or maybe it’s because I still look at him and my heart skips a beat. No, I did say that I didn’t love him anymore. I don’t. I just really lust him! He truly is one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen in my life. I still actually cannot believe that he ever married me. Grant is the smart, friend to everyone, life of the party, big teddy bear southern charmer and I am a shy, boring, home-body that is socially awkward and insecure. Really, it still baffles me!
Anyhow, like I said I want him; that much is totally true but I also don’t at the same time. It was about 3 years ago that I started noticing how much I didn’t love my husband anymore. We both changed. He most certainly changed! He used to worship me, hold me up on a pedestal. I used to lean on him and now I feel a bit of fear when I look
Just then Kate looks up. She felt guilty for writing this. She felt like that boa constrictor was slithering out from under the bench and working its way back toward her chest. Was there someone watching? Kate could swear she felt a breath on her neck and the heat of someone’s stare piercing through her. She saw nothing. Focusing on her breathing, Kate slowly regained control. The thoughts were lost. She had to stand up and move. She felt like a bunny rabbit out for a midnight snack that had been spotted. She could either freeze and wait for the alarm to pass or bolt.
So, would you want to know what happens next? Would you care why Kate is afraid or why a married woman is all alone in a condo? Let me know if I should keep feeding this monster or if I should quit. Thanks!