Before I think twice…

Here’s a sample of TCB with the changes in p.o.v. that I’ve been talking about. Everything on this website is copyright, me, 2008, by the way.

I woke with a giant’s hand pressing me into the bed, a dream still trapped in my cottony mouth and my heavy head. It was a swirl of dizzy colors and feelings, and then it was gone. So reluctant to wake, but so sore, I wondered if it had been a good dream or a bad one, slapping the pile of sheets bunched up on the side of the bed, just like if you’d just woken a second before me. You weren’t there and I listened for the rattling plumbing and running water of the shower. When I didn’t hear it, I frowned and sat up. Maybe I already knew. Maybe I’d always known.

Running my hands down my sleep-worn face, I felt strands of your hair on my fingers. It dispelled the post-dream paranoia a bit and I smiled, brushing them away as I climbed out of bed. “Merrie?” I called for you while I made the bed, but the silent house had that stillness that proves instincts and senses aren’t as dull as we’d like to think. We know things even when we don’t know we do. A ragged scrap of paper fluttered to the floor when I straightened the bedclothes. I leaned over and retrieved it, my skin erupting in gooseflesh when I read the single sentence.

The circus goes away for the winter.

My breath sharpened, shallowed out and I was gasping with shame and panic. My eyes spun around the room it hasn’t happened for years, where’s that inhaler and everywhere, I saw the details of your absence, sudden and staccato where is it where is she. Your camera gone from its place on the bookshelf. In the closet, a large gap on your side, an army of dangling hangers. Dammit, breathe, just breathe. I thought I saw one or two stirring, still swinging from your touch and I heaved to the window and flung aside the curtains. Your car was gone from the driveway alongside the house.

I fell by the window, dread rattling in my chest with every brief breath. When was the last time it happened, Thomas? Your calm voice, steady hand. I think I was twenty, maybe. You held his inhaler. Maybe we shouldn’t fight like this again, you shouldn’t get so upset. Shutting the drawer, your other hand rubbed soft circles on my back. Okay, now?

No, baby. You’re gone. I am not okay.

I crawled to your side of the bed, your note safe in the cave of my hand and I unearthed the inhaler from the drawer of the bedside table—under receipts, empty checkbooks and loose prints of your photographs—right where you’d put it years ago, after my last attack. I inhaled deeply and collapsed against the bed.

The note tickled my hand. Your handwriting, but it didn’t make any sense. It was summer, not winter, and why would you write about a circus at the moment you were leaving me. Had you really left? Were you coming back? I looked around the room, sitting square in the patch of light that always fell across the bed first thing in the morning. I could see, plain as day, how your face looked in that light. I didn’t want to believe you were just gone, couldn’t. You’d taken the car and the camera for a job, I decided. The clothes, the clothes were gone because…

The moment I saw you, I knew you were never going to stay. I’ve always known.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Before I think twice…

  1. Mary McMyne

    There’s a really nice energy to this section…

    But ooooh, I do not envy you having to change the POV of a whole book! After experiencing major trauma changing the structure, format, and order of my first book a billion times through like seven drafts, when I started my second, I wrote the first chapter every way I could think of, to try to experiment and figure out which one was right. It was a really good exercise though. I learned a lot about POV switching it back and forth between 1st and 3rd (which I did four or five times before I settled on 3rd)!

  2. Emilie

    Here’s the crazy thing – it was actually easy. Well, easier than I stressed it would be for 2 days. Once I got over that and just did it, I managed to change the p.o.v. very happily in one night for all 3 of the chapters I’ve finished. And the other two threads haven’t really required any changes because though I hadn’t realized it, I’d been writing toward this revelation. So now it’s just a matter of moving forward. Just. Lol. This is how I know I’m finally getting to the truth of the piece – when I make a major change that changes the whole tone of the piece and I realize I’d already been writing toward that without being aware of it. I’m very happy.

    Thank you so much for your comments. I was thinking about you when I wrote that post. I figured you and Jamey would be the ones talking back into the coffeeshop and back to the laptop.

    How are you? Feel free to change venues for your response. You know I’ll follow you anywhere. 🙂

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