Still working on revisions here–so thought I’d share a bit of what I polished up this week. This is from my novel-in-progress. Here goes:
“I shifted on her couch, a plump Pottery Barn reject from ten years ago and fingered the fringe pillow, braiding the strands into tiny cornrows. Jackie crossed her legs, revealing a new pair of shoes (three-inch orange and red color-block heels) and folded her hands on her lap. How can the woman not have varicose veins, I mused. I continued with my diatribe.
I was pissed and I don’t like feeling pissed. In fact, the word itself made me cringe. My nose crinkled and the word came out all nasally. It’s not how I talk, and certainly not how I think. ‘Being pissed’ sounds uneducated and uncouth. But it’s a feeling, nonetheless. I shrugged.
I wondered almost hourly what Steve was doing. Who he was with. What he looked like. It pissed me off. I wanted to fight these feelings away, tend to my own family, but they clung to me, a suffocating shroud around my head.
I was pissed at myself for having gone to the psychic party in the first place. It felt wrong. It opened my mind to foreign and intense possibilities I hadn’t wanted to consider before. I felt unsettled—my faith challenged as I questioned Madam Moselle’s abilities, her predictions.
Perhaps there was something to this psychic stuff after all.
“So you’re pissed off,” Jackie said.
“Did you know that depression is really just anger directed inward?” Her voice soothing, yet tinged with arrogance.
I rolled my eyes, hefting my leg up on her couch, twisting my body away from her. Anger, depression, what did it matter?
I was pissed at Joe too. Every night when he came from work, he’d hang his jacket in the mud room, slip off his brown leather Oxfords and replace them with moccasins, creeping into the kitchen with the limpness of a wet noodle. If I was lucky, I would get a dry peck on the cheek as I slid the pot pie into the oven or pressed the buttons on the microwave. I really needed some validation from him that things were good between us. The fact that he couldn’t find the time to get away for our engagement trip just added fuel to the fire.
There was something deeper though. It wasn’t just anger. I was hurt. I wanted to be wanted, not just Joe’s service person. I kept the house clean and neat, meals on the table, and kids in line. I was around when he needed to travel for work and doled out reminders when it was time to take out the trash—the one household task he seemed to take some responsibility for.
I was pissed. And confused.
Madame Moselle’s reading weighed on me. I didn’t know what to think or feel.
My true love. Steve.
But there was Joe. “…not the one I see you with.”
Images of Steve hovered in my mind’s eye—a playful punch to my shoulder, “Hey, you!” curling his lips into a rounded bow. I’d startle briefly, demurely lifting my face to Steve, slanting my eyes in a flirty stare. Steve would scoop me into his arms and nuzzle his nose into the crook of my neck, warming my insides.
The fantasy a less Joe-like playfulness I craved. Instead, Joe would stand there waiting for me to make the first move; his moments of spontaneity carefully planned, a reaction to someone else. In other words, he had no spontaneity.
I shook my head. I had to stop thinking like this. This was my life, my reality. With Joe.
“Let’s reframe this, Annie. Do you really believe you should have ended up with Steve?”
I pinched my lips. I repeated the question. “Should I have ended up with Steve?”
Repeating the question is a sure-fire way to identify deception. The respondent is formulating an appropriate response.
“Um…I don’t know who I should have ended up with. I guess it’s Joe or I would be with Steve, right?”
[Remember, this is an original work of fiction. It is not intennded to respresent anyone real, living or dead. Please do not borrow, beg, or steal…without first asking permission.]