Sunday, December 16, 2012

Like a Kiss Through a Handkerchief

"Leaning her head against his broad shoulders, she would take in his smell, a mixture of shaving lotion and a trace of sweat, and think herself happy.
But tonight she was lonely. Ethan was not there. Edna tried to imagine him coming close, even whispering some sweet nothings in her ear. She waited for the whisper to dissolve, then tried to force another one—but again, the voice was vacant. She rose to the tips of her toes, as if longing for a kiss. She could almost feel him. His embrace was tight, she nearly fainted—but there was no breath, no warmth in his lips. It was, to her, like a kiss through a handkerchief."

So starts a story in my book, Home. The character in this story is quite different from the other female characters. Edna confines herself to the four walls around her, and tries not to face her unhappiness. Here she is, passing through a corridor and capturing sight of herself, hanging there in the mirror:

"For a second, it looked like her older sister. Edna stuck her tongue out at her, thinking, oh well, those wrinkles are just a play of shadows, just shadows in the murky glass. She could make them disappear, simply by tipping her head backwards. She leaned over the cabinet for a closer look. The eyes looked somewhat blurry; so did her mouth. It seemed like a smudge, perhaps because the lipstick had been wiped, or else because she was too close.

In her youth, she was so weak that she could easily fall for something, easily laugh for anything. But that other woman, on the other side, seemed as if she could easily cry for nothing. 

There, see? She rubbed the corner of her eye. So did Edna, thinking it was hard to know, anyway, if someone was crying or laughing. The features of the face contorted in much the same way. 

There were walls around her, on both sides of the mirror; walls waiting for something to happen, for anything really; waiting there with great patience—with stability—as if they were home. Edna looked away, unable to escape that feeling, the feeling that there was no motion, it was all an illusion; and that in reality, both she and her reflection were absent. She was lost and could not be found."

All this, of course, is just the opening. What would happen next? And why is this story called A Heartbeat, Reversed? Good questions... To be answered in my next blog post. Stay tuned...

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  1. I just love the painting at the top of the page!!! Beautiful voice in your writing too!!