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once or twice a week, i have an appointment with my friend jael. we phone each other and say, “go!” and then we each write on our novels for a specific time, usually an hour. it all started with dusty, who taught my family some lessons on graphic novels – and all of that happened around the time of NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month, which occurs every november here in the blogosphere).
the loose “rules” for our novel writing hour are similar to NaNoWriMo – just WRITE! never mind finding the exact right word, or researching the heck out of an obscure historic reference, just WRITE.
earlier today, jael and i got together for 20 minutes, and this is what i wrote:
“no. you gotta be kidding.”
“nope.” another slurp. “when i woke up, i looked in on her, see if she needs anything, and she was gone.”
“what do you mean, gone. like for a walk?”
“gone. bed nicely made, drawers empty, a few things left still, that sweater that she never liked and those books that dick gave her, stuff she didn’t care about. and she herself, gone.”
“oh trula, what are we going to do?”
“aline, please, for today, stop that helpless southern belle routine. it looks really good on you but i really don’t have the stomach for it this morning.”
“let me go look.”
up the stairs. to the left. open the door. she had taken this path so many times in the last four months.
open the door, and there it is. nothing.
really? is she really gone? aline walked over to the bed, as if she might find catey under the bed or flat, flat under the covers. not on the chair, not in the closet. aline couldn’t help it – she went to the bathroom, as well. a comb with long, thick, kinky red hair in it. the comb aline had given her. another gift rejected.
back downstairs, into the kitchen, with trula looking super grumpy in her red dress.
“so she’s gone.” aline paused. “you’ve looked everywhere.”
a grunt from trula.
aline got up, put some water on the stove. no electric kettles for trula.
“we knew this would happen. or coul happen. sort of.”
“it wasn’t SUPPOSED to happen,” trula growled. “not here, not in this house.”
“they didn’t take her. she went by herself.”
“how do you know that? southern belle lady knows everything?”
“you know it, too, trula.” one of the reasons the two were such good friends was because the goading and sniping and grunting that trula was so well known for, and feared for, and sniggered about sometimes, never ruffled aline’s soft, fluffy feathers.
“she was SAFE here, goddammit!”
“maybe she was done being safe, trula.”
“young chick like her, people like that after her, how can you be done being safe. she needs someone to look after her! she needs someone to teach her!”
“they’ll look after her and teach her alright. and they won’t do it grunting and in her face, or hands-off with a handkerchief, like me. they know exactly how to get her, how to hook her. and you know that.”
“i should have – ”
“no, trula, you shouldn’t have. where’s your verbena?”
“out of it. not done drying yet.”
“this WAS the best place for her, trula. we tried, and it didn’t work. with all your horrible moods and the way you bear your teeth all the time, this is still a house of good spirits everywhere. that’s all we could give her, a good space to be.”
aline sat down, with just a mug of hot water.
“every time i come here, EVERY time, trula, i know that each of the grasses and twigs and herbs here were gathered with reverence. every room in this house was swept with love, and when you clean the bathtub, trula, you clean it with care and respect. there was no house more loving than this to take her in.”