Instead of writing a blog post tonight, I’m continuing with my NaNoWriMo novel, trying to keep the momentum going for the remainder of November. A goal that seems fruitful during these dark afternoons. So, instead, I’ll share a snippet of my writing with you. Hopefully you will enjoy a few lines of my first draft fiction. First, how about a glimpse of my running path from earlier this week? So lovely… yeah, I’m pretty lucky these days.
The mahogany railing felt smooth to the touch and I let that be my touchstone as I followed Beth up the stairs. The house, as big as it was, seemed empty, as if we were only ghosts floating up, voiceless, noiseless, creatures with nothing but ether moving us upward. I was glad for her silence at the moment, trying to plan out what I would say, what I wouldn’t, as we rounded the hallway to a final double door.
“This is my mother’s room. I’ll leave you to it,” and like that the plainly dressed daughter moved down the hallway and closed her door quickly.
I knocked with two small raps. The faintest of voices came from the other side. A husky smoker’s voice directed an understated “come in come in” and with that I pushed open the door.
Not only a bedroom, but a boudoir, all apricot and violet, silk and velvet, seating around a fireplace and over in front of the double windows, which she sat at her dressing table, a gold lacquered mirror from which I watched her apply black eyeliner with surgical precision. There was a half-filled martini glass at her elbow and a smoldering cigarette in an overflowing ashtray. Her platinum hair was teased up high and gathered into a french twist, and even though her caftan was flowing and voluminous it did not hide her many curves but gave them even more meaning. Before she moved on to her second eye, she took a meaningful sip of her drink, a lingering puff of her cigarette and let her gaze drift up to mine. She motioned me closer.
“ Come in my dear. Have you just arrived? Did you pop up to the apartment? I haven’t been there in many years, but I have heard it is still satisfactory for a person who is looking for such a retreat. Is that true, would you be comfortable there my dear?” This prattling could go on for hours I realized listening to her, in slow, measured increments, punctuated by another line across her lid, or her lips, or a pin in her hair, or even a feathery brush across her cleavage, her eyes moving up and down the mirror with a critical expression holding steady her features except for the chatter coming from her red mouth.
“It’s perfect. I am happy to say, but what are the terms or expectations you might want of me?” I managed to hold her attention for only a few seconds but thought this just fine since avoiding any very serious questions would allow me to sort out what my answers might be if asked.
Her toilet was complete and she turned to face me as if a movie star had miraculously materialized. I have not really noticed the lighting up to that point, but now, as she tilted her chin toward me, I could see she sat in an aura as soft and flattering as any aging starlet would demand by 50. Nothing came directly on her without a filter, a shade or a slant of the light. She glowed in the semi-lite room. Apparently she was delighted I found the place to my liking, and went on to explain that my duties would be to keep her company for a few hours a day, maybe help her weed out her closet or drive her to an appointment, or just lend a hand. I wanted to ask, can’t your daughter Beth help with these menial tasks, but then I stopped myself. A free place to live was what I was there for and I meant to take it.
“I could move in tomorrow if that suits you? “ I asked as she lit her third cigarette and turned back to her mirror. She sprayed some perfume around her throat and the smallest of smiles turned up the corners of her mouth as the scent curled into her nose.
“Tomorrow?” She wasn’t really asking me or anyone in particular, she was just asking, like it was some sort of existential question, wondering if there was such a possibility.
“Yes, tomorrow. I will arrive with my suitcase tomorrow midday and be all set to help you in the afternoon, if that suits you.” I stood to punctuate the finality of my remark.
She had tilted the last of her martini into her mouth before you said, “Of course my dear, tomorrow. Do come, that’s lovely. Please let yourself out… and ask Kareen to come to me. You can find her in the kitchen,” and with that she pursed her lips up slightly to pencil around once more.
To be continued…