Damnable manuscripts, they should know all the reasons to remain unnoticed and yet, they spar with all the effrontery only afforded a royal dogma. Why they would try to flaunt their angles unexpectedly, I am fretful to consider, and yet, just now, one of them is saving me, once again, after such a long time. Before now, I refused to retract my indifference. They're mine after all and sadly, I've seen their ruinous hands.
But not today.
Today, I'll allow for a fair share of perseverance needed to unseat my fears for good. It's the least I can do after my promise any way.
Beneath the table, my hands begin to perspire and I squeeze and unclasp repeatedly to refrain from jutting upwards and taking to my heels.
Another breathe Clara. Take. Another. Breather.
Mr Marshall sitting across from me pore over my script, something he should have done before now. I watch as his freckled cheeks would crumple into a look-a-like frown every now and then.
Many will think me stupid to be back after such a long time. A while ago, I could have readily hallowed that school of thought.
Last year, like a light year away from when Edward died leaving me forlorn, it would have been so easy to parade some contextual pride and shut the doors to my castle behind me.
But not today. Today, my promise has to breathe unrestrained. I wouldn't forgive myself if I allowed a moment of hesitation. Not in my wildest...
"Well, well Mrs Middletown," my head snaps upward at the sound of my name and my eyes lock with the bald-headed man with a delicately pointed nose sitting across from me. He continued after a final gaze at my manuscript, "I must say, you write rather electrifying. It's a gripping story, I have to confess, my dear. Tell me, is it a true account?"
I hesitate for a moment before responding in the affirmative. He gives me a serious nod, slump backwards into his chair and bring two fingers to rest on his cheek, supported with an elbow on the armchair. I swallow as his eyes roam my face, as if looking for any trace of falsehood. It seemed to last for a century and I was beginning to despair of a likely refusal. Then, just as I start to consider exiting gracefully, he bolts into a fit of laughter, startling me for the second time.
"We'll take it!" He boomed, a hooting response that slips almost unheard from the colliding rain of amazement.
It's not possible he said that. Surely, my ears are only decieving me. However, his abrupt jerking from his seat to extend a hand dissolves my worry as I allow a hearty laughter for the first time in years.
"Come back tomorrow for a meeting with the rest of your team who'll work with you all the way until your book is published. Congratulations my dear. You're well on your way to being the hottest literary cozy mystery writer of our time."
Still stunned, I open my car door and only after I settle in did the tears run rampantly.
Edward would have been so proud. He would have been.. so.. happy. I imagine the expression on his face as he will shrug his shoulders and declare, "you deserve every joy in the world mama."
Edward... You foolish boy. You had to die and leave me struggling to breath. Oh Edward. You foolish, silly boy.
I recall the day he died like it was only yesterday. My boy had died innocently for a being in the right place at the wrong time. The culprit who got away was only just rallied out a week ago. Two full year after my boy was killed. Justice served its purpose but justice was two years late.
Edward wouldn't have minded. He was a charismatic young fellow who would give his all to see the truth got out. He would smile at me and say, "mama, God hates evil and so do I. Evil is perpetrated by bad people who put themselves at the mercy of Satan and so, I'll be teaching them a lesson and sending them to jail to get their way sorted out. It's the least I can do to appreciate God for bringing me salvation." On that note, he would stick his revolver into his holster and disappear into the night. The last time he said so, I had a eerie feeling about him going out but he'd objected, adamantly pleading for me to let him leave. The police force had their tail set on a guy they had been following for years. They finally nabbed him and Edward was never one to miss out on seeing the truth prevailing.
His eyes had sparked that night, and unknown to me, it would come back with it's fire forever quenched.
I had mourned a whole year for him until I saw a note, more like a poetry, in his drawer, somewhere I could bring myself to open until then. It concluded with telling me to promise never to stop writing.
After a failed attempt at becoming a writer three year earlier, I had lost complete interest in writing again. None of the books I published had sold more than hundred copies.
I had a long gruesome line of "No!", and tossing in the towel had looked more appealing. For a year, Edward had tried colluding me into returning to my craft but I was too afraid. Then even at death, his last thought had been his mama being happy. He had hidden his cancer diagnosis from me and fought quietly on his own. I only got to find out three days after his death when one of the officers brought a letter someone found from the pocket of his uniform the day he died. Thus, my journey began and my pain itself had bled out itself into every line of my manuscript.
Finally it was completed, after an awful year.
It hurt bad, but I never could have imagined a sad story would turn to a testimony.
Starting my car, I find my way out of the building as peace I could not interpret begins to wash over me.
"I'll now invite Mrs. Clara Middletown to the stage. Please a round of applause for our next shining star."
Mr. Mashall's voice boom proudly into the mic and my eyes blink repeatedly as I make my way to the press table. The blur of the moment sends me almost swooping as I can barely imagine the ecstatic feeling pouring into me.
I settle into the seat and smile at the crowd. The rapid process was still so overwhelming for me and most times I can hardly draw my breathe.
Before I knew it, someone from the press asking me how I felt about the whole paparazzi and I clear my throat before speaking into the mic.
"I want to specially thank you all for honouring me today and making it to my book release. I'll forever be grateful to my son, God rest his soul, for he made this book possible. I'm not much of an outspoken person so to summarily respond to all of your likely questions, I have the poem that propelled this book here with me. It was the last thing my son left me and I treasure it a lot. I'll start reading now."
But to say I am will be too much
But to say I can, weighs me down
So I hide
There's so much to see around the edges
and as a grab
so little to say
When I hide
and when I sigh
giving only that fakery
The one they want to see
In the dark, it gets so quiet
In the shadows, my head gets busy
There I loiter
Like a mirage
All the shouts echoing up there
There, where no one acknowledges, but me
Then two, until it's like a thousand
They do what they do
it's pouring now
Those clouds in the sky,
just like these lips
jaunty like a dogma
Then something shatters
Suddenly they gape
A voice, not theirs
I pause, it dies
I speak, it resumes
Mine... it is mine!
a gripping first!
It runs like the ocean
and it feels great.
It collides in rhythm
and I sigh at last
Then I open my heart
and I happen
Far away from the dark
The door to tomorrow,
Opens in the track to your heart,
So retrace your steps
"I really don't know who this poem is for out there but if it could save me and create a miracle, I'm sure it can do the same for you. Thanks a lot."
"Wow, that's a beautiful piece from Mrs. Clara. We will start the signing right now." Mr Mashall's jubilant voice steer me to my feet.
The applause that rings out around me from the audience is almost deafening as I wipe a tear from my cheek. Rising to my feet, I make my way to the signing table and the overwhelming feeling almost sink me in again as I imagine how a bleeding manuscript can make such gripping impact.