The day would not be remembered without first thinking of the morning fog that bestowed a certain dampness to the chilly air. Each breath taken was a sharp insult to the lungs and each exhale was but small, visible, proof of life, that easily, but not lazily, co-mingled with the atmospheric vapors. The late sunrise lent itself to the overall feel of a time and place
“What in the hell did I just see?” Her fingers stayed rooted in place on the keyboard but her mind was leaving her novel behind to figure out what was happening in the here and now.
“Are you talking to us, mom?” All three kids appeared at her side. She hadn’t even heard them because she was focused on the mystery in the alleyway. Two blue eyes and four green eyes followed the trail of her vision and rested upon the enigma in question.
“He wonders why people make fun of him…”
“Who is that?” she asked.
“That’s the new kid we were telling you about, mom. He showed up the day after we had the “bedroom addition reveal” - the only reason I remember that is because I was talking about the cake we had and he said, ‘cake… that invention was life-changing for me’.” She sniggered as she raised her eyebrows and offered, “he’s a little… uhm… weird.” Alex was a good girl, it took everything in her to call somebody ‘weird’.
“Hey… as your mom I’ve got to scold you for calling a person weird… as a rational human being, though… I do have some questions.”
“Mom! he’s wearing a purple velour suit with a ruffled shirt and cape to school.” Cal was just as kind as his sister, but this, apparently, was too much for him.
“Honey, do not make fun of him. You have no idea what his life is like. Be compassionate and appreciate his… his…. uhm… peculiar style.”
“Yesterday he wore a wig, mom. Like George Washington. But they made him take it off in school.” Abby was trying, unsuccessfully, to stifle her giggles - until she got ‘the look’ from her mom.
“Ok, you three judgmental prigs, get your asses to school so I can get back to my writing. And remember to be decent people, please.”
Her eyes hinted at amusement as she watched her three carbon copies fade into the mist… “where in the hell did that fog come from?” She looked back at her computer screen and read an exact description of the morning in front of her. “I know a fog can roll in fast but that is…. weird.” She looked around, suspiciously and quite a bit unsure of her surroundings for what seemed like an eternity. Deciding it was a meteorologic anomaly, she went back to her opening paragraph.
marked by surreptitious meetings in sinister alleyways, that managed to stay just out of reach of the gas-fueled flames lighting the puddled streets.
One such meeting
“MEETING!!!! shit! I can’t believe I forgot… Oh my God… I have just enough time to change clothes and brush my hair.”
Thirty-two minutes later she sat across from her editor, listening to him explain why his time was entirely too valuable to be wasted on waiting, for a first time author, no less, who can’t get to an appointment, 6 minutes from her home, in a timely manner. She wanted to avoid eye contact but forced herself to meet his glare. And while she obviously deserved this lecture, she couldn’t help but imperceptibly smirk when his rant dissolved into a background hum as she thought, …but clearly not too valuable to waste 10 minutes putting me in my place.
“Gary, I have no excuse. I just can’t even explain it. I was writing when I remembered the meeting. I jumped up immediately to get ready. So, I knew I was pushing it, but… I still had enough time to get here on time for the meeting. I got in my car and could not believe the time… again, I’m so sorry. I know you have quite a few responsibilities. It won’t happen again.”
The meeting, eventually, went well. Gary was pleased with the outlines and character-development pages she had brought with her. He gave her a few suggestions and complimented her progress; then sent her on her way, with only a few more swipes at her timeliness, or lack thereof, as it were.
Her days were filled with an effort to conquer blank pages. Some of the battles were easily won with words flowing effortlessly and brilliantly. And some days the battle was merely a meek effort of laying down a vague idea, a place-marker, before retreating, but always with the promise of tomorrow’s attack.
An entire first-draft later, she sat at her desk, fresh from a meeting with Gary. He was generous with his compliments and optimism but offered quite a few editorial notes that would take weeks to address. She was back home, sitting at her desk, finding distractions in anything she could; the arduous task ahead of her was anything but enticing. Her eyes caught the flickering lights of her kids’ bus.
First off, was the new kid. She leaned closer to the window, as if those 6” would give her a truer look. The kid was wearing knickers. She closed her eyes, raised her eyebrows and shook her head as she leaned back in her chair waiting to catch a glimpse of her more moderncentric kids.
Her lips still held the smile brought on by their sighting, when she glimpsed further down the alleyway to see the Knicker-wearing, new kid staring at her home.
He wasn’t just glimpsing her way, he was studying her house. It made her uneasy but she couldn’t reconcile within herself, the level of uneasiness. She was lost in thought when the kids stormed in.
“How was your meeting, mom? Did you get in trouble for being late, again?”
“Yes! it was a great meeting but I just can’t seem to get there on time. I’m always on schedule right up until I get dressed and do my makeup… I swear your dad uncovered some sort of time warp area when he added our new master bedroo.…”
And just like that, finishing her thought was less important than catching one last glimpse of the “weird” kid…..