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Posts Tagged ‘plot’

It was one of those days, you know … when you wake up of your own accord. Not with the sound of a noisy alarm clock beeping its high pitched tone into your ears, or a screaming baby needing your attention, or stern tones of a wife wanting you to help with whatever she needed help with, but with the soft chirping of birds flying freely outside the window; the night making way for another day—a day without the grind of your day job. The house is silent.

Your morning cuppa goes down a treat and you can smell the jasmine you planted last spring, airing its fragrance around you as you stand on the deck outside admiring your garden. All is still and peaceful. The perfect morning.

The sun begins to warm you and you feel carefree. It takes you back to your teenage years, before the manic of life took its hold on you. You stand and stare, enjoying the peace and tranquillity. The good old days.

Then you hear the crying coming from her bedroom and you are brought back quickly. You wait momentarily to see if it stops. It doesn’t. You make your way to her. You’re soon joined by your other half and together you tackle the morning duties—feeding, cleaning, caring and the like—but the crying still doesn’t stop. By afternoon, your temper starts to fray like a severed rope, and comments from the other side seem to push you closer to the edge.

‘Don’t feed her like that. Don’t hold her like that. No, you’re doing it wrong. The doctor said you should …’

Eventually it gets too much for you and you lash out, soaring your voice above the crying to be heard, saying things that eat into the integrity of your marriage. You yell accusations, casting blame on her that she caused this. You can’t let her have the last word, so you yell louder until your tone is unrecognisable and your eyes glare with determination. Then that moment, the moment that defines who you are, stares you in the face and taunts you, daring you to make that decision … Today is the worst day of your life.

*  *  *

I woke when I heard her crying, as I did every morning. Simon was already up, which was unusual. He normally slept in and I tended to Lily. But he came in from outside, coffee cup in hand and met me at her door.

‘What were you doing?’ I asked.

‘Just thinking,’ he said.

It struck me as odd that he was up. Simon only ever looked after Simon. But I was happy for the help and I needed him now more than ever. His constant absence meant I needed to spell things out to him about looking after his sick daughter. He was a fish out of water at home and generally not happy.

It wasn’t long before we started to argue about stuff, the usual kinda stuff. Lily kept crying and our arguments intensified. I just wanted him to understand what I went through everyday. I needed his help and support and not only on the weekends.

Lily’s crying increased in protest of our arguing and then … Simon seemed to change. His face red with fury; his voice hoarse from yelling abuse; and, his eyes fixed on her. I tried. With God as my witness I tried. But I was too slow. I knew the reality of our home situation was a lot for him to deal with, along with his work, but who would have thought he’d—

I miss Lily.

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Definitions for blinkered – adjective [bling-kerd]

  1. narrow-minded and subjective; unwilling to understand another viewpoint.
  2. having blinkers on; fitted with blinkers.

His father had warned him of the sultry seductions that came with success, but his stubborn, blinkered arrogance ignored the advice, and now he was back home and humbled with only an apology in his pocket.

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People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.

 

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‘Love can make you go crazy and drive you insane if you let it,’ I said.

She watched me carefully and I casually, tentatively, edged half a step closer.

‘So,’ she straightened her stance, a counter action to my movement. ‘What are you proposing, Edwin?’

My heart pounded. In my head it was easy. I was proposing a lifetime together, a family together, then growing old together, and being happy together … forever. But what came out was awkward and modest, and now that I think of it, a whole lot clumsy. ‘Do you want to get an ice-cream later?’

She giggled, and although she didn’t say it, I knew it was because I offered ice-cream instead of lunch or dinner. But what could I do? That was all I could afford. The three of us had to pool our money together to have enough, even for that small purchase.

‘Okay, I’d like that,’ she said. ‘We’ll meet you down at the shops, say one o’ clock?’ she edged towards the door.

‘Perfect,’ I said, in the calmest voice I could muster. But my heart was beating ferociously. ‘Wait. Nicole.’ She stopped. ‘Can I grab your number, you know … in case I have to call you later or … sometime?’

There was a wolf whistle from behind us, followed by hysterical laughter as Leon and Ray enjoyed the show from across the street. She pulled her hand away, her face turning serious.

‘Why would you have to call me,’ she said, making quotation marks with her fingers. A cool, crisp tone. She didn’t look impressed. ‘It is a dare, isn’t it?’ Her accusation came with such force that I stumbled back a step. Before I could answer, she turned and twisted the doorknob and disappeared inside the house, slamming the door behind her, leaving me stunned and completely embarrassed. I waited but she didn’t come back. I contemplated leaving, but decided against it. Surely it wasn’t ending like this? I lifted my hand to knock on the door again, then thought better of it. I wanted to call out her name, to yell for her to come out so I could explain. But I just stood there on the front porch with the sun on my back and the smell of roses from the garden in my nose.

There was more laughter from Leon and Ray who were loving every minute of their friend’s demise. Shocked and disappointed and standing by the front door like a fool, I turned to leave, wondering if I had completely F’d the whole thing up, when the door suddenly swung open.

‘Edwin.’ Nicole held out her hand with a folded piece of paper between her fingers. ‘Ring me if you have to,’ she said, giggling as she made the inverted commas with her fingers again. I took the piece of paper and she smiled and then laughed a genuine laugh that shook her chest and reached her eyes, and I remember how amazing that sound was to hear. ‘I needed to know how badly you wanted it,’ Nicole said. ‘Most boys would have left by now. But you didn’t. Impressive.’

‘Oh, so you were testing me?’ I said, raising my eyebrows, relief flooding through me.

‘Kind of,’ she teased. ‘The real test comes later today.’

‘So, how do I score?’ I asked, grinning.

‘Mmm! You’ll have to use your imagination,’ she replied, and gently closed the door.

Excerpt (novel)Insane Truth – Grant Ackermann

 

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Definitions for farouche – adjective [fa-roosh]

  1. sullenly unsociable or shy.

His confidence, brought on by a few jeering mates and few early vodka shots, had propelled him across the busy dance floor in a twirling, hip-swinging gyrate to the presence of this beauty … the woman of his dreams … this Goddess. But now, under the dull, sobering scrutiny of her and her friends, he was suddenly farouche and berating himself for ever leaving his lounge room.

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The fog settled, blanketing all around him.
He sighed. Well, he enjoyed the beautiful sunshine while it shone upon him, that was for certain, but could he be so lucky as to have that always? He looked around again and believed not. The change had come and the world was shifting into its ghostly darkness. But surely it was worth a try? He deserved it, didn’t he? He deserved a place of comfort where he could rest his weary head, a place he could call home, a place that could teach him to smile again. He let the thought stay with him for a moment and then shrugged it off. Who was he to say?

He could move, he supposed, but even then the sunshine turns to night, right? And isn’t that the same thing? He guessed so. The night that brought everything cruelly back to him, that filled him with terror and uncertainty, that stole any glimmer of a way out was sometimes more than he could handle. But there was no one to listen to him anyway.

Now what? He brought his hand up close to his face and studied it in the haze of white. His hand old and calloused and hardened by the long hours he worked showed fingers bent, tired and dirty, and a trace of a lifeline that was short and faded and perhaps as insignificant as he was in this white darkening world. This fog was only going to get worse before it got better, and the thought of losing his way, to stumble further from his destination was no comfort. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, he thought. Now he brought up his other hand and together covered his face—exhausted, perhaps even defeated. Such was the struggle. But he had come this far, seen such beauty, experienced the wonder of a life he could only have dreamt of, and now there was no going back. It was done. In the darkness of his hands he could see it all so clearly, and it was worth it, if only his feet and his heart would oblige.

He dropped his hands and shook his head abruptly. No! He could do this. His journey was set, his sacrifice long ago ordained and so it would be done, no matter how hard it would be, no matter what the obstacles. That was his destiny. So he picked up his duffle, lifted his face skyward to let all of the white cover him—a prayer in a cloud, an acknowledgement, an understanding, a summons for strength—tiny beads of moisture forming and rolling away down his face. Tears? Perhaps.
Then he straightened and took his first step forward, doing what needed to be done, continuing his journey towards the sun.

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Amy: They clinked teacups and sipped their hot drinks, the steam rising and twirling before them, while the rain pelted down against the soft green earth outside. Amy wishing and naively believing, as a young mind is inept to do, that death was still a long long way away … but she was wrong.

Rose: Her daughter nodded more in acknowledgement than in agreement but the mood remained as dreary as the weather and Rose, taking it upon herself to lift the mood, tried to shake off the vibe that stuck to them like a wet blanket. ‘Today is a celebration, so let’s forget the bad news and celebrate,’ she said enthusiastically, raising her voice to an almost cheer, bringing a sudden spark to their energy and a smile to both their faces. Rose hoped with everything she had that it would last but as they drank their tea and watched the rain roll down the window, she could only see tears, lots and lots of tears that only supported her deathly premonition.

Excerpt (novel) – The Wish List – Grant Ackermann

 

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