Monday, August 9, 2010

Teasing Again!

I've missed a week, far too caught up in beta'ing, finishing off the final draft of A Not So Happily Ever Afterlife, and sending off queries/requests. I knew I'd gotten way too into Heaven/Hell/Demons/Celestials when I sent Karlie this one morning.

"Omg I scared the shit out of myself. You would have laughed at me. I was flipping through a file and look up to my computer and the space thingy on the screen, like the little line that says where you are? yeah, it's just rolling through the document. like making spaces on its own. im like omg demon!!!!!
Then I realized I had the file resting on the spacebar."
Yes, my writing is atrocious when I email Karlie. I was scared, guys! Cut me a break.
Also, Prop Eight was overturned. Hell yes California. You're finally cool again. Oh God, now you all know I'm a total QAF fan. It's okay. I trust you with my secret.
I haven't been writing much (I'm a slacker, you caught me) but here's a bit from my rewrite.
When we were little, we made forts out of pillows and would lie side by side, sharing cookies like lost hunters, protecting each other from imaginary bears and invisible wolves. As we got older, it was shared popcorn and the horror movies he’d pass down to me. When we were nearly adults, it was hips brushing on hospital beds while he read to me out of my favorite novels. Even then I’d thought we’d always be able to fend off the wolves, so long as we stayed side by side.
     “Do you remember when you were little and you’d bring home your tests and papers with red A’s big as the teacher’s hand? I mean, it was a Boston public school. Each school had, like, three calculators. But you, you aced everything, put them all to shame,” Sam says, laughing into his bottle, elbow grazing mine. He never gets nostalgic; I’m not sure how to handle it.
    “And Mom was never home cause she worked those crazy shifts at the diner and Frankie was pulling doubles to save up for this house, so you’d put my papers up on the fridge,” I remember.
    “And I was still short so they were all collected on the bottom half, stacked on top of each other.”
    “Yeah, you always took care of me,” I says quietly.
    “Except for that time you reset my shoulder, do you remember that?” he asks.
    “Course, I was nine and you had skipped school then fallen out of a tree so I had to reset your arm. And Mom never found out.”
    “You never told her. Besides, you reset it so well I never had to go to the hospital,” he laughs and clinks the necks of our bottles together. “You’re all I’ve really had, you know?” He’s speaking so quietly it’s like it’s not meant for me to hear, but I guess that’s the point. Sam doesn’t do feelings.
    “It’s mutual, bro,” I say, kicking his foot so he’ll look up at me. “You’ll be okay when I’m gone.”
    “You don’t get it, do you? I’m your big brother, I’m supposed to take care of you, always have. I was at every one of your softball games, I read every one of your papers, stayed up all night to help you study. This, I can’t save you from this.”
    “You’re not supposed to.”
    “I am supposed to. I protect you, remember? You were always a little girl. Then, one day, right before my eyes, you were beautiful. I don’t think you even realized it yet. But you had guys lining up down the street for you, and I was so scared. What was I going to do when you decided you didn’t need me anymore?”
    “But I did need you,” I remind him.
    “Yeah, I know, had to bash in a few skulls every now and then.”
    “Which made me a big hit with the boys.”
    “Well it wasn’t supposed to,” he says, nudging me with his elbow. “It was supposed to keep you safe.” He shakes his head and takes a long swig from his bottle. Sam’s always kept me safe, in the big and the little ways. I’m not sure which is more important. When we’d go on family trips, he always took the bed by the door, always walked on the outside of the sidewalk, even walked in front of me into dark rooms. “I wish you hadn’t stopped fighting.”
I frown, furrow my brow. “I never stopped fighting, I‘m just accepting my fate.”
    “Yes, you did stop. There’s more treatments out there, more options.” His voice is edging on desperate, it’s unsettling. How can someone protect me from the dark if they’re clinging to me too tightly to see what’s happening, to be brave and fight?


Karla Nellenbach said...

Ahh! I just love this...and don't worry about grammar checking your emails to me. We both know mine are barely coherent ;)

And, when are you going to send me more of this? (that actually translates to: GET TO WRITING BIOTCH!!)

Juli said...

Aw, this was so bittersweet. I love, love, loved their relationship - the dialogue was-pitch perfect. Great opening paragraph, too.

Also... QAF!!! <3