Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why Love A Man Who Loves An Ugly Car

I'm a day late, because I took Christmas off to be with my family, but here's this month's exerpt from Jay and Alex's story. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

“I’m sorry baby.” Charles’ voice slurred across the phone.  “I love you, please just come. I miss your face baby, please”
     The boisterous background of the bar drowned out most of charles’ drunken proclamations. Freezing gusts from the snowstorm outside the gateway of her  disembarking plane, combed icy fingers over Alex’s scalp, driving her to the seating area to escape the chill.  Her eyes flew in panic over the dismal decor.  The black clad seats beside her gate,bound side by side in long awkward rows, offered no hope of comfort or reprieve. Alex clenched her jaw and bit down on the inside of her cheeks to fight back tears.
     “Charles,” she spit through her phone, “I borrowed money, I flew half way across the continent, my parents are freaking out, and your sorry that you asked me to marry you and then changed your mind?”
      The crowded gateway in O’hare International Airport drowned out the quiet shriek of his voice but she plugged her other ear to hear him.
      “I didn’t change my mind” Charles hissed, the sentence becoming one long syllable.  “I just talked to my mom and she pointed out to me that I should not have been so…crazy.”
       “Crazy” she snapped, “since when is getting married crazy?”
 “since the 1960’s, Alexandra”
     Tears brimmed at the edge of her burning eyes as Charles softened his tone and whined again.
     “We need to talk about this after you get here, that’s all baby. Don’t be mad at me.” 
Alex held back the sob she could feel ripping at her throat. The churning fury of her temper was always extinguished by her tears of humiliation.  Taking a deep breath to steady her voice and wiping at her eyes, she settled her emotions.. He would not hear her cry and he would face her, sober, with the truth.
       “Fine, Charles,” she stated the words absent of emotion. , “that’s a good idea. We’ll talk about this when I get to New York.”
       The screen flashed electric blue as she shoved it back into her bag.
      “You asked your mom?” she mocked. while trying to lecture him from half a continent away.
    Words from her reading of the manuscript echoed in her thoughts.
The greater part of love is trust.
  Alex’s hands shook as she ran them threw her hair.All she wanted was to collapse into an empty seat near the window. Frosty fingers of ice laced the glass, framing the White layers of frozen fury drifting in a blowing cloud across the barren airport grounds.
Thanks to the tortured weather, She had missed her connecting flight. The airline apologized before  putting her on standby for an empty seat on the next one, but she was exhausted, abandoned,  and cold.
Her light woolen coat wasn’t made for winter in the northwest. Shivers scraped across her shoulder blades as she curled into a vacant seat to wait. It was one o’clock in the morning in Chicago and when Charles had called in the midst of  this newest set of obstacles, she’d been  thrilled.  He was calling her, worried about her traveling alone, especially in the middle of the night. 
When she’d  heard his voice the quickening of her pulse brought a smile to her face,  erasing the exhaustion from the flight.  Charles voice was like syrup though, thick and too sweet. The slurring of his words into half sentences, explained everything. He was drunk.  He was always hopelessly in love with her when he had Jack Daniels and Jim Bean to feed his emotions.  It was a pinch of irritation in the back of her mind, until he started crying and apologizing for  not wanting to marry her.  Maybe she hadn’t translated drunken-ese correctly? Did he say it was a mistake because his mommy disagreed with something he’d done while thinking  for himself? Alex shook her curls out around her chilled shoulders, feeling the bite of the manuscript beneath her right arm.
     The two and a half hour flight had sped past the tiny circular window beside her seat in the small plane. Absorption  in the manuscript had taken her mind off the bucking and jolting of the aircraft traveling through a blizzard between Denver and Chicago.  With that thought to cling to during the flight, She’d  withdrawn the pages.
The beginning of the manuscript would take her into parts of her mother’s past she was unfamiliar with. It would take deeper concentration, keeping her thoughts within the plane’s interior.  The first words did not disappoint. Instead they startled her drowsy senses and white knuckled grip.
   If this were a fairy tale…If I believed in fairy tales, I would have to start a few years  ago when I fell in love with my prince charming...”
With her brow furrowed, Alex glanced at the year printed across the top of the page. Confusion flooded her thoughts. her dad had been twenty one when her parents had met, but her mom was four years older than he was. The date  would have made him seventeen.  Her red pencil, clamped between her teeth where she’d been  holding it since take off, dropped onto her lap as the plane shuddered. The storm seemed intent on  breaking her attempt to correct the typo. If she refused to focus on the boiling sky in the window beside her, she might keep her heart from exploding from sheer panic. The survival instinct kept her eyes on the full description of what she’d read a few moments earlier.
Nov. 29
        “I suck at daily journal entries. When I am super-happy I write about it and when I am miserable I write dark and depressing stuff. It’s the in between times  when my life is quietly working that I forget to keep track of my memories.Today is my wedding day, so of course I’m writing. The story that made this day possible is a thousand heartbreaks earlier. A million tears in the past.
  So today, I have collected these entries as a way to show what love is,and if I can remember all the details accurately it will tell a real love story, better than a fairy tale because its true.
That stated I will go back a year, or two and try to make this crazy ride I call life make sense.”
     A wayward curl drifted over her sight until she tucked it behind her ear. The twin engine, aluminum can she was crammed into, shuddered in the wind.
Focus,  her mind commanded, forcing her eyes off the erratic movements of the plane. The violence of the storm shook the pages between her fingers as she found the first of her mother’s numbered entries..
          #1 March 1

“I thought I’d   met my prince a few years ago. Like an idiot I didn’t think about it too much and  I fell in love.   I should have known something was wrong when it seemed too perfect. I don’t believe in boy meets girl fairy tales so I’m not sure how I got blindsided by this one, but I did.I could tell you that I never meant to fall in love with Mike, but the truth is…I wanted to.  He was, on the surface, everything a fairy tale prince should be: Handsome, Charming, Sweet and funny.Best of all,   Mike was my best friend.  For me, the greater part of love  is trust.
I chose to fall in love with him,because I  trusted him: his tenderness, the time we shared, talked, laughed and then  spent in each others arms. The stupid girl I was even trusted the passionate parts of our relationship were more than just empty actions. I’d had other guys offer physical enticements, but I wanted Mike’s kisses and middle of the night whisperings to mean that I was his world. I believed actions meant feelings.Ni eve, I know, but I couldn’t let myself believe it wasn’t the same for him. Mike and I were best friends. Best friends don’t get physical and have it mean nothing, right?
It just didn’t seem possible, that for two years I missed the truth. I can see it now. Times he would smile at me, but not say the words. When people would talk about how perfect we were together, and he would withdraw.
If I had been paying attention, the physical part of our ‘friendship’ would have been a red flag instead of the last straw. Too many bad cliches, I know, but that was us. One giant, rotten, tangled cliche. That mess became my life, ,  and when he left me, I did not know how to  love without him.
No amount  of tears on both our parts could unwind it. There weren’t enough therapists or friends, or tubs of mint chocolate chip ice cream to bring him or my heart back. After months of pain and struggle, I realized that waiting and wanting would leave me nothing but alone, so I gathered the  remnants of my world, and  I let go. My whole life was suddenly rearranged, no best friend, no boyfriend, nothing but emptiness where I thought I was loved.”What hurt the most was realizing, I hadn’t fallen in-love; I just collided like a doomed, pain filled,  crashing comet into it.”
      “..”Alex shook her head as tears scratched at the back of her eyes. Mom’s best friend? Why hasn’t she ever told me about this? Thoughts of her mother’s first love mangled into images of Jay. She couldn’t imagine him acting like this Mike. She didn’t allow herself to imagine being his girlfriend, either. She’d let the thought cross her mind once or twice,but  what her mother was describing was exactly the reasons she wouldn’t fantasize about Jay. She would never let things go that far with him. She couldn’t risk what it might cost her.     
Alex's teeth sunk into the pencil before she let it drop into her bag.  This part of Tricia’s life  existed long before her parents had found each other.  This was a different woman than the mother she had known her whole life, this was a girl, raw and wounded displaying her bleeding heart.  Focusing again on the words , Alex kept reading.
      “I left behind more than my best friend and first love then, I moved, started school and work, in another city and began living with a group of girls that Mike and I both knew.. We   expanded our painful togetherness to include chances to be apart. Yet, we never were.
What made it worse was watching him flourish into a fuller social life with my room mates and girlfriends. I refused to be a  spectator and casualty.. He and I were uncomfortably apart and together as he dated, flirted, and focused on the people that were  my world as well. I don’t know if I wasn’t trying hard enough to get away from him or if he was unconsciously tormenting me with his interest in my girlfriends.  Either way I was crumbling beneath the pressure of my own broken heart, and  the  reality of how little he cared. My prayers were anguished as I begged for the desire to stop loving him. I still thought I could find true love, I just didn’t know how when I’d so thoroughly believed  the charade Mike had sold me.
In the months that followed ,  the ragged edge of my wounded heart always reminded me that I still loved him. A part of me wanted him to wake-up and come running back. Another part knew he wouldn’t. I wasn’t even sure after a year or so that I wanted him as much as I wanted him to suffer.
 The pettiness of that is embarrassing now, then, it was just plain wrong. I moved away again, only to end up on the periphery of his life once more.
This time though, I wanted him to move on as much as I wanted to be friends the way we had been. My pain had boiled down to just regret. I was sure I could live with the truth, and with him there to remind me of it.
   Alex wiped the silent tears that had begun to slip down her cheeks as she remembered the story. Before the landing, the night and storm had evaporated along with her fears, leaving raw emotion in their wake.  In Charles’ defense,” I was a little over sensitive when I got off the plane.   she thought.
Silently scolding her fly away temper, she pulled the bent pages from her bag and turned back to the first page, to start the story again. The frozen air drifting up the gang plank sent a shiver down her spine as her mother’s words became auditory in her mind.
# 9 April 4
We all went dancing again tonight Yeah, all of us. I swear my new roommate’s know three quarters of the single guys  in the valley and they follow us around like we hold the secret key to the cookie jar. . I’m not sure why I keep tagging along with Laura and Melanie to these things except that I don’t want to sit home wondering if there is something else I should be doing. Laura is always trying to find anyone to add to the entourage. the crowds at the club keep her calendar full and her social life frantic. Mel on the other hand seems fairly particular. She has introduced me to some of the guys she knows. They seem a little more…mature.  Tonight there was only one that made an impression though, maybe because it wasn’t the first time I have ever met him.
I don’t know how long he’d been sitting beside me when his voice firstcaught my attention.
     “Hi, again.” He said with a crooked smile,”I think we met a couple of months back? I used to be your roomate’s boyfriend.”

 I thought I remembered the smile but mostly it was his cobalt blue eyes and the sound of his voice that made me focus on him. He explained that we had met a few months earlier when my old roommate Ashley had introduced him to  a group of us going dancing.
It sounded familiar because Mike had been particularly focused on Ashley that  night, despite the fact she  had a boyfriend. I must have  been  distracted by Mike’s presence as usual, because I barely remembered this  guy.
     I almost choked as our first meeting suddenly came to mind. That was the night she was going to break up with him, because she and Mike were messing around. From this guy’s description of how I knew him, she had done it.
Living with Ashley for over six months taught me to recognize the victims of her tease ‘em and leave ‘em games, so when his introduction had included the words ‘I used to be your roommate's boyfriend I’m sure I must have cringed openly at him.     
 He just offered a crooked grin and a shrug, as he laced his fingers behind his head to stare off into the crowd. I clumsily apologized for her behavior, feeling more guilty for knowing Mike’s part than really feeling sorry for Ashley.
     No big deal,” he said.”We just had different  idea’s about dating. I wasn’t totally sold on her and she wanted it to include   all  other guys.”
     I shake my head even now, thinking of it, but he hadn’t seemed to upset. It was a good sign that he was there at the club. Ashley told me a few weeks ago that he was lost without her and spent all his time alone. This guy did not seem to me like anyone who was lost. talking to him for just those few moments tonight made more of an impression than any other conversation I’d tried to have in the midst of screaming music and clamoring crowds.
 He seemed solid, confident, , quiet but polite. I didn’t see that much of him, I don’t know why I remember except that Ashley and Mike are a sore subject for me. Part of me believed Mike  got from her what he was good at handing out, because she played with him before dumping him for another guy. The whole mess just felt…rotten. I didn’t know this guy, but  I went from feeling sorry for him to being glad he’d dodged that bullet. It had only taken a few words.
Anyway…it doesn't matter Melanie and Laura came and grabbed him to dance, and  before I could even ask his name he was gone.
Alex shook her head again, digging in the bag for her red pencil.  This random guy was so arbitrary here.  What was her mom thinking including him.  The manuscript had black marker covering portions of the journal entries that her mother didn’t think were needed. Perhaps in her zest to discard more intimate parts of her life story Tricia had marked out the portion that would have connected this memory with her broken heart, but having no idea what parts she was Missing Alex once again felt the impatience of her trip flaring her criticism. She jotted a note in the margin to Tricia.  Random Mom,  she scribbled. Who is this? Is it Dad? is he with your roommates. Connect him or this experience more clearly to Mike.  She pursed the  pencil between her lips to read again, when her phone’s tone rang from her bag.
      Alex scrambled for it, hoping Charles had called her back and decided to be a man.  Her fingers fumbled impatiently racing against her quickened pulse to answer the call and hear his voice, when her eyes caught sight of Jay’s number flashing across the screen.  Alex smiled as she answered without hesitating.
      “”It’s waaay past your bedtime. What are you doing calling me so late.”
     Lex, you OK?”
      “Jay,” Alex chided playfully, “Its after one in the morning.  Why aren’t you asleep?”
     The hard edge of his voice softened noticeably and Alex heard him let out an unconscious sigh.
        ““”Well, Its only midnight here, and my best friend has been highjacked by a storm somewhere in the Midwest.  I couldn’t go to bed,  until I'd at least heard the ransom demand.”
      Alex laughed letting the tenseness of her jaw muscles unclench with his teasing.  She glanced around the cold room drawing in a deep breath.
     “I’m in Chicago, right now.but the delays in Vegas made me miss my connecting flight and I may be spending the night in O’hare..”
     “you could be back here in a couple of hours and if I meet you in vegas you could spend at least part of the night in your own bed.”
     Alex heard the wistful tone of his voice and her heart ached to just follow his advice.  She did not respond to the silence palpable through their wireless connection and Jay cleared his faltering voice again.
      “so, assuming you can fly anywhere… what happens after you get out of Chicago?”
      Alex opened her mouth to give him her practiced explanation, but retracted it before it could leap off her tongue..  What was her plan now? To go and convince Charles?, To break up with him? For a brief moment her mind screamed that she should just turn around and go back to McCarran. If she were going somewhere tonight maybe it should just be home.  She could hear jay’s stumbling footsteps keeping pace with his breaths across the line, and she quickly silenced the arguments in her mind.  He would  meet her in Las Vegas, and it was the middle of the night. She couldn’t do that to him, she had to get a hold of herself and be reasonable.
     “I don’t know, Jay.” She relinquished in a broken breath. “Charles is…reevaluating..uhh…us.  I’ll have to get back to you on that.” 
Jay’s breaths were heavy and even now, as if he was trying not to hyperventilate as Alex bit her lip waiting for his response.
     “I don’t care what Chucky’s plans are,” Jay stated.  “What do you want to do?”   
she clenched her teeth expecting the pause to give him a chance to start ranting about this stupid plan and her idiot boyfriend.  The line remained silent though until Jay spoke again.  His voice, so quiet it came only as a whisper.
      “Every relationship takes work Lex, no matter who you decide to be happy with, as long as your happy.  Are you sure this is the one you want to work on?”
          Alex gulped back her fraying nerves. “This is the one that needs me to work on it.
      Lowering her escalating tone, she cleared her throat with a shuddered breath. “It’s like you said, I just have to choose to be happy.”
    She was glad that he was a thousand miles from where she now sat.  she would never have been able to  convince him if he  had  looked into her eyes. If she was aware of the tension between them, Jay was probably ready to chew through his tongue.
 “then I guess you’re going to New York.” Jay said, his voice gruff and tired. “and I’ll see you …uhh…when you get back.” 
“until then,” she said leaning back against the frigid window. "Tell me about the game tonight?”
Jay groaned bringing a smile to Alex’s lips. “I didn’t get any draft offers from the NBA.”
“What about from your Dad and Grandpa?”
“How did you know I met with the Jorge’s tonight?”
Alex twirled a curl around her index finger. “Its Thursday, right?”
Jay’s low chuckle caressed her cheek again. “Yeah, well I didn’t get any further with my dad than usual. He did offer me a part time gig as a busboy at Mama’s restaurant.”
“Because the 12 hours a day you put in at the shop aren’t enough?”
The line remained quiet until Jay cleared his throat. “Speaking of that, I’ve got to get some sleep before work. Are you Okay? Have you got the pepper spray I gave you?”
“Yeah Dad,” Alex said. “I know you’re not this worried about my being attacked by strangers. What’s wrong?”
“Alex I just-“ The phone became silent again. “I just want you to be happy.”
Alex sniffled. “I will be, maybe not stuck in this airport, but eventually. Don’t worry so much.”
Before she’d hung up Jay had stopped talking. He gave her yawns and grunts, but she knew he’d said everything he was going to. The more they'd talked the more distant he'd become. Something was bothering him. She wished she were close enough to find out what. Her hand tightened around the phone as she fought with her desire to call him back and get him to talk about it. The blinking of her digital clock caged the temptation. It was the middle of the night. She'd take care of it tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

T'was The Week Before Christmas

There was a Christmas rage a few years ago where "parenting experts" recognized that children were becoming too caught up in the materialism of the season. The recommendation that was announced on a popular daytime talk show was for parents to adopt a new sort of shopping list. It should look like this:
#1. Something the child wants-just one item.
#2. Something the child needs-just one item.
#3. Something to wear-you get the idea.
#4. Something to read.
It became a nationwide brilliant concept for at least one holiday season.
I was a little confused about the talk this idea generated, especially amongst the women I know. It relieved parents of undue pressure to over spend. It took the pressure off to buy your children's approval. It put an importance on removing materialism from the tradition of Christmas.
Perhaps because I have never considered myself my kids friend, I didn't get caught up in the movement. Perhaps because I have always avoided materialism where my kids are concerned. Perhaps because I'm chaep and work on a budget year round.
Regardless, the short list was something I worked off of before it was officially a list.
The older my kids grow, the harder it is to keep the budget from getting crazy but the most important things surrounding Christmas have never been gifts. I must admit though, when it comes to the last item-something to read. I loose all semblance of control.
My sons are huge readers. We have been reading, out loud and in private since the boys were babies. I buy my husband "Daddy" books for Father's Day, even though he doesn't read a lot. I want to order everything off the school book order. I have to stay off of or I'll blow the grocery budget on books.
So as I went looking for books for my kids for christmas, I had a difficult time narrowing it down to one book. One of my boys got an entire series, one a 525 page novel, and one the first three in a 5 book set, the fifth has not been released.
While cringing over the final bill, I realized I hadn't gotten myself an audio book. I went shopping again.
My tastes for reading are ecclectic though. I like medical drama, historical fiction and non-fiction, romance, mystery, thriller, fantasy, and some Sci-fi. I didn't have enough budget left to satisfy my reading desires.
A friend of mine sent me a link to her Christmas Anthology and I hit pay dirt. 12 short stories based off of classic christmas carols but told from a multitude of genre's and author's points of view.
I can't buy every bookI want to or cover all the talented author's out there so instead I'm leaving a list of Christmas Anthologies for this holiday season. Give yourself a gift this year and go check it out.
All I'm Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology
Love Under the Christmas Tree (Christmas Anthology ... ›
Christmas - A Treasured Anthology - LifeWay Christian Resources 2013 -
Next week is Christmas and I will post the next chapter in Why Love A man Who Loves An Ugly Car-Enjoy and Happy Holidays-Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Author Review: Scott Driscoll

Are Three some things worth risking everything for? Are there some things that have too high of a price? In Scott Driscoll's Novel "Better You Go Home" he answers these questions from the viewpoint of not only a man in search of a lost home from his childhood, but lost family, history, and maybe even his own life?
The Main Character,Charles Lenoch,  needs a kidney, he needs to find the truth of his father's escape from Checkylslovakia in 1938, and he needs to find his half sister before his kindney's fail.
As a diabetic who has gone through kidney transplant, pancreas transplant, blindness and the other trials of the disease, I connected with this character. I know the pain, struggle, exhaustion, and depression that can accompany critical and permanent illness.
While these aspects of Friscoll's main character added urgency to the story, it was the enviroment of post communist Checkylslovakia that kept me in the story. The fear, paranoia, bitterness, and even the blooning hope felt very genuine throughout the telling of this story. The advice to go home permeated the checkylslvakian's  advice to littner. His passion to do just that while remaining in Checkylslovakia was an interesting juxta-position in the novel. Going home becomes the remaining desire of each character as they explore the true path leading them there.
Home is never so distant nor cherished as it is when you are there and still can't find your way back to your family.
"Better you go home" is a tragic tale of loss and oppression punctuated by the deeper understanding of who and what home and family really are.

 Scott Driscoll, an award-winning instructor (the University of
Washington, Educational Outreach award for Excellence in Teaching
in the Arts and Humanities 2006), holds an MFA from the University of
Washington and has been teaching creative writing for the University of
Washington Extension for seventeen years.
Driscoll makes his living as a writer and teacher. While finishing Better
You Go Home—a novel that has been several years in the making and which
grew out of the exploration of the Czech side of his family in the 1990s after
Eastern Europe became liberated—Driscoll kept busy freelancing stories to
a variety of magazines, both commercial and literary. He most often writes
feature stories on subjects ranging from health to philanthropy to education
to general reporting for Alaska and Horizon Airlines Magazines, but he also
does profiles and book reviews, including an October 2010 profile for Ferrari
Magazine 11, and a July/August ’08 profile in Poets and Writers Magazine.
Driscoll’s short stories and narrative essays have been published
extensively in literary journals and anthologies, including Image Magazine,
Far From Home (a Seal Press anthology), Ex-Files: New Stories About Old
Flames (a Context Books fiction anthology featuring high-profile writers such
as David Foster Wallace, Jennifer Egan, and Junot Diaz), The Seattle Review,
Crosscurrents, Cimarron Review, The South Dakota Review, Gulfstream,
American Fiction ’88 and others.
Driscoll has been awarded seven Society of Professional Journalists
awards, most recently in 2009 for social issues reporting, and including best
education reporting and general reporting 2004. His narrative essay about
his daughter’s coming of age was cited in the Best American Essays, 1998, and
while in the MFA program, he won the University of Washington’s Milliman
Award for Fiction (1989).
You can find Driscoll on the Web at

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bricks or Walls

I am almost certain my husband's head is going to explode if he has to listen to me analyze any more of our problems while I try to find solutions. I can hear him roll his eyes at me while I pick every aspect of every barrier apart.
I don't know if this is true for men vs. women. If it's a phenomenon that occurs when a linear thinker has to compromise with a bottom line thinker. Maybe it's just the nature of how we have  made it through the last sixteen years together. I'm not sure, but I have learned a few things about problem solving from him.
For example, when I take on a writing project, I  see the great wall of china towering over me: Protagonist,Antagonist, helper, catalyst, setting, time period, problem to be overcome, romance?, backstory, conflict...
The list of my individual bricks goes on and on. I can't sit down at my computer and whip out more than about a thousand words pertaining to the first item on that list, Much less the details of the list itself.
My husband's comment to this is:
 "A thousand words sounds like the wall to me."
He can fix, build, renovate, roof, wire,figure out just about anything. If an engine has a cracked head he knows how to get it re-surfaced. If the washer won't shut, he knows how to get it to cooperate. To him those are bricks. To me those are walls
It seems to me that compromise is just a matter of perception. He thinks of bricks as problems he knows how to solve or that he can learn to overcome without too much effort.Wall demolished.
I think of bricks as things I can practice doing to learn how that will dismantle the wall.
My walls don't come tumbling down in a grand show of shattered bricks and clouds of dust. My walls are stacks of bricks  set off to the side and out of my way.
There are benefits to both. His way is a great show where we mere mortals ooh and aww when he's finished.
My way is a brief letting through of light that becomes first a window and eventually a door.
Not as showy or impressive as his, but cleaner.
As I try to wrap my brain around our differences and appreciate them for what they both contribute, I also recognize a larger truth.
Whether I'm moving bricks, or he's blasting walls. The light will come in. If my goal is the light of growth, knowledge, and experience, then why am I so worried about the condition of the wall?
Some day perhaps I will learn to use a wrecking ball. It's  a visual I I have a hard time focusing on because all I hear is the overwhelming noise.
Perhaps one day he'll want a door, or window, but it's more likely he'll spend time building them instead of moving bricks.
The secret is to know your self, and your obstacles. If your a blaster, blast away. Just remember not all walls hold you back. Some hold you together.
If you're a brick mover, just remember.Not all bricks can be moved aside. Sometimes moving those bricks creates a new wall.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Love A Man Who Loves An Ugly Car

Jay sat on the edge of his bed after tying his  basketball shoes. He only wore them for one reason and the pounding of their rubber soles against the court tonight would cleanse his tumbling mind. More than that, he longed for the exertion to erase the tinge of pain in his soul. Alex's trip, the things she wasn't saying, he'd been fooling himself into believing it was his 'best friend' status making the ache impossible to ignore. 
The silent face of his cell phone blinked the time as he glared.  Willing it to respond to the heaviness in his heart,his knuckles turned white as his fingers closed around it. The phone refused to acknowledge the tightening in his chest with anything more than the flashing screen. 
When the case began to protest with a crack, Jay tossed it onto the bed.he stood up stretching his arms over his head and pulling his elbows behind his neck.
   Glancing around his drab one-bedroom apartment.he mentally ran through his commitments for tonight. He could always hope it would help him keep his mind off the growing panic creeping through his blood stream.
As lightening flashed from beyond the  narrow blinds hanging over the window, Jay tried to think.
Game with the guys
Meeting with Jorge’s
Find Alex.
Tell her everything.
  The last betraying thoughts halted his hesitant feet. he stopped in front of the bed, his eyes only skittering across the bare beige walls to where his phone still mocked him with its silence. He threw one of his pillows over the face of the beast before forcing sanity into his thoughts.
    He was supposed to meet the guys at the school for their weekly basketball game.
Focus on the game, moron. He chided.
 Her image pushed the scolding from his thoughts. Alex hadn’t called yet and he was worried to distraction.  She had been in Vegas for more than two hours. He was afraid of what that meant.  The thunderstorm raging beyond his apartment door blew it’s brutal breath across the threshold.  imagining her in a ditch somewhere, He dug for the phone for the fifteenth time in as many minutes to call her number again. Like every other time he threw it back on to his bed.  She was twenty three years old she could handle this. Why hadn’t he been able to shake the heaviness crushing his chest since she’d driven away that afternoon.  He knew the answer. He knew why he was so desperate to talk to her.
Jay scrubbed his fists over his eyes. “How could you have let this happen When she’s in love with this other guy.” The lecture only made his misery worse.
He had to keep moving if he was going to make the game, he needed to leave. The pull of possibility from his silent phone shackled his ankles.    
Jay forced himself to pace the few steps between the bedroom door and his phone. Fighting his instinct to just go find her, he balled his hands into fists at his sides. he was supposed to go to his father’s restaurant at nine to meet with Jorge  Senior for a staff meeting.  Jay rolled his eyes and ran his fingers through his still damp hair.  It would be like every other ‘staff meeting’.  Jorge I telling him he was proud of the work he was doing  at his Grandfather’s old body shop. Jorge II telling him he was wasting his life because he wasn’t in college.   
Jay had gotten  his love of old cars from his grandfather but his stubborn tenacity from his father. Unfortunately, they were  currently clashing in his choice of careers.
     When his father found out that Jay was apprenticing with his Grandfather to eventually take over the business, he had insisted that Jay go to technical school
Jay hadn’t argued, He needed  the training to learn all the updated information for modern vehicles. There was no way to keep up with all of it except to work on the cars.
After getting everything he could for his ASE certification it was all hands on and practice.  A foreign concept to his father who could learn anything by simply reading about it.
Jay growled under his breath, the sting of the old battle cementing his decision to skip the meeting and drive to Las Vegas. He picked up his phone one last time willing it to ring in his hand.  Groaning and tossing it back on to his bed. He had to go.   He needed to blow off some steam after today and he couldn’t wait for her any longer.
     “Call me, Lex.” He said, pointing at the phone.  “I can’t afford to pay for another ticket to New York to fix this.”
Alex pressed her speed dial with a shuddered breath. The flashing of stormy windows drew her eyes back out the face of unrelenting glass just beyond her unfocused sight. Thunder echoed across the desert sand, sending a shiver down her spine as the fury of the night began to splash down onto the darkened glass. She put the phone against her ear, listening to the ring tone while mentally reminding herself to stick with her explanation.  She would tell Jay that she was going to New York to find an apartment until Charles could come up with the ring he promised her when he called. She would find a job, make back her plane fare and then come pay him when she returned home to plan the wedding. It was all logical enough, even though not particularly specific and she hoped, having somewhat of a plan, would chase away the dread churning in her heart.
     “Hey, its Jay, I’ll try to call you back.
    ” Alex let out her imprisoned breath in a sigh and smiled.  This was going to be much easier than she thought. The unsettled feeling in her stomach still pulsed an ache with every beat of her heart, but she could at least make it sound like her flight was her only problem. Despite the tormented protests of both the weather and her nerves, she swallowed the burn of tears behind her eyes.    
  “Jay, its Alex.  I made it to my gate but there’s storms all across the rocky mountains tonight, my flight has been delayed.  I don’t know how long I’ll be stuck here but I’ll call you tomorrow and let you know when I’m in New York.”  She paused, chewing on her lip again. “Thanks for worrying and…everything else.  I’ll call you later tomorrow, I promise.
      Alex hung up the call, rotating her churning stomach over the fire of doubt burning in her mind.  She hadn’t told him enough and yet she was sure her voice had said too much. He would hear her fears beyond her words. he’d always had a sixth sense when it came to her not saying enough.
When her freshman year in college had  started as an icy wave of loneliness crashing over her. He had known.   She’d  felt like a single grain of sand being sucked into the ocean of academia.  Terrified that she would never be able to absorb it all, she'd holed up in her room after the first chaotic day of class.
      Jay had called her that evening, eager to find out about the new batch of co-eds.  He was attending night school at the local junior college, it would be their only chance to  connect between work and classes.
      “so, girl genius, did you blow them all away?”
     Alex laughed, hoping the shudder in her voice wouldn’t poke at his instincts.
      “What’s the matter Lex, did something go wrong?”
     When  Alex reassured him it was all fine and she was just tired, he hadn’t said anything else about it.
      An hour later the Nomad  rattled to a stop in front of her house. Her unspoken doubts had pulled the hunk of metal to her as if she were a magnet.  The roar of its ancient muffler drew her to the window only to see Jay standing outside her door, dusting the night’s outpouring of moisture from his dark hair.
Throwing open the door, startling him, she  tried to glare.
      “I thought tonight was your night to work on the Nomad."
Jay  grinned his famous crooked smile and shrugged, stuffing his hands into his pockets.
      Betsy and I have been together for 4 years, one more night isn’t going to kill her.”
      He’d scrapped that car together from miscellaneous parts from his grandfather’s shop. It barely managed to get him around.  No matter how many times the two of them pushed it up or down some hill though, he stuck with ‘her, whispering prodding reassurance for the car to give him one more trip.
      Alex smiled again watching the rain through the gateways windows.  They had gone for French fries and coke’s that night, losing all serious thought, until after two a.m.  
She’d forgotten  her sense of alienation from earlier.  Her most potent memory from that night was their scavenger hunt for a gas station. He couldn’t drive her home in the storm without rain repellant for his windshield.  He had windshield wipers but,  they only worked when the car was in the mood.
     By the time he pulled into her driveway, they were both soaked from hanging their heads out the side windows to try to see through the driving rain. She still wasn’t sure  which had obscured their sight more,  the tears from the storm or the one’s from their fits of laughter.

An unconscious giggle escaped her mouth  with the memory tonight.  Alex stifled the sound with her hand as she glanced back at the departure board. She could  still see the water dripping from his black hair as he left her in front of her house.
      “The world is a much happier place when all you have to worry about is rain.”
 He  assured her that night. “No worries.”
     Alex breathed deeply,  as her eyes caught sight of the departure times. Her flight was set to board in forty minutes. 
     “Finally.”” She muttered, feeling tethered to her seat with cold iron chains.
Jay  kicked his shoes off as he came through the door of his apartment.  He’d been useless on the court tonight: missing passes overshooting the backboard and generally feeling out of step. The electric energy of failed basketball only burned brighter in his thoughts surrounding Alex’s absence. His mind automatically wanted him to go to her house, or meet her somewhere to give her a replay of the game. 
His hands itched with the effort not to grab his keys and follow his instincts.
Stalking down the hall to the bathroom instead, he grabbed a five minute soak of sore  muscles and a quick scrub with the bar of soap.. Before going back to his room, he made up his mind. He’d drive to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, there wasn’t any other way for him to get relief.
Jay pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt before sitting on the end of the bed.. While putting his socks on, the vibration of his cell phone shuddered against his thigh.  Fumbling for the phone, he blew out a heavy breath. Alex’s number on the screen cut the cords wrenching air from his lungs.
Dialing her number with shaking fingers, Jay listened to its monotonous ring in his ear until he heard her voice.
“Hi, It’s Alex. Leave me a message…”
.  Jay moaned and disconnected the call accessing his voice mail instead.  The muscles in his neck and shoulders relaxed as he listened to her complaints about flight delays. He sighed, chuckling with the knowledge that at least God was trying to stop her from running off with this guy. Her parting comments stung at the adrenalin rushing through his blood  as she suddenly sounded like a frightened little girl.  His jaw tightened until he heard the grind of his teeth. He knew it was more than the flying that was bothering her. He knew she needed to talk, but  He was too far away from her to help tonight.  He couldn’t do anything else for at least twenty four hours.
Jay glanced at the clock on his phone. He still had ten minutes to make it to his father’s interrogation.  putting his socks and shoes on, he  stuffed the phone into his pocket.  His father would lecture him on the evils of smart phones, but tonight she was invisible somewhere over the Midwest. His phone was the only tie he still had to her.

 I wanted to leave everyone a Thanksgiving message and say how thankful I am for friends, family, and fans who support me in my writing. I was able to finish my 50 K words for NaNoWriMo a week early thanks to encouragement and love from y'all. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving.