My mother drove me to the Airport, because it was important from a narrative standpoint to show what I was giving up at least briefly, and by briefly I mean two sentences, separated by a whole lot of making the town the book would take place in, a small town unused to fame and picked by the author because it had the distinction of being rained upon more than anywhere else in the country, seem like some dreary dismal hell.
The weather in Phoenix, the city I was leaving behind, was clear skies and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, that's twenty three point eight-repeating for all our friends in the godless metric system, and around about two hundred ninety seven point zero three eight repeating in Kelvin for all the scientist types reading this delightful little tome.
I can't tell you much about the car, except that it had windows which were rolled down. I'm guessing not a convertible (because in that case why not put the top down).
As for where I was going: Forks. See the story goes like this, and this is how the story goes:
Once upon a time I was born. In Forks one would imagine. At that time my parents were married so I'm totally not a bastard. A couple months later my mother fled Hell-that-is-Forks taking me with her. After that I had to spend a month there every summer with my father who rather likes Hell-that-is-Forks. Until I was 14. At the age of fourteen I put my foot down and explained to my father how it was going to be.
Because fourteen year olds can totally do that to their parents.
So instead of spending one month in Hell-that-is-Forks we spent two weeks together in California. Nice switch, I think.
So that was the situation for the past three summers, but now in this the eighteenth year of my life (that being the year when I was seventeen) and the year of the author's lord two thousand five, I decided to exile myself there -without explanation to anyone. Not even myself, not yet at least- because the book is set in Forks and if I don't go there the book can't very well happen. My mother doesn't understand this. Her non-understanding is like clockwork. I predict two paragraphs.
I loved Phoenix, even if in my head hit has been Pah-ho-nix ever since that stupid commercial. I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I don't know why I loved these things as one with as fair a complexion as mine (it'll be compared to albinism, just you wait and see) probably can't be out in the sun too much without serious burns and "blistering" is seldom a good thing. But the book says, in no uncertain terms, that I loved the sun and the blistering heat. Also the vigorous sprawling city which I leave as an exercise to the reader.
With the exception of the sun, I don't think any of this will come up again so feel free to ignore it and instead pay attention to my mother breaking the silence with the words, "Bella, you don't have to do this." See. I told you. Also of note is that this was the thousandth time she said it. One could assume an expression, one probably should, but I'm going to go with the alternate interpretation that she said it precisely 1000 times, this being the last one. It was said outside the plane, ticket already purchased, boarding in progress, my time to go. So I tried, again, to set her straight.
The book was urging me to lie and say that I wanted to, but that's because the book was trying to ignore its own culpability in the decision. I wasn't going to let it off that easily, "No, mom, I do. I'm the main character and the book takes place in Forks. If I don't go to Forks then there is no book and none of us get to exist at all. For the good of everyone in the story I really do need to go."
And I appraised my mother. She looks like me. Notice how I haven't described what I look like at all? For all you know I'm a green alien with purple tentacles coming out of my nose and ears. So what have you really learned about my mother's appearance? Nothing. You have learned that we're one of the families where resemblance is passed down, which is not always the case. Identical grandparents do happen, but not as often as writers would like.
Anyway, the exceptions to her looking like me are that she has short hair and laugh lines. Thus presumably I have long hair and lack laugh lines. But tentacles are still a possibility given all of the description thrown out thus far.
More than appraising her looks, which I have presumably gotten used to in my seventeen plus years of life, I was appraising her character. Not so much in an ethos sort of way, more in a, "Once I'm gone will she waste away to nothing?" sort of way. Nota Bene that she is the only person from Phoenix that I had any kind of a relationship with worthy of so much as a letter afterward.
This relationship was the reverse of what you'd expect in recent years and I gather that before that my grandmother was involved. Anyway, for the longest time I was basically raising her. I made sure that the bills got paid, I made sure there was food, I made sure there was gas in the car, I was the one she called when she was hopelessly lost on some road or other. The book wants me to call her loving, erratic, and harebrained. Two negative adjectives for one positive.
Anyway, that worry didn't require serious consideration because now she had Phil. Phil short for Phillip an ancient Greek name (think father of Alex the Great) that came into the lexicon of this book by being the name of one the twelve Apostles. Religion might not have an overt presence in this book, but turn over a stone and you will find it.
So anyway with horse lover (that's what "Phillip" means) there I could leave guilt free, and yet still...
Mom: Tell Charlie I said, 'Hi.'
Bella: You are aware that he has an internet connection and a passing familiarity with email, right?
Mom: You're supposed to say, "I will."
Bella: Ok, I will, but I don't see why you can't just tell him yourself.
Mom: I'll see you soon.
Bella: Can you define "see" and "soon" in ways that sound comforting instead of like you've got a video surveillance network set up?
Mom: Pretty sure I'm not actually going to see you any time soon.
Mom: You can come home whenever you want -- I'll come right back as soon as you need me."
Ok, first off: she has traditionally been the one to need me, not the other way around. Second, "home" here is ill defined. The city? Ok, that makes sense. The house? She should probably sell that. Third, I could see in her eyes how much of a hassle it would be for her to actually follow through on that promise.
Bella: Don't worry about me. I want this. For some strange value of "want" you weren't previously aware of. It'll be great. *pause* Or this book will suck. Either way. *Pause* I love you mom.
And then I got on the plane and she disappeared from the story for the time being.
The problem with Stealing Commas originals is the lack of like buttons. So, I hereby state for the record that when I checked here I found three new bits of stories (this being the most recent) and I enjoyed them all. Thank you for writing them.ReplyDelete
Ah, that description (or lack of description) thing...ReplyDelete