What if?: Can't seem to think of a title...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Can't seem to think of a title...

...which is unusual for me. Let me know if you have any ideas. -- Nancy Dancehall

“See you later,” she said, but what I heard was the damning finality of “goodbye.”

She’d been the only sober one at the party, and yet she was the center of it. I couldn’t stop watching her move her hands while she talked, bracelets jangling up and down her arms. Her bare feet never stayed still, but danced under the long translucent skirt. She laughed at everything. I thought at first it was an act, but it was genuine. Everything and everyone truly delighted her. I’d never seen such a woman.

She approached me. Later she said it was because I looked like I wasn’t having any fun, and she wanted to change that.

The first time we made love and I approached climax, she pushed my face away from her neck.
“I want to hear you the way the room does,” she gasped.

The first thing that bothered me after she moved in was the number of times her vast and intrusive family called. Aurora was always on the phone solving one crisis after another, all with that laugh, those dancing hands. How could someone be perpetually happy, especially in the face of everyone else’s troubles?
I asked her one day.
“How can I not be happy?” she shrugged. “Life is good. You need to remember that!” She kissed me on the nose before sweeping off to one class or another. “See you later!”
Never goodbye. That word wasn’t in Aurora’s vocabulary.

My friends were jealous.
“She takes up great handfuls of life and flings it into the air,” one of them said.
She’s dangerous, because not only can you fall in love with her, you can really like her.” “Aurora’s perfect,” said another.
I’d thought so too once, before I lived with her. With that perpetual cheeriness.

She worried about her mother’s lupus, I know, but it never showed. Aurora propped up everyone else. One day her mom called and I answered. Aurora was in the other room, but her mom wanted to talk to me first.
“I can tell Aurora needs support now.”
“She’s fine,” I answered.
“I know. She’s always fine. But trust me, Aurora doesn’t know how to ask for support. She keeps giving. Sometimes you have to just give it back.”
“I support her.”
“Of course you do.”
“You don’t have to tell me about supporting her,” I said.
“Of course not. Is she there?”
“No. I’ll tell her you called.”
“Who was that?” Aurora asked, coming into the room. She was smiling, completely guileless, innocent. Happy.
“That was your father. Your mom just…died.”
The light went out of her eyes while her smile froze. A little noise came from her, and I watched her expression collapse into grief, like a bridge under too much weight. She sank to the floor, sobbing.
I stood watching her. The words had come out of my mouth before I thought about them. I wished I’d just backhanded her instead.
The phone rang again. She leapt up before I could stop her.
“Jeeeennnnnny,” she cried into the receiver. “Mom…Mom’s gone…”
I took a deep breath.
“Mike just said dad called and told him…” she turned her face to me. “What do you mean…?”
Her face changed. Her tears stopped.
“Mike’s got a weird sense of humor,” she told her sister. “I’ll call you back.”
“I…I’m sorry,” I said. “I…I…I don’t know why I—”
“You. Cunt.”
I didn’t know that was in her vocabulary.

She left everything behind. Thought it was tainted, I guess. Unimportant.

I’ve kept it all; books, clothes, shoes, makeup. She traveled light. Everything fits into twelve cardboard boxes.

Four and a half years later, I saw her on the street. I couldn’t help but stare. She seemed perfect, absolutely perfect, sipping on her iced tea in the neighborhood café.


Blogger Irrelephant said...

Wow. I'll have to re-read it a few times to catch the more subtle bits, but...wow.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Vulgar Wizard said...

The Life That I Broke?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Maui said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Maui said...

Bent 'til Broken

9:57 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

How about "The Bastard" no that is too obvious...

how about "Pulling Wings Off of Butterflys: Things I Enjoy"

Wow, what a twist. The kind of twist where if this were a prime time TV show - you might have to change the channel to avoid the horrible feeling it gives you. That or get up out of the room and go get a snack to ease that sinking feeling in your stomach.

Again so much packed into a short piece. So much to think about the character. Was it immaturity? was it malicious? was it lacking some sense of social graces in a horrible way that precludes the individual from ever finding a lasting relationship?

10:16 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

There are lines in this short piece that are simply wonderful. I love your phrases and the picture you have painted (meaning, I love the details that add so much to the story).

But I don't know; there is some sort of flow problem. It seems to choppy to me. Perhaps it is a style I am not real comfortable with. But I enjoyed reading the lines; they just did not blend.

Does any of this make any sense?

12:24 PM  
Blogger Giovanna said...


I'm late to the party here, but I amtrying to get caught up and give everyone the comments they deserve.

That said, I don't know what to say. LOL This was wonderful. It had structure, told a whole story---at least what of it we needed to know, and as Leesa said, what stands out is the little details that give it some depth, like: "The first time we made love and I approached climax, she pushed my face away from her neck.
“I want to hear you the way the room does,” she gasped."

There is so much psychological shit you could go even deeper with, this man is obviously envious at her ability to be happy, to the point where he has to tear her down like that. Holy shit.

Very creative. Much better than mine. *sniff* :p

4:57 PM  
Blogger Nancy Dancehall said...

Thanks guys! I'm still getting used to writing in such a tight space (the other thing I'm working on is now at 88,669 words); I guess that's why it sounds choppy, Leesa. It's something I will have to work on. It's my natural inclination to stretch things out; this felt like a ten-page story at first.

Thanks Daniel. The most a writer can hope for is to make a reader feel something.

G and Des Moines Girl: My inspiration for the narrator comes from the use of the term 'cunt' to describe a man. I'm new to that usage, (thanks Lazy, mon muse!) and it got me thinking, 'what would a guy have to do to earn that kind of animosity?' And this guy showed up in my head. I think one of the worst things you can do to another person is to take away their innocence or their joy de vivre.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

A title?

"The Way The Room Does"

6:45 PM  

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