Guess Who’s Back…?

Hello again blogland!

I’m so sorry for the unannounced hiatus. I moved across country mid-May to Salem, Oregon. It’s gorgeous here, and now that life is settling down and making sense again, it’s time to pick back up where we left off.

I’m writing again, though a bit intermittently. But, I feel good about the project moving forward. I’m far too close to the end to give up now! Only 8 chapters left to finish the first draft! And then comes revision and expansion, which is my favorite part!

Again I am horribly sorry for the great gap in updates and work, so by way of apology, I shall post a gift. Below is my newest material on the novel. Keep in mind that it is extremely rough, written only a couple days ago.

Thanks for following me all this way,

BZ

 

 

Brandon sat on the couch. The sounds of gunfire and explosions echoed from the tv as he waged war in whatever video game he was playing. I turned the burner down to simmer and walked down the hall.

I could hear rustling as I neared the second bedroom and knew it was Evie. I rounded the corner to stand in the doorway. She sat on the floor digging through boxes marked “keepsakes”, or “memories”. I leaned against the doorframe as the small girl picked out one of my old yearbooks. She began flipping through it, and as I thought of some of my high school friends, I figured I shouldn’t let her read too much.

“You probably shouldn’t read all of that,” I told her as I walked into the room. She looked up, surprised, and quickly set the book back into the box. I sat across from her, my back against the wall. “Find anything good?”

Evie looked at me from below her lashes, gauging my reaction. Once she realized I wasn’t angry, she pulled a paper out from beside her. “I want to read this,” she said.

I took the paper from her. My name in golden script stood out, as well as the title of one of my stories. I had to think hard to remember what I’d won the award for, but eventually remembered the state writing competition and my first prize piece.

“I don’t have it anymore,” I told her. Her smile faded. “Sorry,” I mumbled, handing the paper back.

She paused, looking at the boxes, and then tore into a new one. She began asking questions as she dug through my cardboard past.

“Do you still write?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because.”

“How many stories did you write?”

I thought about it. “Eight.”

“Did you win anything else?”

“Not really.”

“What’s that mean?”

I shrugged. “I had one get published.”

She gaped at me, but soon returned to the box. She removed a dusty picture frame. Even from the back I recognized it. Evie turned the frame to show me the photo.

“Is that your girlfriend?” she asked, pointing to the pale redheaded woman in the picture.

“No.”

“So that’s not your baby?” she asked, referring to the infant in the woman’s arms.

“No.”

“So then why are they in a picture with you?” She pointed to the man in the photo, his black hair slicked back to blend with his turtleneck sweater. I could see why she would think it was me.

I held out my hand, and Evie passed me the picture. I looked close at the woman. The soft spray of freckles across her nose, the hazel eyes, and the smile I missed so much.

I set the frame aside. Evie took the hint and kept on searching. It didn’t take her long to find another photo of interest. The black frame was grey with dust. I shut my eyes against the dread lodging in my throat and breathed deeply through my nose.

“Oh,” Evie said. I didn’t need to look at the photo to see what the girl saw. I stood front and center in my white cap and gown. I looked young. Naive. Oh so optimistic. Behind me, each with an arm over my shoulders, stood my grinning parents. Beyond proud. Evie looked at me and back at the picture a couple times.

“You were the baby,” she whispered. I sort of smiled, watching her eyes shine, impressed by her compassion. I expected her to ask the obvious, and started prepping my speech about frozen Colorado roads. Instead she looked down at the floor, her finger tracing the woodgrain.

“My mom’s dead too.”

I let my head fall back against the wall. Thump. I didn’t know what else to do. Evie sniffed. I couldn’t watch her cry, so I just didn’t move. When she finally did speak, the strength in her voice surprised me.

“She looks really nice,” she said. “And pretty.”

I swallowed. Hard. “She was nice.” I nodded. “And prettier than any of her pictures.”

“And your dad?” She asked. I smiled true.

“He was the only person in the world good enough for my mom.” We both thought of our fathers in the silence, and I reminded myself of just how lucky I had been.

“Kevin?” Brandon stood in the doorway, interrupting our thoughts. “I think the food is done.”

I looked at Evie, who was wiping her face furtively. “Thanks, Brandon. I’ll be right there.”

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