These photos needed no editing. Literally the only good thing about getting up at 7 is the shimmery almost-harshness.
She knew the pace of these streets. The bread truck at nine, the garbage at nine-oh-six, the hospital shuttle at quarter after. Ruth could set her watch by each morning’s cadence. If she wasn’t out the door in time to cross the garbage truck down at Seventh and Peck, a scathing Look awaited her. Any later than that and Ruth was looking at a write-up. Maybe a pay dock to keep her in her place. Never mind that she had thirty years on the manager.
She wasn’t prepared the morning the hospital shuttle came too late. Her daily grooves were carved too deep; her vision was tunneled. She was still mid-crosswalk when the driver’s foot screeched, his mouth shrieked, and Ruth went still, struck dumb by the impending splat.
Suddenly her fleshy knees met concrete. There were hands on her shoulders, inarticulate soothing in her ear. The shuttle had careened to the side. Its driver was practically hopping: “oh Jesus, oh Christ, fuck, that was way too close –”
“She’ll be fine,” said the woman who had saved Ruth’s life. “It’s okay, you’re already late. I’ll get her on her way.”
The shuttle lumbered away, and Ruth’s savior helped her to her feet.
“Thank you,” Ruth said when she could speak. “You saved my life. I don’t even know what happened there – deer in the headlights, I guess.”
“No problem. You weren’t supposed to die today.”
“No, but really –” Ruth felt herself welling up; goodwill and menopause could do that to a person. “You came out of nowhere, just for me. It’s like you’re my angel.”
The second woman’s eyes gleamed and her mouth twitched upward. “Yes,” she said. “I am.”
Writing is the thing I am best at. It’s also, by accident or design, the thing that frustrates me the most. I can take a hundred photos every day, but writing comes slower. Every word is a reflection of Who I Am As A Person; I don’t want to consign anything anything short of perfection to the page. So I plod along, dropping words here or there and fantasizing about the cigar I’ll smoke upon my first book deal.
I’m working on four stories right now. Here’s an excerpt from each one.
Her name was Rachel, and I loved her. Before her, my loves were mild. Uninspired. I could take or leave those pale-eyed girls. Rachel was more. Her hips swelled into my hips and her hands belonged in mine. I loved Rachel. Let that be known.
But in the fields I couldn’t keep my mind to myself. It lit harshly on other times, other Issachars. He was young and new, potential yet unwhittled. Were there rudiments of the future man in those unbidden smiles? He was twelve, and first felt God stroke his still-beardless face. He was twelve, and he knew.
He was fifteen and beginning to feel his truth. The bones that had carried him to manhood were filling now with a different kind of purpose. Beyond subsistence, beyond existing itself. His prayers dizzied and dazzled him. He was twenty and fervid, passion collecting itself in those bones he knew to be more than just his. He felt vocation down in the deep where boy becomes man becomes martyr. He was twenty and he was sure.
“I am a peaceful woman,” Lizzy was fond of counseling herself, a rejoinder to that which implied otherwise. “It’s the rest of the world that’s mad.”
That night in front of the mirror, she counted out a hundred, two hundred strokes with the ivory-backed brush. Lizzy let her eyes go soft. Under midnight’s trickery, she was almost Lucy Allister. You could find the common blood in the tatty curls and permaflushed cheeks. But Lizzy’s Granny was gunning for matronhood even in her youth. Her breasts contained multitudes; her hips conquered life itself. Lizzy was Granny Lucy Allister’s colder, leaner successor.
She looked at her reflection and said “hello, Granny.”
..but even surly and stern, she was still a woman. And he a man, no matter how awkwardly he wore his alien form. In the daylight hours, he was never to touch her. He knew this viscerally, and he had vowed to honor it. Even their shoulders, bowed together in conspiracy, would never brush. He had learned to compartmentalize on the nights when she leaned into him and begged.(what I totally never write Maleficent fanfiction that was totally someone else and not me)