Sunday, November 8, 2015

Midday break

This morning after packing things to take to Vinnie's tomorrow, I headed over to Starbucks to do some writing. Tom was back from wandering in the woods. Our neighbor has still not gone into labor, and we want to make sure one of us is in the house all the time to get the call when we need to start taking care of the kids who will stay home.


I thought that Starbucks on a Sunday morning in Lake Delton would be quiet, but I was way off on that one. There was a table where I could set up my laptop, but the place was busy the whole time I was there. I managed to get some writing done for about an hour, which was about all I had planned to do there anyway. There are people who sit in coffee shops for hours, I realize, but I feel funny taking up space for long when all I have done is buy one (admittedly over-priced) medium roast coffee.

The kid who waited on me looked like he was about fifteen. 

"Are you doing anything important today?" he asked as he waited for me to count out my change.

"I'm working on a novel," I told him, giving him a handful of silver and dropping a few coins into the prominently placed plastic tip box. (That got a little alliterative, didn't it? Prominently placed plastic... I swear it was not intentional.)

"What's it about?"

"A boy with wings," I said. "It's surreal, not fantasy."

I thought, but did not say, "It's about a boy your age with wings." I don't know how he would have reacted to that.

"Well," he smiled and handed me the coffee, "good luck with that."

That was an ambiguous remark, I told myself.

So far I have heard from a couple of the NaNoWriMo folks from the library project with their word counts. One is right on target for the week, the other a little behind. I know from talking to her on Friday that she was sick this past week, plus she is working full time. She has tried NaNoWriMo before but always quit. This time, even though she is lagging, she has already done more than she ever managed in the past. Sounds good to me!

My own word count as of 12:24 CST in the afternoon is 31,697. I haven't worked frangible in yet, but I should be able to do that before they day is out. Much depends on when the baby-alert call comes in.

Anyway, here are the last few paragraphs at the moment:
He looked so much like his father at that age, back when he and I were inseparable companions. It was like looking at my best friend, lying in that bed, maybe in danger of never waking up.
“My best friend,” I whispered.
I often heard people in meetings talk about how hard it had been for them to do the steps that involve making amends for the damage they had done to others.  There are several steps in the process, including making a thorough self-examination, sharing what you discover with God (whatever that means to you) and another person, becoming willing to make direct amends and then doing so when it will not cause only more harm to the person you hurt or to someone else.
My own sobriety was still too weak and fragile for me to think about making the kind of amend I owed Hank, Sr. And Chanice, for that matter. When I thought about doing that, I wanted to forget the whole thing. How could I face them after all this time? How could I expect them to forgive me?
“You can’t expect them to forgive you,” Wayne had told me in his rigorously honest way. “When the time comes to make your amends, we can talk about how you want to do it. But I will tell you this. You are the alcoholic, you are the one who did the damage, you are the one who needs to make amends. That is your job. Whether they forgive you or not doesn’t matter.”
“But that’s not fair,” I muttered.
“Welcome to the real world,” he said. “It’s not about what’s fair. It’s about what’s right. These are your steps. Hank and Chanice, well, they’re on their own journey. And whatever that is, it’s not about making you feel good.”
I remembered that as I stood at the foot of Hank, Jr.’s hospital bed, watching the respirator pump up and down, up and down. Green lines of light flowed across the panel, spiking and dropping, spiking and dropping. Numbers increased and decreased and then held steady.
How could anyone mend this?
 I just re-read that and I know what you're probably thinking:  Melodramatic much?

Hey! Editing comes later.

3 comments:

Ur-spo said...

I could not get past the concept of going to a Starbucks to write. Nearly all the Starbucks I have encountered resemble the 7th level of hell with noise and almost the same manners. Are they tranquil spots after all? Good for Muses (perhaps the like espressos).

Michael Dodd said...

I think it is the coffee, perhaps, that is good for the Muses, not the tranquility. Although most of the time when I am there, people are working on their own projects, reading a newspaper or having quiet conversations. It all becomes background noise. I have been surprised at how easy I find it to write there.

Mitchell is Moving said...

I don't think it's melodramatic. It makes me want to read more. We were just talking about Starbuck's this morning. I used to like our locals in California. Then they offered free unlimited WiFi and everyone started holding meetings, job interviews, study groups... And spending the entire day. Most days I couldn't even find a seat. Starbucks here in Spain is absurdly expensive and freshness of pastries is very inconsistent (mostly not good). So we stick to the local cafes with their cheap and good coffee and fresh Spanish pastries. Still, I do miss my mocha frappuccino