Sep 11, 2009

500 Words


Blame it on Dive. The challenge was to write 500 words using the Jack Kerouac quote provided - it's the first paragraph. Also be forewarned, I'm not a writer. And sorry that the story came out to be so sappy, this is where the quote led me. It is what it is.

No Place

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was — I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds.

It was strangely peaceful, and I felt light headed. I kept still and wished to stay like that a little longer, but at the sixteenth tick all that was gone flooded back. Still, I lay there motionless, and let it wash over me.

I remembered you like I saw you for the last time, standing in the doorway, shoulders slightly hunched, smiling. You smiled like that when you were flirting, when you told bawdy stories, when you poked fun of the things that terrified us all. It wasn’t really the last time, of course, but it was the last time you were you. I didn’t want to remember you lying broken in the hospital bed, but we don’t have choices in these matters. They stole your words – how cruel was that!

I remembered the time I didn’t see you; the empty bed with crisp white linen stretched taut over the mattress, toiletries neatly arranged on the nightstand, the strained expression on the nurse’s face. I felt sorry for her at that moment.

Whoever said time heals all wounds lied. Time heals nothing. It just numbs the pain, and does even that excruciatingly slow. Back then I kept picking at the scabs, trying to stop the itching, but only managed to dig up the pain. There is something dispassionately cruel about time. I remember that moment when the line between everything fine and everything horribly wrong was so razor thin that I felt that if I just wanted it hard enough I could step back over the line, go backwards in time, but obviously I couldn’t.

It was dark by the time I was ready to move. Then, as now, I liked the darkness – the distraction of too many details falls away, and you can think more clearly. I couldn’t forget then, and I don’t want now. I picked up a few more scars since, and I’m fond of them all.

I like this, being lost in this alien landscape, standing in the dark, on top this hill, looking at the lights shimmer above and bellow, listening to the coyotes cackle; at this moment as the warm breath of summer breeze envelops me, I know that I’m not far away from home any more, because there is no such place as home, except the one we make for ourselves, and that can be anywhere, except where we started from, and I don’t mind missing you. You would understand.

12 comments:

dive said...

Oh, WOW, Vanda! That is fantastic!

All except for the "I'm not a writer" bit, which you comprehensively disproved with your brilliant story.
What a heartbreaker! You had me biting my lip to hold back the tears.
Wonderful and frighteningly real writing.
Thank you for joining us at last. This really is an amazing piece.

Vanda said...

Thank you Dive.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

I wish I could write. It's all in my head, but I can never get it on paper. Very Cool writing!

Lyn said...

Vanda. Why would you say you can not write? Your words made my heart stop for a beat. You are wonderful. Please keep being so.

pasadenaadjacent said...

Maybe you should enter the Rose City Sisters blog. You could hold your own

Vanda said...

Viewliner, I bet you think mostly visually.

Thanks Lyn for the kind words!

PA, I don't know what that is.

Diwakar Sinha said...

I have visited your blog before..tried to think of a title to that picture below this post..but couldnt come up with anything concrete...
I will be visiting again...
you have a great place here.:)

Petrea said...

http://rosecitysisters.blogspot.com/

Vanda, this is wonderful.

You've inspired me. I haven't taken up Dive's challenge because I keep thinking "oh, I don't have time I don't have time." But I love where this prompt took you and you make me want to go to these places.

Vanda said...

Petrea, you have way more practice in writing than I do. I'm looking forward reading your next piece.

Petrea said...

Practice is good, but sometimes opening your heart and spilling it onto the page is better.

altadenahiker said...

Home is a moving target.

Lyn said...

I am honored and thank you, as well.