I’m dialing it in again again for creative writing Saturday and pulling an excerpt from Falling Slowly. This was one of my for older young adults, YA romances. It was the first book where I switched POV 1/2 through. For some reason the male voice kept having things to say so at a pivotal point 1/2 through I went from 3rd (her POV) to 1st (his POV) and then switched back and forth. I think it worked. At least I liked the way it worked.
Anyway, this scene is later than the initial switch but it was one I liked so hope you enjoy. And if you do give it a read! And maybe review?
Excerpt from Falling Slowly:
I should have known. I should have felt the foreshadowing that the mother fucker of the author of my life always liked to give me before he knocked me on my ass. It was too good. She was too good for me and I didn’t deserve it all. Dad called on my way home.
“Hey kiddo,” he said in a heavy voice. “You need to get home.”
“I’m on my way.” I was so happy I couldn’t hear the imminence of what was to come. I was willfully ignorant as I thought about those three days.
“Ok, see you soon, J.” He hung up and it was then that the churning started in my belly. He called me kiddo, tiger sometimes (not as much at that point in my life), sport, buddy, Jacob when he was disappointed. He only called me J when it was something he was worried would spiral me.
Mom had died over Christmas. Well, actually, she had died months before but they found her in the old abandoned crack house over Christmas. She was so decayed that they were cremating her and a memorial was being planned for a month from then. Aunt CiCi, who always stayed through the entire Christmas holiday, had already left to start the organizing and resolving of her estate. Apparently mom had left everything to me. I didn’t think she had anything to leave. That was the fucked up part. She had a lot. She had hardly spent any of her modeling career money. Somehow, in one of her few moments of clarity from drugs, she had met with her lawyer and willed everything to me, leaving Aunt CiCi as the administrator until I came of age. It seemed she had done all that a few months before she left forever.
Picture if you can, standing in a cylinder as pipes the size of sewer drains pour water ever so calmly in with you and then, once full, someone seals the top. The ocean sometimes sneaks up on you. It engulfs you wide and deep in a black, inky kind of water. No matter what direction you look, there is water, open and vast. You’d swim but where to? So you float and eventually you get tired and you sink.
Or maybe it’s like those divers suffering from lack of oxygen, how they get confused and swim in the wrong direction thinking they’re swimming toward safety, toward air, never knowing with every frantic kick and pull they’re headed toward death.
Sleep brought peace. After a few days, it wasn’t even sleep it was drunken lolling. I couldn’t get up if I wanted. Dad was on high alert sleeping in my room even. I hadn’t checked my phone but I knew she had called and texted. Dad had said as much when he brought in the food I had no intention of eating. He always let me go about three or four days before he started calling in the guns. New Years had come and gone. School was starting in a few days. First came Dr. Merkel who was never very effective. Then came the call from Aunt CiCi. She couldn’t leave LA so she just helplessly cried on the other end. I hated hearing Aunt CiCi like that. I hated it.
Finally, he totally betrayed me. I felt the presence in the room and I could tell it wasn’t someone I was used to being there, but I never thought he’d do that. I had moved to my chair by then. I always did when Dad started threatening to take stronger measures. I’d sit with my guitar and play, write and, that time, think of her endlessly, oh, and not sleep. I had just put my guitar to the side and had sat back to stare at the crowded bookshelf in my line of site. My thoughts were racing leaving me no peace to sit and play even.
Turned out they were all right. She could do much better, and it was time for me to admit that. This wouldn’t be the last time I fell down the abyss. And in spite of the fact that it was my mother’s death that spiraled me there, it was a milder episode for me than what might have been expected, mainly because Viv was on my brain and I didn’t want to know I was hurting her with this behavior. But it would happen again and again, for the rest of my life. I couldn’t protect her from it just like Jake said. I couldn’t protect her from the things I said sometimes when I was like that. And worse, I couldn’t protect her from some of the things I did or wanted to do when I was like that. Or I could, if she wasn’t there to ever see them to begin with.
So to have her standing in front of me with a pained look on her face taking in my ragged appearance wasn’t easy. My eyes drifted up with that empty look I knew they always had when I was in that emotional place. She looked morose and like she hadn’t slept since the day I dropped her off (when was that?) a million fucking years ago. I thought she’d speak and tell me she was there for me and ask me not to push her away and that we’d get through it together. She didn’t. She crowded onto my lap in the chair and curled into me taking my dead arms and wrapping them around her. I could feel her breath on my neck where she had nestled and a moment later she placed a long, soft kiss near my adams apple.
Something about the feel of her in my arms and her weight in my lap, all of it so familiar at that point, snapped me up. My arms tightened like iron to her soft cry and I stood up with her and walked her to my bed. She got down and started undressing me and I did the same to her. Neither of us wanted sex and we both somehow knew it. She slipped under the covers with me and slid into me, her skin warm and comfortable against mine. She put my arms around her again as she nestled into my neck and we fell asleep.