Behind The Ink

  Today I sat down and realized that what my blog needs more of is me. By me I mean more about me and my life that gives me fuel and inspiration to write all the things I do. There is always a story behind a story I always say. My story may be a bit too normal for some of you. It’s why I’ve held back on writing about my life thus far, because it’s ordinary day to day life of a twenty seven year old young woman who raises an extraordinary tiny human while pregnant with another. I share this life of mine with an incredibly supportive and loving man I am blessed with being able to call husband.

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    This is my current world, Wife, Mother, and when time permits Writer. I can truly say my life is filled with joy ever since I have been dubbed each of these titles. The last of which I hope to add Author along with my other titles in the near future. Here is to crossing fingers and toes on that one!

    I can say for certain I have learned the special ability of “time management” as a SAHM writer. Every minute of freedom is precious, and when I get them I have to come to my writing table with a full arsenal of creative juices to be able to get anywhere in my writing projects. Needless to say this Mama daydreams a lot! I constantly mull over scenes and chapters in my novel so that when I get to those moments of freedom, I can sit and let the words pour forth.

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   I won’t lie to you, It’s not always easy to be inspired when you’re an overworked and sleep deprived Mom of toddler and soon-to-be newborn. What keeps my focus is, to put it simply, the choice I made to be a writer. It was a defining moment where I realized writing could no longer serve as a hobby like painting or baking where you pick up your brush or oven mitts whenever the feeling calls to you. I knew to be a writer who hopes to one day publish my work, I needed to make a conscientious decision to write ALL THE TIME no matter if my mood or muse aligned to do so.

     At some point we all make that decision somewhere along the journey of being writers. This is where I’m at in my journey. Where are you in yours? Does life sweep you away, or did you tell life to kick grass a couple hours a day, a week… while you took your time back from life and write whatever it is you write? I love my life, my kids, and husband, and give them all me, but I know that I’m better when I take just a little bit of my identity, and do something for myself. This is that something, and I hope something will blossom into a more of a big thing.

 

The Depth of Roots

   “Because never in my entire childhood did I feel like a child. I felt like a person all along―the same person that I am today.”
Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Water sputtered out of the bronze spigot. I pumped once, twice, three times forcing the water out. You always rid of the first few pumps of water being poured out of an outdoor water spigot. That’s the water having settled in the pipes, and it’s not something you want to drink up.The water after is fresh and cool to taste, without the metallic tang it can get when having sat in the pipes underground. The water here in Germany tasted ice cold and fresh from the mountains. It was so similar to the one I grew up with, I could almost smell the blackberry bushes surrounding the spigot outside my childhood home.

   Julie and I grew up in West Virginia’s countryside in a barn turned into a house. I can remember how mother did it all, raising pigs, chickens, and tending a large garden full of vegetables she’d sell in the market along with fresh eggs, and her famous mini pies. We’d help her of course, Julie was best with the animals where I was timid at best, especially around those huge hogs. They were bullies and smelled the worst as smells went on farms. My place was in the garden picking weeds, and learning what plants were best to plant alongside other plants. That’s where my thumb turned green and I never wanted to do anything else, but grow things.

   I can see how Julie and I both carried our childhood into our adulthood. I in becoming a botanist, and Julie having created a farm all her own. There was a small patch for an herb garden, but everywhere else were the smells and noises of animals. From the spigot I saw the chicken coup clearly though the chickens were roaming all over the yard. I could hear a couple goats somewhere off to my right, but I could only see the pasture with four horses grazing lazily. Three dogs happily patrolled the small farm while a tabby cat lay on the sofa inside. Animals everywhere, like a small petting zoo. I shook my head, smiling at all this work I see before me and thinking how Julie didn’t see animals as work at all in the same way I was never working when in any garden.

        “Did the pump work?” My sister’s voice turned my head toward the kitchen window she’d opened to yell at me. I smile and hold up the copper pitcher I’d filled up with fresh water.

  I go back inside and fill up my glass before setting it down in the middle of the table. Everyone’s plates were being filled with eggs, bacon, toast, and these huge sausage links that looked more like bratwurst than a breakfast sausage you’d have in America. Julie tells us most Deutch have a thick slice of hearty bread and a large hops beer for breakfast, but she thought we’d like a little more than the taste of beer and bread. She was wrong. At least I’d love to have a beer, but knew it was off limits for me.

   I stare at the eggs trying to decide if my stomach will hold it down. I opt for bacon and a slice of toast instead. I got through a couple bites of the sausage and Nolan lovingly snatched the rest away from my plate as if he was still starving and needed my portion as well. I gave him a smile that told him how grateful I was. My sister however was not one to be put off.

    “What’s wrong Frey, the baby doesn’t like the taste of eggs and sausage?”

The table went quiet. I was so taken off guard I almost spat out my mouth full of water, and immediate looked over at Beatrice. She was the only one who knew about the baby who could have told her. The guilt spread on her freckled face like a blush.

     “She was supposed to wait til’ you told her?” Beatrice said, then turned to Julie. “She would have told you, you know. Thanks a lot.”

   Julie waved her off, but didn’t take her eyes off of me. “Don’t bother blaming her. I coax it out of her on our way back from the airport.”

   I glanced back over at Beatrice to see her mouthing apologies across the table at me. I wasn’t too angry at her, but I didn’t fancy hearing lectures or judgements being thrown around by Juie. After all, we’d only having been here an hour. “Well? Come on, let’s hear it? You’re pregnant with James’ baby aren’t you, and you’re going right back to him?”

     “Yes, I mean no-” My words were already mixed up.

     “This trip is just your way of punishing him into making him promise to commit to you from now on isn’t it? You know it will be a lie don’t you? He’ll do it again and again. The baby doesn’t change that. In fact, it’s scientific fact that babies statistically puts more strain on a relationship not mend it like so many girls think.”

       “Maybe you should remember who you’re talking to, Jules.” I snap back.

Nolan chews frantically on the rest of his meal while eyeing the two of us back and forth. “Here we go.” He says under a breath and his chewing.

      “I’m the scientist here aren’t I? And I haven’t gone back to him, nor do I plan to.” I say, and take drink of water to calm myself.

    Julie goes back to her meal. “So what are your plans? With the baby I mean?”

She casually points towards my stomach with her knife. I hate her for asking me all the questions I’ve already asked myself a million times and every time a different answer would come to my mind. The answers to those questions change too many times during the day to confidently say I have a solution at all. Just a bunch of dead ends and circles my thoughts wander through daily until I force my brain to shut down at night.

     “I haven’t one. So far the only plans I have are to enjoy Europe with my friends for as long as I can. Then hopefully I’ll have some answers before going home. That’s it, Jules, I got nothing.”

  She lets out a heavy sigh and I know she is irritated at me.

     “And James? What does he think of you enjoying Europe while pregnant with his child?”

Silence was the answer here.

  Julie nods her head in understanding, pursing her lips to show her thoughts on the matter. I should tell James, he deserves to know he has a child even if I shouldn’t go back to him because he’s what they call a cheating asshole.

  “You think I should have told him before coming here?” I say for her.

 She shrugs. “He’ll know eventually, Freja.”

        “You’re assuming I’m keeping the baby.” I say it before I can stop myself. It’s not that Julie has ever had an opinion on abortion, but I knew she had been trying to get pregnant with Lesander for over two years now. The pain of those years of failure showed plainly on her face as she got up from the table and started to clean up everything. She wasn’t crying or doing anything at all that would suggest she was thinking about her condition, but her shutting down was enough to tell me I had crossed a line. Nolan and Beatrice both were heads down like a couple of scorned children awaiting some form of punishment.

         “I have fresh towels in shower below if any of you need to clean up.” Julie says giving them all an out. Nolan was first to take this life vest saying a shower would be nice. Beatrice simply excused herself behind Nolan and left the kitchen.

   I approached Julie’s side with caution, grabbing a rag, and drying anything she put on the clean side of the sink.

       Quietly, but as truthfully as I could I told her, “Most of the time I think I’ll keep it, but sometimes when I think about doing it on my own, I think of mom.” I swallow as the emotions build inside me. “I’m scared Jules. I’m just really freaking scared right now.”

    Julie drops the dish back into the soapy water and not caring about wet hands pulls me into a grip tight hug as let my tears drip down on her coral colored collar.

The Magic of Mothers

 “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

“You think I’d let her fly to Germany all by herself? Not on my life would I sit through her gibberish of all the sophisticated European adventures she had without moi.” Nolan says as he swats my father’s concerns out of the air.

       The voice over the intercom echoes through the terminal around us. Nolan and I lean together to be in view on the Skype screen for my father to see us. He is laughing at Nolan’s selfish selflessness as to why he is joining me on this inane trip to Europe. I told Nolan while we were getting our highlights done at the Bluebird Salon and he had bought a ticket before walking out the door.

          “Thanks for taking care of her for me, she needs looking after. Sweetie?” He turns his head slightly toward me. “Find a gentleman like Nolan and you’ll be golden.”

  “Impossible dad Nolan is the only one of his kind.” I say.

   “Truth hunny.” Nolan says with his nonchalant sass attached.

   “Freja, I don’t know if this trip will solve anything for you. Running away from James is good for a while, gets you some space, but he’ll still be waiting for you when you get back.”  He says, as he scratches his arm.

 His handlebar mustache twitched every time he spoke. Dad was wearing his leather vest with all the patches and fringes telling Freja he was going to spend the day on his Harley going up and down the Pch highway.

         “Nothing to worry about. All I need is some time and space to clear my mind. Plus, I miss Julie, and have been promising her to come out there for over five years. I think I need this trip.” I say with a surprising amount of determination.

       I realize now as I am about to board a plane about to take off for Munich Germany just how much I need this. I felt hyped up, alive, fulfillment of a promise I made not only to my sister to come and see her, but to my best friend back in high school while passing a joint under the bleachers that we would see the world together was happening. Here I am about to start a journey I’ve been missing all for what, a career, and bad choices in men?

     It wasn’t all for nothing though. My job is now my greatest accomplishment. When I told Judith about James and that I had already booked a flight to Germany, she took out a bottle of champagne from her secret stash in her desk, and poured me a glass. Told me to take a sabbatical and not to worry about getting my job back when I returned because it would be waiting for me. She astonished me by bursting into tears and telling me she wished she had done what I did when she was young.  

    The voice on the intercom announced our flight was boarding. We said our good-byes to my dad and I packed up my laptop. We get in line and wait as all the senior citizens, and handicapped go to the front of the line. I notice there are a few mothers with rowdy kids or infants in the line as well, and can’t help but wonder how motherhood makes you ‘handicapped’.

    One of the mothers waited patiently with her fussing baby all wrapped up in this sling wrapped across her chest. The baby went from fussy to crying in a quick second, and everyone around her shifted uncomfortably. I watched as others looked at the thing that was the cause of the hostile noises, and they looked at the mother as if she could wave her hand like a wand and use mother magic to silence the thing.

            I was waiting for this magic along with everyone else, trying to learn for what I might have to do with mine when the time comes. The mother did nothing. She stood stone-faced calm as if she weren’t in an airport with a bunch a people staring at her, judging her, and her parenting on every level. She could be standing in a field all on her own for all she stood there doing nothing, and with this small creature wailing in her ear.

   Nolan leaned close to me and in a low whisper muttered, “I hope we aren’t sitting next to that.”

     I nodded, but I felt as if he had insulted me indirectly somehow.  That’s when I recognized the mother magic everyone was waiting for was already happening. They just couldn’t see it. I saw the mother patting the child, and bouncing it ever so gently as she swayed side to side all while staying calm as water. How hard must it be for this woman to stay this calm with all the crying, and the claustrophobic chaos of the airport around her? I know she could feel the judgement of others, their eyes, and impatient sighs for her to quiet the baby. Could I be this calm, and uncaring of others judging my mothering?

   No. I could not.

  I knew in my heart of hearts, feeling all this pent up anxiety while I listened to the baby’s persistent cries that I would not be as calm and steady as this woman was. I’d be frantic, apologizing to strangers, and searching for the EXIT sign. I watched as the baby started to calm as she handed over her ticket and walked through the door to the tunnel. I put my hand over my stomach and thought my baby deserved a mother like that woman, not the one it got. Not me.

All Dried Up

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”-Oscar Wilde 

 I said goodbye to my best friend, watched her board the plane at five twenty in the morning, and though Nolan was still here, I felt more alone than ever. It was the loneliness that made me dial James’ number. It was the loneliness turning my mind, and making me think it wouldn’t be so bad to give James one more chance. He was the father of my child, I couldn’t change that, not as long as I was thinking of keeping it.

    Beatrice didn’t care what my decision was in regards to the baby, she only cared about my decision with James. She listed all the reasons why it wouldn’t work, and how damaging it would be for the baby to grow up watching a tumultuous marriage. Thinking of my own parents, and how terrible they were to each other until they split when I was three years old I couldn’t argue. She was right about all of it except one thing, I still love him. It seems a simple situation to figure out when you’re looking in from the outside, without your heart involved, but when it is and it’s you the situation gets muddled in a cosmic way.

         Beatrice would go batty knowing where I am now, sitting across from James at The Early Worm Cafe. I still don’t know what I should do with our relationship, but I think he deserves to hear about the pregnancy at the very least. I know he’ll use it as a catalyst to get back together and maybe some small part of me was hoping he would for me to justify taking him back.

         “I was beginning to wonder if you’d ever call me back.” He says, he’s wearing soft red cardigan over a white collared shirt, and grey suit pants. This was his casual.

        “Thought we could talk about a few things.” I say moving my eggs around my plate with my fork. I can’t seem to hold any food down. It all comes up unless I’m eating like bird.

 James washes a swallow of his fried chicken down with orange juice. “I feel the same. I wanted to explain, you know about what you saw that night.”

      “I really don’t need an explanation, If you begin to lie to me and say she is some cousin twice removed, I will get up from this table and you will never hear from me again.”

    “Freja, relax I’m not lying to you. I messed things up, it was exactly what you thought. I just wanted you to know I ended it.” He drew his hand along his face. “It was a desperate reach for one last night of my youth before our wedding, before I was to only be with one woman forever and ever. I just panicked.”

James pushed his hand through his hair, and sighed. Some of what he said almost had me sliding back my chair, but I see the fear of leaving his bachelor lifestyle is real. I admit I’ve wanted to feel free from our relationship, not necessarily to date anyone else, but to feel the possibilities of a single woman. It doesn’t get him pass. The truth is he stopped being a bachelor since we’ve been dating. Nothing changes with saying words like ‘I do’, or ‘husband and wife’, except some tax returns.

    “Please say something.” James says, searching my face.

   “I just don’t know what to say. There isn’t any explanation that erases the crime, this isn’t court.”

        “I’m not treating you like a jury Frey, I’m simply pleading guilty and telling you I’ll do anything you want me to, anything at all, you name it, all I want is you back in life. I can’t lose you for life over some one night stand, some weakness of mine.”

 He moved his chair until it was closer to me. He takes my hand, and it’s hard for me not to cherish these words as he melts me with his eyes. They always did the most convincing in our relationship. His eyes could speak to me and tell me to kiss him, make love to him, to quit pressing his buttons, or even tell me he needed alone time. Everything he wanted to say could be said in a look. Right now his eyes told me he loved me, he needed me, and would indeed do whatever punishment I deemed appropriate.  

   “I-um.”

  “Tell me anything. I’ll grovel, I’ll promise to come home early every night and woo you off your feet again. I’ll even consent to marriage counseling if it has to be.”

    “James.” I stop him with my fingers lightly pressed to his mouth.

   “I think maybe I want us to-”

  His phone buzzed and though I didn’t see the text or the name, I glimpsed the corner of the picture that popped up on his screen before he was able to grab his phone from the table. It was a picture of long beautiful blonde locks of hair. I try not to jump to conclusions, and think of the blonde girl I caught him with outside the pub. I tell myself it could be any other blonde in his life, and be completely innocent. Yet, even as he puts his phone in his pocket, and smiles up at me, I feel my breath shorten, my anxiety rising, as I try hard to trust his word that he ended things with the ‘other’ women. I needed air.

       “Can you excuse me, I wasn’t expecting this to take a long time. I just need to call my boss.” I say and start to excuse myself.

           “Of course. I wasn’t expecting this to go so well myself, I should call my office while you’re out, maybe get an extra hour off.” He says, and I know he is lying as he takes out his phone to call her back.

          “Sounds good.” Is all I manage before heading out the door. I even take out my  phone and my best fake call act while I know he is watching me out the window from inside. When he is good and distracted by his mistress, or maybe he was really calling his boss, I head to my car.

      I almost gave in. I almost let him talk me into taking him back. I hate me, for being so gullible and for wanting to be. Forget if the picture I saw was really the ‘other’ woman or not, I realized in that moment of doubt that I would be doubting all my life if I took him back. I would second guess every minute he was late home from work, every strange phone call, every business trip he took, and he would have to take business trips, it was part of the job he chose, so was lying I suppose. I think about the hundreds of Lawyer jokes my father ever blurted, almost always about lying.

   I let my head fall back against the headrest of my seat and close my eyes. The tears bead out the sides and roll down my temples and into my hair. I think I finally made my decision and now that I have, it started to sink in just how alone I really am. How alone, and pregnant I am. I didn’t even get to tell him about the baby, and I’m glad I didn’t because now it makes my decision in keeping it that much harder, because if I kept it, I would be a single mother. Could I be mother, let alone a single mom? I thought of my mom raising Julie and me by herself.

      I think about it on my way home. My phone is already on silent for the incoming calls from James. I needed more distance from him than ever. It was far too easy for him to talk his way back under my skin.

        I had barely hung my jacket up, when the faint alarm of an incoming skype call from my computer echoed through the house. I pick up my pace knowing it’s either Dad, Beatrice, or my sister who are the only ones to ever use my skype. I see it’s my sister and take the call. A blurry picture comes on my screen and as it gradually clears I see my sister waving at me. The green eyes she got from our mother stare at my picture on her screen with a sad smile.

              “Freja? You there.”

            “Yeah, I’m here.” I say and plop down in my chair.

             “Is everything alright? You’re not back with him are you?” She says, bending closer to the screen. “You’ve been crying, your eyes are red.”

  That’s my sister for you, queen of the obvious I’d call her when we were younger. Julie looks so different from the wild child I once knew, the girl who dyed her hair a different color every week, who wore tank tops with weed leaves on them and said something rebellious on them. This girl on the screen hadn’t an ounce of make-up, her honey hair clipped up in the back of her head, and a pink polo shirt on to top off her suburban housewife style. I knew she’s a far cry from suburban life. Julie lived in the countryside in Germany with her husband, but she’d matured over the years that was for damn sure.

         “I’m not with James.” I say, since it’s really the only answer she wants to hear. I haven’t told her or Dad about the baby, I simply wasn’t ready for their input. I made Beatrice swear not to say anything while she was staying with Julie, her first stop on her world tour.

      “And you’d be wise to keep it that way Frey. Men don’t change. They say they will, and they will for a time, but it’s never long before history repeats itself.”

        “Did Beatrice get there already.” I change the subject. I’ve heard the same lines the  first time we talked about James cheating.

         “I’m about to leave for Berlin to get her. I love my husband dearly, but the country can get lonely. Beatrice will be a breath of fresh air, I’m halfway considering her proposal to join her when she leaves here for France!”

        “She’s learned french for this trip you know? For the last few months here she wouldn’t even talk to me if I didn’t speak to her in French. Said she wanted a merging language experience.” I laughed thinking about it. “I told her no matter how fluent I was, the French still hear an accent, and I’ve been speaking french four years longer than she has.”

        “She’ll do wonderful, I’m sure. It’s you I’m worried about, Freja.”

        “How many times do I have to tell you, I’m never going back to James.” I say starting to get annoyed. I hear the front door open. Nolan’s home.

         “It’s not just about James. It’s how you’ve dried up ever since being with him. Hell, ever since the other asshole too. You used to have this life about you. This joy beaming out of you like you were soaked to the brim of adventure, and over the years I’ve watched you grow too serious, too tired, with these lifeless eyes. You look damned dead, Freja” She winces, and shakes her head at me through the screen. Nolan saves me from throwing some dirt back into my sister’s eye.

     “Whose dead?” He says as he walks up behind me, bending over for Julie to see him waving at her.

    “Hi, Nolan how’s it going?”

     “Going fabulous, but if you think Freja needs a make-over your worries are over, I’m taking care of that today.” He says grinning from ear to ear.

      “What are you talking about?” I say, twisting my head up to see if he was serious. He was.

      “Hunny, I already booked the spa, and an appointment at The Bluebird Salon, and you simply do not cancel a Bluebird haircut. Trust me when I say you need it.” He says, flipping my messy bun with a finger. It makes Julie laugh. Julie once told me she could listen to Nolan talk for hours, because everything he said was funny or sounded funny because of the feminine drawl he talked with. I hardly notice any more, but it did make you have this feeling of fun whenever you were around him, at least when he was happy and not moping about Peter anyway.

    “I have to get going, Freja, but the spa and a new haircut is good start, you should go.”

 I say bye to Julie and end the call. Nolan is behind me tapping his foot impatiently for me. I turn sideways in my chair regarding him.

      “I’ll go.” I say. “What time?”

     “I’m waiting for you to say it?” He says still tapping his foot impatiently, his nose lifted up to the ceiling in mock snub of me. I haven’t a clue to what he is referring to.

    “Say the words, Freja. It’s time, and I won’t leave here until you say them. You made me do it.” He says, and I know what he wants from me. I wince a little, not wanting to. If I say the words I have to move on and stop feeling sorry for myself. Although, I may have already started to move on, or at least made the decision to, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to stop feeling sorry for myself. There was plenty of sorry to last me at least another nine months.

   Nolan gives up acting standoffish and comes over to me. He grabs my hands, pulls me up on my feet, and tips my chin up until I’m looking him in the eyes.

         “You are strong, and one of the most gorgeous women I have privilege to call my best friend. Well, when your eyes aren’t swollen and redder than a reefer.”

   He makes me smile so easily.

         “Say the words, and let’s go get fabulous.” He tells me.

I say the words, and he hugs me. He starts dancing out my door telling me to be ready to leave in twenty minutes. I recede back into my chair, and stare at the blank computer screen. I can’t help, but think about what Julie said about me being dead inside, or how I was all dried up.

    It bothered me, because what she says is true,  my personality has faded somewhere down the road I took to get here. To get to a place where eat, sleep, work, and repeat is my everyday. I know my whole day before it begins, and I know the day after will be the same when I lay my head down on my pillow at night. My greatest adventures nowadays are choosing somewhere new to eat out, or trying a different wine I haven’t tried yet. I was boring, the absolute opposite of whoever Freja was before becoming boring Freja.

          I can’t stand to look at me through the black empty screen any longer. I move the mouse to turn on the monitor. I see my background picture of me squished between Beatrice and Nolan on our first day of college. I’m wearing my old ripped up skinny jeans, and had on a black and white t-shirt of my favorite rock band. I had my tongue out like Gene Simmons, and Beatrice held out the peace sign as she pecked my cheek. Nolan was squeezing us together with his monkey arms. My sister was right, life radiated from me, and I can’t really think of when I felt that alive, even on the best of days with James.

         Something inside me snapped. I needed to do whatever it was to not be boring Freja. I desperately wanted the feeling I see in this old photo. I need it to be fresh, new, and everyday. What would old Freja do? Obviously something drastic and irresponsible. I let the old spontaneous Freja possess me and move my fingers on the keyboard.

       I buy a ticket to Germany, and my flight leaves tomorrow night.

The Word Closet

Lemniscate, majuscule, fibrous, robust, obtuse, bilious…Words, words, and more words, I collect them everyday. I am here to confess my addiction to words, and It’s becoming a danger to my writing.

   What? How can vocabulary be anything, but enhance my skills? I’ll tell you.

  Did you notice anything about the words I listed? They’re adjectives, or can be used as such. The dangers of having so many fantastical adjectives is there are far too many that inspire imagery in me.  I want to use them all, and I find myself at a crossroads while I write. The funny looking man who has stepped into my chapter needs a short description. I need to pick the right word for an awesome line of imagery, to get across the right feel I’m going for. I enter my library full of words, they line up proudly, and reach out to me, calling my name, telling me to pick them. It’s like eating one chip, you can’t take just one. I take a handful and go crazy.

   ‘His obtuse, robust, fibrous, and plump stomach presses up against my chair as he side steps pass our table.’

   See what I did there? Every one of those adjectives are fabulous, but they also mean the same thing, this guy is Fat! They all do the same job for me, and yet I’ve weakened their power by shoving them all together. I have successfully cluttered up my writing with wonderful words, and the fluidity of it has been interrupted. Seeing my problem now? WORDS, they have plagued me with their glorious nature, but it’s my overdose of them that ruins me.

  Maybe I’m not the only one who finds themselves utterly in love with words to the point they can’t seem to choose just one. Just one word, one adjective, the thought of it pains me. It’s like finding yourself in your favorite celebrity’s shoe closet, and you can only choose one pair. There are Louis Vuittons, Jimmy Choos, Saint Laurents, and a whole row of Stuart Weitzman heels!

   I digress, the words are crippling me under their clutter. I simply must show more restraint, which is why when I edit one of the things I do is remove this clutter. Words like that, just, and so are fillers, we all know these are our regular haunts, but what about the adjectives? What happens when you take most of them out, leaving only one?

‘His obtuse stomach presses up against my chair as he side steps pass our table.’

   Obtuse stands alone, and shows my reader the exact same image as before, but with more power, and better flow in my writing. Cuts must be made, and I must be the one to terminate them. I found myself staring at all my little darling words one evening. Each  word seemed to be the perfect one for the sentence I’ve written, but I can’t keep them all. I have to fire all the same words, the ones that are synonyms, and thus clutter. I couldn’t do it. I simply couldn’t cross them off. That’s when I realized I didn’t have to terminate any of them.

   Instead, I gently caressed the words I chose to omit from my sentence with a highlight, copy, and then pasted them in my Epic Word Closet. Now I have my clean, cut line of imagery, and a closet full of darling words to choose from down the line. You must trust that somewhere else in the 100,000 words of your novel there will come a time to use the adjectives you’ve had to retire to your Epic Word Closet. Pepper your darlings, it will taste far better than if the cap had fallen off as you shook it on to your novel.

      Respect the words, give it it’s due time in spotlight, and it will rise to the occasion, doing the job of three, five, seven adjectives all by it’s awesome self. Kick the addiction of clutter people. I’ve been sober for two minutes. That’s right, I’ve had to retire several little darlings while writing this piece.

     It’s process.

The Divide

“What makes night within us may leave stars.”
Victor Hugo, Ninety-Three

    Holding warm tea wrapped in the softest throw I own, I’m staring out at the dawn spreading through the sky like a water painting. Soft oranges and blues part the grey clouds from yesterday’s storm, and for one small moment I feel still. I’m just Freja sitting on my window bench, no past, or future, just me being in this moment.

 The buzzing of my phone interrupts my stillness, and I open my messages to see my sister texting me. She likes to text in long messages, but gives it too me broken up into a bunch of small texts so my phone goes on buzzing for awhile. She’s always does this.

   Julie: You can’t just text me you broke up with James and just leave me hanging!

             I know you’re awake by now are you going to explain?

            What did he do?

            Is this about his mother again?

            Freya!

 I type ‘cheated, caught red handed,’ and press send. I  can’t even text in full sentences today.

Julia: What!?!

         James cheated on you?

          What happened tell me everything?

         Wait. Please tell me you called off the Wedding. You broke it off?

         Hello?

 My sister has always been there for me. After our mother passed from lung cancer I was only ten years old and she twelve. She took it upon herself to be the mother figure since our father was too permissive as a parent. Julia made sure to scold me if I did anything won, or if she thought I was slacking in school. She was a pain to deal with since she was always into trouble, going to parties, skipping school, and collecting boys like she collected shoes. “Do as I say not as I do,” she’d snap at me anytime I called her out on her behavior after being scolded for some minor offense.

    I loved my gypsy sister, but I couldn’t stand her ways, or how she never pulled it together after high school like I did. There was a time and a place to run along with the wind, free, and wild. Then when that time ended you stopped running and grew up. Who knew when life would smack me in the face again? I had to be prepared, needed security for any of the bad life could throw me. That’s what I kept telling myself as I nose-grinded my way through college.

  The buzzing went on. I didn’t answer. I hadn’t any answers, not for her, or myself. I barely got any sleep after having Beatrice and Nolan pick me up last night. We had my car towed out of the mud and Nolan drove it back to the house, because he vetoed my driving skills no longer safe in my over-emotional inebriated state.

    I can hear my friend now, singing a tune in the kitchen, his British accent making him sound all the more jovial. I can already smell the pungent aroma of bacon wafting through our townhouse. Usually this smell excites me, but whether it’s my mood or because of the baby, it starts to make me sick. I don’t even feel all that hungry.

Beatrice hasn’t left my side and still sleeps on James’ side of the bed. I haven’t told them about the pregnancy, I  haven’t told anyone. I have the greatest friends in the world, but I’m afraid of what they’ll say. Would they want me to go back with James? Highly unlikely, but then what, get rid of it? Do I want to get rid of it? If I say I did would they judge me? Beatrice might not, I know she has always been a pro-choice advocate, but so am I, and something about the thought makes me feel all kinds of guilt. I don’t know what Nolan’s views on any of this stuff are.Him being a male sort of omits certain conversations in our friendship.

  Buzz. I ignore it. Along with all the messages James has left me. Beatrice is moving behind me, I can hear her yawning, sitting up in the bed.

      “Couldn’t sleep?” She said.

      I shake my head and turn to see her mane of dreadlocks flopping at odd angles on her head.

   “How come I’m not as cool as you?” I ask her. I don’t want to talk about anything that requires my emotions, or making hard decisions. I try hard to keep things as light as possible for me this morning.

      Beatrice shakes her head. She grabs her glasses on the bed table beside her and puts them on clumsily, poking her eye in the process. “Cool is in the eye of the beholder. You’re cool to me, Frey. I used to think you were too cool to even be my friend, did you know that?” She smiles, points to her nose with one finger and the other points toward the door. It means she smells the bacon, and is on her feet following the trail of the scent like a hound sniffing out squirrels.

 I was about to ask what she meant, but my phone rings, and I see it’s James. I brace myself and answer.

        “What do you want James?”

       “To tell you I’m on my way to pick you up.” He says, and I almost laugh at his confidence even now. It’s not confidence anymore, just plain cock sure arrogance flowing out of his mouth.

        “I’m not going anywhere with you.”

        “Come on, at least let’s talk this out. I’m sorry for being such an ass last night.”

        “You mean a cheating ass.” I correct, and surprise myself at the stony tone in my voice. I’m too emotionally exhausted to put much of either hot or cold into this conversation.

        “I fucked up, but you gotta give me a chance here, Freja.” He whines a little. It’s small, but I can hear the regret, and I desperately want that, him to admit what he did, maybe even grovel a little. I tilt my head toward the ceiling and sigh. I need to think through the problem growing inside me before I can take another step toward any decisions regarding our relationship.

       “I need some time to think?” I tell him.

       “How much time? I can come by later tonight or tomorrow before-”

      “I need more time than that James. Don’t treat this like some simple issue that can be fixed over coffee and some new pair of earrings.”

  I deferred to what he did to fix our last big fight we had. It was seven months ago, over his mother snubbing me at a dinner with him. He hadn’t said a word to stand up for me, just let his mother call me some country hic who got good grades, and made it into gold diggers University to trap her son into a marriage. She had been making little digs at me ever since we had started dating, but this was a blatant attack, and you’d think your fiance would stand up for his wife-to-be to his wicked mother. He didn’t stand up, we fought, he bought me earrings, and said sorry over coffee. Thinking about it now, made me think it had probably been a sign to get out then. Hindsight is twenty-twenty.

        “I’m not, but how am I supposed to fix this if you won’t even let me see you?” He says.

        “I told you I need time, I don’t know how long, I’ll call you when I’m ready.”

I hear him sigh, but the way it sounds makes me think he’s more annoyed with me then anything else.

       “Giving me the silent treatment ‘eh. Seems a bit immature don’t you think.”

There it is, that cocksure tone in his voice is back as he finds a way to turn this on my head as if I’m now the one at fault. He changed his tune from contrite to asshole in the blink of a second. A spark of anger comes to life in me. I won’t do this with him.  

   “You can pick up your things later today, I won’t be here, and Nolan was nice enough to put it all in boxes.”

In what condition, I haven’t a clue, but I’d rather plead the fifth.

          “Are you serious? You want me to move-”

 I ended the phone call. I knew he’d call me back in a matter of seconds so I turn the damned thing off for good measure. No more buzzing, or ringing. Telling him about the boxes was my ‘dig’ back at him, if he was going to think me immature than I’d give him good reason. The divide between us widens awakening an ache within me. I ache to feel the closeness we once had.

I walk in the kitchen and sit down at the breakfast bar next Beatrice.

     “What you need is a little Nolan refresher to start your day.” Nolan said, sliding a plate full of runny egg and bacon on a toasted ciabatta in front of me. Two sausage links lay beside the egg next to the bacon and I think I’m going to be sick right then and there all over my plate. He notices I’m unimpressed by what he knows to be my favorite breakfast food. “What’s the matter, I know, there isn’t any tomato, but we’re out, and you have yet to plant any in the back.”

      All at once I am overwhelmed. I have a PhD in botany, my fiance was this wonderfully driven man headed to be a hotshot lawyer like his father before him, my life was set and solid. How did I get here, with a cheat and liar, with a baby, who if I chose to keep would be raised by a single mother. My life was like cracks in the dawn. The tiny fissures were spreading threatening to break me into a thousand irreparable pieces. I bury my face in my arms. “I’m pregnant.” It comes out muffled, but loud enough they hear. Nolan stops talking and Beatrice’s fork stops scrapping her plate. I lift my head and say it again, more for me than for them. “I’m Pregnant.”