Novel Blog Six
My current novel-in-progress explores the topic of cruel treatment in relationships and the resulting damage to the person’s robust sense of self.
Excerpt from The Other Ones:
“I have a house-warming gift for you.” Nancy disappeared into her mudroom momentarily before reappearing with a bag of flower bulbs. “It’s the perfect time for them to go in the ground.”
“Thanks,” Damon said.
“They’re purple irises. Your favorite.”
Damon placed the large paper bag in his trunk, already imagining the attractive stalks of intense purple under the wisteria along his walkways. But as he wound along the country road, the innocuous bulbs hidden in the trunk evoked a dark memory from the past.
The hot August sun had beat down on Damon as he stood several yards from Bristol in their garden in Hidden Hollow. She was busy ripping wilted flowers out of the flower bed.
“Why take them out? They’re not finished blooming yet,” he protested.
“Because they look bad.”
“It’s because it’s been too hot. They’ll recover when it cools off in a few weeks.”
“I don’t care. They’re coming out,” she replied.
Damon wiped the perspiration from the back of his neck with his handkerchief. He didn’t feel well. His headache and malaise had returned along with twinging nerve pain in both legs. Next to his feet, he spied a large, partially crushed grasshopper that Bristol must have stepped on while pulling out the flowers.
He stooped over to study it. It was dead. Grasping a nearby stick, he scratched a small hole in the dirt and placed it inside. After smoothing the soil back over it again, he stood up and brushed off his hands.
“I’m like that grasshopper to her,” he thought, “crushed and invisible.” Damon wished he were in a grave alongside it. He and the grasshopper belonged together, their fates inextricably linked.
In the many unhappy moments in his marriage to follow, he often thought of the slain grasshopper buried in the flowerbed, its fate unknown to anyone but himself. What was a grasshopper anyhow, but a nuisance, an unwanted creature? Yet it had captured his deepest sympathy.