Thursday, June 30, 2011

holding the flame

My end of the bet has been completed.  My cousin's boyfriend has seen photo evidence of my transformation from blonde All-American Girl to purple-haired "freak."  I do see more evidence now of people's discomfort with my hair.  One of the coffee shop customers asked me "Why the hell did I do that to my hair?" and "When will it go back to normal?"

Once again, however, I have not faced any discrimination or discomfort due to my hair color.  That surprises me, mainly because it seems like others who change their appearance so drastically have dealt with this sort of thing all of the time.  My mom hasn't seem my hair yet and, despite her criticisms of my decision to change my hair before it happened, she has not said anything negative since it happened.

My new shrink doesn't seem phased by it either -- i.e. she doesn't seem to be psychoanalyzing the reasons why I did the change.  Sure, she asked about it, but I simply explained it as honoring a bet and something I had wanted to do for a while anyway, and she left it at that.

In other news... here's a freewrite based on some of my own Victorian characters.  I spent 40 minutes writing this freewrite, so it's really an incomplete segment of an incomplete story.

Lyon entered her cold, dark flat, the gloom of the winter’s night penetrating her marrow. Lydia’s poignant personal history reminded her all too well of her own past life. Not that the two were identical experiences at all. Unless one counted the irrational parents and James’ involvement.

The lock clicked loud and mechanically back into place as she bolted the door shut. She then reached out into the darkness for the table, for the candlestick and box of matches on its surface, the dim reflection of the gaslights from the streets her only illumination. What had possessed James to be so cruel to the poor girl and her lover? He usually had a reason for everything he did, so what was the reason here?

She pulled out a match, slid the box shut, and struck the thin stick against it, a memory sparking with the phosphorus head.

“I could have gotten rid of you when Grogan first brought you down here. It wouldn’t have been the first time I’d gotten rid of some worthless runaway just scraping to get by. No one would have missed you… no one who mattered.”

Then why didn’t you? she wanted to ask. But she was too afraid. He was so close to her, and with him leaning over her like that, piercing her core with those horrible yellow eyes, she felt utterly trapped.

“Sir?” she whispered, her voice faint.

“Why didn’t I?” he said, as if he had been reading her thoughts. “I’m a man of unpredictable impulses. I needed a cleaning woman, you needed a job, and you amused me with your honesty and innocence. I wanted to see how long it would take to corrupt you.”

Her hand shook violently as she attempted to transfer the yellow flame to the blackened wick. That impulse, the one he had not been able to fight, had slowly murdered Rose McGeady by degrees, saturating her with an evil that could not be explained, but which had been expressed in every obedient action, every attempt to justify her wrongs.

Once, twice, thrice Lyon tried to light the candle. The flame grew lower on the match, flickering with her jerky movements onto her index finger and thumb.

A curse on her lips, she violently thrust her hand away, dropping the match in the darkness. She sucked on the burned fingers, searching with her left hand for the box of matches. Her hand bumped into the box again, and she took her fingers out of her mouth. Wincing at the pain, she struck a new match and this time succeeded in lighting the candle.

She found a cup of cold tea, half drunk, on her desk and stuck her fingers in it in an attempt to soothe the pain. She brought the cup over to the table with her free hand and sat down, staring blankly at the faded tablecloth. Her stomach grumbled with hunger pangs, but she did not feel like eating. She knew he would come along eventually, and she did not relish the meeting. Who knew what sort of mood he was in?

A few minutes later she removed her hand from the teacup and dried it on a handkerchief. She then took the candle and lit the gas lamp on her desk, the glow reaching to the farthest corners of her small flat. She then set about firing up the stove both for warmth and for boiling water with which to make a pot of tea. She took off her winter coat and slanting hat and placed them on a hook by the door. She began to clear the table of papers and plates and set out another place.

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing. I enjoyed this, as it sets a mood and makes you want to learn more about what is going on. I encourage you to keep writing this story.