Before and After

Author’s note: The following letter is from Herman, the heroine of my novel, The Magician’s Curse, to Stephen, the hero. It fits into the book about a week into her stay in his mansion. This letter is written completely stream of consciousness style and is unedited.

Dear Stephen,

Where do I start? I’m sitting here in my room–in the guest room in your house, I should say–waiting impatiently for you to get home from your trip. I can’t really say I’ve been bored–Margaret has been great at keeping me busy. And wow, the lifestyle you two lead. Having our pick of which car to take when we go out to buy props and stuff for your show, going to fancy restaurants all the time … it’s like nothing I ever dreamed my life would be like before I got on that train, what, days ago? It feels like weeks.

Not that I’m used to it or anything, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be, completely. Or will I?

So now the decision: should I write what I’m thinking, which will make this letter something I have to crumple up? Or do I keep it to myself and show you this when you get home? Ugh, it would be nice to have someone to talk to about how I feel. I guess I could talk to Margaret, but I’m sure she tells you everything. Have I given away what I want to say, just by rambling about it?

I think … Okay, I’m gonna say it and be damned, as my mother would say. I think I might be falling in love with you. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve known you all of a week, and … well let’s face it. You’re the first guy who’s stuck with me for a week and not gone running away. Why is that? And maybe you will too, which is why I probably (definitely) shouldn’t show you this letter. If that weird dream hadn’t happened two nights ago, maybe I wouldn’t even be worried.

Unlike the before and after of my real life–poor girl finds a rich boyfriend and never looks back … Yeah, unlike that, my dream made me feel like all this–THIS–is a dream. A dream within a dream. How strange is that?

Hardy-har-har … I’m asking if THAT’s strange, but that’s kind of relative, isn’t it? After you performed ACTUAL magic on me. So, like what is this new life I’ve moved into all about? Are you a true illusionist, and none of this is real? Is it any wonder I’m scared to say those three precious words that I’ve never said to anyone but my family before?

Oh Stephen. I just wish you’d hurry up and come home so we can spend some time together. Some REAL time together. Alone, even. I have no idea why you asked Margaret to chaperone us all the time. We are adults, after all. At least you are, and I will be in a couple of weeks. Officially. Not that I’m going to suddenly “mature” like toast popping up. DING! You’re done. You’re officially old enough to do stuff like vote. Old enough to have an opinion and have sex, south of the Canadian border.

Which brings me to …

Nah. I don’t even want to contemplate it. If you are some kind of illusion, starting to obsess over an intimate relationship is only going to disappoint me more when I find out I’ve been living in a rundown shack for a week and you’re actually a raccoon. Which is how my life has normally gone up until now.

So I guess now I have to crumple up this letter and eat it or something. Which is TOTALLY going to ruin my dinner. Apparently we’re eating at home tonight. Probably surf and turf on golden plates … Do I sound unappreciative? I’m not. I really do appreciate you taking me in and giving me a job. Even if nothing else ever comes of our employer/employee relationship, at least I have your beautiful face to look at.

I can’t wait to see you onstage. And I can’t wait for you to come back home.

I can’t wait to kiss you again, and hold you in my arms … so I can make sure you’re real.

With all my love,

Herman

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the following link to find the prompt, and read all the other entries: https://lindaghill.com/2017/12/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-16-17/

 

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#SoCS #JusJoJan 7/17 – Give

is this the day i’ll just give up
go out without a coat in the cold

take all the hope i gathered and put it away
in a box under the basement stairs

hopes gather dust, you know
just like furniture and boxed-up Christmas trees

from when the kids were small and the tempers short
and all the love that gathered was precious and unappreciated

tell me, where has it all gone
packed away with the coats for the summer

but now it’s cold and the winter clothes hide under the stairs
gathering hope and dust

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This post was brought to you by both Stream of Consciousness Saturday and Just Jot It January. Click the link to read more posts and to see how you can join in! https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-and-jusjojan-jan-717/

#SoCS – Hopeful

First thing you must know is I love you.
I wish for you that the world will always treat you well
and that the sun will shine brightly on all your waking dreams,
and that the moon will hang in the sky for you to pluck out and gift to the one you adore.
I wish for you a long life of pleasure and not too much pain
I wish for your health, your compassion, and your love for those not as fortunate.
I am hopeful that one day you will read these words
and that you will take them to heart.
I wish for you peace, to the very end.

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This Stream of Consciousness Saturday post is dedicated to my children. A very happy new year to all three of you, the best sons a mother could have.
To join in to SoCS and to read more posts, click here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-3116/

#SoCS – Facelift

It started with a pimple on my nose. A small one it was to begin with – a little red dot right on the tip. I noticed it while I was admiring my new facelift in the mirror, on the night before I was to take a flight down south. I was looking forward to my vacation in the sun. Little did I know.

***
Sitting in the sun all day, reading a book on the beach made my pimple grow. When I came in to get changed for dinner, I looked in the mirror and saw that it was three times the size it had been before I left home.
I shrugged it off.

***
A week later and I’m about to board the plane to go back home. I didn’t think they’d let me on–there was talk that I’d need two seats. One for me, and one for my pimple. I didn’t have the money to buy another seat for my now giant proboscis, but if I didn’t make it back to work the next day, shit would surely hit the fan.

***
It’s been a month since I first saw the pimple on my nose. I drag my face around my apartment all day, having lost my job. Surgery is tomorrow. They’re going to cut off my nose. Despite my facelift.

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This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. To play along or to read other posts, click on the following link: https://lindaghill.com/2016/12/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-316/

#SoCS – Parts

Yes,
there are parts of you
I’d like to claw,
and yes,
there are parts
that I’d like
to caress.
Yes,
there are parts of you
I’d like to kiss
and yes,
there are parts
I just want
to breathe in.
Yes,
I would love
to make
you mine
and yes,
I know
we’ll never
say
yes.

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

flames

Flame

there’s something purely distinct
about fire, isn’t there?
how it silkenly licks and caresses
its victim until
it no longer exists as it was
but it succumbs so gently
like a lover accepting
her very last kiss
unable to bring to memory
the one before

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This poem was written in Stream of Consciousness. Click the link to join in the prompt, which this week is “mem”: https://lindaghill.com/2016/11/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-1216/

It was also prompted by the Daily Post. The word of the day, Flames.

#SoCS – Volunteer

I should never have volunteered to drive you home. It would have cost me less to throw you in a cab than to have to clean the upholstery of my car, but then who would have carried you into the house? I’d hate to think the cab driver might have just dumped you out in your driveway and left you there to freeze, or worse, drown in your own vomit.

I threw my back out, you know. Carrying you up the stairs at the front of your house to get you inside. Why the hell do you live on the second floor? For God sakes, you could have at least had the decency to move into a ground floor apartment. And then there was Rex.

You told me your dog was friendly. Yeah, right. So why have I been sitting in the emergency room for three hours, again, for the second time in the last three days? Oh right. You didn’t know he’d somehow contracted rabies. Sure thing.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I still have a huge lump on my head from the cast iron frying pan your ex-wife hit me with, when she found out I let you get drunk in the first place. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have told her. But how was I to know your last words to her were, “Of course I’m going to AA meetings”?

I did think you had a lot of nerve to invite me out for a beer to make up for it all. And there you are texting me again…

I nede a rid hoame. At teh bar.

Hehe. Go fuck yourself.

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This post was written in stream of consciousness and left unedited. If you’d like to participate in Stream of Consciousness Saturday, just click the link and see how! https://lindaghill.com/2016/10/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-2216/

#SoCS – Going in blind

This is so dangerous. This interview is my last hurdle. After this, if I succeed, I get the job and I’m off and fulfilling my dream.

I go in. The room is painted white; there are no pictures on the walls, no windows – no colour except the laminated faux wood table and a green chair. One chair. Will my interviewer stand?

On the table is a sheet of paper. I think at first it’s blank, but I turn it over and there are questions.

#1. (Your first test.) Do you have a pen?

I pull a pen out of my purse and for a second I panic – it doesn’t work!!! I scribble for a while on the back of the paper and a faint blue line appears. It gets darker. Good.

I write “yes” for the first question.

#2. If you were a bug, and you wanted to get into a house but there were screens at the windows, would you:
a) try to squeeze through the screen
b) wait for someone to open a door
c) find another house

What kind of question is that???!!! I ask myself. Flustered, I go on to the next question without answering.

#3. Did you answer question #2? If not, go back now.

I look around the room. Is there a camera? Am I being watched? This is weird. I answer question #2, b. I’m a fairly patient person… I mean bug. Whatever. I write “yes” for question #3.

#4. What is your dream job?

Is this a trick question? It’s the one I’m applying for. I write that.

#5. What colour is white?

White. That’s got to be the correct answer. Or is it? Is white a colour? If not, how do I answer the question? Holy shit, this test is hard.

#6. If your owner holds you by the back of the neck, do you:
a) bite him or her
b) calm down and remain subdued
c) explain that you’re not a dog, and would he or she please let go

What the fuck? I’m just about to cap my pen and be on my way when the door opens and a handsome man in a white suit with a white shirt and tie walks in and stands on the other side of the table.

“Hello,” I say.

The man says nothing. Expressionless. He puts his hands on his hips and blows air out from between his pursed lips. I wait.

“What do you do?” he asks finally.

“What… do you mean?”

“Question #6. You were about to leave. What would you do in that situation?”

I look down at the paper and read the question and the possible answers again. “Umm… c?”

“Is that your final answer?”

I look down again. I’m definitely not a dog. “Yes. That’s my final answer.”

Suddenly the room lights up with yellow and red flashing, turning lights. I feel as though I’m in a game show.

“Congratulations!” the man says. “You’ve got the job!”

I slump down in my seat, and put my forehead on the table. I got it. I got it. I GOT IT!

I’m going to make people millionaires!

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This slightly insane post (is this how Regis Philbin got the job?) is brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the following link to read the rules and join in: https://lindaghill.com/2016/10/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-1516/

#SoCS – Panic

I wanted to go. I was ready to go, to cut the cord between me and my family. Scholarship in hand, I stood with my mom, dad, and baby sister in the cool autumn breeze at the bus station. It was going to be my first time away from them apart from the occasional sleep-over at my best friend, Sharon’s house. At least I had Sharon. She was already on the bus. She knew to give us some space to say good-bye.

I hugged them each in turn and pasted a happy smile on my face. Dad might have bought it, but my mom and sis weren’t fooled. I could tell by their own fake happy faces.

It wasn’t until the bus started moving that the panic began. What if I never saw them again? What if I wasn’t happy at college, if I hated my professors, my courses… my life? I started to cry, but then Sharon put her hand over mine on the glass.

“It’ll be okay,” she assured me. “Just like when we were having sleep-overs.”

She smiled a real smile and I relaxed. Only then did another thought occur to me.

“What if we’re not in the same dorm room? Or the same dorm even? How will I survive without you?”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” she whispered.

We both cried all the rest of the hundred miles to college.

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This horribly bleak Stream of Consciousness Saturday post (which is totally unedited) was brought to you by the prompt here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/09/23/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-2416/
and The Daily Post prompt here: Panic

#SoCS – Together

I think the wind blew us together, one stormy night. How else would you explain the randomness of our meeting? I, alone at the bus stop and you, pulling up in your car to give me a ride. You told me I’d missed the last bus. And it was raining so hard. When we got to my house you offered me your umbrella. You came back to get it the next day. And then, we kissed. It was the best kiss I’d ever had.

We were meant to be together, you and I. But for a fair night, it would never have been.

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This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. You can find the prompt here. Check it out and join in the fun!