I’m so busy this week, I worried I’d have nothing to post today and actually only have this, a vignette and an exercise of sorts. I opened Chronicle of a Death Foretold to page 54 and stole (with adaptations) one sentence. Then I set off, just to see what occurred next…
He drank the second bottle more slowly, sitting down, looking insistently toward the house on the sidewalk across the way, where the windows were dark. The night hid him, and he felt sure if she looked from one of those windows, she wouldn’t see him. But the familiar wave of vertigo rolled through his body—maybe he was more visible than the thought.
He knew how foolish he could be and how wrong he often was when drunk. He put the bottle down gently beside him, determined he’d had enough.
She might not be there at all, and he hoped instantly that was so. Why had his feet carried him there when he had no more to say and she said every word already? At first, he’d believed if—as she spoke—he held his love in his mind like a candle, she might see it behind his eyes or feel its faint warmth. His silence might speak. Staring at her house in the dark might speak.
Ridiculous. He pulled his feet into the shadows from where they’d edged into moonlight.
He knew her mother didn’t like him but hadn’t heard her speak in her mother’s voice until the last night they were together. “You have no plans,” she said, and it was true. He had no plans except her.
Closing his eyes, there in the night, he whispered, “Except you.” His voice startled him. He grabbed the bottle and took a long swallow. His head swung to the space behind him, and the world momentarily blurred in flux.
He wished again for something else to say but, anyway, he had only himself to say it to.
Down the street, a couple passed through the intersection. She laughed at a witticism he couldn’t hear and shouted, “You have no idea!” The rest tumbled inaudibly between them, her and him, all of it incomprehensibly but vividly intimate.
Once he’d said to her, “I’d like to say what I feel,” and she’d said, “Then do it” and he tried, but it never sounded right, even when he thought ahead to what he ought to speak.
“You aren’t what I need right now,” she’d said. That was the last time they touched.
Another swallow, and the bottle emptied. He lifted it over his mouth, and a drip missed and rolled off his chin and down his neck. He wiped the tear away. He stood unsteadily, dusting himself off, straightening his pants with a tug.
Before he stepped into the streetlamp, he’d gather himself. Drunken dignity was still dignity. If she saw him, she might think he had purpose, that he was between her and someone else, marching still.
He took the greatest volume of night air he could, sighed, and stepped onto the sidewalk.