I’ve finally started the serious writing of my newest story. It’s about a 24-Hour Bookstore, and college students and friendships, and betrayal and heartbreak and forgiveness. And books, and writers, and stories.
Anyway. I thought I’d share a few early scenes with you guys. I like them a lot, and I hope you do too.
“I don’t understand.” Amelia cast her eyes around the room, trying to find something to look at besides Doctor Barton’s kind brown eyes. The white walls. The plastic skeleton. The neat cabinets.
Doctor Barton cleared his throat. “It’s Stage Four. You will need to start immediate treatment.”
Amelia heard the words but didn’t let them sink in. She couldn’t have cancer. She had just bought a bookstore. Well, a warehouse. She couldn’t be sick. Not now.
She forced herself to look at him.
“You will need to start chemotherapy next week, and have it for the next two months. After that, we will do some more tests. Probably radiation. Probably more chemo. Maybe surgery. You have a long road ahead of you, but there is hope. Is there anyone you want to call to come in to discuss this with you? I’d like to have a meeting with you in the next week or so to lay out your treatment plan, and I suggest you bring a family member or close friend.”
She shook her head.
There was no one.
Doctor Barton stood up and ran a hand through his thin gray hair. “Okay. Well, why don’t you let Jamie walk you to the receptionist’s, and you can schedule our meeting.”
Amelia found herself being led through the cold, sterile hallway. Making an appointment. Walking out towards her car. Numb.
Amelia had come back to this cozy red chair over and over again. When her boyfriend had proposed and she’d had to come home and made a cup of tea, trying to hold in her excitement. When she’d been unable to sleep on the night before her wedding.
She’d even had the chair moved into the house that she and Jim bought together, and dreamed of one rocking babies to sleep in the Red Chair.
Then there had been the drinking.
Never a problem until Jim lost his job.
Then Amelia turned to the Red Chair for every late night that she waited up for her absent husband to come home.
Some nights it was past one when he stumbled through the door, breath tainted and temper raw.
Some nights, he didn’t come home at all.
Two months ago, Amelia had taken the Red Chair and all her belongings and moved out. Moved away from the drinking and the hitting and the cursing.
She found solace in the soft fabric and the white knit blanket and a mug of hot cocoa and a book. Maybe not happiness, but comfort and quiet.
It had always been there for Amy.
But now, the Red Chair couldn’t hold her. She couldn’t sit still. She roamed from room to room, looking for something, anything. A lost mug, a half-read book. Cancer, whispered the walls.
Be quiet, she begged them, returning to the living room.
Cancer, teased the Red Chair, betraying her.
The phone rang.
“Hello?” she breathed.
“Mrs. Brown?” asked a young girl’s voice.
“I’m not married. Just Miss Brown.”
A pause. “Of course. This is Katherine. You interviewed me about a job last week? I’m calling to follow up with you.”
“Oh.” Amelia vaguely remembered the girl with the hoop earrings.
Amelia swallowed, not sure what she was supposed to say next. She’d never hired anyone before in her life. “I’m sorry,” she finally said, “that I haven’t gotten back with you. I’ve had a – a bit of an unexpected emergency.”
“Oh dear. I’m sorry to hear that.”
The girl cleared her throat. “Well, I’m very interested in the job, so I hope that you’ll be in touch.”
“At the bookstore.”
Amelia nodded, her head pounding a bit. “Oh. Yes. You’re hired.”
“Oh?! Wonderful. When do I start?”
Amelia paced to the kitchen. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
Paced back to the living room, the Red Chair staring her down. “I have cancer,” she whispered, the last word getting caught in her throat. “Stage Four.”
There was silence.
“I’ll be in touch, just give me a few days,” Amelia choked out. She hung up just as the tears started. She didn’t even make it back the Red Chair before she was on the ground, sobs shaking her entire body so that she couldn’t think or move or breathe.
The warehouse that Amelia had bought stood quiet on Monday night. The rain had stopped last week, and no one had been inside it since the quiet blonde lady and the loud young one. The walls were bare and cold, but they sat patiently. They knew their potential. They knew what stories they would hold. They knew their time would come. And they were willing to wait for it.
I’m really enjoying meeting these characters and getting to know them and discovering where this story is leading. I think it’s going to turn out really well. I feel kinda brilliant right now, and I’m relishing that feeling.