Sunday, July 31, 2016

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 12

I hope at this point you aren't running out of creative steam.  Because, let's face it: as endless as that fountain of ideas may seem at 2 a.m. some nights, that dry screen other days will seem cruel and superior plenty of other times.  'You know what?' it says, 'Don't you think this page looks better blank?  Empty of your scribblings?  Your ramblings?  Your trite and hackneyed ideas and stories?'.  I don't have an answer to this ever, really- I don't argue when the other side can't listen.  One compromise (you may have noticed) I use, is giving the page some space.  A whole column of just whiteness and periods, before I spoil the beautiful emptiness with thought-splatterings.  That page can keep its blankness- but the next one is for the writing I know I need to get down.  If I don't, I never will have anything worth reading, and the blank page will have won.  

I know it may not be getting easier- yet.  Establishing a daily habit wouldn't be such a fantastic thing if it didn't take effort.  But you get what you put into it (like everything else), so I hope you get something good out of this photo from Kaboompics, where photographers generously put out their photos under the Creative Commons License, helping artists like you and me.

The sheets are soft and still smell like fabric softener.  Lucy doesn't want to leave them, and fumbles for the snooze button.  No, that's not for today, she remembers: Kristen's coming!  That name is enough to send her springing out of the bed, and onto the little rug in her apartment's single bedroom.  

Fumble through the dresser, throw together breakfast, and... well, the process of cleaning her place, small though it is, will take some time, and not a little effort.  But Kristen's coming!  And into her cleaning mode Lucy plunges.  

The vacuum is roaring over what Lucy is sure must be the last square foot of space when she hears the knock.  Not loud, not brassy-- Kristen never uses the knocker or the bell.  This is going to be so much fun.

"Kristen!"  Lucy squeezes her tight, and feels that easy laughter she's always loved bubbling up in her friend. "Oh, it's been too long.  you really have to come down to Austin more often than this.  Besides, a lovely musician like would love it here."  Then she suddenly pulls back.

"You have something to tell me."

Kristen laughs again.  Is it the same?  Lucy can't say what exactly strikes her as different, but she senses something in her friend's laughter- something nervous?  But, before she can ask, Kristen bursts out, "We're going on a picnic!", thrusting the wicker basket into Lucy's arms.

"A picnic?  Oh, you didn't have to make-"

"Nonsense.  I already know where we're going- you'll love it.  And I know you don't get out enough, so don't even try to get out of it."

"Alrighty then," Lucy concedes with a smile.  "I'll get my cane."

"Oh no you don't.  Or do you not trust me to guide you arm in arm anymore?"

Both women chuckle.  "Well, let's see," Lucy says, "You've got two broken legs, a broken arm, and a fractured wrist in your history.  And, heaven help us if you sneeze."  

"Oh, well, bring it if you like, but I think it will be more fun this way.  You don't need a "stick-eye" when you've got two friendly eyes and a chatterbox mouth for you.  And you really do need to get out of your little studio for some Vitamin D."

The sunshine does feel wonderful to Lucy as she walks with her friend.  It hadn't been a far drive in Kristen's car, though any car seems much faster than the bus, Lucy thinks.  She'd noted each of the turns announced in strident tones by the GPS- it had seemed strange that Kristen took two wrong turns, but Kristen had passed the time pleasantly by talking steadily about her work back in Dallas. 

But, after a steady stream, here in the park, she stopped.

"Lucy-"  Kristen was mumbling- something was wrong, I knew it, I knew it, Lucy thought to herself in a flash- how did I miss it before?  

"I-I don't know how to tell you this..."

Lucy squeezes her friend's hand, and hopes her smile is reassuring.  But the clamminess of her friend's hand does nothing to encourage that hope.

"I- I'm going completely deaf."

"It’s the medication I have to take for my allergies," Kristen spilled out quickly.  "I didn't know about the side effect, but it's already too far gone- I have a hearing aid, but the doctor said it's only a matter of time ..."

Lucy sits silent for a second, processing.  From the strange,  desperate tone of her friend's voice, it sounds like there isn't much that can be done about it.  But she's hardly thirty-

"Lucy?"  Even though Kristen is almost mumbling, Lucy catches the quiver in her friend's tone, as if she's become afraid of her own voice.

"Why didn't you say anything about it before?  No, never mind."  Lucy hugs her friend tightly.   "You are stronger than anyone I know," she murmurs, hoping that she said it loud and clear enough, but afraid it might've been too loud too.

"I-I just I don't know," Kristen whispers.  "I-I- but you know more about this than anyone."

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