No, I don’t want to talk about word counts, or if I’m on track or if I’m behind. Life is crazy and I’m just happy I have words down…
Here’s a tidbit of what I have gotten done so far. Yes, I know there’s a lot of editing to do. Did I mention that its Nanowrimo?
Other Half – A Novel
Written by H. L. Jaden
I watched him ride down the street, pride wellming up and overflowing to my eyes. My oldest had the last training wheel taken off two hours ago, and after an hour of running beside him up and down the street, Chase finally got it. We had been practicing for over a week now, first bending the training wheels up, so they only touched the ground when he was off balance, and then only removing the right one, since he had a tendency to falter to the left. His biggest obstacle this morning was his own confidence, suddenly falling off his bike only when he realized that I was merely running beside him, not actually holding onto the back of the seat, holding him steady. He was going to be so proud going to school tommorrow, to brag to his friends that he was finally able to ride his bike on his own. All summer he would only ride his bike close to the house, embarrassed that he still had training wheels on his bike, when all of his other friends had shed theirs before school had let out in June. Such an odd trait us humans have, suddenly disbelieving of our own ability, when we were infact doing it on our own all along. And now, on his own two wheels he was riding on his own as though he had always done so.
My husband stood beside me on the walkway leading from the sidewalk to the front porch, arm draped over my shoulder, beaming with his own pride. He was standing tall, and for a moment I had to look up to him, having forgotten that he is in fact taller than me, having adopted a standard slouch in the last few years.
“It’s too bad your mother isn’t here with us.” he said. His arm fell from my shoulder, and he stooped down to pick up some garbage that had blown onto the yard.
“What?” I misheard what he said, surely.
“It’s too bad your mom passed away when you were young.”
I stared at him in disbelief. Did he really just say that? After this many years of marriage, how could he possibly get a detail like that wrong?
He stood, stepped a bit further away, and couched down again, pulling a few weeds from the edges of the walkway that the lawn mower had missed early this morning.
“What did you say?” I dared him to repeat it.
“I said, it’s a shame your mother has passed away.” he said over his shoulder. “It would be nice if you could share these family moments with your family. I mean, I know my mother treats you like one of the family, and of course me and the kids are your family, but I’m sure it’s not quite the same as having your own blood that’s known you all your life. It just feels like you don’t have anyone to share with. Except me of course.”
“My mother isn’t dead.” I said, hostility dripped all over the conversation
He stood again, turned to face me again slowly, a look of bewilderment on his face.
My husband generally has a look of bewilderment on his face, but it takes a wife to be able to decipher the difference between actual bewilderment and just a resting face.
Think, Hope, think. Why would your mother being alive seem like such a shock to him?
My pinched, angry face, slowly melted into a look embarrassment as I remember all the Christmas I had spent without my mother, all the conversations I hadn’t had with my mother in the last 10 years, all the times she had not held my children. The decade I’ve lived without my family.
I shook my head, a futile attempt at loosening myself from this conversation, and took a step backwards.
“Oh, right. She is dead. Sometimes I forget.”
I stepped past him, down the walkway, towards the sidewalk, but not before I saw the look of bewilderment intensifying in the furrow of his brow. I looked for Chase who was just coming towards the house again. Seeing me, his attention waiver, and he careened too close the hedge that separated our front yard from the sidewalk. Turning a moment too late, he toppled over, landing into the hedge, his face taking most of the blow.
In two large steps, I was at his side, picking him up, and untangling him from the hedge and his bike, with a speed and strength that is only lended to mothers.
“Shhh… Don’t cry, darling. Let me have a look.” Chase buried his face in my right shoulder, snotting on my shirt. His right arm was tightly around my neck, hand grasping my pony tail like a handle, a habit he’s had since he has been able to reach it.
“Is Chase okay?” Audrey side, appearing at my side.
I looked down at her, her round face looking straight up at me. She turned four last week and thought the sun rose when her brother woke in the morning. “He’s just fine, love. He took a tumble while practing. But he’s just fine.”
Dave was beside me again, one hand on my back, one on Chase’s “Let’s see, buddy. Did you hurt yourself?” Chase lifted his face to meet Dave’s, tears still on his cheeks. A few scratches had appeared on his cheeks, the more severe ones being on his neck. He tried hard to stop crying, a sob catching in his throat, and breath coming out in a shudder, wanting to show his father how brave he could be. “Oh, no damage done! You can get back on your bike.” Dave said, after his five seconds of reviewing Chase’s injuries. He took a step back, his judgement final.
Hearing his father’s approval, Chase arched his back, and wiggled from my arms, heading back to his bike, another sob hitching in his chest.
“Chase, how about we clean up your face first?” Chase stood on the sidewalk with his bike, a hand on each handle, an eager look on his face at the thought of just a bit longer in mother’s care.
“Hope, he’s fine. Let him play.”
Chase rubbed his right arm across his face, leaving a runner of snot on his sleeve, dirt mixing with the tears not quite dry on his face, leaving a dark smear across his face. The movement had disrupted the clotting of the larger scratch on his neck, smudging it to look worse than it actually was. He picked up his bike from the sidewalk and slowly got back on his bike, and pushed it slowly down the sidewalk again with his feet dangling from his hips, toes barely touching the sidewalk. His head was down, the earlier enthusiasm for bike riding visiable diminished.
“C’mon Chasey! I’ll beat you to the Mrs. Parkison’s house.” Audrey had her tricycle on the sidewalk too, and with one big push, she moved towards the neighbours driveway, feet pedling up a storm. Chase faked a smile and pretended like he was going to try and beat her. He was good with her, and always let her win.
“I’m going to go and change my shirt.” Fearful that Dave would bring up my faux-pas about my mother again, I shot myself up the walkway and porch steps, and through the front door of the house.