Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Foreshadow

After a nice summer spent reading (The Hunger Games), writing (a second novel), and going to the beach, I'm back in fall mode. Next to fall switch in my brain, there's a little sticker that says "Flip at your own risk." I'm taking five classes at Brooklyn College, and working two part-time jobs. One of my jobs involves choreographing musical theater dances for young people, so I've got that to work on in my spare time. I haven't had time to read a book for pleasure (The Imperfectionists) since the hurricane hit, so I'm crossing my fingers for another one of those.

Last week, this all caught up with me. I was out with a cold for a few days, but since I can't slow down, I just used the time to proofread my book.

I haven't read my own book in a year, maybe even longer than that. I've worked on edits in the past year, but never significant ones, so I had no reason to read the whole manuscript. There was just a paragraph to rewrite here, a sentence to reword there.

There's a scene in which Esther, the main character, dreams that Jack, her crush, is dead and she goes to his wake. Jack is based on my ex-boyfriend Jason, who died in July. I went to his funeral in Little Rock. What disturbed me the most was that I didn't remember writing this scene at all. Like a real plot twist, I didn't see it coming. And what grieves me on a daily basis is that I can't share anything with him anymore; I can't call him on the phone and say, "Can you believe I did this?"

When I woke I was covered in cold sweat. I called Jack. 
“I just had a nightmare about you.”
“It’s only 11:00.”
“I know,” I said, “I fell asleep by accident.” In the background I could hear “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight,” and gunshots. 
“What are you doing?”
“Killing hos,” he said.
“Killing what?”
“Playing Grand Theft Auto.”
“Oh. Is Pickle there?”
“No,” he said.
“Is anyone there?”
“No.”
I still hadn’t completely shaken the dream. If I closed my eyes I saw meerkats coming towards me like bloodthirsty pallbearers. “I want to die before anyone else I know does,” I said before thinking. “I want to die first so I don’t have to go to any funerals.” I straightened my twisted sheets so I could shimmy under them. 
“Are you crying? Why are you crying?” 
“I don’t know.” Sentimental sadness. 
Jack never felt sorry for me and maybe that’s why I called him. Plus, he was always awake in the middle of the night.

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