Wall of Windows

My blog for the NaNoWriMo Challenge. No guarantee I'll accomplish anything, but eh, why not?

Location: Baton Rouge, LA, United States

Just a Yankee transplant to the deep, deep south, blogging about life, the universe, and everything.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Chunk 3

Well, I only hit 718 today. I had trouble with transitions today, and I just wasn't feeling inspired. Add to that anxiety over voting (I did, but wasn't happy about it), and another character wandering over from a completely different story, and, well, it's lucky I got this many words. I'll make it up this weekend, I hope.

(There will be some kind of transition here, but I am feeling decided uninspired to write it at the moment. When I do, I will post it as chunk 3.1)

When she got off the bus, Edna stopped in the same drugstore she did that morning. She splurged on a cola and some chocolate, hoping to bury her feelings in carbonation and caffeine. As she was paying the cashier, some one behind her said, “Edna?”

She turned and found herself staring at someone she hadn’t seen in ten years. Brad Smolkowski had been the archetypal “big man on campus” in her high school: Valedictorian, captain of the wrestling and basketball teams, loved by teachers, worshipped by all the girls, and practically perfect in every way. Edna had a quiet little crush on him herself, but he barely noted that she existed. She was shocked that he actually remembered her name.

“Brad! How are you?” She pasted a false smile on her face.

“I’m good, actually,” he replied, his smile much more sincere. “God, I haven’t seen you since high school. “What have you been up to?”

Edna thought, ‘Well, my grandmother died, I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, and I’m about to be homeless. And you?’ But she censored herself in time to respond, “Oh the usual – college, work, you know.” She changed the subject quickly. “So what are you doing downtown on a Saturday?”

“I had a meeting this morning, and now I’m just heading home.”

“I see.” Edna shifted awkwardly, not quite sure how to keep the conversation going or end it. She was saved the trouble of figuring it out by Brad.

“Edna,” he began, “I don’t get to see old friends very often. Would you like to get together for lunch tomorrow?”

Edna panicked. She didn’t know what the invitation meant, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to find out. As a result, she stumbled through her reply. “Um…well…I’d really love to, but…but I don’t have a car and I just don’t think I can-”

“Wait,” he interrupted. “Do you still live in Esplen?” She nodded her reply. “Well, how about we meet at the Eat ‘n’ Park in McKees Rocks? Say around one o’clock?”

Edna couldn’t think of a graceful way to turn down the invitation. So she said, “Uh, sure. That’d be great. Looking forward to it.” She hoped the smile she was still wearing looked more cheerful than it felt.

“Cool. Well, I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”

“Yeah. Bye.” Edna shuffled out of the store with her head down. How was she supposed to make conversation for a whole lunch with someone she barely knew? She cursed herself for being too spineless to turn down the invitation.

(There needs to be a transition here too, but I’ve been trying to write one for the past two hours and all the narration is getting on my nerves. I will put one in later on somewhere down the line.)

Edna left her house at 12:30 on Sunday to walk to the restaurant. It was a short walk, but the wind along the Ohio River was particularly brisk that early October day, and she was walking into it.

She arrived at Eat ‘n’ Park with ten minutes to spare and waited outside for Brad to arrive. She snuggled into her jacket in an attempt to minimize the bite of the wind. When one p.m. came and went, she considered simply leaving, hoping he changed his mind about the invite. Instead, she went into the restaurant and asked for a table for two.

After the waitress took her drink order of an iced tea, Edna waited another 10 minutes until Brad finally arrived. “Sorry I’m late,” he said as he approached the table. “I got into a conversation with someone and just couldn’t get away.”

“That’s OK,” Edna replied automatically. “I know how that…” Her voice trailed off as Brad took off his overcoat. Of all the things she could have anticipated seeing, a clerical collar was probably at the bottom of the list. She gaped at him as he sat down.

“I guess you hadn’t heard what I did after high school, huh?” he asked with a disarming grin.

Edna continued to stare and replied somewhat absently, “Uh…no. I hadn’t heard you did…that.”