Sunday, 1 November 2009

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

November 1, 2009
Day 1 of Nanowrimo
2:48 a.m.

Chapter 1 ... The Recurring Dream of the Rake and the Bimbo

"But ya can't take the piano," she wailed.

Like all the others, she was a bimbo. She wore a trailing negligee, circa 1920, even though it was afternoon.. Her hair looked like the 7 minute icing kids in the fifties liked on their birthday cakes. Sometimes these women appeared with hair that looked more like cotton candy or a Barbie's spun plastic do. Not one of these dream women had ever ever appeared with hair a natural colour or texture, and certainly none of them ever had bed head.

The two men who had emerged from the truck parked on the street below, the one with the sign on the side reading "Two Nice Guys and a Truck" (yes I know that's an anachronism), looked uncomfortable. The shorter, heavier one said, "Aw Miss, we're sorry, but we got a job to do, ya know?"

"But it's mine," she sobbed. "He gave it to me. It's all I have left of him now."

"Lady," said the taller mover, "Our orders come from the store where your friend bought the piano. It's a re-possession."

She looked uncomprehending ... like a modern power saving light bulb ... the ones that throw too little light to read by. "Whattaya mean?"

Shorty patted her arm. "It means, honey, that your friend bought the piano on time and stopped the payments when you and him split."

"But why?" she protested. "He's rich."

"That's how he hangs on to his money, doll. This is the third one this guy's had re-possessed this year."

The woman suddenly turned murderous. The plastic beauty drained out of her face, and she began to yank at her hair. "That bastard. That lying prick. I'm gonna kill him."

It was my grandfather she was talking about. He was a womanizer, a playboy ... married to my grandmother in name only ... father to my mother ... also in name only. He was very rich, and very amusing ... good company ... for a time. Word has it that his short flashy life ended in a speakeasy in Detroit. Was it one of the floozies he'd given a piano to? Or was it one of the underworld characters he liked to play with? Or did his luck just run out and he happened to be in the wrong place when the bullet found him? I don't know. No one seems to, or if someone does, she took the secret to her own grave.

I think it was one of the duped women who did the dirty deed. And good for her.

But what I really want to know is why I keep dreaming about the rake and all his bimbos.

The grandfather I never knew seems to be haunting me now. Is he trying to give me grandfatherly advice? Warn me away from womanizers? Show me that you can't trust any man who stays married but doesn't stay home? To avoid looking gift horses in the mouth? To beware of charmers?

Or maybe I'm not supposed to be empathising with the woman, but learning something from him. Maybe he's telling me how to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. Except he didn't survive, and I don't believe the world is a place where people are happier when they are ripping people off.

I've had this dream or some version of it about once a month for the past year, and I still wake up wondering. I've been having other dreams too, all of them about men, most of them about old lovers I've discarded for good reason. I wonder why I am dreaming about them too.

Once again, I get up, turn on the computer, look at the time, shake my head in disbelief, and go downstairs to make tea, before starting to write. The dog lifts her head off her pillow and decides that I am not going anywhere interesting and goes back to sleep. It is two in the morning, and she knows she needs her beauty sleep.

By the time I look at myself in the mirror, I know I do too. Unlike the dream babes, I do have bed head ... and greying brown hair that seldom sees a hair stylist or a blow dryer. My hair just grows.

Maybe Grandpa is telling me I need to do something about myself if I don't want to spend the rest of my life married to a dog.

3:49 700 words in the first hour ...

Chapter 2 ... Other Dreams ... that need to be integrated into a story ... god I hope I find a story!

Tonight it was Danny who arrived. As always he was full of energy and this time it energized me. He spoke in cliches ... homilies ... pasting together the quotes of other people to create the conversations he found so difficult unless he scripted them first.

I remember being absolutely charmed by him when we were first lovers. We were living at the farm, and had spent the morning biking. Afterwards we bathed under the outdoor sprinkler shower he had invented. It was early summer, that time when the eastern Canadian world is bright green with promise. We spread our towels and dried off on the grass under an endless blue sky. Danny got up and picked a wild rose. When he came back he sprinkled the petals all over me and then moved them away with his mouth one by one. We made beautiful love that sunny afternoon. Years later after we had broken up and he was attempting to win his next woman, he told me that she was really hard to pin down. He'd "done the petals thing" and even that didn't work. I laughed ... it was long enough ago ... and if you have a winning script, why change it, eh?

Tonight he reminded me of his courage. We roller bladed together through the night, and once again he saved me from flying straight into the river or into a busy street.

I woke up laughing from a terrifying re-play of a time when Dan headed down the hill from the Experimental Farm and turned in at one of the government buildings, calling to me to follow him. I started down the potholed asphalt road, my wheels catching on the rough surface, all my focus on staying upright. Then, as my speed increased, and I began to go faster, and still faster, I realized I was in serious trouble. There was no way I would be able to make the turn. I had few choices. I could just try to keep my balance, zoom past the turn and hope that the road would even out. I could throw myself to the right where there was grass. Or I could splatter myself on the pavement. None were appealing.

And then there was a car behind me. The car stopped and the driver watched as things played out.

Dan moved into the roadway, planted his skate brake firmly on the pavement, and stuck his arm out. He yelled, "Grab hold as you come by." I did as I was told. We spun around and around like demented square dancers, but his brake held firm. The driver of the car resumed his trip, and I noticed as he passed us that he was smiling and shaking his head. My laughter may have been hysteria ... but I laughed.

Dan was very good at making me laugh. And he always looked after me. When my courage failed, his own bumped up a notch.

He was the second lover who helped me to have fun doing dangerous things because he was so solidly there and I knew that I was safe with him; that he would be brave enough for both of us.

Was Danny sent tonight or did he come on his own because he thought I needed him? Did he know that I needed to be reminded that the best partners are solidly there, that they play together, that they take risks, and they protect one another because they are strong and brave?

Or was he sent as a warning to me to avoid men who never get un-married, because they can only make a partial commitment? That they are protecting their freedom or their money or something by remaining married in name only.

Or perhaps he was reminding me that I should value what a man can share with me, even if it would nice to have the whole enchilada.

two hours ... 1400 words

I too hope it improves! Hope you had a happy Hallowe'en and that the rest of the weekend is great ... in all ways ...


Barbara Carlson said...

I read every word. Impressive start. Bimbo hair description excellent. Physical description of roller blade accident prevented hard to pull off -- I think you did it. I can SEE the outcome & its use as metaphor smooth.
Searching for your story's center obvious with all your questions -- at this point, but you will sort that out. You will probably dream your resolution.
AND you did all that in 1 hour, because of the
time change!
Now you can go get your hair cut.

Oma said...

Thanks, Barbara ... I hope I can keep you reading ... the hair cut is scheduled for Friday!