I wrote this little piece for a writing class I’m taking. It was a fail on several levels:
- it was supposed to be a passionate argument, and instead I wrote the quietest little disagreement ever;
- it was supposed to be all dialog, with minimal or no use of signifiers (“he said” and “she said”), and instead I used bunches of them; and
- when I read it in class, most of my fellow students were pretty confused about what was happening in the scene.
But I still kind of liked it, and although part of me thought, you should work on it some more, part of me thought, nope, I like it for what it is.
What do you think – do you ever dig in your heels over something you’ve written, and refuse to change it? Is that the mark of a strong, confident writer – or a naive writer who refuses to improve through constructive criticism?
Anyway, here it is.
You said – Maybe it’s time.
Time for what – I said, although I knew.
Time to let go – you said.
I put down my coffee cup, and looked out the window. People hurried by in the street, going places.
I’m not ready, I said.
You said – I don’t want to have a shrine in the house. I can’t take it, looking at his room every day.
It was sensible. You did that thing where you bang your wedding ring against the side of your mug, making nervous chimes. Ping. Ping. Ping. I nodded.
You said – See, you nod there, but I know you aren’t going to do anything about it.
I like having his room the way it was. It’s a comfort to me, I said. I thought of the laundry still heaped on the floor, the poster peeling from one corner that I couldn’t bring myself to fix. The mess fit nicely into our space, my space.
You said – How about this weekend, I’ll ask my sister to come over and help box up a few things? Not everything, just some things? Tidy up a bit?
There was a time when I would have cried at that. This time I just swallowed the lump in my throat, choking it down. Progress, I suppose.
I said – Maybe later. Maybe soon. It hasn’t been that long, really. Six months is not that long when you lose a child.
You frowned, and looked out the window. I had a fleeting vision of you on the outside, walking. Part of the forward flow. Me still inside, looking out. Sitting with a coffee, frozen.
You said – When, then?
I said – I can’t name a time. I’ll know when I know.
You said – I can’t wait forever.
I thought – I can.
We sat in silence, sipping. Looking out. Staying put.