I have to admit that I am beyond ready for this month to be over. January is cold and dark and dismal and it seems like I never see the sun.
It doesn't help that I am sick and cranky, and that I have far too much to do with far too little time to do it. Now I realize that's not unique to me, but I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.
Anyway, now that I've bored you with that, I thought the least I could do is share a snippet of something that's part of one of the two novels I'm currently flitting between.
Behind him, out over the ocean, clouds massed and rolled in a purple-pink sky; carried the promise of a late afternoon storm.
The Mustang glided along a slow winding curve, slid to a stop.
Air thick and heavy with humidity pressed close as he leveraged himself out of the car, felt the heat rising from the thin ribbon of concrete curling through the lush green landscape.
He cracked his back, rolled his shoulders. His eyes drifted over long, neat rows of stone standing silent under a burning sky; watched the sun reflect off the mirror-flat surface of the pond as it arced across the horizon.
He leaned in, reached over, snagged the flowers sitting on the passenger’s seat. The careful, almost silent snick of the door closing didn’t disturb the silence.
Slow, quiet footsteps sank into the soft ground as he moved down two rows and over one, into the shade of the Eastern Cottonwood’s canopy.
“Hey, mom.” He dropped into a crouch; pushed his words, soft and low, through a dry, tight throat. “It’s been a while. Too long.”
He slipped to his knees, felt the earth warm and solid beneath him; hallowed ground.
“I’m sorry about that. I tried to get here earlier…the last time I was here.” A small, soft smile bled across his lips. “It didn’t work out so well.”
He didn’t want to think about that now, that last trip home; burying him, burying her under the bone crushing weight of one disappointment after another.
“I had somebody I wanted you to meet. Her name’s Aeryn." He breathed deep, blinked hard against sudden moisture in his eyes. “You’d like her mom. She’s the one.”
He ran a gentle hand along the smooth stone. “You almost met her once. I wish that had happened." The smile slipped. “There was so much I didn’t get to do last time I was here, when I had the chance.”
He tilted his head, catches movement out of the corner of his eye; Canada geese gliding along the calm, smooth surface of the pond.
Clear-blue eyes the color of the Florida sky tracked the baby as it tipped its body, dipped its head under the water.
One of the adults ran along the surface, gained lift for takeoff. Slow, deep wingbeats carried it aloft as the rest of the family took flight.
He shifted slightly; lifted his chin, watched their graceful arc over the trees through the tops of his eyes.
He slid his gaze back to the headstone. “Everything’s a mess.”
Reverent fingers traced the carved letters of his mother’s name. “There’s somebody else I really wanted you to meet, too. Aeryn and I…we have a son.” His voice went low and deep. “God, Mom, he’s beautiful. Takes my breath away. Kinda like his mom.”
His eyes drifted closed. “That’s what I want, Mom. What you and Dad had.”
He swallowed hard against the thickness in his throat. “I didn’t understand that for a long time, but now I want that, Mom." His voice went low and rough. “Want it with Aeryn and Ryne.”
He pulled back and stared. "Was this what it was like for you? Waiting for Dad to come back? To come home?" He dragged a jagged breath deep into a tight chest. “Did you wonder about him never coming back?”