This week I have been in discussion with writer, fellow blogger-in-crime and 2014 Year of the Novel alumni Sarah Todman about posting a scene from our novels on line. Just how we do this has been a great source of discussion and meditation. Finally, we decided on the theme of dialogue vs description over a coffee, post critique session.
Last week Sarah posted a blog on the importance of dialogue in a scene to really capture your characters. Her thesis was that a book with great dialogue doesn’t leave your head. That’s her Everest. See her blog
But really, this is a chance to share scenes from our stories. A dare if you like.
New Year’s Eve
by Sarah Todman
14. HISTORY IS EVERYWHERE (PART 2)
I step out of the bakery twirling the loaves of sliced white in one hand, my wallet and a brown paper package holding three cream donuts grasped in the other. Dad’s always loved a donut. Me too frankly. Fake cream, deep-fried dough, raspberry jam; what’s not to love? Sylvia will probably protest, then eat hers anyway.
“Eve. Is that you?”
I spin around, surprised to hear my name. Breath instantly catches in my throat. Andy Lawson. He is standing on the pavement outside the hairdressers and there’s maybe four metres between us.
His short sandy blonde hair is the first thing to compute; the floppy curls, the ones he was forever flicking out of his eyes, are gone. That and his height. He was always tall, Andy, but 13 years-ago he was gangly. Now he’s imposing; angular, but with definition.
I take in his face as he stares at mine. The face. An older, more filled out version of the one I obsessed over for all that time.
“Hi Andy,” I say in response to the still-familiar sloping smile.
Black vomit surging from my mouth, right at his chest. Me staring in disbelief as the explosion of liquid licorice oozed down Bob Marley’s dreadlocks and face, the black mess bleeding into the t-shirt’s white background.
It was THE moment I’d fantasised about over and over; our lips meeting in slow motion…all the feigned indifference and bravado between us finally being pushed aside.
Instead it ended up THE most humiliating and uncorrectable thing that could happen to a 17-year-old girl in front of the boy she’s infatuated with – ON the boy she’s infatuated with: a breaking wave of regurgitated Southern Comfort and Coke.
My stomach churns on cue.
“I knew it was you,” he says, walking towards me.
This is a moment so surreal I can’t move. The boy – he’s now a man. And the girl – the angsty goth try-hard who couldn’t hold her liquor – she’s now a woman. One with bed hair.
“Yep, it’s me.”
I’m in shock so I half expect that to Andy my eyes appear wide and bug like and my hair crazy with electricity like some cartoon character with their hand in a power socket.
“Wow. It’s been so long,” he says; a voice that’s deep and friendly.
“But you’re the same Eve – well, I mean you’re hair’s different. Not as dark. But you, you’re still…you know who you remind me of right now? Winona Ryder circa Reality Bites.”
Andy Lawson, movie buff. I can still remember an afternoon spent sitting at separate ends of the couch in the pub’s upstairs lounge watching Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels on video instead of working on our year 12 english oral – the one Mr Proudlock paired us for.
“You,” I start shakily. “Oh, I can’t think of an actor to reference. Sorry. You look just like you too Andy.”
You look just like you too? Arghhh!
I swallow on a mouthful of awkwardness and take in his casual business attire. Open-neck shirt, thin wool jumper, suit pants. Solicitor Andy Lawson. My brain continues to process it all.
“Here visiting your Mum and Dad?” he asks.
“Yes, just for a few days. I’m not out here often.”
“You’re in Brisbane aren’t you? What is it, PR that you work in?”
‘Did’ work in marketing Eve. As in past tense. What is he seeing standing in front of him right now aside from my spaced out demeanour? It certainly isn’t a take no shit career-woman. The hoodie and jeans. The battered Converse on my feet. What do they project exactly?
“And you. You’re here. At the firm with your Dad right?”
“Yep. That’s me.”
Andy’s eyes drop to his feet. He kicks at some crusted bubblegum stuck to the footpath with his shoe.
Me. I’m still slightly paralysed. All I can think is: I can’t believe it’s taken this long. 13 years.
I did see him once, after school was over. A fleeting moment that left me ruffled for days after. It was second year uni at a crappy pub in the city. All the uni kids used to flock there because even though the place was divey jugs of beer were $6. I was there with Phil and another girl from our course, Sally Prescott. We were walking through the beer-garden on our way out. Sally’s rich cousin was having a party at some swanky restaurant in the Valley where fancy finger-food and free wine was on offer. As we left Andy and a group of other telltale law undergrads barrelled in. They were drunk already, all of them and Andy didn’t even look my way. Thank-god.
That was the only time in 13 years.
Now here we are. And it’s every bit as awkward as I always imagined.
Shit. The bread. Sylvia is going to kill me.
“Andy. Sorry. I’ve got to go. This bread is for breakfasts at the pub. I was supposed to be gone for five minutes. My mother is probably having a panic attack.”
“Oh, right. Sure. Bye Eve. It’s good to see you after such a long time.”