Tuesday, June 30, 2020

An Excerpt from Gaia's Hands

This is early on in the novel -- Chapter 3 or 4. In this chapter, Josh's tendency to watch Jeanne from afar gets challenged.


By Sunday, Josh’s migraine had luckily subsided with the help of a prescription a doctor had written him. But he hadn’t figured out the vision, of course. Or what to do about Jeanne. Josh threw on coat, hat, and gloves, and walked to his friend Eric’s house in the crisp cold of the afternoon.

“Who am I?” he queried himself. An introvert, an observer of human nature, a practitioner of aikido, a writer, an instructor, only son, half-Asian. He dug deeper: a dabbler in Shinto, a pacifist, a former problem child. He felt heart and gut, ai and ki. And now, something bigger than himself — a holder of a vision, a mystery. He would not tell that last part to Eric.

Josh arrived at Eric’s apartment and knocked on the door. At 1 PM on a weekend, Eric would be awake, unless he wasn’t. One never knew with Eric, who kept programmers’ hours and drank copious amounts of caffeinated drinks. 

After a plodding pause, Eric answered the door in black sweats and a t-shirt that read “No, I won’t fix your computer”. His sandy blond hair had been combed recently, by a real comb, and his deep-set blue eyes shone clear. A good sign.  

“Eric, I need to talk to you. Do you have time right now?” How do I even begin? Josh wondered. 

Eric opened the door to chaos. “Pull up a piece of couch –” he pointed to a decrepit beige couch covered in books and papers, one leg propped up by other books and papers. 

"Where do I put the papers?" Josh swiveled around for an obvious spot.

"Drop them on the floor,” Eric shrugged.

Josh dropped them on the floor. Eric moved a couple piles of books and folded his bearlike bulk onto a spot across from the couch. Josh paused, gathered his words. After a long silence he spoke. "This will sound insane, but there’s this woman, and I think I’m in love." Josh studied his hands, felt Eric’s eyes on him.

“It’s about time. Do I know her?" Eric grimaced with his first sip of energy drink.

"I don't know. You don't hang out at the café much." Josh closed his eyes and envisioned Jeanne on one of many Fridays, packing her computer away to listen to the music with an enigmatic smile. He caught himself smiling despite his moment of misery.

“Hate coffee, hate the music scene." Eric pondered for a moment, then scowled. "You don't mean Zoe with the dreadlocks who works there, do you? She has a boyfriend already."

"No, and how do you know these things if you don't go there?" Josh queried.

"Don't ask me that." Eric shook his head with a snort. 

“Okay, I won’t. Do you know Jeanne Beaumont?” Josh closed his eyes and sighed out a deep breath.

“Not personally.” Eric raised his brows.  “Isn’t she old enough to be your mother?”

Josh groaned inwardly. “Yes, and it strangely doesn’t matter to me. I really want to get to know her better.” He felt less sure of whether he meant Jeanne the woman or Jeanne the vision, which concerned him. “I’m also pretty sure it’s hopeless.”

“Does she know you exist?” Eric propped his legs on the seat cushion opposite Josh.

“I don’t know.” Josh sighed unhappily. “She looked right at me yesterday at the cafe, but that doesn’t mean anything.”

“You want me to tell you it’s hopeless, right?” Eric growled, but he often did, so it didn’t mean anything. 

“Right. Because it is.”

Eric looked over at Josh. “It’s absolutely illogical that Jeanne Beaumont would be interested in someone twenty-some years younger, but I hear these things don’t always follow logic. What’s the worst that happens? You suffer, and you have a lot of material to write poetry about. Sounds good to me.”

Josh felt the blues settle down on him like a blanket of snow. Rejection was a pretty bad ‘worst that could happen’. “Thanks. I guess.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

I believe that everyone here comes with good intent. If you come to spoil my assumptions by verbal abuse, excessive profanity, spam or other abuses I had not considered, I reserve the right to delete your notes or delete your participation. I am the arbiter of what violates good intent.