So - on that note, I have decided to share part of the other book I have been working on, which I have written and re-written and was working on a third re-write but have decided to stick with where I am headed with number two.
I still intend to keep this one shelved until I finish my current book, but I have to say, that this one - I know this one is going to be special to me when it is done. And I WILL finish it someday!
I welcome your feedback. If you don't like it, please feel free to tell me so. I'm not asking anyone to be mean, but I always want real opinions. I can handle SOME amount of criticism. And either way, if I go off and cry in the corner, you probably will never know - so that is a small victory for me too.
I want to know that, if you say you like it, you really mean it. (If you were taught not to say anything if you have nothing nice to say, then you are relieved of duty if you can't think of anything! ha!). But please be constructive - because I want to use it to help me improve.
And if you love it (and if you are still reading after all this intro) then please let me know that too!
OK - so there is no working title, just FYI and there will be more than one point of view, so the little titles will help explain whose eyes you are viewing the world through at a given time (I include this because there is only one in this first part and it might seem odd without the contrasting next part from the POV of another character). OK - enough, onward with some story!!!
*** JAMEY ***
Sometimes, you just know when something occurs that will change your life forever. Sometimes it is years later that you look back and see it, wizened by hindsight. But sometimes – you just know.
That is how it was for me on one bright sunny June day when she drove onto my property. It was life changing, and I felt it. Of course, that is not surprising I suppose, I feel a lot of things that others don’t.
In so many ways, I’m just your average guy. I suppose some might say that I lack ambition; however, what I truly lack is a need for all the material things that ambition may lead me to be able to provide for myself. I believe in contentment; I always have. Give me a hot meal, a good book and a comfortable place to rest and I am in heaven. A day filled with white clouds and sunshine could bring a smile to my face as easily as the sound of the rain beating a rhythm into the tin roof of my small home. I need that – to be able to find happiness in what I have rather than a never ending search for more. Because there are… forces… within me that sometimes work equally hard to steal that happiness out from under me like the proverbial rug.
The afternoon was mild for Texas in the summer, only slightly humid, and I was working in the building behind the house where my larger saws are kept. Sara walked up with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Yes, my opinions of her are probably biased, but it still does not change the fact that she is stunningly beautiful. I have felt the effect she has on people, and she aimed that smile at me, full of confidence and joy.
I turned off the saw and walked to her while removing my safety glasses. Before I could even ask what she wanted, she almost sighed as she said, “I found you.” While breathing those words at me, she walked right up and wrapped her arms around me. In that moment – I was changed. Forever.
In case I haven’t made it obvious, beautiful women don’t chase me around on a regular basis. I like to think I am not below average in looks or the personality department; however, her smile and her very familiar actions caught me off guard. I stood with my arms outstretched while I tried to make my mind think of an appropriate response. Fairly quickly, she stepped back and I saw no embarrassment on her face.
I would have loved to be witty or charming in that moment. I did return her smile, it was impossible not to, and I said quizzically, “you were looking?”
“Well,” she continued to smile and stepped back another step, “one of us was.” I could almost see as she changed her approach. She remained confident; it nearly radiated from her. “Do you take custom orders?” she asked, nodding at the wooden rocking chairs in varying stages of completion which lined the side wall of the building.
“I’m a fairly simple guy, and I don’t usually make anything extremely complex, but I can give it my best.” I replied, flowing with the direction she led the conversation.
“Are you?” she said, not really expecting an answer but seeming to consider my words. It was good that she was not looking for an answer, because more than anything, that threw me for a loop. “I’m looking for something in rich color, a matching set,” she said, the corners of her lips widening into a more dazzling smile as if she knew something amusing that she wasn’t sharing.
“Umm, sure thing,” I pretty much stammered out, “I will get some sample wood pieces, one minute.” So much for witty and charming. For the moment, I was glad that I was alone in the shop. I did not want a witness to my stammering, not so much because I worried about my pride, but because I was hard pressed to understand the situation myself, much less explain it.
As I walked into a smaller room of the building, I pondered her strange behavior, which was an odd mix with what seemed to be a very peaceful but euphoric mood. And if anyone can catch the vibe in a room – it’s me. I find that I am often in tune with people’s feelings, well maybe that is an understatement, but either way, I could easily rule out her having a negative motive.
I returned with samples of several hardwoods. The few minutes I had outside her presence had given me a little time to compose myself. I described the woods, recommending cherry or ash wood with a variety of stains depending on what she was trying to match. She listened, intent upon the descriptions I provided, asking a few questions. I was curious as to how she found me, it’s not as if I have major advertising and she was obviously not from my small town. As I worked on a small drawing to demonstrate a possible design matching something we discussed, I took the opportunity to try and understand this stranger. “So, what brings you to Columbus?”
She smiled again, “Well, Jamey,” she began and pointed at my name embroidered on my shirt at my surprised look, “you did. You called me.”
The name tag was a silly thing I had done recently to make my apprentices view their time in the shop as an actual job, rather than a hang out. Every school year, I had two students from the local high school work for me as part of their work-study program. They were often more interested in getting out of school for half a day than actually learning a trade. I had hoped the uniform might help solidify in their mind that they were there to actually work… Yea, right.
Considering her statement, I was fairly certain that my cell phone bill would not reflect any mysterious midnight calls that I couldn’t remember, so I stared, my mouth hanging open slightly and then managed to say, “I called you?”
She laughed, and it was a musical sound. She actually laughed. “Yes you did, but I don’t mean a phone call like you are probably thinking.” She reached into her purse and withdrew a folded sheet of paper, which she handed to me and watched for my reaction.
I slowly unfolded the paper, still looking confused, I’m sure, but no longer gaping. Then my heart skipped a few beats and I felt the hair on my arms stand on end. Written in a lovely handwriting, in the center of the page, were four lines from a poem I had authored only a few weeks before.
When the silence pierces beautifully through the night
And the wind carries the echoes of emotions that might be
My heart calls out soundless into the calm
And you hear me
I couldn’t breathe. I write poetry – it’s a… release… I have hundreds of poems piled in various places: in books as bookmarks, in the glove box of my truck, on my nightstand, in my pants pockets. It’s a way to let go of an emotion I don’t want to hold on to.
But that poem… was different – which is difficult to explain. But that poem was me. And I had never shared it with anyone else.
When I could, I looked up to find her gauging my reaction. She wasn’t smiling anymore; however, she still appeared… serene. Again, she reached to touch my hand but I flinched away. Amazingly, I immediately felt a pang of regret for doing so, but it was overpowered by my confusion and something that was borderline anger. It must have flashed in my eyes, because her serenity faded into a frown. Again, I felt a pain deep in the pit of my stomach over her uneasiness, which was in much contradiction to the thoughts in my head. How could she have my poem?
“I’m sorry Jamey, I thought you might know… might have sensed…” she seemed to be at a loss for a moment. It was then that I realized – the name embroidered on my shirt was James – not my nickname, Jamey. I took a step back and I saw the flicker in her eyes; I saw pain there. It was like a weight sinking deep in my stomach anchoring me there. Awash in emotions, warring emotions. I felt confused and, I have to admit, a little frightened. At the same time, I was engulfed in a feeling of remorse and frustration – feelings that were not my own.
Trying to push the emotions aside, I asked, “How do you know my name?” When she again glanced at the name on my shirt, I said, “No. That doesn’t say Jamey.” It registered on her face instantly; she had slipped.
“This is difficult,” she said, her brow furrowing. I had the oddest desire to reach out and smooth the honey colored skin of her brow, to comfort her. That desire was so at odds with the other things I was feeling that, again, I was lost. “Jamey… James… I’m sorry; I went about this the wrong way.” I could see the confidence returning to her demeanor. “Somehow, this time it is different for me, I can’t-“
“Different?” I cut her off mid sentence. “You do this kind of thing often?” I sounded a bit more hostile than I intended.
“No, that is not what I am telling you. I can see that I am teetering on the edge of guarded territory for you. I did not intend to upset you, and I should have gone about this differently. I’m not perfect Jamey. But please, give me a moment to explain…”
She smiled again, a half smile. How could anyone have said no to her? I remained silent, looking intently into her eyes. Trying to read her; trying to feel what she was feeling. Sincerity. And… longing. Odd. And once again, I felt a draw to her, not simply because she was beautiful, an important distinction. There was some other connection that I could not pinpoint. It emanated from her. She did not look away from me, which I found to be intriguing again.
“Jamey, I want to give you a small insight into why I came here. The poem, your poem, came to me in a dream. I know you won’t scoff at that, I know because I know you are, in your way, also… special.”
I know my eyes widened, registering shock at her words. She must have seen that she was not getting across the point she was trying to and she rushed onward. “I know only what you have shown me. In my dream, you called me to you, with your poem. And Jamey,” she almost whispered now, “I know you can’t remember.”
Shock. She couldn’t know. I must have had a horrified look on my face. She frowned again.
to be continued...