After a long day of getting up, blogging, packing, and driving, I’m finally back at Casa Burg, aka my Harrisburg home away from home. Unlike when I left The Burg a week before, I kept caffeinated where necessary, and alternated between working out scenes with my characters, and playing music real loud.
One of those magic moments I had on the return home was watching the sky turn a deep blue before setting into black not long after passing through the Allegheny Tunnel. I was playing REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi at a comfortable but you-can-feel-the-music volume, and there were certain songs that simply hit me a certain way. I’d had that happen a couple of times on these trips to and from The Burg to The Vall, but they usually hit me hardest when I’m zipping along a twisting turnpike at seventy miles per hour, or one hundred and twelve kilometers per hour, which makes it sounds like I’m on a road course.
The coming of the night brought out some unusual feelings for me. Feelings for others, feelings about my work, feelings about others close to me. There was a lot of crazy shit bouncing about in my head for most of the trip, but during that three hour run through the mountains and the tunnels, I think I was as close to epiphany-grade thinking as I’ve ever gotten.
One of the scenes I played with on the way back is something that happens in this novel, right near the end as one of the last scenes in the book. In fact, I can say with certainty it’s not the penultimate scene, but the one before that, whatever “Two Scenes Before the Last” is called. (I looked it up, of course, and that is called the antepenultimate or propenultimate scene. You can thank me anytime.) It’s when Annie and Kerry return to Amsterdam after leaving school, and being reunited with . . . in Annie’s case her mother picks her up, and in Kerry’s Ms. Rutherford comes to collect him. One has family, one doesn’t. One can talk about being a witch all they like to their witch of a mother–and I mean that in a good witch way–and one can’t say a word about what really happened the past year at the strange, hidden school in the middle of Cape Ann.
Kerry gets introduced to Mama, there is pleasant small talk, and then it’s time for the Annie Family to hit the road. Annie and Kerry say their finally goodbyes for the year in front of the adults, and then handle the emotional impact in their own way . . .
Annie internalizes most everything except with the right people. Mama is not the “right people,” and the last thing she’d ever talk about with her is how walking away from Kerry is making her feel. It’s been a strange, hard, first year, and leaving her Ginger-haired Boy behind is tearing her up inside. She won’t show it, though. She’ll get home, great her father, have dinner, and go to her lake house where she’ll sadly reflect her loss.
Kerry’s not like that. Before coming to school he’d kept his emotions shut down, and only on certain occasions for a certain someone would he actually reveal what he felt. But not anymore. In the last few days of school he’s discovered that love and pain go hand-in-hand, and watching the person you’ve been attached to for more than nine months walk off complete in the knowledge that when you wake up tomorrow morning she won’t be there to greet you, to share meals with you, to walk hand-in-hand with you–
He loses it in the airport. Major crying jag, has to hold on to Ms. Rutherford because he needs that human touch, and she helps calm him, gives him words of encouragement, and helps clean him up because she doesn’t want his parents to see him that way, distraught over having to “spend the summer without his special love.”
And what happens after that?
You know, one day I will get around to writing those last two scenes . . .