It’s rare that I go through an emotional roller coaster like I did last night, but it still happens. Probably because I’m due for my shot tonight, and when I get to that point it’s hard to keep from getting emotional. Throw into that mix a collection of songs that are going to have meaning in the upcoming stories, and I was ripe for the waterworks.
This all falls along the backdrop of everyone going home for the summer. The school is shutting down, the last classes were the day before, and some of the students returning to Asia and Oceania departed from Boston some nine to ten hours earlier. The novel is currently skirting three hundred and twenty thousand words, and it was only about three hundred thousand ago that my kids were meeting in a hotel in Berlin, unaware that they were going to meet up with a couple of girls who were going help them establish ties that would remain throughout the school year.
So much has gone down–
How did I ever manage to get this far?
Pretty much by sitting down and writing nearly every night, that’s how. And in a few more weeks you can take a rest. Until then–the goodbyes begin:
This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
The moment his computer shut down Kerry lifted it from its stand and slipped it into his backpack next to the portable keyboard and mouse. He turned his attention to his room while zip his pack closed, giving the place he’d spent most of the last nine months a final view.
His uniforms and shoes were inside his wardrobe, along with the few toiletries that he’d need when he return at the end of August. His bed was neatly made with the pillows set atop the comforter. The two framed works of art—the works that Annie gave him after each of the last two Ostaras—still hung upon the wall, but were marked with a note indication they were to be moved with the other things that were headed for the room where he’d spend his C Levels next school year.
He felt tears welling in his eyes as he looked about the room. I learned so much about myself this year—and about Annie as well. In a way he couldn’t believe he’d never set foot in this room again, but as always he’d wander back through his memories and remember the parting words of The Phoenix as he left his E and A: It’s okay to remember the past, but you can’t keep dwelling upon those moments. You have to keep writing new chapters.
Right there, those last lines from The Phoenix . . . I knew I was going to use them the moment I started writing this scene, because the one think Kerry has learned by coming to Salem is that his life is a story, and that’s something that resonates with him because, whether he’s aware of it of not, the summer of year before he started his A Levels, during a time when he knew the dreams he had of a certain Chestnut Girl were more than just dreams, and that there was something incredibly special about her, he heard one particular line in one particular TV show:
“Well, you’ll remember me a little. I’ll be a story in your head. But that’s OK: we’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” Doctor Who, The Big Bang.
Maybe subconsciously, like Kerry, I thought about that above line when I wrote it, but I can assure you there wasn’t a conscious connection when Kerry’s E and A was written in November, 2013. It’s really one that I believe defines him these days, because it seems like he, as well as Annie, are constantly opening new chapters to their lives every day.
The thing is, when I brought brought up A For Advanced so I could copy and paste The Phoenix’s words, I started reading that part, the end of Kerry’s E and A, and I started crying like crazy. I can’t say why, but I totally lost it. I eventually resumed writing, but I needed about twenty minutes for the feeling to pass. It was hard, trust me. And I’m still surprised that going back into something I wrote three years ago can affect me so–
How is it I get this way reading my own stuff?
It’s a good think Kerry isn’t alone on the second floor, or he might be in his room crying for a while . . .
He allowed himself about fifteen seconds for a good cry before retrieving one of the towels in the hamper so he could wipe his face. “You were good to me—” He smiled as he looked about the room. “Be good to the next guy, ‘kay?”
There was a knock at the door. He finished wiping his face and tossed the towel back in the hamper before half turning to answer. “Come in.”
The door opened and Jario filled the entrance. “You about done?” He nodded to his left. “’Cause there’s someone out here who’s eager to see you.”
Kerry chuckled. “Can’t imagine who.” He hooked his backpack over his right shoulder. “Let’s not keep the girls waiting.”
Annie, Penny, and Alex were standing in the open area near the stairs talking. There were dressed the most relaxed either Kerry or Jario had seen them since the start of school. Alex wore a blue v-neck tee shirt and black capri leggings with sandals; Penny wore a yellow tank top and gray shorts with blue plimsolls; and Annie wore a light green floral print blouse with a black skater skirt and her favorite pair of brown gladiator sandals. Given that in the last week the temperatures had finally become seasonal—it was twenty-nine Celsius outside at nine hours, and was expected to top thirty-three C by late afternoon—the girls were dress for relaxed comfort.
All three looked in the boys direction as they entered the open space. “About time you show up, Kerry.” Penny laid her hand upon Annie’s shoulder. “Someone was about to see if they could break into your room and get you.”
“And she would have, too.” Kerry wrapped an arm around Annie’s shoulder and gave her a kiss. “Sorry. I just had to say goodbye.”
“I completely understand.” Annie kissed him back. “I hope it was a good farewell.”
“So was mine.”
“Um, hum.” Kahoku entered the second floor from the stair landing. He was attired just as comfortably as everyone else, wearing a white tee shirt, brown slacks, and black flip flops. “Don’t you guys ever get tired of these PDAs?”
Kerry exchanged a glance with Annie before answering. “Never.”
“Didn’t think so.” He moved in behind Alex. “Just so you know, you’re making it so the girls want more affection in public—”
“And there’s a problem with that?” Alex spun around in his arm. “Better watch out, or you might find there being fewer good night kisses next year.”
Kahoku looked sufficiently chagrined. “Consider it watched.”
The Return of the Dreaded Public Display of Affection! And, it seems, some of the kids haven’t gotten used to them yet. This is also the first time we’re seeing the boys in this little group of friends feeling the heat to also go PDA with their BGE, and Alex seems to be down in the “I want MORE” column for those affections, and has put her boyfriend on notice. Hum . . . must be an Eastern European Girl thing.
Looks like everyone’s about to go their separate ways–but not before a short discussion . . .