Encounters with the Writing Process
|His own house glared at Aiden. The heat of the summer evening crisped his skin, adding a buzzing inside his head. He took the first step going to the front door, but on second thought, he turned away. He didn’t want to go inside yet. Inside, where Penny had to be hiding her secrets from him.
He looked at the bench a short distance away, half-hidden in the shadows. He took a few tentative steps toward it, then lowered himself on it. The crescent moon’s light mixing with that of the flickering street light at the corner was increasing the pallor of the bench. He touched the seat of it with his hand, feeling its peeling paint. It labeled him, marked him, showed him his status. His status had no luxury of pride, as he might be the man betrayed.
Everything was spinning out of control just like the fly that kept landing on his nose and around his mouth. It had to be attracted to the leftover sweet smell of the ice-cream he had licked sloppily, a few minutes ago, on the way home. Why did sweet things attract flies? Why would his wife generate a pull on a man other than himself?
He felt the fly circling around his head, the sound of its wings artificially loud in the quiet of the night. He waved his hands around his head, but the fly was adamant. Finally, he caught it in his hand and squished, feeling the tiny wetness of its last moment.
This place was his domain, his turf. A fly had no business being there to pester him. In the dim light, he could see the form of the darkened oak, the largest tree on the front yard, where the asphalted driveway began at the sidewalk of the narrow street.
The unmown grass had to be visible from the lawn. He decided to take care of it soon, before his next-door neighbor voiced another complaint. An imaginary scent of freshly mown grass filled his nostrils, and a sudden breeze whispered softly, “Do it!” Then, it stirred the leaves of the trees.
Aiden sighed, his breath puffing out low and warm, soothing the rougher edges of his mood and this black moment. He wet his lips and raised his eyes to the dark haunting form of his two-story house. It seemed to shake lightly like his stern aunt’s forefinger, accusing him of others’ crimes. But this was his house, with the smaller oaks around it, their wayward branches caressing its roof. He could see it fully, even with eyes closed, in all its different shades inspired by the time of the day and the quirks and habits of the seasons.
He could also see the entire area in his mind’s eye, with roads surrounding the house, then in their surreptitious manner, leading to the Long Island Expressway. When he thought about it, the rest of the place, all the distance to the South Shore and Manhattan, was difficult to visualize in detail, although, when he drove on the roads, he knew them as if they were etched in his brain and he never got lost. Still he could not imagine them like this garden in the night, the terrain of it where he knew every inch. He could praise it to the sky or leave it unattended. Wasn't it his choice?
Suddenly, a flash of light caught his eye. The light from the kitchen window. It had to be midnight by now and Penny had to have come down for a drink of water, or better yet, to check if he had returned. Then, he heard the kitchen door creak open.
“Aiden? What are you doing sitting in the garden in the middle of the night? It is hot out. Come inside.”
Yes, they had central air installed before moving in. His skin would probably feel better inside, especially after a shower.
“Coming!” Aiden said, adjusting his voice to a louder, happier pitch. Penny should never guess what worried him and what he was up to.
Oct. 03, 2020-- CONTEST ROUND: Setting Background Story
All the other non-contest assignments are in "2020 NaNo Prep"