Trapped between the past and the future, a writer experiences a life-changing perspective
|Stephanie was fuming, her thin nose, appearing somewhat deformed as she snorted in pure disgust, somehow taking on the persona of a wild raging bull. She’d planned her much needed 'get away' over 4-months ago. It had taken what seemed like an eternity to persuade her younger and somewhat selfish sister to drop everything, agreeing to forgo a weekend of clubbing in exchange for enjoying the rambunctious company of two over-exuberant 6-year-old twin boys. Of course, it would cost Stephanie big time, and she knew her sister would brag about ‘remember the time when you desperately needed my help to blah blah blah’ for years to come. Stephanie had grown used to having a sister who was not quite narcissistic, however, if she took any more right turns towards selfish town, she definitely end up there. However, given the circumstances, Stephanie was grateful to her sister and was committed to making the most of her alone time. She needed it.
Stephanie was desperate to put the finishing touches to her all-consuming manuscript. A manuscript, which had tormented her for more than 9 years. She’d literally poured her heart and soul into her story; the characters had become part of her waking world. She knew she needed to exorcise them from her thoughts, and in her sleep-deprived rationale, this meant finishing the story. It meant finally believing in herself, stepping outside her comfort zone and submitting her manuscript to publishing houses. What did she have to lose? Apart from having her hopes and dreams dashed, and the fruits of her labours dismissed. She shook those ideas from her thoughts, instead trying to muster up feelings of self-worth and self-belief. She realised the bird only truly knows it can fly, the moment it learns to trust itself and the universe. Just like the bird she needed to let go of the branch. She needed to trust herself, her ability and her passion for writing. Her dream was to stop working as a mental health clinician and focus on her writing, and her feisty but fabulous twin boys. The truth was she had been feeling some compassion burnout, and wanted to reevaluate her life and her goals.
She’d been deep in editing mode, doing her best to find every typo, misspelt word, and anything that was jarring when she was startled by a loud crashing sound from the room next door. When she booked the hotel online, she wasn’t aware that the walls were paper thin. She wasn’t aware that she could hear every discernable sound within a kilometre. She wasn’t aware that she was going to be neighbours with a couple so passionate that it would make a biker blush. She heard everything, even the sound of zips and torn velcro. When in all actuality all she wanted to hear was the sounds of her own thoughts and furious flurries of fingertips against the keyboard. She didn’t want to hear the pent-up passion and its steamy release in the adjacent room. The only steam she was after, was that of a steaming hot cup of coffee. She couldn’t focus on her writing; she couldn’t focus on her coffee. All she could hear were the nature defying sounds of lovers next door. Searching furiously, her hands found her life-saving noise-cancelling headphones. Or so she thought, even they were no match for the herculean effort happening next door. Not only could she still hear, but the wall was rhythmically vibrating. Making the desk lamps sway. She thought to herself ‘oh god, what am I going to do? This is just ridiculous”. She grabbed the TV remote and flicked on the channels, not really caring which one she landed on. Turning the volume up, she wished she could simply disappear.
Her thoughts drifted to the lovers next door, as a writer she tried to conjure up stories that would lead to such passionate energy. Were they lovers rendezvousing while their partners were away? Where they long lost lovers, high school sweethearts trying to rekindle the smouldering embers of love? Were they strangers that had just met, as if stars colliding, in earth-shattering- getting to know you- exploration? She imagined who they were, and what they looked like. She braved the steamy conditions, removed her headphones and lowered the volume of the TV. She was amazed to still hear the rhythmic sounds emanating from the thinly veiled walls. She couldn’t believe it, she tried to remember a time in her life when she had been swept up with such passion, but she couldn’t. This actually made her sad, she realised that she had longed for romance and passion, especially since her husband died in a boating accident 4-years ago. She knew she had loved him, and they had enjoyed a loving and passionate life, but nothing compared to the lovers next door. She frowned in sadness, realising that since losing her husband she’d been so completely lost in working, raising the boys, and writing that she’d lost herself. She was still so young and had so much to experience in life. She wanted more.
She was no longer frustrated with the lovers next door, instead, she was grateful that they had somehow shown her what was missing in her life. With a renewed sense of passion and focus, she put on her headphones, turned on her favourite music and poured herself into her writing. This time as she rewrote, she did so with a new perspective, a new understanding of her world, of the worlds of her characters. She had somehow found her way again and promised herself that she would aim for a better life balance, trying to factor in a little romance from time to time. But for now, all that she really wanted, was to write and finish her story. This meant that she could let go of the past, and focus on the future, a new future, a new story and hopefully new characters, not only in fiction but also in real life.