Susan's Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Tale of Three Brothers

I began writing this novel as a little distraction. It is based heavily in reality. (My version of reality.) I would love feedback.

A Tale of Three Brothers

“Hew, hew,” Nick said, and opened and shut his hand a few times in perfect rhythmic emphasis. He walked back and forth from the livingroom to the hallway, creak-creak, creak-creak, the spots where the floor was softer and gave way just so under his feet. The crash overhead cut short this pleasant sensation and he did not look at the source of the noise, which he knew was his little brother Dan.

“Out of my way, Nick,” shouted Dan, bumping Nick roughly in the hip as he sailed by. Vibrations coursed through Nick’s body, making him see black for a split second, and then all the familiar shapes re-formed. He knew what they all were: Dan, hall table, overhead light, doorways, but only as shapes. He found that right now he could not remember their names.

Mommy walked into view and Nick tried to run the other way, even though it would throw off his walking pattern. Mommy always asked him things and her face was too full of her eyes. This made Nick’s insides hurt.

The thing about Mommy, though, is that Nick loved the way she felt and smelled. So much that he could put up with the way she suddenly touched him, hugged him, kissed him . His skin would explode with the sensation of her hand on his arm, her body thrown against his, patting his back and blotting out all thought the way Dan’s bump had. But a second later there would be the softness, and Nick loved softness. His favorite word was “Ssh.”

But Mommy’s face was full of lines right now, he saw as he turned away, and she would not be hugging him. She would be talking, which Nick hated. “Nicksweetieareyouready?”

Nick did not know what she had said. He hoped she would repeat it. That was another good thing about Mommy; she was always willing to repeat what she had said. “Areyoureadydarling?”

Ready. He heard it this time! “Yes.” He said. “Yes” worked very often, for just about any question. When it didn’t work, Nick would choke and try to push his way out of the gray wall that closed in on him when he did not understand.

But he was ready. Ready meant shoes on, coat zipped all the way up. Mommy said, “Good boy,” and bent to tie his shoes. He studied her soft, snarly hair. His fingers itched to grab a handful but he knew that was bad. When he was little, Mommy used to let him wrap her curls around his fingers, pulling them this way and that. Nick wondered how that could happen again.

“Man, “ said Dan. “Getting yer shoes tied, when yer a teenager!”

“Dan,” said Mommy impatiently. “He is learning. It takes him longer, that’s all.”

“At least he’s ready,” said Henry, looking at Dan’s bare feet.

Nick stole a glance at his brother Henry, which was almost always okay to do, because Henry rarely looked right at him. Unlike Mommy’s liney face, Henry’s face was smooth and soft, and his eyes Nick’s favorite color: ocean blue. Henry’s face was easy for him, like a glass of milk, or that lamb that they saw at a farm last spring. Nick always wanted to touch Henry’s face because he knew how it would be, how the skin would give way under his fingers, but he knew that this was another thing that he could not do because someone might yell. Nick hated yelling most of all. Dan yelled a lot, and at him, too. Dan was like the shiny piece of broken glass that Nick had found at the beach in the summer. Dan was good to look at, because he was small and perfectly shaped. But Nick could not look at him for long because this made Dan yell. So Dan was sharp, too, and hurt him.

Nick had almost stepped on that glass at the beach last summer but Henry had seen it and yelled a warning. “Nick, stop!” Henry’s yell was not too loud, and just the right words, so they were able to break through the black that usually happened from yelling, and Nick heard him in time. Then Nick noticed the glass right next to his foot. Henry bent down and picked it up.

Henry was nearly the same height as Nick and people often thought he was the older one. Certainly he was treated like the older one. He brushed his long blond hair back from his eyes and examined the sea glass. It was amber brown, like a root beer lollipop, and almost all smooth except for one broken corner. “Almost perfect,” he said, although he knew that Nick would probably not understand.

“Look, Nick,” Henry said slowly, holding it out.

Nick looked at him, and then at the glinting piece of glass in his brother’s hand.

“It is sea glass,” Henry explained.

Sea Glass, Nick thought. Ssseeee—glasssss, he thought. “Heee, Shh,” he said, imitating the rhythm and enjoying the color of the new words, Sea Glass, which were blue and green, and looking at the glass. He would like to lick it. Did it taste the way it looked? Nick felt very happy, with the blue and green words, and Henry’s quiet face and voice so close to him.

“Do you want to touch it?” Henry offered.

Nick reached out a finger.

“Just don’t touch this part,” Henry warned. “Sharp.”

Nick stroked the glass, carefully avoiding the part Henry held onto.

“You want it?” Henry offered.

Nick said, “No want it.”

Henry shrugged, and pocketed the glass. They continued their walk, with Nick five feet ahead, as always.

“Boys! Come on,” Mommy yelled. Henry pulled on his high tops. The lace was broken, he needed a new one, had needed it for days, but kept forgetting to tell someone. He knotted it a few slots down from the top. That worked. He sighed. He heard the door slam shut below, in the basement. Nick was already outside. Dan, he would bet, was still looking for his shoes. Sure he was, because there they were, under his desk.

“Dan, they’re in here,” he called.

“Come on!” Mommy bellowed from below. She had to get to outside, because Nick was out there alone, and of course, he could not be left alone for long.


What happens next ???

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, November 20, 2005 at 11:05 am

you got me too…i want to hear more.

— added by Anonymous on Sunday, November 20, 2005 at 11:58 am

More coming soon! -SS

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, November 20, 2005 at 1:53 pm

This is a wonderful blog, I am so happy I found it today! I can’t wait to read more!

— added by Tina on Monday, November 21, 2005 at 1:32 am

As much as I enjoyed your non-fiction writing, you paint such lovely pictures with words, that I’m eager to see what you do the blanker canvas of fiction. Please keep it going…

— added by Pete Lyons on Monday, November 21, 2005 at 1:08 pm

Very, very nice. The only thing that’s a little bit off is Dan’s dialogue. He’s almost speaking in dialect and the reader has to keep translating “yer” as “you’re” and so on. It’s too much work and it breaks the smooth flow of the language and makes deciphering it a chore. I know Dan’s supposed to be a bit of an unsympathetic oaf but his actions make that clear.
This is great and I look forward to reading more. I love the view it gives the reader into Nick’s thoughts.

— added by Sara on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Thank you. Actually Dan’s speech is lifted almost verbatim from a loved one of mine. I’m sorry he comes off like an oaf. I hope that the novel is published, but that is a difficult thing to achieve. Still, my agent is optimistic!

— added by Susan Senator on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm