“So when do you think you’ll publish a book?” he asks. There’s nothing condescending hiding within his voice, but his weasel smile still angers me. There are times when I want to trust him, but this isn’t one of them. The knowledge of what he’s capable isn’t lost on me. I know better than to share my secrets with this tiny man.
“I don’t know,” I say. Yeah, I do. There were plans in the past where being a published a writer was the end game. I imagined penning the novel that would move people. That would grab men by the balls and women by the heartstrings. That would make the readers uncomfortable with themselves. Make them question what gets them hard. What gets them off.
These days, those plans are behind me. I write when I can. The need has dried up. And I’m ok with that. There are time when I think about getting started again. Let my boredom create worlds and people. Let my fingers clatter away at the keys. Hear the orchestra of pen to paper as my scrawl fills journals. Wake up to the sound of a character’s voice.
Every project I started these days has ended up the same. Unfinished. Forgotten. Left in the note-taking stage. And it’s not something I want to tell this man, because as I recalled the only reason why they hired me in the first place was because I possessed a certain skill of molding words into images. Images that captivated people. That drew others to me.
“I haven’t written enough,” I tell him.
At home, I busy myself with television. I vowed to read a hundred books this year, and only managed twenty-two so far. I spend as much time with Shaun as possible. And by that, I mean we’re both on our respective devices while the hours figuring out puzzles. That is until I realize that the best days are burning quickly. Then we tend the garden. We run. We play hide-and-seek, and each time my heart catches in my throat when I can’t find him. And when he seeks up behind me to catch me, I feel relief.
The dreams returned after a few year hiatus. In them, we’re happy. They started off as memories. False memories. Memories from another dimension where we didn’t split at the seam. And they become heavier. I feel her lips on mine. Her touch upon my skin. The heat of her breath on my neck. I shudder awake. I stare at the darkness of my bedroom. I listen to the whirl of the fan, of the a/c. I have never felt more alone than I do after one of those dreams.
And just like that, the voices come to me. Almost in unison.
“Hey,” they say. “We’re not finished with you just yet.”