This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the words “some/sum”, one or both, as they are, as prefixes, or suffixes – whatever.
I used both words (bolded for your reading pleasure), in several ways (but not as suffixes), in this free-written snippet from my current novel-in-progress, Generations: Kifo Island Chronicles #2.
Gladys has been hospitalized, and, while recovering, encounters another patient – Terrance Acosta, who interrupted the wedding reception in last week’s SoCS post, “Like a Fork Screeching on Bone China”. He’s more charming when he’s sober, as it turns out, but still prone to sudden flashes of revelation…
Something to Say
“You were at – at the wedding,” said the tall man with salt-and-pepper hair. “I remember you, sitting there all alone, watching – “ He ducked his head, seeming, suddenly, like a very small boy -like Howard, those few times when he’d actually been sorry for the things he did. “Watching, while I made the biggest ass in the universe of myself.”
“I’m quite certain there have been far bigger asses.” Gladys wheeled the chair closer; he looked like he needed company, and maybe absolution, and she needed a purpose. “And I’ve lived long enough to tell you some stories that would make your moment of assiness feel very tame, by comparison – moments fueled by a lot less, in the way of anguish, than learning that your spouse wanted to be with someone else -”
The man stuck out a hand, weakly. Gladys wasn’t much stronger as she took it, and the man sketched something that would certainly have been a bow, if he were healthy. His hand, though, was strong, and callused in a way that said plainly that those hands had once been integral to his work. “I don’t think we’ve been formally introduced, although I’ve seen you out and about with that little bird of a girl. My name’s Terrance Acosta – Barry Kelmore’s husband, at least on the record.”
“Gladys Marietta -”
“Damn,” the man breathed softly, and it turned into a light cough. “I thought you looked familiar – like someone I’d seen a long time ago. You were the stuff of an embarrassing number of my youthful fantasies, ma’am.” He looked at the hand that still held hers, and then his eyes lifted to her study her face. There was humor there, as irrepressible as life. “Maybe I shouldn’t be touching you with this hand, considering -”
“There’s nothing new under the sun, Mr. Acosta.” She remembered saying the same thing to Barry and Corinne, that first time she’d seen them together. “And you can call me Gladys. My movie star days are long and happily behind me, and it’s been far too long since I’ve danced.”
“Well, that can be arranged, if you’d like. Terrance was a lovely dancer, or so he tells me.” Another man strode into the room, to the other side of Terrance’s chair, and leaned in to kiss him with obvious passion. The hand that had held Glady’s slipped away, reaching up to cradle the face of the newcomer.
When they broke away, Terrance sighed happily, then said, “Sometimes, the most beautiful things can come of the most catastrophic choices. If not for my hedonistic weeks, and that revelation -wait – I just thought of something – I need to speak to the authorities. Right away!”
The outburst brought on another fit of coughing; it seemed to intensify rather than fading out. “Here, sip some water – slowly.”
Gladys watched, and considered. She thought of the man who’d fought his illness and what was clearly a miasma of drugs – the sum total of whatever his ‘hedonistic weeks’ had contained – to make his statement, and his stand, for his marriage. Yes, he’d been wrong, but people sometimes were, and the conviction to do it said that he wasn’t going to give in now, either. He had something to say, and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him from saying it.
“No- time – get them -”
“I’ve already pressed the call button, Mr. Acosta. Please relax, and breathe.”
“Miss Marietta makes good sense. Please, Terrance; don’t exhaust yourself. We have so much left to live together, and so little time left to share it. Have some water – it will help.”
Gladys retreated a little, to the bank of plantings that surrounded the windows, which were screened in, and ran nearly from floor to ceiling, reminding her of the screened-in porch at her own grandmother’s house, where she had often spent her days in play, dancing with her ragdolls- did children even have ragdolls anymore? – reading, and watching old dance movies on television- no, television they didn’t have, anymore, she was sure of that one…she smiled to herself, the mens’ conversation, murmured and soothing, like the sounds of the evening birds, or the morning ones, when she fell asleep out here…she sank into the memories, as though she were only a girl again, and this the sum of her reality…
“All right, sir – if you’re feeling up to it, I’d like to read over a summary of your statement, to be sure that we’ve recorded all the salient points, before we go any further with our investigation.”
“Sure thing, Officer. I’m not going anywhere, and I want the bastard who did this to be caught, before he does it again.”