Elizabeth and Sandy communicate

Fall 2014 has been a busy time. I've been teaching a writing class at Seminole State College and am enjoying the chance to work with students as they improve their writing skills. My novel has been set back a bit as I've had to modify my 1000-2000 words per day schedule, but I'm getting back into my writing groove as Elizabeth, my heroine, contemplates the changes and decisions coming up as 1994 draws to a close.

The scene below takes place just after she's been surprised with two very attractive, life-changing offers.

"With my mind in a cloud, I cross to my favorite café and order soup and a croissant. My two coffees this morning have supplied all the caffeine I want for one day, so I order a Mattoni, my favorite mineral water from Karlovy Vary. I tuck into my meal with gusto—so many accolades have given me an appetite. As I eat, I allow these new ideas to swirl inside my head. Later I’ll make lists and charts of possibilities, applying my analytic brain to making my decision: Option I, Option II, or neither.

As I sit in an agreeable near-swoon of thought, I become aware of a person standing next to me. I try to ignore this intruder, as I really want to draw out my pleasure in this afternoon’s offers. Then the person clears his/her throat. I look up; it’s Sandy, from the band.

I barely know Sandy. He’s remote and inward, a kind of dreamy guy, not exactly unfriendly but not full of bonhomie, either. When he’s onstage, he is intense and focused, concentrating a fierce energy into his drum-playing. I know he is from Scotland, but that’s all I know about him. I've never seen him with a woman, or a man, for that matter. He shows up, does his music thing, has a beer or two, then disappears into the night.

Now he’s standing next to me. I am staring up at him, with my mouth hanging slightly open. I pull myself back to this time and place, and smile at him. “Sandy! How are you?”

He continues to stand and stare, so I ask him to sit down. The table is small, with just two chairs, so I move my book bag off the extra chair. He sits. So far, he hasn't said a word. I am beginning to feel unnerved, so I start to chatter, hoping to fill the social silence that makes me, an American female raised in the South, quite uncomfortable. Apparently Scottish men, raised in the chilly and severe North, can handle silence, for Sandy remains mute.

As I begin to lose conversational steam, he shifts in his chair, which I take to be a signal that he’s ready to speak. About time—after all, he initiated this encounter. And by the way, where did he come from? The café was empty of customers when I came in. I stop talking and let the quiet descend.

He gives me a measuring look. “Elizabeth, I’m here to tell you something. I’m wondering, is it a good thing to get into it all, or if I’ll just better keep my mouth shut. But when I’m seeing you now, I’m thinking, this is the right time.” He says all this with a heavy Scots accent, substituting “summat” for “something” and “me” for “my” and so forth. I can understand him, but his speech is so quaint and winning that I have trouble keeping a smile off my face. His face is deadly serious, though, and I don’t want him to think I am mocking him. I look back with equal gravity."


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