Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Clare, Part 1

I was reminded tonight of my desperate love of writing of myself in the third person. So... just for fun, here is a clip from my "book"-- if you can call all my spiral bound notebooks that. My protagonist is Clare, and she is, 100%, without a speck of doubt, me. Somehow it felt so beautifully liberating to cast my story upon another, although I will have you know that I did keep Charlotte's name the same as the story marches onward.

Here you will read of the moment when my labor begins, a moment I spoke of several posts ago:

The window was open, and a damp smell was in the night air. Clare’s mind awoke before her eyes, she lay on the smooth, pearl colored sheets for a moment and became aware. She was on her left side, propped up from behind with one, large feather pillow and two throw pillows. In front of her, Clare’s enormous, nine-months pregnant belly lay like it was already another being in itself. It was propped up with a tiny child’s pillow, but its weight pulled at Clare’s ribcage and she needed to turn over. Lifting her top leg, and bracing with both arms, she pushed with sleepy-nighttime strength against the forgiving mattress, and then suddenly she felt it.

A warm rush, more than a trickle, coming from seemingly nowhere, and suddenly on her legs. In an instant Clare’s eyes flew open, her muscles clamped down, and she was on the edge of the bed sitting, bare feet on the floor, back straight, and fully awake. Her mind flashed to the date. 8 days past due. She felt the bed behind her. Dry. Suddenly it occurred to Clare, through her adreneline haze, that it was quite possible that her water had not broken after all. Every day some strange, new, hormone-induced symptom would appear and perhaps what she had felt was just that. She clenched her abdominal muscles and bore down. Another rush of warm liquid. Her heart soared.

She stood up and began to move towards the hall, and it was like a steady, smooth flow of bathwater that soaked her pants and ran down her leg. Across the hall Clare walked, turning on the light to assess her situation and mindfully moving in a whisper so as not to prematurely awaken Charlie. She carefully found a clean pair of pajama pants and underwear in the pile of laundry and tucked them under her arm.

Towards the nursery she crept, catching sight of Charlie in their bed on her way. She felt wickedly delighted at this moment: she alone knew that their baby was coming. Leaning in again to see Charlie’s blankets rise and fall, Clare envisioned her mother, her father, her sisters, so many friends, all doing the same. Sleeping the sleep of waiting, phones positioned at their bedsides, waiting for news. And Clare had the news.

Tiptoeing as best she could with her top-heavy frame, Clare continued into her baby’s bedroom and opened the top drawer. Soft, cotton diapers like clouds, twice laundered already and sweet smelling. She pulled out two, folded them twice lengthwise, and laid them over the maple crib railing. Off came her soggy pajama bottoms, on went the clean, dry clothes, and into her underpants she tucked the diapers. She giggled to herself. Definitely the best system for keeping dry. Her baby would laugh one day to know that her Mama had sampled her diapers before her birth.
Moving back into the bedroom, Clare stole a glance at the clock: 2:49. A quarter of an hour had passed. Charlie was still so blissfully asleep, his face calm, the yellow blanket pulled up over his shoulder.
“Charlie,” Clare said softly. “I think my water broke.”
Charlie bolted up as if he had been electrocuted. “It did?” he blurted, sounding completely awake and lucid. “When? Did you call?” His alert tone of voice was fading as his mind began to balance his current need for wakefulness in the midst of his deep sleep.
“Not yet,” said Clare. “I wasn’t sure for awhile. I’m going down now.” She turned, and stole down the stairs, leaving a bewildered Charlie in their bed. She crossed the kitchen, dimly lit from a night light, and then entered the dark living room. The red light on the telephone guided her, and she picked up the handset.


Hope's Mama said...

Carol (Clare!) my heart burst when reading this. It is eerily beautiful. That's all I can say.

Meg said...

This was great! You have such a flare for writing. I loved reading it as a story. I hope for more.

Shannon said...

I love your writing.