Sunday, August 5, 2012

Walking with Elephants, a novel for women

Here is an excerpt from my novel, Walking with Elephants, a light-hearted tale about the serious work and family issues women face today. A reviewer felt the tone was like Bridget Jones meets Erma Bombeck.


I have always believed life is a mysterious journey through chaos. And so far, for me, chaos has brought forth nothing extraordinary. I haven’t been thrust into fabulous wealth by marrying someone who became a serendipitous millionaire. I haven’t blossomed into a beauty of the ages. No, I am just the result of nature’s accidents and my own silly choices. Working together, these forces have brought me to dwell among the mundane, and I accept it... for now. My unremarkable existence, however, is also noble. For I have come to understand that the big questions such as, What is my purpose in life? and Why am I here? converge with the little questions like, Where is my other shoe? and When will pot roast go on sale? Big questions, little questions, big thoughts, little thoughts, even famous people have them. So we’re not so different.
Except for the limos.
Although I live an ordinary life, I’ve deluded myself into believing that I’m capable of greatness. But not right now. Right now, distractions, reactions, predilections, and trying to catch five more minutes of sleep rule my world. In fact, although cocooned in sleep, I can hear the alarm buzzer sounding and automatically, my trained finger hits “Snooze.” Stealing those extra minutes to snuggle under the covers and pretend I really don’t have to get up is nourishment for my soul. Today, however, it seems that before I get my spirit-lifting five, a sonic boom explodes in my ears.
“Sooooooz, oh, Suze, Saooooooz, time to get up, hon. Hey, sleepy head!”
It never fails, just when a titillating and erotic dream is about to take shape, just when I’m about to feel the beating of a taut chest pressing against mine—fantasy interruptus and I am yanked into consciousness. That intrusion on my I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter fantasy and assault on my auditory nerves would be from my husband, Bob. Every day he jumps out of bed on some adrenaline rush, but I require a gentler, quieter approach that has escaped his observation, lo these many years. As if bellowing weren’t enough, now he’s shaking my arm. Erotica quickly transforms into a ride down the rapids.
The sleep-drenched mind is a curious phenomenon. That’s it. I’m done. Finis. I’m up. Who wants to ride the rapids at this hour? I open my eyes and…whoa! My startled, but still paralyzed, self sees Bob’s face eyeball to eyeball with mine. When he’s satisfied that I’m awake, he stands back up and I can see he’s nearly dressed in one of his two dress-for-less suits. His professorial uniform of jeans and corduroy blazer with leather arm patches is de rigueur on campus. Something must be special about today, hmmm…can’t remember.
“I have a special meeting this morning with my book publisher, I told you, remember?” he says answering my unvoiced question.
My groggy, slow-witted brain tries to comprehend what he’s saying. But numbed by his chatter, I stare at him empty-headed while he puts on his tie. It feels late. I look at the clock. Yup. I’m screwed.
“You really overslept today, Suze. I thought you’d have gotten up when I jumped in the shower. Hey…lazy, you’re still not moving. Aren’t you getting up? Look, hey, open… don’t close your eyes again…is this tie alright?” I nod, “yes.” “And hon, would you mind taking my blue slacks to the cleaners? I’m kinda in a rush now.” I nod, “yes.” “One more thing, can you make a haircut appointment for me? Make it with Donny…for tomorrow…and oh, we’re out of Scotch. So, please don’t forget to pick up a bottle on your way home. Okay?”
I keep nodding like I’m listening. He kisses the air and mumbles something like, “Love ya,” but I know it’s probably, “See ya,” and he dashes out.
Lumbering out of bed, I make my way to the bathroom sink and look in the mirror. I’ve got to wake myself out of this groggy stupor, and looking in the mirror first thing out of bed usually shocks me wide-eyed.
It works.
I’m shocked.
And fully awake now.
It didn’t always work. Why just a few, maybe a mere twenty years ago, my fresh from sleep sag-free face took on a pink glow, my used-to-be-thick hair stayed neat and silky, and my bifocal-free eyes sparkled. But now, well, the get-going-in-the-morning mirror trick works. As I keep blinking at the mirror to get my reflection into focus, four gray hairs pop into view. Those suckers are coming out right now.

1 comment:

Debby said...

Great! I love Erma Bomback. I bet i Would love this one as well
debby236 at gmail dot com