This is a practice piece I did for Holly Lisle’s ‘Finding Your Voice’ class. These are ten minute timed exercises with very specific prompts.
I step onto the rolling walkway, and my heart catches in my throat. I’m not ready to see her again. I’m not ready for her to see me again.
“Hello,” she says with wide eyes and prying mind. Already, I can feel her peeling back the layers of my defenses. I don’t want to let her know, I can’t let her know–
I blank my mind and focus instead on the tang of motor oil hanging in the air, sweet gasoline, and cars in the near distance. Maybe around the corner of the building, beyond the fence.
Her nose crinkles, as though she has only just noticed the same. “Ellen,” she says. “I thought you were lost for good.”
Lost, no, but– was that a butterfly or a bit of drifting newspaper? Any distraction. “I’ll always come back to you,” I hear myself saying.
Of course I would, but– sunbeams, wan and pale through the overcast sky, and the bite of winter is in the wind. I should have brought my good coat, not this fancy shawl.
She shivers, wrapping her arms around herself, and the first hint of a frown mars her brow. Will she admit to reading me or will she pretend my thoughts don’t affect her?
My thoughts aren’t my own, not since the spring when– my boats are too tight. They pinch my toes and rub on the inside of my ankle.
“Ellen, stop it!” she cries.