This is the opening scene from the novel I began writing in November for NaNoWriMo. I finished the month of November with upwards of 70,000 words and have since added another 30,000. I am almost finished the first draft! Pretty excited about that fact. Enjoy!
BEEEEEEEEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEP. The alarm startled Miranda awake. The gloomy light filtering through the space in the curtains barely lit the bedroom. She groped for the alarm to turn off the incessant beeping. Finally she found the button and pressed it before collapsing back against the haphazard array of soft pillows. Once her eyes had adjusted to the dim light, be blinked sleepily at the alarm clock display. 6:55am. She puzzled briefly over why she had set it for so early; why she had set it at all. Then she remembered: she had to get out of this funk. She was going to get up, pound a protein shake, and hit the gym. Exorcise some of her demons with actual exercise. Clean the house after. Maybe meet up with Amy for lunch. God, how long had it been since she’d seen her best friend? Grabbing a pillow and plunking it over her face, she tried to clear her head. Weeks? A month? When did the bomb go off on her life? It was all shades of gray. A blur. She laid there in the darkness provided by the pillow and tried to get the motivation to move; to swing her legs over the edge of the bed and get up. Get up and do all of those things she had vowed to do this morning. But no motivation was coming. All she had was the crushing weight of heartbreak, and a shattered life.
She felt her cat Desmond jump up on the bed before he meowed and head-butted the pillow over her face. Standing on her chest, he continued to meow. Loudly. Until she absolutely had to start petting him. She moved the pillow and stroked his soft cheeks while he purred. Maybe the reason it was so hard to get up is that the list of things to do she had created was just too much. Maybe she should scale it back. Step one: Get out of bed. Get some coffee, maybe have a shower. See, those were attainable goals.
Brushing her cat aside Miranda rolled out of bed and stood on the plush grey carpet. She padded over to the bathroom and grabbed her bathrobe, stretching before putting it on. The house was silent as she walked out of her bedroom and into the hallway. The hardwood floor was cold on her bare feet, as it always was. Her mind drifted through the fog and started grabbing memories. She pressed the heels of her palms against her eyes trying to stop the automatic flow of memories; of all the times he had teased her about always having cold feet. All of the times he had playfully mocked her for shunning slippers. Every pair of slippers he had ever bought her. The way he would hold her small, cold feet in his palms until they were warm. She crumpled to the floor of the hallway, tears rushing down her cheeks.
She had lost track of how long she had been sitting there by the time Desmond joined her again, rubbing against her legs. Using the tail of the belt on her robe to scrub the wet tear tracks that had formed on her cheeks away, she stood up. Enough, she mentally told herself as she moved into the kitchen. She fought back the memory vomit as she looked around the room where they had spent so much time. The table was filthy, piled with dishes and books. Newspapers, recycling. The counters were equally dirty. No trace remained of the spotless kitchen she had kept their entire marriage. She had to move stacks of dishes to get to the coffee pot, but soon it was doing its job, brewing that rich, nutty, life-giving elixir that she was completely addicted to. She grabbed the only mug left in the cupboard and poured a cup, taking it with her out of the kitchen and into the den. She sat down with a sigh at her desk, turning on her computer and shoving a pile of papers and post-it notes aside.
Clicking through the various news and pop culture links in her bookmarks tab, and brushing over her social media sites while she sipped her coffee quieted her brain. This little slice of regularity and routine gave her a step back from the madness that her life had been lately. After she was done with her fifteen minutes of browsing online shopping websites, she finally settled in to take her email to task. She answered a few emails that were work-related, though she had taken no new clients in the past few weeks and her agent knew she was incommunicado for the foreseeable future. She skipped over a few emails from friends she knew were ‘just checking in’. She deleted all the junk and advertising until her inbox was clear except for e-mails from friends and family. She drafted quick ‘thank you’ messages and promises to get in touch soon to her friends who lived nearby. She thanked her aunt for checking in and promised to plan a visit back home soon to visit. Finally all that was left was an email from her beloved cousin Ashton. It read:
Hey honey, I know you are going through a lot of stuff right now but I’ve called a bajillion and one times and I am super worried about you. Please please please call me. I really think you should come visit. You need to get out of that house and out of that city. Hell, you need to get out of that country! Come here, drink wine, lounge by the pool. It will help. Call me! Doooooo it. DO IT.
A gentle smile tugged at the corners of Miranda’s mouth as she read the email. Ashton and her had been really close growing up. They were only a couple years apart in age and the only two girls on that side of the family. Though Ashton had gotten married and moved to California several years ago, they always made a point of visiting, taking vacations together, and talking as often as sisters. Ashton had been there for her through all of the hard times in her life before, like when her mother had died a few years ago. “A trip away would be nice..” she murmured to herself as she stood from the desk and walked to the kitchen. Her mind began thinking through the logistics of at rip to see her cousin as she moved on auto-pilot, gathering the dishes and loading them into the dishwasher, rinsing the coffee pot, and carting the empty wine bottles to the garage. By the time she had finished tidying the kitchen table and taking out the recycling, she had made her decision. Grabbing her cell phone from the counter where it had been charging, she spoke clearly, “Call Ashton”. She waited a few moments while the call connected until she heard a squeal,
“You did it! You called! And Greg said you wouldn’t listen to me.” Miranda smiled as Ashton giggled away.
“Yeah well, you win this round, I guess.” she murmured in reply.
“So you’re coming then? When is your flight?” The excitement in Ashton’s voice was contagious.
“I haven’t booked it yet but I will today. Definitely ASAP. I just need to get stuff in order and find someone to watch the cat, then I’m out of here. If I can get a seat, I’ll fly out tomorrow.” They chatted for a few more minutes before Miranda hung up to go have a shower.
The rest of her day flew by as she focused entirely on getting the rest of the house in order, lining up a friend to feed Desmond and gather her mail, and doing a ton of laundry. She managed to snag a seat on a flight leaving at 9am the following morning so she got everything washed and packed into her weathered purple suitcase before climbing into bed completely exhausted at 9pm. She closed her eyes and absent-mindedly petted Desmond, feeling more content that she had in weeks. Ashton was right, she needed to get out of this house. And tomorrow, she would.