As always, I am going to begin this entry by clearing things up, because my overarching paranoia and fear of ambiguity among my five readers is very much prevalent right now.
Yes, I have written four novels: one last month, one last year, and two throughout my childhood. The latter two may not count to you, and believe me, they once did not to me, but as time has passed and I have been truly exposed to the turmoil that is completing a multi-paged volume, I now consider them tantamount to my other works.
That’s all! Can you believe I managed to compartmentalize my disclaimer into a single paragraph? Hardly can I! Anyways, onto this snippet of As A Stranger, unedited!
When she was eight years old, Ella went on her first true vacation. Her dad was stinting in public relations, and had to take a trip to Seattle for a conference. He was able to get his employer to expand the free airfare and hotel to his family, as well as the number of days they could stay.
Flight was a whole new realm. All she knew was the planes that flew over the house and the touristy hot air balloons she had never once ridden in.
The takeoff should have been the worst part. All around her, people were taking pills, breathing deeply, grasping their armrests. Haley’s hand was intertwined with her mother’s.
But when the plane sped up, an adrenaline unlike any other filled her body. Faster, faster, faster her heart beat until they were in the air.
The world below her had shrunk as small as one of her toy sets. She was the overlord; she was powerful.
That alone was enough to relax her. Never mind the calm whirring of the plane, the occasional, somewhat melodic dings, the free drinks.
Her first vacation was also her best vacation. Her dad had went to his conference for two days, and had the rest of the week to his family. They had gone up to the Space Needle, even though it was expensive. They explored the botanical gardens at the University of Washington. They spent an entire day browsing the shops at the Pike Place Market, buying nothing, making dinner out of the onslaught of free samples, but having the time of their lives.
Perhaps the most memorable moment came on the last night. Haley, a fashion-obsessed eleven-year-old, had gone with her mom to the Westlake Center for a round of window shopping. Her dad and her went to Capital Hill under the impression that it was any place worth visiting.
They went to a restaurant innocently named Julia’s. Unbeknownst to both of them was that it was actually a drag show.
That evening, Ella had seen her first gay person, her first lesbian person, and her first transgender person all in one place.
They stayed until the first queen ripped off her bra mid-set.
Her first time seeing boobs, as well.
The summer sun was still shining, even though it was after six o’clock. It was a beautifully silent night for such a large city.
They decided to go on a hike through the woods of Discovery Park, until they reached a rocky shore overlooked by a Victorian-era lighthouse and nestled against a treatment plant and surrounded by wire fences. For her, it was shocking, almost inspiring, to see something so beautiful amid something so industrial.
She and her father jumped over the fence, which was thankfully not electric, and onto the rocky sands.
As the waves crashed and the miasma of salt filled the air, Ella realized she had never been this close to the ocean before.
It was a day full of firsts.
The sun was finally beginning to set, and the sky filled with colors. She had seen sunsets like this before, but there was something about seeing it set over the rocky peaks, reflective waters, the lighthouse straight out of a movie.
But most importantly, her dad.
They sat on the rocky shores, oblivious to the pain that was filling their bottoms.
“Dad,” she had said. “I like Seattle.”
“I do, too.”
“I don’t want to leave.”
“Neither do I.”
“Can we come back someday?”
The sun dipped closer and closer to the horizon.
“Dad,” she spoke once again. “I love you.”
He was taken aback. She didn’t say that a lot.
“I love you, too.”
He didn’t say that a lot, either.
It was moments like those that she knew she would remember for the rest of her life. Sure, there were all of her wrongdoings, missteps, and failures, but those would stay in the back of her mind; lessons learned.
No more would she dwell on those lessons; she would dwell on these moments, the highlights reels of her existence.
And…there was the only part of my novel that I could post that was completely free of spoilers! I sincerely hope! Hopefully, I can publish it! Not that anyone would buy it, but it would make me feel validated! Love you guys!