Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chapter 34 - first half from Leesie

We've got 53K words behind us. Just two to three thousand more to go. I don't want to finish. This journey, especially this final volume with all of you here, has been an amazing experience for me. I could revise forever and ever, but I know you want the finished book in your hands, and I need to move on with other projects. I would really love to write all my books like this! But I don't know if a publisher would go for that.

I will continue posting as I revise, so you can experience that process, and I want to have a complete polished draft available here, so if anyone can't purchase the ebook or paperback version, they can read the whole thing with all the little niceties, like chapter titles, poem titles, and filled out dive log headings, right here.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This isn't the final chapter. But it's close.


POEM #??, The Brac

A tiny plane,
a bumpy landing,
a crescent shaped skiff
of sand with nothing but
bat-filled caves, half-dozen
dives operations, one dirt road
that stretches from end to end,
diving my first wreck,
MV Capt. Keith Tibbits,
a Russian relic renamed
for us tourists,
snuggling on the beach
with Michael while he,
Gabriel and Alex toss pros and cons,
ups and downs, hows and how nots
into the inky sky dotted with pinpricks           

morphs overnight into

rain, winds, warnings,
boats called in, airport shut down,
hotel evacuation to the island’s
built-in shelter—deep caves
that won’t wash away in the onslaught
that’s only hours away.
The bats lining the ceiling don’t seem
to mind sharing their subterranean palace
with fifty human bodies wrapped in hotel
blankets and foil-lined emergency heat sheets
that crinkle when we move
and make me sweat.

I huddle with Michael in the mass
and sip bottled water.
“Are you scared?” He shakes
his arm that’s gone to sleep
holding me.
“No. You’re here.” I try to imagine
the last hurricane he faced. “Are you?”
He smiles at me. “Terrified.”
“Did you hear this one’s name?”
“Cecilia.” His eyebrows draw
close together.
I touch his face. “Will she
haunt us like your Isadore?”
He wraps his arms back around me.
“We’re safe here. Don’t worry.”
I cuddle in close and hand him my water.
The sound of the wind shifts to a new key.
“Here it comes.”

I brace myself for storm surge waves,
sheets of rain, vicious winds
to swamp our dry hide-out,
peel back the roots and dirt
and smash the coral skeleton
that encases us in it’s embrace.
Nothing happens.
The sound mounts, echoes, screams,
but we are safe—barely even soggy.
Crampled, tired, trapped,
but safe.  Michael prods
me to my feet and stretches.
We wander with refugees, careful
not to step on sleepers, meet up
with Gabriel and Alex, who’ve
decided not to spend his trust fund here.

“Did you hear if it’s hitting the big island?”
I’m worried about Jaz and Junior.
Alex shakes her head. “I don’t know.”
We hang out with them, laughing
and talking like this is just another night
after a long day diving.
Hours roll by. A lady from the resort
comes by with a big basket of cereal bars.
Michael turns his nose up, but takes a handful
“Guess we won’t starve.” He offers them to us.
When the wind dies, I’m not sure if it’s day or night.
Michael and Gabriel venture to the cave’s mouth,
return to report. “Definitely the eye, mi cielo.”
Gabriel’s arm circles Alex. “You should
sleep in the stillness.” They slip away.

Michael and I find a quiet place to whisper.
I doze and wake to find him studying my face—
troubled. About our future together?
The giant stride he’ll take next week
into a brand new world with a soft woosh
of water in a baptismal font in Spokane?
Waiting a whole year to get married?
I kiss his cheek.”You know,
we can get married any weekend
if waiting gets too hard.”
He tries to wipe the trouble
off his face. “I’m not worried
about that. Are you?”
My face heats up, and he kisses me,
sucks ever so gently on the corner
of my lower lip. I let him think
he’s distracted me, enjoy the kiss,
initiate another, then take his face
in my hands and try to fathom his eyes
in the waning glow of two electric lanterns
that struggle to light the cave.
“What does worry you then?”
“Nothing, babe.”
“Don’t lie to me. I see it.
Is it Isadore?”
“No, Leese.” He closes his eyes.
“It’s you,” he whispers.
He bows his head
so our foreheads touch.
“There’s something I need to know.”
I touch my lips to his.
“You are my life—my forever.
You know everything—my best, my worst.”
His eyes open, and I can’t breathe
while I wait for him to speak.
“You have one secret, babe. I
don’t want to get close to,
but I gotta know—
was it me?”


  1. Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's almost over. As much as I want to know what happens, I will be sad when this is all over. As for the post, oh my! It's going to get intense. I'm scared...ha ha! But really, as much as these two have been through together, and that is a whole lot! I think they can work past this without too much trouble. I hope....she has to tell him. She will never be at peace with herself if she doesn't.

  2. The ending is a huge back flip
    They seriously go through a lot of smooth and rough times together but this is the deal breaker.
    I'm excited yet nervous for the second half of Ch.34

  3. angela !!!!!!!!
    why did you stop !!!
    he already knows but he just doesnt want to say it ..does he not angela ?
    Cant wait till tomorrow !
    AHh im jumping up and own right now

  4. To Nora:

    Me too! I'm super excited for the second half of Ch.34

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  6. I had wondered if there would be another hurricane in the picture! She really needs to tell him -- the question will be how he reacts to it.
    Thanks for sharing this whole process with us -- it's been so much fun to check for new posts every day!

  7. NO! NO! No! It can't be almost over. So, so sad.

  8. Aww-- NO. You have to write forever about leesie and michael!