A New Novel in the Making
I'm working on a new novel. Here's the 16th chapter of it. Let me know what you think about it. You find a Facebook comment form below the text. I post each new chapter when it is completed. The first chapter is here: Chapter One
Some Things Take Forever
When Caroline enters the kitchen, her father is occupied by his coffee and the newspaper. Her mother is just about to sit down by the table when she spots Caroline.
"It's about time," she says and picks up the frying pan from the stove to serve a fried egg on Caroline's plate. "It should still be warm enough."
Caroline sits down and starts the meal by emptying her glass of orange juice.
"Didn't you sleep well?" Ruth inquires as she refills the glass.
"Yes I did. Why do you ask?"
"You look a little drowsy. And aren't you quite pale, too?"
George looks up from his paper, but returns to it after a quick glance at his daughter.
"I'm fine," Caroline assures them both. "I just don't like mornings. You know that."
"Well, that's what coffee is for," Ruth replies and fills Caroline's mug to the rim. "Have it black this time, and you're sure to wake up."
Caroline makes a face, but takes a sip of it. Then she starts on the fried egg. Two slices of bread pop up from the toaster. Ruth is quick to snap them and put them both on Caroline's plate.
"You're usually in a hurry to get out of the house," Ruth continues. "You must really love school."
Caroline looks up at her and discovers a hint of a smile.
"That's what I live for," she replies.
They eat in silence for a while. Ruth and Caroline throw occasional glances at each other, but they only look at George when he turns a page of his newspaper, which covers a good part of the kitchen table.
When Caroline momentarily rests her hand on the table, Ruth puts hers on top of it.
"Caroline," she starts, catching her eyes, "how long is it since we did something together, as a family?"
Caroline just shrugs her shoulders.
"It's about time," Ruth continues. "That's what we need to do. Get away for some quality time, just the three of us. A mini-vacation of sorts."
"This time of the year?" George inquires, without looking up from his newspaper. "I doubt that I can get time off from work. The months before Christmas are the busiest."
"We could make it a weekend. Leave on Friday evening, home Sunday night. We don't have to go far. A couple of hours in the car takes us to so many nice places. A bed and breakfast on the countryside. It would do us a world of good, even if it's just for a couple of days. What do you say, Caroline? Would you like that?"
Again Caroline shrugs her shoulders.
"I take that as a yes," Ruth says with a smile.
"I don't see why we couldn't have that quality time right here," George protests, but with little more than a mumble.
Ruth lets out a sigh, but keeps her eyes on Caroline.
"I'm sure the change of air alone will be worth it. And we'll be free of chores. I, for one, would enjoy that. We'll be free from a lot of things."
George gets stiff, as if bracing himself. His fingers on the paper bend into claws.
"It's not that easy."
Ruth turns to him.
"What did you say?"
"It's not that easy," George repeats. "Some things take time, no matter what you do. A long time. That's just how it is. Some things take forever."
"George," his wife interrupts him, her voice almost shrill. "You don't have to tell me. Of course they do. But that's no excuse for not trying."
George closes his mouth firmly.
"Maybe two days won't make that much of a difference," Ruth continues, "but it's better than nothing. Much better. All three of us, we really need the break. We need... we need to move on."
There is silence. Ruth looks at George, who remains focused on the newspaper, and then at Caroline. She lifts her hand from Caroline's and leans back in her chair.
"It's what we should do. I'll look into it."
All the chapters posted so far: