A parked car faces a 7-11. Rain falls in sheets, springing up when it hits the gray concrete. The 7-11 throws some light into the parking lot. Brenda waits in the car. She twists silver rings around her fingers and changes the radio station before turning it off. James taps on the passenger window. Brenda unlocks the doors, and James slides into the car, folding his long legs. “You got your hair cut. It looks good,” she says to him. She smiles and turns down the heat on the dashboard. He kisses her on the cheek and says, “I got you something.” He pulls a box from his coat pocket. He opens it and takes out a dashboard hula dancer. She’s tiny, three inches tall. She’s thin like dolls of women are, wearing a painted on coconut bra and a slip of red cloth for a skirt. Her molded plastic hair is done up in the dark waves of a pinup girl. She’s walking on a suction cup and James squeezes her onto the dashboard. Brenda flicks the dancer with her thumb and middle finger. The dancer swings wildly side to side. “I thought you might need this,” James says. “Thanks,” she laughs. They stare out the window together. Gray rain pours in buckets. A blue neon sign in the gas station sharing the parking lot blinks. A long banner on the face of the 7-11 advertises a slurpee special. The car is cooling down. The dancer on the dashboard is still. Brenda reaches for her purse in the backseat, and they leave the car to get coffee in the brightly lit 7-11.
Things I’m thinking about today.
This was difficult. It feels so forced. I’m trying hard to keep working even when things feel forced, which they usually do. Of course I want my characters to show up so I can begin writing their story, the story where I say all I’ve ever needed to say. Ridiculous to hope for such a thing right now. I’m going to stick with it, even when I feel silly, knowing that my characters will show up when they’re ready. When I’m ready.
Other than quitting smoking, I’ve never made a plan and stuck with it in my life. This is going to be the time that I make it happen…that I make a promise to myself and see it through to completion. Not sure yet if that’s a six month or five year goal, but I’ll figure it out as I go.