Iron Behind the Velvet ~ Chapter 69

~ And the Brook Shall Blend With the River, 
                                                            and the River Shall Wed the Sea1



“Catherine.” One arm around Martin’s waist, Eimear held out her free hand.

She climbed the porch steps to take it.

“I’ve asked so much of you already,” Eimear said. “And yet, there is more.”

“Anything,” she promised.



Martin offered to make tea, a bit startled, Catherine thought, when Eimear agreed to it. 
“I need a few minutes with Catherine,” she said. Her gaze on him was curiously narrowed. “Then we’ll be over.” He backed away a step.



“Could I use your phone?” Catherine asked him. She saw Joe still at his desk, glaring at the handset, debating dialing Eimear’s number again, weighing the surprise of her having answered his ring and the alarm for having been disconnected while calling her name. “I should call work. The quicker I try to track down what happened to those kids, the better. There’re some Children’s Services numbers on my rolodex.” She’d ask Joe to find them, the specific task hopefully interrupting the fit he would pitch immediately after hello.


“Sure and yes. Of course. I’ve a few calls to make myself.” He took another step back. “A quarter-hour then, twenty minutes? In the rectory kitchen? ‘Twill be steaming-hot. The tea,” he amended. “Not the room.” Like bright black wings, his cassock billowed with his hurry across the lawn. The dusky spice of clerical incense drifted in his wake. The side door of the church groaned shut behind him, the iron knocker bouncing against its strike plate, the levered handle stuttering into place.

“The last of his limp has left him,” Eimear observed.

A tall, paned, street-side window cranked out in what Catherine assumed was Martin’s study. A one-sided conversation lilted from it. “She-e-e-edy,” she heard him say, drawing out the vowels of the name. “Noreen Sheedy. Have you any news of her ...”

Though Eimear’s front door was quarter-sawn oak and closed, the neighbors back to their own business, Catherine kept her voice low, unsure how their conversation might travel. “Let me go on to the station house, talk to someone, explain a little,” she murmured. “At least ask for a few days of drive-by.” She wished she had a name at the 47th, a single personal contact whose sensitivities she could trust. Someone like Greg who would simply nod at the request. Don’t file a report. Joe would know to whom she should speak, but first, he’d have to hear the whats and whys


Eimear squeezed Catherine’s fingers. “I would say as much to you, in these same circumstances. And in these same circumstances, your answer would be the same. Besides ...” She bent for the strap of Flynn’s packed duffel, for the tied-together lacings of his spare pair of boots. “Flynn is here now.”

If he’s in no shape to hear about the harassment, he’s in no shape to deal with a confrontation ... of any sort. “If more calls come ...” she whisperingly urged, the argument bit back, “hang up, Eimear. Don’t engage them.” She wouldn’t, Catherine knew, but for reasons other than strategy in dealing with her tormentors. Neither would she replace her answering machine. She’d not want Flynn to hear any conversation, any message left.

“I’m hoping you might go to my office for me, gather up a few things,” Eimear went on, in a casual tone Catherine understood. She would pretend a calm she didn’t feel until she did. “I’ll likely be home several days, and there’s work I should be doing.”


The foyer was cool and dim. A multi-colored glow cast onto the tile floor through the door’s stained glass sidelights, but the second-floor window was shaded now; the drapes pulled close. Mab scampered from the landing, wheeling at the bottom tread of the stairs to run halfway up again. She mewed down at them, a confused little sentry. Upstairs, a door buckled shut as if cued by their entry. Eimear looked up, as did she, their gazes then met. The plumbing clanked; water rushed the pipes. Unlike the never-ending warm-water falls of their bathing chambers below, this city shower afforded at most twenty minutes of privacy. Longer if Flynn could bear the cold. I should leave, she encouraged herself, before he has to.

Eimear draped the knotted shoestrings around the ball of the newel post, set the zippered bag on the floor, tucked the racquetball racket Catherine carried in behind it. At Eimear’s direction, Catherine stowed the baseball bat in the umbrella stand, a heavy piece of wood, end-loaded. A power-hitter’s bat, Joe had once explained to her, handing her his to heft. The tableau suggested a man on vacation, though it was anything but.

In the kitchen, she found her purse and bag where she’d dropped them, her jacket on the back of the chair. She imagined Eimear at this yellow-topped table, papers strewn about, pen in hand, her attentions trained not to columns of figures or the draft of a fundraising proposal, but to the bedroom door’s opening and closing, the eventual necessary footsteps across the upper floor. Hopeful for the creak of the stairs, the searching whisper of her name – even Mab’s – from the hallway. If he said nothing in passing, the spill of light from the open refrigerator, a slice of cheese, a piece of fruit in his hand – enough. Any sign of a fissure in the darkness.



“You remember how to get to the school?” Eimear asked her. “You’ll turn right inside the vestibule through an archway to the receptionist’s desk. Helen, she’s called. I’ll ring and announce your coming. She’ll walk you down to my office at the end of the hall, where she’ll turn you over to my assistant, Zivah, who’ll want to know everything. But a smattering will do, won’t it? Just ... Flynn was hurt at work and he’ll be fine. She has a brother on the job. She’ll not quiz you.”  Eimear turned from Catherine to the counter, then back again. She offered a crooked smile. “I was in the middle of a dozen things.”

“Tell me what to do,” Catherine said, “and I’ll do it.”

___

“Wren should be out of court soon, shouldn’t she?”

Catherine glanced at her watch. “Probably. She was first on the docket, but that could have changed at the last minute.”

“Liz will likely hear the news on the pipes before we do.” Eimear grinned, then sobered. “I’d hoped Wren would call with the outcome. I’m worried it’s bad news.”

“If the decision’s been reached, there’s still paperwork to file afterward, and this time of day, it’s an hour commute by subway.”



“And then a bit of a walk,” Eimear conceded.



“Plus ...” Catherine hesitated. “She believes we’re filling out forms at the precinct, that your day is ... full enough.”

Eimear nodded, one corner of her mouth quirked down. “Her office is two from mine. Leave my door open. You’ll see her walk past. ”



“I’ll go there first. If she’s not back already, I’ll wait for her and have her call you ... with the good news. Then I’ll bundle up all your work and bring it back to Martin’s. It’ll be there when you’re ready for it. ”



“Park in my space, use my phone, have lunch in the cafeteria. The food’s good; it’s real. I’m sorry I can’t offer–”

“Eimear. Please.”

Eimear tapped the bulleted list with the dulled point of her pencil. “I guess that’s it, then.”

Catherine spun the yellow pad. She could help with more than one of Eimear’s projects, and would.

“Do you think Joe’s on his way to Rochester, to Rosie?”

“You know, I forgot all about that possibility.” Catherine folded her arms, turned to gaze out the kitchen window. The sky was a terrific blue, cottoned with clouds.

“If you asked him not to let on to Ro about Flynn, would he not?”



I ran into Greg Hughs at the coffee cart. He told me what went down. “I don’t know, Eimear. The incident’s probably all over Foley Square by now. It’s a small world down there, and a busy one.”

“It’s just ... she’s hoped for this opportunity for such a time. I don’t want it interfering, the worry, and it’s not like it’s the first time ...” Eimear let go the pencil, took up the twisting of her wedding ring around her finger.

Or the last, Catherine read.

“She’ll be back on her own soon enough,” Eimear was saying.

Catherine stilled Eimear’s hands. “If Rosie were suffering – and you are, because Flynn is – you would go to her, no matter the distance or circumstance or cost to yourself. Am I right?”



“Well ... yes.”

“Joe knows what he knows.  Rosie will do what she must.” Upstairs, the water thunked off; the plumbing vibrated within the walls of the house and stilled. Catherine pushed back from the table. “I should go. I don’t want to intrude.” Flynn had felt the close examination of far too many onlookers already. He deserved the retreat of his home. Where would he go otherwise? Levels beneath this house were marvelous sanctuaries, hallowed shelters of spirit. Some Vincent had described, others were likely known and visited by few. If only Flynn had both map and invitation. A guide.

Eimear didn’t protest, even politely. The honesty was allaying and promising. “And our tea’s past ready.”



“Are you sure you want to leave?”

 “The last thing, or nearly so, that Flynn wants, is for me to hover.”



Catherine nodded, and stood, and folded away the list Eimear gave her, putting from her mind the grievous things either Flynn or Vincent would want even less.


Only hours ago, they’d rushed the steps, past Vincent and below. They’d been heedless in their hurry then, though later, his lips brushing the hair at her crown, he’d told her moonlight gathered on the petals of the palest flowers, turning them to pearls. Now, bright rays slanted in from the east. The swaths and spills of blooms were pastel jewels, the air a harmony of fragrance – gingery lemons, spiced oranges. Espaliered against the granite wall, the crabapples warmed in the late morning sun, the rosy buds blushing open to white. Every spray a fairy wand, keys to the otherworld, she recalled. This palette was Eimear’s since childhood, expected, but for a moment, beside her at the railing, Eimear looked out across the garden and smiled – at the urban Eden created before her, Catherine believed, at her mother’s vision, for Flynn’s gift and refuge.

She followed Eimear down the plank steps and into the archway between the church yard and hers. The passage cast in half-shadow, the intertwined hearts tiled into the pathway both brightly-lit and dark, Catherine stood at the dividing line. This juncture ... the entry below close by, Vincent welcome. All of them, led by some resonance to this place, where a natural confidence and kindness would blossom, where fears would yield to tranquility. Everything seemed touched with change, everything an irresistible invitation. Almost every doorway was unlocked, the remaining keys in their hands.2

Inside the archway, Eimear paused and glanced back. Catherine followed her gaze up to the upper window of her home, the one where she’d once stood transfixed – Flynn first in her mother’s garden, in her line of sight – so many years before. She saw no parting of the curtains, no shadow in passing, but once she might have felt a sort of envy. Flynn was home, near, findable – though, in his soul and spirit, he knelt at the same dark, distant river Vincent knew, both men tormented not only by whatever had sent them deep, but by the certainty it would happen again. Now she understood how healing the solitude could be, how difficult it was to hollow out. How essential it was, however harrowing for those who loved and waited. She could step close, stand close, stand watch, but she would let him go – without her, if necessary, but with her trust. The weight of the world fell from her shoulders. He would return.

As would Flynn. As ... would ... Flynn.

“Martin knows something he’s not telling me,” Eimear said.

“He met Vincent face to face last night; he knows about below, the way down,” Catherine suggested. “He doesn’t know you have, that you do. He knows about Vincent and me. Vincent was here last night, with Martin in his kitchen. Martin probably knows I was with you, having a late supper.” At that, Eimear chuckled. “And I’m here today. He has to wonder. I think ...” Catherine nodded, as much to herself as to Eimear – and to Father and the council and the community of the north and at home. “I think we should tell him everything.”



“We can’t tell him everything without telling him ... everything.” Eimear frowned, shook her head. “And it’s not you or Vincent or what he knows about your world. He didn’t let on, not a smidge, not a wink, even when we were alone, the three of us, on the porch.”



“A helper wouldn’t, unless they were sure. You didn’t either,” she pointed out, and Eimear looked up, tipped her head in appreciation. She prodded on, gently. “What makes you think he’s keeping something from you?”

“I know Martin’s masquerading cough from his ailing one,” Eimear said. “And I heard it as I came from sending off David and Sean, when Neal was talking to the two of you. She mimicked a polite fist at her lips, a dry cheff-cheff-cheff. “He does that when he’s trying to change a subject. What was Neal telling you? Do you remember?”

Ahh. “He was talking about the little boy, Reggie, about getting him a new flashlight. Flynn had to give it into evidence. He was upset ... Reggie, I mean.” You promised, you promised, you promised, she remembered Neal relating ... and Martin’s startled sadness at the boy’s indictment.

“It’s something to do with that, on top of that. I’ll hear it, no matter what it is.” Eimear pushed her hair behind her ears, and for the briefest moment, covered her face with her hands. Catherine could hear her breath behind them, quick and ragged.

“Maybe ...” Catherine broached, “it’s something Flynn told him in confidence. In confession.”



No one hears Flynn’s confession.” Eimear dashed the tears from her cheeks. “And Martin would die rather than let on in the least if it were – ‘tis absolutely not a sacred privacy. He offered the tea because he’s debating whether or else to tell me.” She stepped out of the archway into the garden, from the shadow into the light, reached back for Catherine. “I’ll hear it, or you’ll bear witness to our falling out.”

______


Around a final jackknife-bend, the cleft passage widened to a broad, domed daylight cavern. Sunbeams rayed down from the high ceiling, a soaring rotunda pierced with openings to the world above – small, inconspicuous, nearly magical portals scattered throughout South Croton Woods in Van Cortlandt Park. Here, he’d once played in the rain, the flash and rumble of a summer storm delivered through those same eyelets. Stuart had told him then it often snowed, the granite field blanketed with white, though it melted too quickly in the steady temperature below to be formed into snow caves or forts or snowballs. He’d never seen the vast cavern in winter and, in the time he’d been back in the north, he’d had no opportunity to watch the sun rise or set, to stand in the chamber, as now, shadowless at noon, to even pass heedlessly through ...

Or to remember the last hours of his last boyhood summer here – the nearly transcendental experience, the literal awareness of possibility he’d known if only for a brief moment. Another joy he’d downplayed in his memory, almost mulishly put away within days of it happening. He touched the pocket at his heart, the poems folded there within. Another joy he’d relentlessly misinterpreted. If only Winslow were here, they might, together, count up the saving signs and vehicles of rescue offered all along the way, even before Catherine, in preparation for this love and this life and what he would make of it.


Ten days he’d been in this north country, among natural wonders and natural friends ... the old, the new, the unexpected ... even the as yet unmet. He could only describe the intersection of tangible events and revelation after discovery after epiphany in this place as his ... coming to. Each encounter fed his courage to examine his past, the destiny of it – his very chemistry – alterable, if he would but dissect the elements.3 A fortnight ago, had Father, had even Catherine asked him how he might have imagined he would meet this awakening, he’d have predicted a reaction to it wholly other. A staving-off roar, perhaps a plagued pacing within his chamber. A pounding run to a place apart – some withdrawn sanctuary where he would exercise his practice and habit – argument, dismissal, veto – to emerge with his heart no less agitated, his peculiar truth only masked, hidden too well away.4 Not this eagerness. Not this harmony, this singing that filled a house larger than he’d afforded for himself, but knew was home.

He almost laughed out loud. Ready, he’d promised her. Once, twice, any number of times he’d chosen the word. But ready was not a finished state of being, not the achievement of a goal, rather a beginning. A willingness to accept, no, embrace the truth he was born with, walk with it. To view the moments he’d decided defined him in this offered light; to seek, welcome, become the changes, share them, sure of her love of both the man he was and the man he would be. To no longer turn his face to the gentling candlelight, but to the sun.

Ten days ... the coincidence was not lost.

The last of the crew straggled out across the tract, one by one disappearing through a far archway. All but Kanin, who stood alone in the center of the bright expanse. The light glinted off the lenses he wore, off their soft gold rims.

What must come first, Vincent reminded himself and slowed his enraptured pace.


“You all right?” Kanin asked when he drew near enough. “Noah said he thought you were moving kinda gingerly. I had some thoughts I wanted to run by you, but you’d dropped back.” Kanin scanned his face, his stance, his hands open and held loosely at his sides. “I, ummm, heard you call out. Is it ...” He glanced upward. “Is it Catherine?”

Catherine? In his fireside dreaming she’d appeared before him, her eyes glistening with tenderness. She’d touched his cheek, leaned down to kiss the corner of his mouth, settled before him, her back to his chest, in the circle of his arms taking the gravity of his fatigue and relief on her shoulders. And now, between them ... a poignant sweetness, a sense of concentration, a spike, now and then, of purpose. A faith and steadfastness that championed each, granted liberty. When next we are together …


“Thank you for waiting, Kanin,” he said, neither confirming nor denying his physical condition, announcing or explaining away the state of his spirit. “Catherine is well. And I am … well enough.” They fell into deliberate step together. “These thoughts ...?”

“Sounds like a flood pulse,” Kanin began, after a few quiet strides. “But something’s off-kilter. You were worried about the spring rains, and you were right to be – that flap gate would have worked most days, but it wasn’t strong enough to deflect regular storm run-off. This, though ... this was ...”

“Irregular,” Vincent finished. Kanin’s face was a lined and smudged map of concerns – worry, experience, perspective ... responsibility. To his community below, even above to the authorities he yet owed a reasonable accounting of his life. To his family too far from him. “And not at all what you need to talk about.”

Camp was only a twenty-minute hike away ... if they loitered. He glanced at his friend. Clearly, Kanin deliberated his invitation to speak of other things. The man’s jaw worked. In the fallen silence, Vincent heard the distant hammering of a woodpecker in the woods above, the zee zee zee zoo zee of a warbler he’d never seen. Clouds passing high overhead skip-hopped along the floor. This sweeping, slabbed meadow afforded an inspiring privacy, but Kanin watched his boots strike the path they took, oblivious to the wonders of this place.

This place.

Ninham’s Ground, they called it, these stony acres, homage to Daniel and Abraham, father and son, Mohican warriors slain in battle above more than two hundred years before. Some distance from the park’s official marker or the baseball diamonds or the abandoned tennis courts called Indian Field, the woods Kanin and he walked beneath had long reclaimed the lost Revolutionary battlefield, the burial place of the fallen.5

The cavern floor was a flat, unrubbled landscape, smooth but for five long straight narrow furrows in the stone raked end to end as if by a clawed god’s hand.  Impossibly, inexplicably, the sun shone down – through the branches and the soft understory, through the leaf-litter of the forest floor above, even through two distinct ages of limestone by way of time- and water-, perhaps divinely-drilled portals. Whatever the hour, parallel columns of light beamed to the ground, bringing, if not the warmth, the astonishing brightness of full day to his world.

He looked up, blinking, thankful for Kanin’s continued silent ruminations. As he remembered, the rays sparkled with motes of dust. But once ...

One afternoon spent with Stuart and Noah – his last with his friends that final boyhood summer – they’d raced through the switchbacks on each other’s heels, jockeying for the lead in the wider passages. First out into the field wins, they’d declared, though they’d never named the prize. They charged forth from the tunnel in a tangle of feet and jabbing of elbows, their individual shouts of victory stunned to a common breathlessness. Like so many fairies dancing on air, a rabble of pale gossamer butterflies swirled the cavern, oblivious to them – standing arms-out, awe-struck – in their midst.

On some silent cue, the flittering had converged and spiraled up and out through the  central portal. It seemed forever they gazed after the vision. Someone – he wasn’t sure who – initiated the layering of hands in the center of their circle, but so vowing, with a nod around, they’d declared the experience secret between them. It has to mean something, Noah had whispered, Stuart finishing, For the three of us, right? And both had looked to him. To him!



At first grateful for inclusion in the triumvirate, he was suddenly consumed in an fiery opalescent surety he could call the butterflies back. Father’s assessment was stripped of alarm, of vigilance. Your nature is to burn very brightly, Vincent.  And wasn’t he? Was it only his imagination a golden aura shimmered from their joined hands. Yes, he proclaimed, his voice at that singular moment raspy and deep, the croaks and squeaks that had marred his summer’s speech gone. He drew himself taller; an energy snapped along his corded nerves to his very fingertips. The air in his lungs heated and surged. Yes, he blazed. And as one, as if accepting a grand invitation, they shouted! The three of us! The promise echoed around them. That evening, when Noah’s mother served his going-away supper, when she asked about the day’s adventures, they’d each simply shrugged. She’d laughed and tousled Noah’s hair, and Stuart’s. His, he recalled, she’d tucked behind his ear. Next summer, my bubeleh, she’d murmured, content he would return.6 At that moment, he couldn’t imagine he wouldn’t.

Noah’s grandfather had been his escort home the next day. Levya carried two of his three duffle bags, one more than he’d arrived with at the beginning of summer. Half a dozen times he thought to tell, to ask his elder if, in that vast chamber, he’d ever experienced the feathery kiss of wings, the dreams glittering all around. If he’d ever whispered a wish to a butterfly resting in his palm, then watched it float free toward the sky. If he’d ever felt so burning-bright and fearless that he knew anything could and would happen.

This place. Again, he touched the pocket at his heart. She was coming to him, not soon enough, but soon. Perhaps, here, at sunrise, at the extraordinary dawn of a new day ... Yes, here.  He’d bring Catherine here, tell her the rest of their story, make a new, even truer vow.

A heavy, phantom hand clasped his shoulder. ‘Bout time, he heard Winslow say.


Click HERE for Chapter 70
______________

The photograph of Eimear used in this chapter is actually the photo of a friend taken several years ago and is published with her permission. When I saw it, I was stunned. I absolutely knew *this* was Eimear, whose image I've been searching for all these years.

1.  Andrew Downing. Destiny.
2. John O'Donohue. General gleanings and paraphrasing of several poems in To Bless the Space Between Us.
3. Anaïs Nin. The Diary of Anaïs Nin. Vol. 1: 1931-1934
4. Robert Frost. A paraphrasing of Revelation
5. Death in the Bronx: The Stockbridge Indian Massacre, August, 1778.
    http://americanrevolution.org/ind3.html
6. Bubeleh. Yiddish. A term of endearment.


14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh WOW Carole! I didn't expect you to use the photo so quickly! I'm so honored that you think my much younger self bears a striking resemblance to your Eimear. To be absolutely up front, that photo was taken about 28 years ago when I was 27 years old. I'm 30 pounds heavier and have about 2 feet less hair now!

Another wonderful chapter with Vincent settling into his latest discoveries about the true nature of the Other. I cannot WAIT for him to see Rosie's statue! That will truly be a revelation!

Regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

I had the perfect line for the photo to illustrate already written when I saw your picture - Eimear with her pencil. I really was stunned, because you are exactly as I pictured her, and until the day you posted, I'd never actually seen her. You should have heard me squeeee! Thank you a hundred times over for letting me borrow your photo.

(You know, if you change your mind about me using it, just tell me.)

Rosie's statue! (Another thing I pictured only in my mind, however ... ... ... !! :-D ) And the conversation with Flynn, when that finally comes about. Vincent is going to be busy very soon.

Always, thank you for reading, Lindariel. You're so good for my spirits. Your kind words keep me plugging along on this story.

Carole

crowbabies said...

Dear Carole,

We are so far from where we started and things are starting to become clearer, yet the mysteries remain. I love that in your writing. There are no easy answers, no trite 30 minute wrap ups. Now I need to know what Martin is up to. What's up with the flooding? Is Vincent really going to tell Catherine about the note and the day he found her. My heart literally speeds up thinking about this unfinished business.

Something that really stayed with me after reading this chapter is how used to crisis Eimear has become. She doesn't want it certainly, but if a cop needed a certain type of wife, she is it. She can get things done, she isn't a drama llama, she's strong, she prioritizes, she listens, she thinks. If we are lucky, we have this woman in our life, and just like Catherine, there is much we can learn from her.

Thank you again for your knowledge, time an creativity. It is valued and cherished.

Karen :)

Anonymous said...

Carole - I have to get these comments to you before I leave on my summer trip. I have had a crazy week. I am never sure of an internet connection when I go overseas. If you post another chapter before I return and you do not hear from me, I want you to know that it is not because I am not reading or caring to comment. I certainly will be! I am in the airport now and I will be gone 23 days.

I love the first lines of this chapter. I love how Catherine is longing for this family and how her wish is answered by Eimear, who holds out her hand to her and asks for her help. Father explained it to Eric that way. To give help when it is needed and accept help when it is offered. Eimear trusts Catherine. Catherine trusts Eimear. They don't have to work anything else out. Sigh. IMO this is a beautiful example of the "truth beyond knowledge."

I have said this to you before, but here goes again. Your original characters are so real, I forget I never saw them on screen. Thank you for expanding the boundaries of the series. Thank you for not pairing Jenny up with Joe, too!

I like these descriptions. Martin's black cassock billowing "like bright black wings." The little kitty Mab doing sentry duty. The clunky plumbing sounds. {I have and old house and know what you mean.}

So I was right about Martin and what he knows about Flynn! Yay me!! :)

About the butterflies Vincent saw. I collect collective nouns, and didn't know rabble. I put it right on my list. I loved the experience Vincent had there. For a minute, he was "whole". I guess it was scary and exciting all at the same time for him. I wonder why he "mulishly" put it away. Did it have something to do with Devin and-or Father? I will wait as patiently as I can to find out. :).

Karen, I agree with you about being anxious about the unfinished business. One of the things I am anxious about is the story being over! Carole, I know you are worried about how long it is taking you to write this, but for me, I will just be sad when Iron Behind the Velvet is finished.

This has been my longest comment ever. I could say a lot more, but I feel I should turn the stage over to someone else. I hope I can read and send email from where I am going. Talk to you soon.

A'bella

Brenda K said...

Carole,

My curiosity is churning - writing all sorts of phantom chapters in the back of my mind while awaiting your next revelations.

"Ten days - the coincidence was not lost." The subtlety unfurled its meaning only on the third reading -- the parallel to the ten days Catherine spent Below, emerging remade into something new, as from a chrysalis. And to then pick the threads back up to weave Vincent's tapestry of self-awareness with the magic of butterflies in mystic sunbeams.

Your writing is like a designer gown -- all seams flawlessly finished and pressed, all accents elegantly coordinated for artistic impact.

When this story is done, you MUST tell us why Vincent never came back for future summers -- did Lisa derail his "summer camp" excursions?

I cannot now envision the measured dance steps that finally will bring Vincent and Flynn together -- except that Martin must broker such a meeting, as carefully as any old yenta. I wait to see what your vision is.

NYC Utopia said...

Halfway through.
Vincent's past "awareness of possibility", and coming to. Ah! +1000
I almost leapt down here into the comments section once before, to applause Eimear's understanding of the only way she can support Flynn right now...
See you later!

NYC Utopia said...

Lindariel! I thought the picture of Eimear was perfect... but I had no idea! Thank you for contributing in this special way!

I've always loved how real the characters in this novel feel to me, and I like it even better when additional tendrils of reality and story intertwine (beyond the predefined ones that underlie character creation).
And --see my previous comment-- I can't help being stunned when the lessons on life and love learned by fictional characters ring so true that they echo with our own. (I might be stating the obvious here. Could it be that I neither lived nor loved enough "before"?)

NYC Utopia said...

(make it applaud)

Anonymous said...

NYC Uptopia, I was so surprised when Carole told me that one of my (VERY) old photos looks exactly like her vision of Eimear! Now I feel even more closely connected to this wonderful story.

Regards, Lindariel

Carole W said...

Karen, please forgive me for being so late in saying Thank You for your always kind and supportive comments. You make me want to work harder, and that's always a good thing. I'm grateful you're still wanting to 'turn the pages' and read on.

But yikes, there is a lot of unfinished business. I can't answer your questions without giving away the plot, but I do promise to, in time. Soon! I mean it!

Eimear and Catherine are a good pair. I admire those with a level head in a crisis, the person who jumps in, who runs toward, not away. Who stands between evil and the innocent. Thank you for liking Eimear. That means so much.

Hugs,
C

Carole W said...

Annabella, I know you're on vacation now, but when you get a chance to read online, here is my belated Thank You! for such nice remarks. Your careful reading and detail-catching makes my heart sing!

You are right about Martin and Flynn. I'll have to go back and pull up the pertinent chapter, because I've had a couple people ask me WHEN the moment happened referred to in this chapter. It was only days earlier in the story (six, I think), but a couple of years ago when I wrote it. Yikes, yikes, yikes.

I hope you have a great trip - it's a long one! I'll look forward to hearing from you whenever you can get online. Thank you, again, for making me feel like I can do this.

Carole

Carole W said...

Hey, Brenda! Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I'm so late in saying that, but you really do encourage me. I'm grateful to you and feel incredibly lucky you're reading.

The meeting between Flynn and Vincent is approaching, I promise. The next chapter clears a couple of stumbling blocks to it. Martin said he believed his part in all this would come in a later act. :-) I can't divulge the details, but soon, I'll get it on paper, so to speak.

Regarding Vincent's reasons for not coming back to spend his summers, yes, exactly. Lisa. Although I will revisit his mindset at the time and explore another possibility as well, I did briefly mention Lisa as an explanation in Chapter 41:


“The distance was nothing then, part of the fun, being so far from home. I spent two summers here, but we grew older, became ... interested in different things. Lost touch.”

Will you go north again this summer, Vincent? Father had asked, his eyes dark with an unspoken question. He’d weighed his answer, tempted by the unfettered days and the prospect of tunnels yet unexplored, but Lisa backed through the swinging door of the kitchen, in her hands a tray towered with stacked bowls, and he sprang from his chair, hurrying to relieve her burden, anxious for her smile, gladdening at her thanks, breathless that her shoulder might brush his at table ...

I'm stunned at the publication date of that chapter. I can't even type out the year. Scary, scary, how long ago it was.

Thank you again for saying such nice things to me about this story. I'm touched by your kindness. I think of you often and hope all is well with your newest family member! I always enjoy hearing from you.

C

Carole W said...

Claire, your words make me smile and bring joyous tears to my eyes. You couldn't have said anything that could make me feel better about writing this story. I am so grateful, so pleased. Thank you for saying what you said. I'll treasure the sentences, but more, I treasure you.

Isn't Lindariel beautiful? And isn't she Eimear!! I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor. Seeing Lindariel's photo shocked me to absolute stillness. And then I had an attack of rapid breathing. And then I knew I'd crawl on my knees over beds of nails to beg her to let me use the photo!

I hope I can give this story a good finish. I just don't have the words to express my gratitude that you're reading.

Hugs,
C

Carole W said...

Lindariel, I'm still so excited to have *you* as Eimear. You're perfectly her.

Many hugs,
C