Iron Behind the Velvet - Chapter 75

~ The Tender Gravity of Kindness1



He might have lived another life. The doors had always been there. But sure of the teasing reveal, the eventual outcome – disappointment, loss, his stormless compliance – of The Outsider ever convinced, he’d turned away first, before–

Yet everything, he interrupted himself, everything ... every estranged moment, every companionless hour, every solitary roam of the docks and alleys, every curative ramble in the park, every disciplined, forbearing, philosophical year, had been vital. This life – Catherine this gathering Paradise2– could not have been had he chosen differently.

Still ... wanting, denying the want ... Was it not a vanity, his ... sufference? Did he owe apology or gratitude? Was the offer of one sincere – possible – without the other?

“Oh, Vincent.” Liz touched his face. There was nothing reserved in the cup of his cheek and he leaned into its steadying warmth. The astringency of a fresh woods drifted up from her wrist. “You’re exhausted,” she murmured. “You haven’t had a minute to yourself. You need to be alone to find a still point. You always did.”

Aloneness ... The very thing he anguished, that confined him, named him ... he required. Stillness. That his jittering, unaligned selves might settle to a reliable, presentable One. How difficult – always – to explain. Father unnerved by the clawing imperative, urging detour. Others cautious and deferential, standing aside in the corridors, letting him pass on his way down. Others tenderly sorry for him. Even Catherine had once faltered so, one evening when overhead the music was borne away. Didn’t it make you feel ...  And he’d finished for her – Alone? – in the untroubled pronunciation of the word hoping to convey the elemental precondition of it. The detachment, however brief, regardless of geography, the reclusion ... the suffering ... the mystery ... his necessaries for joy. 


Liz had found the passage first, a faster reader than he, poems ahead in Leaves of Grass. Father complained she skimmed and skirred the surface. But across from him at the long library table she’d turned her leather-bound copy his way and tapped a stanza with her finger. Tapped it again when her book bumped up against his open between his propped elbows. This is thy hour O soul, he’d leaned forward to read, thy free flight into the wordless, away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, Thee fully forth emerging ... He’d looked up from the page, thrilled with recognition, with the poet’s company across time ... and Liz’s. 


Her fingers grazed his jawline. She started to rise, to leave, he feared. Not now. Not yet. 

“Could we ...” he began, and she settled to listen, her willing wait obliging him to go on. With a gesture toward camp, he began again. “After our work is finished ...”  


Liz knew. Devin always came first, she’d braved. Maybe even more first after he left. Noah knew. Stuart, as well, though he’d offered reprieve – The tunnel runs both ways. No more your doing than mine

A low lament lodged in his throat. Only Devin ...  

If solely to Catherine, he’d made that claim aloud. And his actions over the years, the walls he’d raised, the distance he’d kept ... the years themselves ... evidenced his mindset. He could not call back the charge, only leave it, its why and wherefore,alongside vows of promised return and keen examination. Alongside thanksgiving for the opportunity. 

“I’d like to ...” he began a third time, wishes gusting in. Have suppers together, you and Noah, Catherine and I. Get to know your boys. Visit with you, truly visit. Talk as we once did so companionably. Ask the questions we could have then, allow the answers we couldn’t. Explore our new dreams. Be part of one another’s lives again. 

He spread his hands. There were words, but so very many ...

“I’d like to, too,” Liz said.

And it was enough ... for now.

Liz turned to survey the pool and his gaze followed hers. From the surface, plumes of silvery steam danced; the once-still waters burbled. He imagined the silken slipping-down luxury, the assuaging massage.  

“You oughtta get on in,” she prescribed. “It’s hot now, but the chill-stream hits pretty soon and lasts about four hours. Your therapeutic window’s closing. You want I should run get Stuart to help you off with those clothes? Or Noah? He has to be back from the letter station by now. He might have some news from Wren, or know why we don’t.” 

“I can manage.” 

“I don’t want you falling asleep in the pool. Thirty minutes, no more. ‘Course you’ll blast outta there when the water goes cold. It happens all at once, like somebody dumped in a keg of ice. I’m warning you – you won’t get a warning.” 

“Noted,” he replied, as solemn as Liz struggled to remain. 

Her stool pushed back, Liz moved to the ledge of supplies, testing the caps of the brown bottles of essential oils, nesting them in her satchel. She watched him from the corner of her eye, he assumed, gauging his range of motion as he stood and purposely stretched, as he tested his weight first on one leg, then the other, swiveled his shoulders, winged his arms.  

“How was the cake, anyway?” she asked. 

“It was good cake.” Flexion ... extension, flexion ... extension.  Strong, he diagnosed himself, and pain-free ... or nearly so.

“As good as Noah’s mom’s?”

“Almost.” He chuckled when she scowled.  

Tch,” Liz muttered, rendering Noah’s grandfather’s cadence as clearly as she had Father’s, even the one half-closed eye, the one raised brow. “Vainiker a vort, abi dem emess.” 

A word less, as long as it’s the truth. Levya said it often enough, but I never understood,” Vincent conceded. His flannel shirt and vest lay clumped on the cavern floor. He gave each a sharp snap, began the pile of his folded clothes. 

“Me, either.”

Seated again, bent to remove his boots, he glanced up at her. “You came when you heard Devin was home, but not–”

“Sure I did,” she interrupted. “I was so glad to see him alive I could have strangled him. Did you know he was the first boy I ever kissed?”

He balked at her shift of subject even as he entertained it.  “He was? He never told me you two were–”

“Oh, there wasn’t an us-two. It was purely experimental. He didn’t care much for my critique, either. When he took off, I worried it was because of me. I was fairly specific about his shortcomings.”

“You were not the reason.” His tone was somber and remindful, contrary to her invitation, but a melancholy had thrown off its weights, rose toward the air and the light. “You came home for Devin, but not for Lisa.”  

Liz’s mouth curved down; she sighed. Grumbling, she turned back to the refitting of her supplies, intent on the troublesome buckle of a satchel pocket. “Hmmphm.” 

“My dark time ... ... ... was not her fault.”

Liz swiveled his way, her hands on her hips, her expression ... clamped. Buttoned up, Winslow would have deemed it. Liz was known for saying what she meant, meaning what she said. Lisa. Don’t get me started. He’d been quite fairly advised.  

But–

Winslow leaned in with otherworldly advice shadowy at his ear. Best you put that one in your pocket.

“She’s changed,” he persisted, nevertheless.   

A saturated moment passed. “Your dark time wasn’t a fault, Vincent.”

He searched out his cloak bundled on the ledge, envisioned a route through the maze of its folds to the hidden pocket and the creased pages of old words within it, memorial to another dark night of the soul. Like the wind outside the Great Hall, questions long censored rose swirling ... but not crying. Not crying.  

“I’m beginning to see the possibility.”

Liz narrowed her eyes. “You mean it? No doubletalk? No weasling?” 

In answer, he held out a hand that Liz took, offered a bargaining half-smile that she matched. Another day for this ... and more. We promise.   


In his sock feet, he fished the cushioned liner soles from his boots, laid them out across a rough corrugation in the stone floor. Both laces loosened as much as the repairing knots in one allowed, he pulled the shoes’ tongues forward. Thirty minutes airing out would hardly benefit the leather or his wearing comfort – better, overnight, positioned at the outlet of one of the thermal shafts, in the rush of heated air – but the commanded half-hour of his anticipated soak would have to do. Beats a stob in the eye, Levya would have admonished, his practical buoyancy lastingly edifying. Still, he wished for his reserve pair, dry and with new laces, hardly less scarred now, hardly less worn down in the heels, but in a trunk at home a three hour walk away. Perhaps Catherine might bring them.

Catherine ... He’d not forgotten.

“Is she all right?”

He must have whispered her name. When he looked up, Liz was alert, tentative, her re-wound stethoscope clutched in one hand, a white tube sock dangling from the other. “I’ve asked Catherine to come,” he told her, and Liz released a breath, stuffed the instrument inside its cushiony protection, the soft package then into a pocket of her bag. “To stay with me – with us – until we finish. Close, though our hours together will be few. Is there a chamber she might use? Near you and Wren, not so far away as the, ummm ...” 

“Honeymoon suite?” Her elbows braced on the stone shelf, Liz arched her brows. “You know, the last time Noah and I stayed in one of the holiday chambers we came back with twins.” She cackled. “Vincent, you really should see your face.” After a few snickers, she turned back to her stowing and fastening. “She said yes, I take it. When?”

Closing his eyes, he found Catherine’s heartbeat, at once, as always, secret and singing ... but appreciably heavier, he discerned, and quickened. News of Wren? Difficulty at the police station – Eimear guarded and down-playing her report, Flynn ... burning? He could imagine the scene, were Catherine and he the players. A call to Joe, perhaps ... to Jenny? She’d left her work, her life above, almost literally strewn across her desk. But he cautioned himself: Heed your own testimony. You can’t read her mind. It would be ... imprecise ... to speculate. Unhelpful, unsettling, borrowing of trouble. She was safe if burdened, she was purposed, she was coming to him. That much he knew.  

“Today. Soon, I think.” 

“Today!”

Her surprise tripped him. He should forego the steaming plunge bath, not make work for an already frazzled friend, mother, healer, leader. “I can set up the room. I know you’re–”


Pffft!” She snatched up the shoe he reached for, nabbed the other. “Don’t be silly. We have guest chambers.” She winked at him. “With doors. Not too close, but not too far away, either.” Stone pegs studded the cavern wall, and Liz fitted the padded collars of his boots over the two longest. The shoes rocked on their rounded toes, but she balanced them with a touch to the heels. “Is she on vacation?” she asked over her shoulder, and he shook his head. “It’s kind of a hike from here to her office, is all,” she went on. 

“She drove Eimear home last evening. Her car ... She’s parked ...”

“She’d get downtown faster walking. The 4 train’ll take her straight to work, or if she’s headed home, either home, her apartment or your chambers, she’ll switch to the D at Yankee Stadium. I’ve got a map; I’ll stick it in the frame of the mirror. But ...” 


Instead of finishing her thought, maddeningly, Liz unbuckled her medical bag and folded back the flap, studied the contents again. Chose something, then a second something, leaving a stoppered bottle on the ledge by her satchel, handing him small, round, sky-blue and red tin container. Ammen’s Powder. A salesman’s sample from some abandoned stash in a forgotten sub-basement. To dust his boots, to shake inside his socks. He nodded his understanding and thanks, stowed the talc beneath his stool.

“She’s not going home first?” Liz asked. “For clothes? Work stuff?” she clarified, when he only stared at her. “I sure can’t loan her anything to wear, and Wren’s a foot taller than Catherine.”

A weave of complications ... a tangle. He felt a knot forming between his brows. “I ... I didn’t think. Perhaps I should have ... I just wanted ...” 

Liz waved away his burgeoning doubts. “My take on Catherine and logistics? She’s got it under control. Besides, you said the magic word. Want. Lemme tell ya, that one works.” 

Kanin’s story of home-going and failed overture murmured in his memory. Not always

He was a lucky man, a very lucky man. When next he held Catherine, he would tell her so. Show her.

“Olivia ... She’s on her way, too, then.” 

Liz softened her statement, faded the question from it, seeking a casualness he sensed she didn’t feel. The rooms she’d readied for Olivia and Kanin, the linens, the lilacs ... No doubt she’d delayed a dozen duties to lay out the welcome. No doubt she read letdown in Kanin’s face and tread, in his unaccompanied arrival.  Yet ... 

If, Olivia had said. If we can’t make it work. From the snarl of anger and broken faith, a strand of hope had curled out. He had to believe it was tied to a heart’s core of possibility and in its tensile strength. He must be as convinced of Olivia’s abiding love as he’d advised Kanin to be, must act and speak as if the conclusion were foregone, act as if until it was.  Had he not vowed as much at their wedding, he Kanin’s chosen best man, he charged with witness, charged to stand for loyalty, trust, fidelity, forgiveness, charged to support and protect their union with his whole heart, even when, particularly when, they could not? 

He swallowed back a no, shook his head. “Not ... today.”

Olivia had bristled at her old friend’s presumed offer of perfect pity, perfect sympathy, but Liz showed only compassion – concern, a twinge of loss, a wishfulness – all in the soft curve of her posture. They’d once been close, Liz and Olivia. Necessary, each to the other. He couldn’t recall a cleaving incident – no argument, simmering or manifest – before Liz moved away. Olivia’s and Jesse’s young love had blossomed seemingly overnight. One day, friends-since-childhood, just two of a dozen of their similarly-aged tribe. The next day ... aware ... as if a crowded Winterfest dance floor had spontaneously cleared leaving the two of them alone its center. Had Liz looked on from the sidelines? Cared for Jesse herself? Had Olivia perceived her as a rival? 

And hadn’t they tacitly agreed – hardly a moment ago and twice already – enough... for now. 

“When you left us ... was it because of Jesse?”

As boggled as he by his blurted question, Liz snagged a breath over parted lips. “Jesse! Olivia’s Jesse?Like wind-driven clouds, emotions scuttled through her. Sadness, bewilderment ... a rare shyness. A perplexing, affectionate patience. “Sweet Jesse. He was a good guy, and I miss him, but did I leave because of him? No. No. How did you ... Why would ...She blinked as if to clear the veil of years, shook her head as if to dislodge a memory. Liz at a loss for words ... a rare and curious thing.

“I’m sorry,” they said at the same time. “I just–”


“You first,” each encouraged the other.

Liz laughed ... as did he. “How long has it been since we coincided like that?”

“Too long.” 

Liz sank down opposite him, sat back on her heels. She rubbed her palms over her knees. “I didn’t leave because of Jesse, Vincent.”

“Was it Noah? Did you know already ... that you loved?” Even as he asked, he calendared the answers. Years passed before Noah and she committed to each other.

“Noah was eat-up with Minna then. Everybody was ... and I mean everybody except Olivia and Jesse. And me and you. But you remember her, don’t you?” 


Liz mimed Minna’s long, waving, impossibly pale spun gold hair, then held her spread and rounded fingers well out in front of her own chest. He chuckled, hoping the vision, comic though it was, didn’t flush his cheeks. 

Uh huh,” Liz clucked, going on after a sniffy pause. “She was a nice girl, really. Kindhearted. Other-oriented. Modest, even. She never used her looks, just couldn’t help being spectacular. I called her Helen behind her back ... well, only to myself. You know, Helen of Troy. A face–” She broke off, coughing dramatically into her fist. “That launched a thousand ships ... and inspired some of the most overwrought love poetry ever to get sent down the sinks.”

“You knew about Noah’s poems?”

“I know so many things, Vincent ...” They shared a smile, but then she sobered. A silence magnified between them. “Except why we’re talking about this now. My moving north, I mean.”

“I was crushed when you left. I never told you. Never asked ...”

“You just accepted. I was glad I didn’t have to explain, because ... ... ... I wasn’t sure I could.”


“I was sad ... and angry ... and relieved. I’m only now beginning to understand why. Why I felt that way, why I couldn’t admit it.” He tucked his chin. “So much lost time.” 

“Not lost. Full.” She squeezed his knee. “Remember what we were studying right before? Emerson’s Circles? Step by step we scale this mysterious ladder; the steps are actions, the new prospect power. A man never rises so high as when he knows not whither he is going.” I was so sure I knew how certain things would play out, and if I wanted them to be different, I had to do something, break up my whole chain of habits."5 She squeezed his knee again. “If I could give my young self some advice, I’d tell me not to believe everything I think. But whatever my reasons were, they changed over time, became truer. Clarity comes with a little distance and experience and willingness. Making room to be surprised.” She peered up at him, her hands spread, encompassing. “Look at us – we’re here now. In this place, this good place. That’s what matters. 

Here. In this place. Circles rippled out from Liz’s words, the small ring of meaning at the center rushing on all sides to new and larger circles, to new prospects.6 He scanned the chamber once more – the foggy pool, the glittery domed ceiling, cast his spirit out to the reaches of the territory, through the hoodoo mazes, behind the flumey waterfalls, the soaring, lacy cataracts,  skirting the black-water lakes, the still pools and silver shallows.  Something ... A vibration, a strange harmony ...

Liz touched his arm. “Quiet friend who has come so far ..."7

Feel how your breathing makes more space around you, he finished in his heart.8

“Vincent. Vincent. Time to boogie.”


Her satchel of treatments squared away again, the buckles refastened, Liz deposited the bag near the archway of the corridor back to camp, returning with an armload of bright white towels from the laundered stack on the chiseled stone shelf. She piled them at the rim of the pool, hustled back to lift a perforated galvanized bucket from a stake of rebar hammered into the mica schist, to load it with the toiletries Catherine had purchased.  

Was it only two days ago she’d gone above with Aniela? An age had surely passed.


A chain attached to the bucket’s wooden-handled bail, the last link a hammered-iron, single-pronged hook. Liz anchored it over a jut of rock and dropped the pail of supplies over the edge. It bobbed and floated in the water’s pulse and eddy. Old Pal, the minnow bucket’s flaked red paint still proclaimed.

Swishing the pool’s surface with her hand, plunging in to her elbow, she tested the temperature. “You’re still good,” she announced, rising from her poolside crouch. Her arm scrubbed dry on the fabric of her over-shirt, she gestured shoulder to knees. “Off with all that. Dump everything in the laundry crate. Noah or Stuart, one, will bring you some clean clothes and a head’s up on whatever’s going on out there.” Liz grabbed the handle of her satchel, swept the long strap over her head, settled the bag on her hip. She patted the bulky contents. “I left a vial of oil on the ledge. Take it in with you and pour it in, all of it. Breathe deep. You know. Out with the old, in with the new. You’ll be glad you did.”

He nodded his cooperation. “Mouse ... He’ll be all right?”


“The next twelve hours will tell, but he seems fine. Miraculously fine. I didn’t think he’d yank his shoes and socks off so fast, but going barefoot probably kept him close to the fire. I’ll work on him some, check his ankles for swelling, give his lungs a good listen and him a stiff lecture on rest.  Plus, I had Noah send a message for Peter to come.” 

“Liz ... Thank you.”

“You’re more than welcome, Vincent, and I mean that in more than the obvious way. Now, in you go. The hot’s not gonna last.” She swerved at the entrance to the corridor back to camp, retraced a few formidable steps. Behind her the nearest torches quivered. “One more thing,” Liz said, and he froze in mid-peel, his arms crossed, his hands gripping the hem of his sweater. “If you ever ... ever ... even so much as allude to riding on top of a subway car in front of my boys, I will hunt you down and finish you off. It won’t be quick, either.”

Uncle?” he ventured.

“Exactly. You are one, after all. The one I always wanted for them.”





Click HERE for Chapter 76

________________

1. Naomi Shihab Nye. Kindness.
2. Emily Dickinson. I Dwell in Possibility (paraphrased).
3. Walt Whitman. A Clear Midnight. From Noon to Starry Night. Leaves of Grass. 1881.
4. William Shakespeare. Henry V. Scene 1. 1599.
5. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Circles. Essays. 1841.
6. Ibid.
7. Rainer Maria Rilke. Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower.
8. Ibid.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh well done Carole! We so often pity Vincent his aloneness -- and give thanks to Catherine for ending it -- and forget that he is also a highly contemplative creature who REQUIRES aloneness in order to process experiences, feelings, and understand himself better, to find equilibrium. Aloneness is an enemy when he is indeed lonely and in need of companionship, but it is also a friend when the press of responsibilities and the accumulation of unprocessed experience becomes too much.

Too often, Vincent lets that pressure build up to dangerous levels, denying himself the regular privacy he needs in order to be always available to his community. When that happens, a few hours by the Mirror Pool or at the Triple Falls isn't enough. He suddenly finds himself barrelling down to the Nameless River. Liz has very aptly identified that Vincent needs to care for himself first, so that he may in turn care for others. He needs to build regular periods of alone time into his schedule -- and make the community respect them. Catherine knows this too, although for her it is the need for them to have time alone together. I suspect she also knows that he needs time away from her as well.

How wonderful that Liz and Vincent -- these two old friends who haven't seen much of each other over the years -- have had this time to reconnect and to learn that some of their suppositions have been wrong! When Liz was half-articulating her reasons for leaving Father's community and moving to the North, I kept hearing some of Stephen Sondheim's lyrics -- "I chose and the world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not. You keep moving on."

Brava! Anxious, as always, for more!

Regards, Lindariel

Anonymous said...

Another well written chapter that actually took some time to sink in for me and a proper 2nd reading. It is good for Vincent to have a friend, maybe more of a soul mate that is not shy in pushing him to the right questions and answers. Catherine does that too, she confronts him and sometimes almost forces him to speak out things he wouldn't dare to otherwise. Somehow, he needs both of that it seems for his own good.
For a person who is very caring about friends and family, it can be difficult sometimes to draw a line in the dust; the concerns of others are more important than your own; at some point, you'll notice how much it strains you to try and make everything alright for them, and your own needs get forced into the background. It takes some courage to point out that line to those you love and make them realize you have needs also.
I think for someone like Vincent who grew up with the knowledge there's no other place for him to go, and with the gratefulness for the possibility of a life that's as close to normal as it can be, it's even more difficult. Especially since he turned out to be the communities No. 1 solution when it comes to defending their homes from intrusions, a point that eventually has been realized by others.

I think every single one of us has a place where we can just let our thoughts roam free, can take a look at them and come to terms with situations or emotions, find the answers for some questions. It might be an actual place, or a situation that allows us "to sort ourselves out" as I call it.
For Vincent, it is the time he can spend alone at a place where nothing else matters, just he and his thoughts. I'm also pretty sure Catherine knows about that, she probably got the clues over the years, and smart woman that she is, she knows when it's time to give him the space he needs and when it's time to push his buttons so he'll finally speak out what he used to bury deep inside.
Liz pretty much blows into the same horn as Catherine with tyring to open Vincent's eyes to the fact that he's wearing himself out for the community, and we all know that sometimes the opinion or the nudges we get from someone outside of our usual circle of friends have a greater effect than what those close to us tell us. At the best, they confirm what you might already have considered or known and you take the needed actions.
Liz gave Vincent some reassurance I think, the knowledge that he is understood and known for whom he is - not only by Catherine, but by others too, on a deep level - and that he has not to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders all by himself.

I can't wait to see how his train of thoughts finally works out and what he's telling Catherine, and I'm also very curious about the "sub-story" about Liz and Vincent you mentioned.

And so I'm back to waiting impatiently for the continuation. ^^

(sorry for the rambling)

Greetings,
the Cat

Brit said...

I had to grab a hot cup of tea and a bagel while I read this. It just seemed like the thing to do, Carole. I can't wait to read more of Liz and Vincent. To see Catherine and Vincent reunite. To read more of Flynn and Eimear. And what of Rosie and Joe? :) so much to wait for and so worth the wait. Thank you.
Hugs

Carole W said...

Lindariel, Crashcat, and Brit - I owe you thankful responses, and I promise to get back here to do so ASAP. But for now, thank you three so very much for your encouragement and kindness. You do put me in the spirit to keep plugging away.

More later,
C

Anonymous said...

No worries, Carole - I'm sure we'll all wait with more or less patience. :)
Your stories are well worth the wait.

Greetings from The Old Lands,
The Cat

KTaylor said...

Carol,
Thrilled I have found my way to your beautiful stories I am a huge fan of Catherine and Vincent Can't wait for the next chapter!
KTaylor

Carole W said...

Lindariel, I can't adequately express how grateful I am for your thoughtful and well-expressed responses to this story. I learn from you, you know! I am humbled and thrilled that you can find the things you find in the pages. Of course, I'm also petrified of going dull and boring, so now I'm working even harder.

I'm intrigued by Sondheim's lyrics you quoted. I have to find the rest of them.

You know, I need a lot of aloneness, too, and I'm just a regular person. I can't imagine how someone as sensitive as Vincent is to others' emotions can get enough aloneness to hear himself think! It's his singular burden to bear, but I think he needs to realize more fully how necessary it is, not see it as a fault. He's learning, I think.

Liz ... I have to admit I like her. she was a good, good friend to Vincent when he needed one. Oh, I cut out so much of her backstory! One of these days ... :-)

Thank you again and again, for reading and sharing your thoughts. You're important to me.

Carole

Carole W said...

CrashCat! Your musings just set me off to thinking and thinking more. You make so many very good points. I'll be studying you, too, for your insights and observations are layered and meaningful.

Yes, Vincent might have thought only Devin understood him, but Liz cleared the fog away from that assumption. Her backstory is just nudging and nudging me. I've wanted to explore that dark excursion Vincent had to make after the incident with Lisa. Now I think it had to affect Liz very deeply. I want to write it all out ... but not now! Not instead of finishing I/V!!! Oh, but how I'm thinking about it!

Vincent has so much space to roam alone and so many rivers to settle by their shores. Flynn could use some of that, can't you imagine? Well, very very very soon, that subject will be explored.

Thank you so much for reading and for your encouragement. That you'd take the time to share these complex thoughts is so appreciated. I read your comments several times as well, and I found something new and intriguing each time through.

Carole

Carole W said...

Brit! Thank you for stopping in and saying hello. I'm so glad to know you're still there.

Yes, what of Rosie and Joe!!! I haven't forgotten them, not at all. I'll be bringing Rosie back from Rochester in just a jif. Did Joe go up there to drive her home? I promise to add more to that thread very soon.

And poor Flynn. He's a mess. He needs a friend who can understand the darkest parts. I am looking forward to digging into that first conversation very much. I've had it in my mind since the beginning (gulp, such a long time ago!)

But Vincent's in the darned pool! He needs to get on out, doesn't he. :-)

And his and Catherine's reunion. I want that to happen soon, too. They will be needing each other by now.

You're a dear one to write to me. Thank you, Brit, for your encouragement, always.

C

Carole W said...

KTaylor, thank you for your kind words! I was so surprised and so pleased to find your message. I know I'm slow, but I do promise to try my best to finish this story well.

It means a lot that you said hello. I'm grateful you're reading and I hope you'll come back.

Carole

Carole W said...

To all - I know I've been a little out of pocket lately. I had some wonderful company, but I couldn't let her see how out of control my house had gotten, so I had to Clean. That's Clean with a capital-C!

I won't mention I had to do our taxes. Yes, I so put them off.

And I'm editing the conzine this year, a new challenge. It's going to be a good one - so many submissions! - but I'm new at layout and just as tweaky as I am at writing! The deadline for printing is soon, though, so there is light in the tunnels.

If you can't go to the convention - and I hope you all will try - you can order a copy of the conzine. The proceeds go to the con charity. If you need the link to register or order, it's in my sidebar - the Con link.

More soon,
Carole

Anonymous said...

Hi Carole!

The Sondheim lyrics are from "Sunday in the Park with George," and they apply to a visual artist -- a painter -- but they are so universal. Here's the lyrics and a link to the original Broadway production with Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in the lead roles.

Move On
from the musical “Sunday in the Park With George”
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Stop worrying where you're going—move on
.
If you can know where you're going, you've gone
.
Just keep moving on.

I chose, and my world was shaken—so what?

The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.

You have to move on.

Look at what you want,

not at where you are,
not at what you'll be.

Look at all the things you've done for me:

opened up my eyes,
 taught me how to see,

notice every tree,

understand the light,

concentrate on now.



I want to explore the light.
I want to find how to get through,

through to something new,

Something of my own—move on.

Move on.

Stop worrying if your vision is new.

Let others make that decision—they usually do.
You keep moving on.

Look at what you've done
, then at what you want,
not at where you are,
 what you'll be.
Look at all the things you've done for me.
Let me give to you something in return.
See what’s in my eyes
And the color of my hair
And the way it catches light
And the care
And the feeling

And the life moving on!

We've always belonged together.

We will always belong together.
Just keep moving on.

Anything you do, let it come from you.
Then it will be new.
Give us more to see…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVC4MrUEBRo

If you've never seen this amazing, amazing show, then you really, really must!

Regards, Lindariel

Anonymous said...

*taps fingers on the desk*
*makes some tasty cookies and waves the scent over to Carole*
*pretends to die of curiousity*

Guess it's obvious I'm hoping for a new chapter to show up soon. ^^
Can't wait! :)

Greetings,
the Crashcat

Carole W said...

Crashcat, I am inspired by cookie scent! And seriously - encouraged by your interest.

I wish I could tell you the chapter is almost done. I'm the editor and designer of this year's conzine, which must go to the printer soon. I've been pretty busy with the many submissions and layout, but see that project coming together well now. I should be able to get more writing in now.

I'd say I need an extra week for the next I/V chapter. Catherine has been very busy up top, and things are about to ratchet way up. :-)

Thank you so much for asking after me. It matters!

C

Carole W said...

Argh!! if only I could edit out the repeat of the word 'now' in that last comment!!

Carole

Anonymous said...

*tries to avoid serious withdrawal*
Hope you could convince those furry tumbleweeds to stay away! I have 4 cats myself, I know -exactly- what you're dealing with...
Hope those sticky notes are making it into a nice chapter asap. ^^ *waves muffin scent over to Carole*

The Crashcat
across the Ocean

Carole W said...

Crashcat, I was just fixing to email you!

I'm having withdrawal myself and can't wait to get on with this story. I think (crosses fingers) I should be free to steadily work on it now. The only thing looming is the huge clean out of my daughter's garage and help with a yard sale, but that's just a couple days work (I hope).

More soon -
Carole

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to read from you. :) I guess you haven't send it off yet, since I could see nothing in my inbox.
Garage Sale, huh? Sounds like lots of things and memories connected to them. I hope for you it's not too much work. :)
Too bad I don't have your address because in the next few days, a friend of mine is headed to the US and he asked me if I had something that had to be sent there. *teases with fresh chocolate chip cookies*

Looking forward to your message. :)

The Cat

Brenda K said...

Carole --
Yes, I'm still around, and still checking in regularly on your doings here. Believe it or not, I felt moved to re-read (again!) from the very beginning, ICYH, all the way to Chapter 77. I stopped here, knowing that I must share my impressions after this chapter and the last one.

The easy, quiet intimacy between Liz and Vincent -- an ease he does not even have with Catherine or Father -- is such a rare thing between people. Even siblings who grow up together don't always develop this kind of unfettered acceptance of each other, this soul-deep understanding of who and what you are. It's warming.

I might not be seeing what you meant to convey, but it seems to me that Liz left the center tunnels because she loved Vincent, and knew it would always be unrequited -- that she would always be sister, as close in her way as Devin was a brother to him, but never what she wanted to be. That she was exasperated beyond endurance by his captivation with Lisa - that shallow, flittery decoration -- but still he would rip himself apart over someone so essentially unworthy, and never realize what was right by his side the whole time, waiting. She decided not to wait - she made a healthy decision out of strength and intelligence, and self-esteem, and I so admire her for the ability at so young an age. Rebecca to Vincent's Ivanhoe, she walked out with her head high, taking his love, his respect, and his intimacy with her, intact and undamaged, to build a different life for herself. And yet she did not abandon him, as Lisa did without a backward glance.

These glimpses trumpet backstories that demand to be told someday, Carole. You could easily spend decades filling in this world, the way J.R.R. Tolkien built Middle Earth nearly all his life.

Carole W said...

Brenda, first off, I am *so* glad to hear from you. You are often on my mind and I've been wondering how you are, how all your loved ones and your interests are faring. I hope to hear more in detail!

Next, wow. Thank you for re-reading. I can't tell you how much that means to me, how grateful I am for your willingness to visit these stories again. You've made me feel great hope in this period of not-writing (coming not from lack of writing desire or muse nudges, but from the all-consuming other responsibilities and deadlines.) Your generous words inspire me to hurry back to work as soon as possible.

You're finding exactly what I hoped to convey. Liz did love Vincent. For all his empathic qualities, he didn't sense, see, know ... and apparently doesn't get it even in hindsight. Catherine's diagnosis, that he was afraid to deserve love, might could stand some introspection. Of course, Vincent's just the empath who might understand it's best to not name feelings that are long past doing anything about. His friendship with Liz has done more than survive - it's natural and given - even though he'd rather abandoned these friends trying to *be* what he believed was expected of him back home.

I'm touched that you think these moments might flesh out into future stories. I can't adequately express how humbling and how cheering that is to hear. I have printed out your message and it's tacked to my bulletin board where I can see it and smile and take hope. You're good to me.

Hugs,
Carole