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Wind chime (more polished original and more...)

by Mattyai16 

Posted: 26 July 2003
Word Count: 1817
Summary: The end is first, then the beginning of them. Very rough in places but i had to write it down while i had some inspiration (3AM this morning). Im entirely unconvinced by the second scene, as i feel it drifts off towards the end, but comments, criticism and advice is very very welcome!

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As he sat precariously on the edge of the bed his entire consciousness was transfixed on the cracked corner of the ceiling. The splintered paint, the mildew stained corners with dense cobweb canopies between verticals and horizontals. The ceiling had the same lived-in feeling that Adam had right now. He felt old when he really wasn’t. He felt like he’d had more than his fair share of cracks in his life, an over-generous scattering of stains on his otherwise perfectly proficient personality and now he felt old. Old like the cobwebs. Like the cobwebs veiled the ceiling Adam felt hidden somehow. He felt like he once knew himself inside-out, knew exactly how he’d react to anything but as his life went on he knew not more but less about himself. Adam had become shrouded in cobwebs.

She would sleep eternally in his eyes, never wake. The sleeping beauty he knew and loved would die the very same. Her purity grabbed out at him, for him, as she lay there - It begged for him, to comfort her in times of desperation to inspire when she lacked it and more than anything just to be there for her, with her. Adam slid his hand lightly across her cheek feeling her warm, tingly, enlightening glow one last time. He turned around, shutting his eyes tight, trying to disengage his emotions. Adam needed to get out of here before he changed his mind. He couldn’t look back; it would be the end of him if he did. His mind leapt from thought to thought, the possible consequences of his actions were flashing through his head. He knew this was the right thing to do. He knew this was the unselfish thing to do. This was best for her. She deserved better than him, and although she didn’t realise it now she would someday, sooner rather than later. She’d disregard him; find someone better, someone worthy of her delicate touch, her true beauty.

He gazed into the corner again, the wind chime dangled loosely, humming from time to time as the light breeze fed in through the window. The one highlight of the otherwise barren landscape of the ceiling was a gift from her. It was fresh, scattering light softly over the room off the metallic cylinders and sent Adam to sleep night after night with the soothing harmonies it effortlessly orchestrated. He stepped forward, his eyes following it until it was blocked out by the rotten door frame. Adam took a slow, deep, fulfilling breath, stepped forward and never looked back.

* * * * *

He was mesmerised by her from the very first fleeting glance. Her eyes were almost closed; her pupils shrouded in reflection. Her face was a moving depiction of misery. A tear slid effortlessly down her rosy cheeks. He felt her presence even when he turned around to walk away, flowers in hand. Adam’s body was tingling, his mind graciously dancing with her emanating glow. He had stopped still, the dampness seeping through his jacket as his thoughts wildly weaved themselves.

She was leaning against a lamp post, the water cascading from the light shell onto her shoulders and hair. Mascara was running down her face, her dark brown hair drenched. The damp black dress hugged her slim figure, accentuating her beautiful feminine curves. Adam was seeing her at her worst, her unhappiest, and he was completely spellbound. Her every movement was traced by his sweeping stare. The rain poured down through his hair, over his face but yet he didn’t move onwards. He didn’t close his eyes, or even squint. He stood, far off, and gazed at her. His grip let loose, the flowers slipping from his hand to the pavement. The roses crumpled into each other, losing their shape. The barrage of water rained down on them, unceasing in its menace, finally laying them to waste.

He walked over to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. The starlight reflected the strange sight on the pavement, of complete strangers sitting together whilst the rain beat down on them. Occasional ripples sent from road middle to edge as cars slid past distorting the otherwise perfect harmony of the two figures. Her elegance contrasted with his raw simplicity. All onlookers could see lovers, not strangers. She looked at Adam, the stars reflected in her eyes and tears, and smiled. Neither of them spoke, they had nothing to say to each other. He took off his jacket and put it around her shoulders, it was damp but drier than her. The air was whistling around the narrow street, wrapping up the clothes around pedestrians’ ice cold bodies. The wind sloshed the water around the pavements, lapping waves against the hard concrete curb and over both her high-heeled shoes and his highly polished loafers.

Her emotions were running high, as they tend to after a dramatic, but much expected, break-up. She was relieved more than anything but nothing can ever prepare anyone for the end of a year-long relationship. Not even her friends, who had told her to split with him since December when it was now February. How right they’d been about him. She felt stupid, demoralised and gutted all in one potent emotional basket. Her head was a mixed bag of feelings. She felt like she had a gaping hole in her life once more, one which could only be filled by a deep and loving relationship. She felt ridiculous at not taking her friends’ advice and annoyed that he had finished with her.

Most of all though she craved the name of the silent sweet-looking guy beside her. She longed for warmth, for affection. She needed compassion, not pity. For once she needed someone more than they needed her. She spent life, day-in day-out being demanded by people at work, relied upon for everything she did and was. Now though, the coin had flipped. A guy who wasn’t the world’s biggest success story, or even exceptionally popular was truly wanted, even needed, by her. He wasn’t exceptional in any ways, he would say. He seemed completely normal. Attractive but normal nonetheless.

“Does she love you?” she broke the silence, wiping a tear from her frosty cheeks.

“Huh?” Adam was confused and taken aback by her break of silence. She peered over at the flowers, then at him. He laughed, realising how stupid he must have seemed. How foolish was his first word to this girl, no, lady.

“Oh, I guess she does yeah. She’s a very special girl but aren’t they all?” Adam felt so comfortable with her already but yet she was so unexplored, so different. He was feeling what he knew he shouldn’t, that he wanted her more than his woman, his fiancé.

“Hannah and you?” she had extended her hand for a rather awkward handshake. With the handshake it rung true that he really had been in a fantasy for the past few minutes of his life. The handshake woke him up to the world, the normality of it destroyed the fantasy of them instantly. His face obviously showed a slight disappointment as she raised an eyebrow.

“I’ve never liked my name either, but never has anyone’s face dropped quite so much when I’ve told them. Thanks all the same though!” she giggled and relit the fire in Adam’s overly-analytical thoughts. He had stumbled into a fantasy and now it was changing into reality. Reality was never how he expected though, so he needed time to adjust.

“Adam. I used to know a Hannah once, she was nothing like you”. Once you know someone with a name, anyone else seems to be an invader and Adam was trying to convey this. He regretted saying it as the words had rolled off his tongue and struggled desperately to avoid a grimace as he realised that he’d uttered another stupid sentence. He had a glowing record for saying stupid things in important situations; this was just the lower limit of his repertoire. He had a dreadful feeling that he’d elevate to new levels pretty soon though.

Hannah for the first time let out a fully fledged smile, with no tears running down her cheeks and no sadness in her eyes.

“You’re funny; do you always look miserable after you say things? Or is it my effect on you? I hope not, ‘cos at this rate you could entertain me all night, and my dress can’t take much more moisture!” The rain was still beating down hard on the pavements, with no sign of it letting up. The sky was black aside from the occasional grey wisp of cloud floating in front of the crescent moon and a handful of stars glowing through the lighter clouds.

Adam excelled himself, “No, I do it when I say stupid stuff, when I mean to say smart stuff. Or when I really want to impress, or when I’m with a beautiful girl on a street corner, in the pouring rain, saying anything that comes to my mind, no matter how stupid. I don’t think before I speak, I just say.” He glanced left to her, she had her lips pressed together in a tight teeth less smile.

“Beau...” she began.

“Yes, beautiful.” He never backed down on something he believed, no matter on the consequences, probably why he had little success with women.

“Do you tell all the girls you bump into on a street corner that?”

“No, just the ones who are drenched to the skin, tearful and needing appreciation for what they are.”

“I mean, not that you’re just beautiful. I… you know what I mean.”

Hannah flicked her hand into the puddle at the edge of the road, spraying some water over his face. He gave her a stern look, ending her wicked laughter and splashing. Her heart fell for a second, her expression showed it. Utter disappointment. Adam, meanwhile lowered his right hand into the water, which was hidden from her, spooning as much water from the puddle as he could. He suddenly, without warning, lifted the hand up, releasing the water which exploded over her shoulders. Her eyes widened suddenly as the icy water dripped down her neck and chest. She looked at him, with complete shock on her face.

“That wasn’t revenge, that was plain cruel,” she exclaimed, with only a smidgen of laughter in her voice, “I really will freeze soon if I don’t get out of these clothes though”

She stood up, releasing more water to collide with pavement and shoot onto her ankles. She put her hand out to help him up, with a stern look on her face, implying if he pulled her down then she would get more than revenge. He took it and stood up. A few seconds of sweeping puddles off their clothes later and they were off. To where? Neither of them knew.

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Comments by other Members

Nell at 20:21 on 26 July 2003  Report this post
Hi Matt,

This is very sad - somehow he leaves her even though he found her just after some other guy had left her - what is it about this girl? I went back to the first version and read that before reading this just to refresh my memory. The whole piece is strangely mesmerising and I'm not at all sure why. I think the structure and the story work well - it's a little like a wheel coming full circle. Perhaps Adam and Hannah were together for a year also - she did have time to give him the wind chimes - perhaps they are both destined to move from one relationship to another. And then there's the girl he was going to meet - his fiancee - slightly forgotten by them both but...

I do feel in this that maybe you've explained a little too much, for example:

'Hannah flicked her hand into the puddle at the edge of the road, spraying some water over his face. He gave her a stern look, ending her wicked laughter and splashing. Her heart fell for a second, her expression showed it. Utter disappointment. Adam, meanwhile lowered his right hand into the water, which was hidden from her, spooning as much water from the puddle as he could. He suddenly, without warning, lifted the hand up, releasing the water which exploded over her shoulders. Her eyes widened suddenly as the icy water dripped down her neck and chest. She looked at him, with complete shock on her face.'

This might be better, or it might not, what do you think?

Hannah flicked her hand into the puddle, and Adam gasped as the cold water hit his face. He gave her a look, and she stopped; dismayed, silent, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. Suddenly her eyes widened as Adam lifted his hand to send icy water exploding over her shoulders to drip down her neck and chest. She stood looking at him, transfixed with shock.

I'm not suggesting a complete rewrite, just that you think a little about how you tell the story. I like the dialogue, I think it works well, and whatever you do be careful not to lose that mesmerising romantic quality that is rather beautiful. Hope this helps and I look forward to more.

Best, Nell

Becca at 07:26 on 27 July 2003  Report this post
Hi Matt. Is this part of something much longer, so that the first section in the room with cobwebs becomes clear later?
I liked the way you used the wind, rain and coldness of the street scene to give atmosphere to their encounter.
There is a poetic dreamy quality to your writing, which as Nell points out, is something not to lose. In fact, to develop it further in your writing would be a good thing.
But here are the buts...., and they're not hard things to deal with: you have a number of well worn phrases such as 'rolled off his tongue' 'glowing record' and fully fledged smile' and these work against the more writerly sentences in this piece. There is a name for what I'm saying, but I've lost my memory a bit this morning. Someone else will tell you the word I can't find. Found it! cliches. Were you to go back and find a totally unique way of saying the same thing on each occasion it would elevate this piece for you.
Nell has already touched on the explanation business. An example would be 'He never backed down on something he believed...' You could do away with this and it wouldn't affect the story adversely.
I still feel you could edit quite energetically and not lose anything, say at where you write 'He knew this was the right thing to do. He knew this was the unselfish thing to do.' If you need both 'right' and 'unselfish' in the idea, you could say 'He knew this was the right, the unselfish thing to do.'
I hope some of these thoughts make sense to you. A thing I do a lot is to put away a piece of work if I feel it isn't quite conveying what I want and look at it a long time later, that way you can sometimes really pin it down, because you can bring fresh thoughts into it.

Ralph at 09:39 on 29 July 2003  Report this post
This took me right back to the first time I met somebody I haven't thought about in a long time, and all the feelings were right there. Incredibly emotional, and so easy to connect with. There was something about that image you created of the two of them in the rain that hit so many truths, absolutely beautiful. Thank you for everything this piece provokes, it really made me smile.
There were a couple of places where the adjectives threw me out slightly. There's a poetry to your style that eliminates the need for so many descriptive words in some of your sentances - the rythym itself is enought o tell the reader I think. Does this make any sense?
I didn't feel that it fell away at the end, I thought it was beautiful, and I'm looking forwrd to see what comes next.
Keep writing

Mattyai16 at 22:45 on 29 July 2003  Report this post
Hey, thanks for all your comments! As usual very useful. I'm starting my re-write tomorrow, along with expanding the story (inspiration dependant).

Nell - I did consciously put the full circle idea in, though my initial ideas for the overall storyline was to dedicate the early phases to explaining how they got to the cobweb scene. Then go on to explore their lives as he turns from being distinctly normal to discovering his special gifts inside him, along with populairty and fame. Her life continues unchanged except she never forgets him, exactly not what he'd expect. Their paths are close to meeting several times and, perhaps, finally meet yet again on a street ni the pouring rain, both partnerless, and..... well please post your comments on this storyline?

Your rewrite of the splashing is much smoother than mine, i'll take this onboard in the rewrite.

Becca - I totally agree with you about cliches, it is a very bad and subconscious habit of mine. I always end up combing my work for them and changing them! You've made my life easier though, pointing out some early, hehe. Again, your sentence is better, creating a silkier flow to the piece.

On your last point, I definitely agree with coming back to work. I left the original version of this for a week and a half before returning (due to my holiday actually) and found a lot of niggly faults.

Ralph - Again, spot on with the adjectives. This early version of the second scene is patchy in places with regard to this, and some sentence structure. I'm flattered it broguht back memeories for you, i thought it more than a little unrealistic in places... Some of the romance is based on personal experience though.

Thanks a lot again


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