Saturday, November 22, 2008
She refused to look at anyone who passed in front or behind her. She refused to look at the man who sat down beside her.
"What's a pretty girl like you doing all alone?" he said with a sickening smirk and cocked head.
She ignored him.
"What the matter? Cat's got your tongue?"
She said nothing.
The man slid closer to her and put his arm across the top of the bench. His filthy smell of cologne stunk up the air.
"You know I have been looking for a new secretary."
As he finished his sentence, she slowly turned and looked at him.
"Wow, what beautiful eyes you have." he said, acting as though he were too irresistible for words.
In a low controlled voice she said, "Get away from me before I gut you like a fish and drape your insides around your neck like a tie and stuff your liver in your mouth... old man." Insanity burned out of her eyes with such force; the man stumbled up and ran like a scared child.
Her name was Agatha. She was named this because her mother told her all she did was cause agony in her life.
Aggi got home late, so she became invisible as she walked in. She did not know her parents could see her. They told her she could turn invisible since she was a kid. They thought it was funny. Aggi knew nothing else. They had kept her isolated. She was their experiment to see what they could get away with. It was purely for their own entertainment.
Aggi lived in a quiet, negative world. Either her parents didn't talk to her, or they were telling her how she did something wrong or was just bad.
Her parents kept pretty pictures ripped out from fashion magazines taped up and down the hallway to Aggi's room. They told her she was ugly because she was a bad person. When she started being good she would turn pretty. Whenever Aggi got the courage up she would look into the mirror to see if she had changed.
Most people would say she's a beautiful girl. Her baby fine soft blond hair wisps about her shoulders. She is average height and very slim like a runway model. She has a perfect complexion, flawless in fact. Her eyes stood out the most, crystal blue eyes that could change in an instant from penetrating to vacant. Girls are jealous and boys want her. When she sees herself in a mirror, she sees a warped monster as a reflection.
Aggi did all the chores in the house. Her parents were pigs. They dropped their garbage wherever they were at the time. Her parents loved American cheese wrapped slices. The clear cellophane was everywhere along with her father's contact lens. He would take them out and just drop them where he stood. Sometimes he thought it was funny to throw used ones on her.
Her parents never cleaned. They said their time was worth too much to do it. The house was either disgusting or Aggi had cleaned it. She could not stand mess. It made her mind foggy, and she couldn't think. Her parents had her bury most of the trash in the yard; they said it was "weed block". Aggi put anything else in black garbage bags and slid it under various neighbor's hedges at night.
She cleaned up every night before she went to bed. She was always so tired. She set her alarm for 11:50 p.m. She then placed it beside her pillow so she would not bother her parents. She did this ritual every night of her life.
When Aggi was little, her mother told her to stop crying or at midnight her face would freeze like that forever. To prove it to her they showed her deformed pictures of people and pointed out deformed people on the street. They said they froze like that. Her parents tapped these pictures up and down the walls of the hallway leading up to her room.
When the alarm went off, she would position herself without expression, and hope she did not sneeze. After midnight, she would set her alarm for school.
Aggi's world was so ugly at times. She felt divided into two. The world had so much to offer and could be so beautiful, yet horror was constantly shoved into her face.
"We are donating your body to science, you know... we own you until you are eighteen." her mom said with her head tilted down and eyes peering from the top of her head.
"If we piece you out, we should make a pretty penny." After a few moments of silence, her parents exploded with laughter and started poking at each other like kids in grade school.
Aggi said nothing.
The morning after they told her about donating her body, there were pictures taped up of cadavers in various stages of dissection. They were very disturbing. Some of the pictures took a minute to understand. The head sitting in a tin-cooking pan with the face skin lifted and folded over on itself was one of those. Another was the skin of an old man's face resting on a stainless steel counter. It looked like a rubbery Halloween mask. Her parents wrote messages on paper and tapped them beside the photos. One scribbled message said, "I'm coming to get you!" in red ink.
Aggi watched the families on T.V. and wished for a life like that. Her favorite show was the Brady Bunch reruns. They were perfect. Especially their scrumptious dinners they had. They all sat together and passed around heaping platters of food. She loved the way their forks tinked on the plates. She wanted a family like that.
She would sneak out at night so she could walk the streets peeking from a distance into lit windows, imagining the happy life the people had in there. Especially when it was a cool crisp night, and the smell of logs burning in the fireplace swept through the night air. She imagined people huddled around the fireplace, laughing and playing games. Even not speaking at all, just content, safe and loved.
Aggi's heart was heavy. She wanted someone to love and to be loved back. She created her own family. Aggi looked through old Sears and Penny's store catalogs. She found pictures of kids who she wished were her older brothers and sisters. They became real to her. So no one would find her paper family, she folded them into origami designs. She kept them on her nightstand. They were her secret family.
Her mom would sometimes come into Aggi's room just to knock one over and watch Aggi squirm as she crushed it under her foot. Her mom knew they were important to her, she just didn't know why. As it would fall to the floor, Aggi would hold her breath. Please be O.K. ... please be O.K. As her mom would grind it into the floor, Aggi would cover her ears to muffle the screams she heard from her origami person. She would close her eyes hard and say nothing.
"You are so weird, what did I ever do to deserve you?" Her mother blurted, "Why didn't I just abort you? I tries you know, I stuck soap up me to wash you out but you wouldn't die."
No matter how many times she heard this, it still hurt.
As her mother left the room you could hear her whine "What am I being punished for?"
Aggi gave herself a few moments to feel sad, then pushed it away. She had work to do. Aggi got one of her little coffins she made out of old cereal boxes and buried her friend outside. It started to rain. She tilted her head back to let the rain roll down her face. It mixed with the tears. She memorized the moment.
The interrogation had been going on for hours. The room was damp and smelled like mold. A cheap table and fold out metal chairs were the only items in the room. The fluorescent light made everyone look sickly. Aggi had her legs pulled up to her chest. Her thin pale blond hair clumped together made her appear almost bald. Band-Aids were wrapped on her fingers to help her from chewing her skin bloody. Her watery blue eyes stared vacantly at the ground.
"Explain this so I can understand."
"I am so cold. I hate to be cold. Can't we go somewhere else?"
"I need you to explain why this was in your pocket."
"I really have to go to the bathroom."
"After we get some information from you. Look, you seem like a nice kid, but you need to help us to understand."
"It's for good luck."
"Good luck? How would this give you good luck?"
Aggi's eyes met the detective's. She stared hard into his eyes with a puzzled look, then stared back at the floor.
"I don't know."
"Look, I don't know what happened to you in your life, but this isn't normal, this isn't right, if you are..."
Her head came up quickly at an uncanny angle and her dull blue eyes suddenly sparkled.
"When I went to see her in her coffin, I waited until everyone left. I took out my flower cutters and snipped off her finger. It was only a little one. Who would care? She was my friend and I needed to keep a part of her with me. You know, so I would not forget her. That's all."
Aggi then walked over to the door and stared at it waiting to be let out. The room was silent.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I received word that my book is not the right fit for the agent I sent it to. Does it feel uncomfortable? Yes. Am I crushed? No. I really want to work with an agent and I want it to be the right match.
There is nothing more magical than someone who believes in you, who admires what you do.
So until I find that person, I will keep moving forward... one moment at a time.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
It is so interesting how it works... writing the second book. It is like painting. There is a time when you just move on. I had some pieces that just didn't fit in my first book, so I set them aside. But it makes sense now, they were for the second book. My story about Aggi is not done yet. She has so much more to say and to do. It is very exciting writing for her when she is further along in her process. How does it work for you?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I sent it. I sent my manuscript to be considered by an agency.
I feel sick to my stomach and want to celebrate at the same time. It will either be something they will be interested in, or not. If it is, I will be very happy. I did a lot of research and found someone I would be honored to represented by. If it does not work, that is O.K., it has to be the right fit. I honor that too.
I am going to sit now, try to clear my mind and imagine my future. Touching people's lives with my words. It is a beautiful thing...
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I queried an agent and heard back on Halloween of all days. They asked me to send my manuscript for consideration.
I can tell you... the little voices in my head are saying, "They are going to laugh at you!"
They are strong.
They can be overwhelming.
Though I am by myself right now, I feel embarrassed and humiliated. I know this is not what you expect me to say. I am just speaking my truth. I hope if there is another writer out there that thinks they are the only one that feels this... they are not alone.
I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to send this agency my work. My positive thoughts will eventually quiet my negative thoughts. It will pass, it always does. Believe me. Though I want to hide away, I will make another baby step forward into the future I want to create.
Wish me luck...