September Chatterbox: Willa-My-Willa

22 September 2014


'cause honey your soul could never grow old, it's evergreen
and, baby, your smile's forever in my mind and memory
i'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
maybe it's all part of a plan.
"thinking out loud" / / ed sheeran

"That's enough, Willa."
She stopped herself before the cream had a chance to run over the lip of her brimming cup. A monotonous lethargy in her eyes creaked and settled back into place. As she raised the china to her lips, her teeth chattered and her hand shook so that the hot liquid splashed down the front of her blouse.
"Here, allow me."
She flinched as he gently dabbed at the stains.
"They won't come out without hard scrubbing."
"It's been five years, Michael."
A pause. "I know."
"Then there's no need to treat me like a child."
When he sighed, it was progressive, layered, as if it had been building up over many years. Five years. More than that, actually, if you counted the heavy days that came before, the days when the troubles began, but she was never one for particulars. All she knew was that he had sat in the same chair each evening for five years, read the same chapter of the same book for five years, and never had an edge of bitterness crept into his tone.
"You must eat something with your coffee," he reminded her. He'd been doing that for five years, too. Always making sure she ate and drank. Perhaps it was a helpful thing; her mind was so far beyond the physical and well into the depths of the ethereal that she often forgot mealtimes. Willa wondered what would have happened to her if Michael were not as sensitive to the particulars as she was ignorant of them.
"I'm not hungry."
"I don't care. You're going to eat something."
"Oh, mind Dickens and leave me be."
"Here." Michael reached over and snatched a pear from the fruit bowl on the wobbly-legged coffee table. "Have a bit of fruit."
"I can't stand pears and you know that."
"I thought perhaps you'd changed your mind?" The corner of his mouth tilted upwards in the ghost of a smile.
"I'm too set in my ways for change now." She was amazed how refreshing it was to admit it, and smiled faintly.
"Ah. That I do know." He winked briefly, but as her smile strained, snapped, and caved in on itself once more, the merriment left his expression.
"Come, Willa. We must go one night without bringing this up. It's been—"
"You think I don't know how long it's been since his death?" Her eyes may be dry now, but the tears would come soon, as they always did. Like clockwork, her life came in the same row of dull stitches that she forced herself to yank out and redo, yank out and redo, day in and day out, through each blinding sunrise and each wearying sunset. "Won't someone give me relief?" Time had lost its medicinal power.
"Come here."
She crawled close under his arm, sniffling against his shirt and feeling all of six years old. He held her as she wept through the familiar storm that seemed to lighten with each passing day. It was getting better. Willa no longer shook like a sapling when he brought up the incident. Still, she was only human, and a fragile one at that. He remembered his father's warning when he'd asked the pale girl to be his wife. He could still hear those words echoing through his head: Don't marry her, son. She's the kind that'll require too much of you.
She required great things of him, to be sure. Her tears at odd hours. Her periods of spontaneous melancholy followed by periods of spontaneous joy. The aches only she understood that made her cry out at night and the shaking that only slowed when she eventually slept again. She was the beam of light that slanted across his life, but she brought shadows with her.
She'd never required too much of him.
Bits of splintered wood crackled in the dying fire. Michael drew his wife closer and felt her cold frame grow warmer. Her lashes fluttered like damp-winged butterflies against the violet-hued skin ringing below her eyes. She sniffed one last time and then looked up into his face.
"I think—" her voice shook. "I think—I'll have a pear now."
It was no longer just a ghost of a smile that danced across his features.
Five years and one day. Willa reached out and clenched his hand.

we found love right where we are.

like what you read? click here to read past chatterbox posts.
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Cover Reveal: Anon, Sir, Anon by Rachel Heffington

15 September 2014


Coming November 2014

The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger.

In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets.

When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door.

Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.

about the author

Rachel Heffington is a Christian, a novelist, and a people-lover. Outside of the realm of words, Rachel enjoys the Arts, traveling, mucking about in the kitchen, listening for accents, and making people laugh. She dwells in rural Virginia with her boisterous family and her black cat, Cricket.

Find Rachel: Blog / / Twitter / / Facebook / / Pinterest

Interested in more of Rachel's work? Read my review for her debut novel, Fly Away Home.

Snapshots of Summer

09 September 2014

Some wise sage whom Pinterest did not bother to credit said, "We only have what we remember." And I would add that we only remember what we repeat and retell. So that's what I'm doing in this blank white posting box that scares me too often with its blankness and its whiteness. This summer was one of the busiest and most memorable seasons of my life, and I want to record it for posterity's sake.

Maybe one day I'll look back on these youthful days and see the frivolity in them. For now, I feel like I'm hanging on to the tilt-a-whirl for dear life as it spins faster and faster. Be quick, now! Catch the pieces before they blow away!

And so I shall.

snapshots of summer
[2014]

 / / Opening the cafe at six in the morning isn't so bad when the gym plays Ed Sheeran. / /

/ / Cleaning up, cleaning out, repurposing, and doing without are all very healthful and refreshing practices. / /

 / / Walking the streets of D.C. with a pastry in one hand and a cup of chai tea in the other. For all their talk about wood smoke, flannel, and rain, the hipsters may have hit on something: the thrill of visiting a new place and staying until you know it cannot be overemphasized. / /

/ / Families of seven and eight blend splendidly together. Few things sound happier than ten little feet bounding over the floorboards all at once. / /

 / / College dorms bear an unfortunate resemblance to prison cells. / /

/ / Spending a solid five days with this wonderful human being and all the giggling and hilarity that occurred as a result. / /

/ / Tuesday night Bible study and going through the Book of Exodus with some of the most God-fearing women I know. / /

/ / Four too-short hours in the historical district of Philadelphia. It had been too long. / /

/ / It's amazing how brief a time can birth such close bonds. / /

/ / David Copperfield and the Britishness of Dickens. Oliver Twist and maybe even A Tale of Two Cities will have to step aside; Copperfield has claimed my heart. A summertime prelude of the literature I'm now studying this year. / /

/ / Arlington Cemetery will never not be reverently stirring. / /

/ / When one is under a particularly cavernous dome, there's clearly nothing else to be done but mimic Rue's mockingjay whistle. / /

/ / Racing around a college campus on a rainy evening for the sake of pictures can make for some pretty interesting stories. Bree, for instance, is the only person still living who can claim an injury inflicted by George Washington. / /

/ / A Monticello visit that seemed to last the space of a second with the one and only Liza. / /

/ / "You know, I still don't know how to dance." | "I'll show you how. Just be there." / /

/ / Long summer afternoons by the pool eating good food and engaging in enriching conversation (there's something quite magical in tomato slices, basil, and mozarella on Italian bread). / /

/ / Good books come in all shapes and sizes. Besides David Copperfield, this summer's haul included Starflower, Flannery O'Conner's Prayer Journal, and Plenilune (coming October 20!) / /

/ / Roasting marshmallows, taking ridiculous pictures, laughing, eating, and celebrating on the Fourth. / /

/ / Notes, notes, and more notes. A whole book of them. Scribbling so fast that your hand starts hurting (and being mocked for not using the backs of the pages). / /

/ / Good cries may be necessary at night, but never—oh, never forget the joy that comes in the morning. / /

Here's to September and the mugs of hot cider, bonfire-air, apple-red cheeks, and autumnal memories to come!
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