Z is for Zzzz...
Which is what I'm going to do for a nice, long time after today! Congratulations, A to Z-ers: WE MADE IT! Any bets on how many people will use the same 'word' for today's posts? I'm guessing at least two other people, personally.
Believe it or not, I do have a snippet related to this topic: it's another brandest of the brand new bits from the lifetime in India. Refresher for all newcomers (are there any at this point? If so, I salute your perseverance!); if you know all of this already, feel free to skip to the next paragraph: soul #1 is Emma, the the daughter of a British Civil Service official, living with her father in India around 1890; and soul #2 is Aryahi, Emma's mysterious new Indian maid, who doesn't act like a servant at all, is far too beautiful, and who seems much more interested in Emma's father's military intelligence than she does in cleaning the house. Oh yes, and who also happens to be an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga.
Today's snippet comes at a moment very early on in this story, when Emma is allowing herself a moment to rest (or 'zzzz') before she continues working on her monumental list of tasks for the day. It's a bit long, I know, but it's the LAST DAY of the challenge, so I thought, why the heck not? It really is brand new - I free-wrote it as a brainstorm a few days ago and haven't even read it again since - and I'm also experimenting with POV, with mixed results, as you'll see:
It was the third most important day of her life, but of course Emma didn't know that until many years later. Had she known, she might have dealt with the new maid quite differently; but then the future is always much clearer once it has already passed. Exactly what she would have done differently is something only Emma herself could say, and she refused to speak of the events recounted on these pages for the rest of her life.
But that was much later. On this particular day, when everything was about to begin, Emma leaned against the door frame of the parlor and allowed herself a moment of stillness. All around her, the house chattered with an urgent list of items that needed her attention; she closed her eyes, and listened instead to the city. Sound streamed through the window, bright and clear and hot as the sun: tea sellers hawking their sweet, spiced wares in strident Hindi and broken English; the clatter of wheels and hooves on the packed streets; bicycle horns; shouts and laughter and arguments in at least five different languages; in other words, all of the churn and chatter and joyful misery that was Calcutta.Emma told herself often that she quite liked this new life in India, and so she was surprised, that hot spring morning, to find tears of homesickness in her eyes as she rested against the door. She brushed them away with quick, impatient hands, and straightened. There was plenty more to do; no time, she thought, for mooning about London. She had thought this many times over the last few months, and would think it many more in the months to come, and indeed if she ever stopped to wonder why she had to tell herself so often not to long for England, and to enjoy her new life, she would have been quite puzzled by her own emotions. Luckily, Emma was at that time exceedingly stubborn and determined, and so blissfully ignorant of her own internal life that she was able to escape the depression and frustration that such awareness of her feelings would have brought. She therefore lived in a state of relative contentment, marred occasionally by unexplained bouts of dissatisfaction and anxiety, which naturally irked her exceedingly, but always passed. That is, she had been able to remain ignorant and content, until this exact spring day, at this exact hour, which brings us back to the reason for this story.Emma shook herself out of her silly stupor (or so she called it), and walked briskly down the hall to her father’s bedroom, where the bedclothes had to be aired, and the windows cleaned, and the fire set for the evening, which were only the first in a long mental list of her chores for the day.Imagine her surprise, then, when she walked through the door and found all of these tasks already completed. She stopped, frowning, until she saw the slight form kneeling by the fireplace, placing the last of the kindling in the freshly-swept hearth. Then her brow cleared."Good morning," she said, "You must be the new maid."
Thanks to the very smart Nicki Elson, I realized that I forgot to add a closing statement. Oops! Here 'tis! Congratulations, A to Z-ers!! We made it! A huge THANK YOU to the creators and hosts, who I know worked much harder than everyone else - and considering how sleepy I am, that's truly amazing. You guys rock! I'll be back on my regularly scheduled Wednesday posts next week. Thanks to everyone for coming by!