Monday, January 10, 2011
ExcerpTuesday: Dorothy Cox
I am the man on the park bench, the one behind
you in line, and the one you pass on the street. I am
everyone and I am no one. I am nothing to anyone,
and if you have ever seen me you wouldn’t remember.
Having never known my name, they simply call me
Lilly wasn’t supposed to notice me. She wasn’t
supposed to remember me. She wasn’t supposed to
talk to me--or fall in love with me. I wasn’t supposed
to notice her ethereal beauty, or care what she thought
of me, or want to see her again, or wonder what it
would be like to…to…hug… her. I definitely was not
supposed to fall in love with her.
I knew the lines, too…What can we get started for you? The cashier repeated the line after I said it to myself. She was as good at this as I was. She had her lines memorized too.
“Large coffee two sugars,” I answered. Name? The barista repeated it after I said it in my head. I mentally checked off William Henry Harrison as I reached for my wallet.
“William.” The word was not mine. I hadn’t said it. I hadn’t moved my lips. I hadn’t moved or opened my mouth. I didn’t say it…she did.
I looked up, my arm still poised over my pocket. The world stood still, and for a brief moment I caught a glimpse of heaven. Her blonde hair fell across her shoulders as she turned her attention back to me. This is what Botticelli was trying to capture when he painted The Birth of Venus. But she wasn’t someone who could be captured in words or in a painting or on film. She was someone to behold, someone to stand in her presence and be in awe of. She was beauty pure and outright.
“William Henry Harrison, right?” she asked. “You’re doing the presidents this time.” She said it more as a statement than a question. She smiled and it touched deep into her green eyes. They sparkled as she waited for me to answer. I couldn’t find words. I searched but nothing came. She’s so beautiful. That won’t do.
“Unless you’re not counting him. He was only president for thirty-two days,” she continued, laughing after she said it. I still couldn’t find words, and they hadn’t found me. So I pushed out the only words I could piece together.
“He did win in a landslide.” I smiled at the end to make it friendly. Should I know that? What person would know that much about presidents? Only someone who was around back then, that’s who. Great, now I look suspicious. Will she notice that? She laughed again.
“Then it is the presidents!” She seemed pleased. “It took me longer last time than it did this time,” she confessed. “I wasn’t too familiar with the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, but there really aren’t many people named Elbridge, or Button for that matter, but you skipped him.” She was playing the game with me. I had skipped Button, because his name was too out of the ordinary to use. In hindsight I suppose Elbridge was odd as well. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that one. It had caught her attention, and now here I was staring face to face with an angel.
I’m a college student in Fresno, California. I’ve won a Golden State Award for writing, and have been featured in the newspaper. I’ve been writing books since I was three or four, and I made my parents staple my coloring pages together so I could write a book on it. It wasn’t a success. Almost twenty years later I wrote my first real book, Watcher. When I’m not working, writing, or going to school I’m with my husband.