I was just sitting there, bored out of my mind. I had to be there; it was a meeting for my job. In my mind, I was thinking of all the more productive things I could be doing. I let my hand glide across the smooth surface of the pages of the new notebook I bought this morning. The pages are incredibly soft. I was running my hand over the pages, telling myself “I should try and write something.” So I put pen to paper and started to write.
I have to admit, I didn’t have very high expectations. I was motivated more by the belief that I should be writing, rather than any particular idea. I just feel that I should make time to write whenever I should. I didn’t have the pages of Tattered Butterfly Wings with me. But I still wanted to write something.
This is what I wrote:
Jessie Mae was standing outside watering her grass when her next door neighbor Larry cut up his wife’s body and wrapped the pieces in white butcher paper. Once the pieces of Loyola’s body were securely and precisely wrapped with butcher paper and sealed shut with slivers of transparent tape, Larry dropped Loyola piece-by-piece into the deep freezer in the garage. Already stored in the freezer were a month’s worth of various meats that Loyola liked to keep on hand so she’d always have something to prepare dinner for Larry.
When Jessie Mae was pushing her trash can down to the curb, Larry stood before the mirror in his bathroom admiring the specks of his wife’s blood that dotted his face like freckles or a bad case of acne. He stared longingly at the specks of blood wishing he didn’t have to wash them away.
As a boy, he’d watched his father slice meat for their neighbors from the community who would patronize their family market, the Handy Stop Shop. They sold a variety of things that a person could need in their store, from slices of meat to toiletries to motor oil. In all the time that he’d witnessed his father cut meat, Larry had never witnessed his father cut meat with half of the precision or expertise with which he just cut up his wife’s body. And, for that reason, he wished to keep the evidence of his handiwork near him a while longer.
Jessie Mae stopped as she was walking up the driveway and looked up at her neighbor’s bathroom window. From where she was standing she could make out the silhouette of his body. She recognized the form that she’d been admiring from afar for many years. She knew that it was Larry, her best friend’s husband, standing there near the window.
Jessie Mae had always envied her best friend for the relationship she had with her husband. Her own husband had walked out on her and her two children one night after dinner, leaving her to single-handedly raise the two children alone. He’d said he wasn’t coming back, but she didn’t believe him. It had been just like that, completely out of the blue. Larry and Loyola had always been the perfect couple. They met in high school and had been married 25 years. Jessie Mae indulged herself a little longer in fantasizing how her life might have been different if she had met Larry first, instead of Loyola.
And this is where I stopped. I had to because the meeting was nearing its close and we had to share what we’d seen on the screen. This little exercise proved to be very meaningful for me. I had no idea what I would write about before I started. I only had the urge to write and so I wrote. As I held the pen over the page, I saw Jessie Mae in my mind. She was standing out there watering her lawn, having no idea what was going on in the house next door to her. It just flowed from there.
I plan to finish it. It excites me. I’d love to find out how it ends.
The lesson: when you have downtime, it’s a great time to write. Just write. You never know what might come to you, if you would just let pen meet paper.
Happy writing and reading!
Peace & Love,