I have exciting news. I have collaborated with Carolyn Eady from Sprouts Press to publish my short story Coffee. It’s a story about readjusting one’s life after finding yourself suddenly alone after the death of loved one. I hope you all enjoy it. I learnt a lot from laying out a book for publishing. I used Scribus, free software that is relatively easy to use. It was a real mind teaser to figure out the page order. Page 12 on the left and page 1 on the right.
I hope all of you in Toronto can make it to the Gladstone Hotel tomorrow from 10:30-4:30. For those of you who can’t make it because you’re busy or live somewhere else, I might try my hand producing an e-book that I’ll either sell myself or through Sprouts Press’ Esty site. But that’ll be another project. Printing the hard copy version was enough work for now.
Here are the first few paragraphs of the story as teaser for everyone:
A relief arrived when he finally died. Many people expected grief, but for me it was relief. Relief from the continuous pain of seeing his body wither like a dried out petal.
On September 2 last year, Russ came home and told me the Doctor had diagnosed him with cancer. It was the first time in years I had wanted to cry. But I didn’t, I couldn’t, not in front of Russ. I wondered then if he had cried, on his way home from the doctor. He certainly never cried in front of me. Throughout last year I promised to let myself cry after he died, when he could no longer see me, when he no longer needed my strength to help him through the pain. But now, two days since the funeral, I am sitting alone in our house, without any tears.
I once did cry over Russ. It was fifteen years ago, before we were married, when we were still courting each other. We met at university in Kitchener. It was near the end of the semester, about a month before the summer break. I had seen Sarah, a mutual friend of ours, standing in the lobby of the library, and went over to say hi. Russ was there, talking to another guy in our circle. I talked mostly with Sarah. I don’t think we really even noticed each other. But over the next few weeks, we ended up bumping into each other all over campus. We just joked, and made each other laugh. We never asked each other out, it never seemed right. We didn’t even exchange phone numbers or emails.
Finally one day walking across the main green with the end of the semester, and our chance encounters, quickly approaching, Russ finally asked what I was doing that summer. I was going to work and stay in Kitchener. He said that he had gotten a job in Toronto, but planned on coming back every now and then. I gave him my number and told him to call me some time. I don’t know if I expected him to call or not.
He did call. We met up for dinner and he actually spent the night. We didn’t sleep together; he just crashed on my couch downstairs. The rest of the summer we ended up spending hours together, just talking and laughing, without it ever getting romantic, it wasn’t our style. Then he asked me to a show in Toronto he somehow had tickets for. God he fumbled through that, saying something about asking other people to go who couldn’t, and that I was the last person he could think of asking. Neither of us called it a date, he just had these tickets to use.
After the show he dropped me at the bus station. It was the first time we hugged. We didn’t linger in each other’s arms, but later both admitted it felt special. The next semester, we continued to hang out a lot, never having the guts or confidence to push it to the next level. It’s funny thinking that now, how we could have resisted each other all that time. We were in love, out-shying each other. Eventually we needed to say something, the semester was coming to an end and he was graduating.