walk-in closet (chapter 3, part 2)

(image courtesy superduperdiana)


Just as she’s reaching for the closet doorknob, Drew’s cell phone rings. It catches her standing half naked in a strange bedroom holding a doorknob in one hand and a watering can in the other. She fumbles for the phone in her skirt pocket.

“Hello?” Her face, reflected in the closet’s mirrored door, has flushed bright red.

It’s her father’s voice in her ear: “Drew? Is that you?” She can imagine him sitting at his spot in the darkened garage, on a stool at the worktable facing the window from which he can observe the sprinklers’ surge to life, the paperboy’s perfunctory toss, the commuters’ advent, and the thunk of mail being delivered, all with fatal, grueling monotony.

“Yeah. It’s me.” She feels her voice being sucked two thousand miles across the country to be held in his hand and pressed against his ear.

“Well, that’s good. I was beginning to get worried.” Drew puts the watering can down on the wood floor and pulls the closet door open. It’s dark inside and smells of heavy perfume. He continues: “So I only have two questions and I won’t take up too much of your time. One, did you remember to water the Lilien’s plants?”

“I’m here now, as a matter of fact.” She feels around until she finds the switch and flips on the light. What kind of person has a chandelier in their closet, she wants to know. The room is enormous—maybe the size of her entire apartment—and fitted with mahogany drawers and cubbies, like a yacht. Tom Lilien probably owns a yacht. He’s a successful lawyer in copyrights or patents or something like that, she can’t remember. He and her father went to high school together.

She runs her hand down the long line of fine suits on identical wooden hangars. Mr. Lilien had been wearing a suit like this when he took her out for dinner at Canter’s when she first arrived in Los Angeles. He had thrown his arm around her shoulder and told her if she ever needed anything… and let his voice trail off, leaving an endless list of unspoken possibilities. But she didn’t think he meant anything by it, nothing sexy that is.

 

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I have reserved the rest of this chapter for interested readers, agents, and publishers.  If you want to read more, email me at anna@girlinthehat.com.  

About girl in the hat

aka Anna Fonté, writer of novels, short stories, personal essays, and bits about the neighborhood crows. The things I write want you to look at them.

5 comments

  1. I love this! The details paint the pictures of so many moments in time, yet you did it all in such a small space! Definitely an economy of words, but a wealth of details that put me directly into each situation. I love it all but, for me especially, the tattoo — such an exquisite, understated and well observed tribute to an undeserving man. A folly of the young that many of us still manage to repeat over and over again!

    I loved it all, but this time, in the middle of chapter three, I couldn’t quite tell where I was for a while. She seemed younger than at the beginning of the book, so I think these all are more flashbacks? If I’m wrong I think we readers need a little something to make that clearer so we’re not taken out of the story. Actually I know I need a little more secure sense of when it is that she is in the Lillien’s house, so I can just keep reading and not wondering where I am in time. But that’s just mechanics, right? (I liked it so much, I read it three times!)

    • That’s so funny! Because I keep putting the tattoo in and taking it out, thinking oh, that’s just too much, then, no, it does just what a tattoo is supposed to do. So now it’s final: it stays!!
      I will definitely revisit this chapter to see what you mean about losing control on time– you’re probably right, perhaps the balance between past and present tense is skewed and I need to balance better. Thanks!

  2. Maybe this should be
    a chapter on it’s own?
    Personally I thought it
    was in the present. I
    like how all your chapters
    so far have taken me to
    someplace new.
    Snooping – forbidden
    Secrets? A refrence
    to a crazy boy friend
    that thought he was god?
    Reader fetish #3 and #4!
    Good enough beginning
    and end – more or less
    held my interest through
    out – the fact it was a tad
    disorienting makes it a
    close second to chapter
    two, which is still in the
    lead – 2 3B 3A 1 in that
    order, (Note in chapter 1
    I was just getting used to
    things – testing the water,
    your subject matter made
    me a skeptic – and I had
    to get used to it – a person
    who generally likes more
    realistic fiction may not feel
    the same as I do – Genrae
    bias – as you recall. :)

  3. I loved the line ending ‘playing hide and seek with an invisible man.’ Loved it all, great writing.

    On a technical note the rotary phone photo is not displaying for me on this page though it is on the book’s feature page.

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