Wednesday, 11 March 2015

An Excerpt of My Unpublished Prequel Novel, A Crowded Heart

One evening, as Ellie was coming to grips with the notion of a person growing inside her body, she was strolling blindly up and down the downtown London streets. She thought of how she was in the middle of the world, and the world existed in the middle of her. The sky was losing its sun like a dying peacock, and the shadows seemed to stretch and rubberband away from her, attracted to the darkening horizon. Yet, the air was balmy and the rain clouds were staying at bay over the sea. She became aware of the heaviness in her shoes, nearly tripping over the cracks in the centuries-old pavement, and her head floating--somehow detached from her body and the fingertip-sized creature in her belly. She turned down a familiar road either on purpose or by design; she wasn't sure. Ellie drew closer to a large, bright window that emitted happy chatter and light, airy classical music lifting into the grey night. She stopped in her shoes, looking in. She watched the elegant people in their black evening attire sip their flutes of sparkling champagne, mingle in small groups--she was visible in the large window, casting light onto the dim sidewalk where she stood, but they didn't see her. They were in a different world and she couldn't cross over to join them. Her eyes left the elegant people and drifted, falling on the art that adorned the walls--canvases that had become portals of the world--some bursting with colour, others drawing on darker tones; living snapshots of memory, places, perceptions, emotions that couldn't be expressed in any other medium; music for the eye. She was watching the opening night of the art show unfold--Peter's art show. Then she saw him, shifting in his shoes in the far corner, briefly holding hands with one elegant woman and then another. She watched him anxiously switch his wine glass between his hands, back and forth to create an opening for any patron who approached him--any prospective buyer, admirer, art lover, romantic partner. He looked like a boy trying to find the right person to engage in a slow dance. She watched him as he watched everyone else take in his heart's work. He was about to turn his head to peer out into the evening--the other world that didn't revolve around him, yet. Ellie instinctively moved back, away from the window, acutely aware that she could be inside with him basking in that moment of sunshine. She pulled herself away and walked briskly down the street towards the train station, towards home, back into the monotony of the world she knew. She could feel a silver cord pull her back deep down into her body, an insistent unborn cry, the creature, she could not ignore dwelling inside as she fought to stifle her own desperate cry deep in her throat. She had to contain the universe existing under her skin.