I think I went almost an entire week without writing. This has happened frequently over the past couple of months and even when I think I’m okay with it, I get to a day like today where I have a tight, nervous knot in my stomach creating an energy that makes it difficult to focus on other things. I opened up my WIP and stared at it blankly, causing the knot to tighten. “I must write something. ANYTHING to free up my mind.” I called out to Twitter and though a couple people came through with helpful suggestions, no one gave me “slimy carrots” or “drooping flowers” or other similar topics, so I was still a little bit stuck. And no, if I had come up with those ideas on my own, it would not have been the same and thank you very much for not asking me to explain that logic.
Not much of anything came through…except for deciding to write out a scene that is in my head, even though it will never make it into my novel. So can this be called a short story? Not really. What about a “sample” of my novel? Well, it’s not really that, either, since it isn’t actually part of the novel. I might classify it as Flash Fiction, a short “story” of sorts that is usually under 1,000 words. Of course, it is over 1,000 words… so let’s call it a Flash-Fiction-Wannabe-Sampling-Taken-From-the-Deleted-Scenes-Pile-Even-Though-It-Wasn’t-Written-Before-Yesterday.
And now that I have successfully put in my disclaimers, I can post this little drabble, for really, that is the best description yet…
Another movie premiere – a horror film — and Ana hadn’t had the courage to tell Rick that she was absolutely terrified of horror films. She’d thought about making up an excuse with work or something in order to avoid it, but he would have seen through it; things were running too smoothly at the learning center. She could have just told him that she didn’t want to go, but he really loved taking her along and a friend of his held the lead in this one, so it meant more to him. Besides, with the new season of Prime Crime, Rick’s show, in full swing, he was already tiring of the ridiculous questions that kept alluding to his off screen relationship with one of his co-stars, Tina Masters. Their characters were starting to come together romantically, and since Rick and Tina had been in a relationship a year or so ago, media enjoyed probing every chance they got. Having Ana by his side both minimized the questions and visually dispelled the rumors as the two, however improbably, clearly belonged to one another.
Ana had grown to enjoy, to a limited extent, some of the media events. It wasn’t the photo shoots or the interviews, of course, but the mood. The tone and spirit of functions like movie premieres elevated the enthusiasm of everyone present. It was the culmination of hopes, dreams, and emotional investment. Rick himself didn’t usually choose to do movies, but the work and the results were no different. Red carpet events allowed them all to take pride in their work without having to stifle their egos. They could flaunt who they were without worrying about paparazzi, unlike how a simple trip to the grocery store or a restaurant could go.
So, in spite of the trepidation she felt regarding the film they were to view ahead of the general public, she mingled easily with several people she had gotten to know over the past few months as well as with many new faces. As an educational program director, Ana could hold her own without letting her own ego get in the way. It was a perfect pairing of communication.
They had a few moments with Will, the lead and Rick’s friend, before he was ushered away for more publicity activities, then moved into the theater.
They took their seats and Ana couldn’t help but slip her hand into Rick’s right away even though they would not start the movie for quite awhile.
His eyes crinkled together. “You okay?”
“Yes, of course. These things get me a little wound up is all. Will is overflowing with excitement, don’t you think?”
“Oh, yeah. Man, I think it would be all a little too much pressure for me. But that was the most obvious re-direct question, ever. What’s going on?”
“Nothing. Let it pass. It’s really nothing. I promise.”
He did and surrounding conversations passed the time before introductions and other preambles began and the lights dimmed.
Unfortunately, the movie did not waste much time with exposition.
When she gripped his hand with strength he had forgotten she possessed and buried her face into his shoulder he leaned in and whispered, “Are you for real? Or is this one of your famous teases?”
“Oh God, for real. I hate horror films,” she mumbled out.
He didn’t just chuckle quietly or even try to stifle himself in response. He threw back his head and laughed, not caring at all that it was the wrong kind of reaction to what was playing out on the screen at the moment. He looked at Ana’s expression, since she had pulled away from his shoulder, and laughed harder, although this time he tried to silence it, choking out an apology to the person next to him who had elbowed him. He managed to direct them both out of the theater and finally caught his breath.
“I’m sorry. Well, not really –“ he grinned sheepishly at her scowl, “–but why didn’t you tell me? We didn’t have to come to this.”
“It’s your friend. And you love these things. And you don’t like coming to them alone. And I thought I might have gotten over it by now.”
“But, horror movies? Wait, did you hate Murder in Parts last month, too?”
“No, that one was alright. Not as brilliant as Silence of the Lambs, but pretty good.”
“How can you think those films are brilliant? I mean, I would think with your history those would be, well, awful.”
She shrugged. “I guess when you live through the real thing, the screen isn’t so scary.”
“Okay. Gotta say I’m lost. Horror films? Really?”
She looked at him, unsure of how to explain to him that the monsters in those movies reflected the monsters in her head, the ones she couldn’t see, the ones she couldn’t predict whether or not they would show themselves in the future. She knew it was silly. He was right; it felt embarrassing to feel panic-stricken with the fake, made-up creatures on the screen, especially with how much she now knew about behind-the-scenes work.
Rick absorbed the emotions that traveled across her face and merely took her hand with her single word reply, “Nightmares.”
Truthfully, he still was not exactly sure of what she meant by this, except that he knew that her nightmares, though rare recently, left her trembling. With her history of abuse, he could only imagine what those nightmares consisted of.
“I’m sorry I laughed so hard at you.”
She smiled. “I’m not. It was exactly the right response.”
“C’mon, let’s get out of here.”
“No. No, that’s rude. I can make it through. Maybe it’s time I face those monsters.”
He gave a conspiratorial wink. “Well if that’s the case, I have a plan.”
They made their way back into the theater and with his arm wrapped around hers and placing her hand securely inside of his, he leaned in. He spent the remainder of the movie whispering jokes about the demon-monster on the screen or giving matter-of-fact details about how the scene was probably set up and how many takes it probably took to get it right, especially knowing the actors involved. It seemed a bit wrong to laugh so much, even if it was silent, during a film that was not meant to be a comedy, but felt so very right, too.
Perhaps that night she would now be able to laugh at her own faceless demons.