Scarlett Sumac's Blog

JANUARY 21, 2012 12:00PM

Stories for a Saturday Afternoon

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  • MILES FROM NOWHERE

    Sylvia held the steering wheel tight, the inside of the car filled with the scent of her recently painted fingernails. In the dark night, the broken yellow lines of the highway had a hypnotizing effect, urging her on. 

  • Driving here in the daylight once, she saw ramshackle garages filled to capacity, their contents spilling out. The sight seemed so naked, so overexposed. Sylvia's world had become so shrouded in secrecy, she couldn’t imagine leaving things open for all to see. With that thought, in her mind’s eye she revisited checking the door twice before leaving home, to make sure it was locked. 

  • Each time she drove here she analyzed her motives, heavily weighing the pros and cons, but every mile behind her now, was a mile closer to him. In part, she knew she was experimenting, playing alchemist seeking to dissolve into another while struggling to maintain a part of herself. Over the last while this arrangement had worked quite well for both of them.

  • Still, rather unexpectedly, a desire had become a pattern, a pattern, a habit, a habit, a compulsion. Drawn together each had their own reasons, each moved toward their own end.

A few miles in the distance John sat near the window reading. He heard a motor approach and put his magazine down. A truck passed by the driveway. It wasn’t her. He knew a short measured tapping at the door usually announced her arrival.

As was his reserved nature, John would pause briefly before answering. He knew Sylvia, though mostly steady, was a bit of a wild card. Sometimes her pendulum swung too far one way and she strayed off track before regaining equilibrium. Sometimes she’d arrive cloaked in uncertainty and drama, other times she was absolutely one of the most self-assured woman he had met. One moment she had a deep desire for privacy and solitude, the next she was ready to share her story with the whole world -- her edited version, that is. 

John felt a bit edgy about these comings and goings for some time now but after six months, the thrill was still there. It had been long gone between him and his wife Patti, and her extended business trips afforded him pleasure he regarded as a distant mirage in his life, until he met Sylvia. Still, he kept Sylvia at arm's length from his business and daily affairs. Aside from a random email or occasional phone call when she was running late, the only contact they had, was up close and personal in the late night hours. They both knew the rareness of the nocturnal space they had created. During her visits all was quiet except for the murmur of a radio in another room. He kept the TV, and even the computer, turned off.

Sylvia arrived, turned off the car engine, glanced in the mirror and brushed her hair from her face. She stepped out into the hushed night and when she closed the car door behind her, it was the only sound for miles around. Standing outside the door of his house for a moment, she felt a familiar surge of excitement.

She rapped lightly on the door and then turned the knob. 

the door

He left it unlocked.

John got up from the couch as Sylvia stepped into the living room. The room smelled like wood smoke and was dimly lit except for a candle on the coffee table. Neither spoke, no rushing of sentences, speaking of this or that. No excited chatter or small talk exchanged between them like when their romance was new. No, now the timbre of the human voice morphed to fit the moment only when necessary.

They didn’t kiss upon greeting. They tumbled into each other as only one can be engulfed into another human being. Each fell into each other's sustaining breath, then into the electrical current and chemistry that attracts and draws two people together, despite all odds. He touched the tiny crevice in the nape of her neck, a small gesture that moved her.

She remembered him touching her this way casually, in passing, shortly after they met. Perhaps that was the key; a secret passageway opening to the rest of her. It was the beginning, the initiation that led her astray. After that touch, everything else was a given. Before John, Sylvia’s world was cerebral, a world of books, conversation and ideas.

Spilling back onto the couch she imagined Greek gods Eros and Rumour flinging arrows of outrageous fortune. She even thought about Shakespeare until thoughts dissolved into feeling. John was kissing her neck. A rush shot through her spine from the curled tip of her tailbone right up into her skull. Something that could only be accessed through direct experience; it took her beyond words. 

Call it surrender, rapture, abandon: giving oneself over to another, completely unknowing where you’ll end up. And in that moment, letting go of everything until you’ve been absorbed, absolved and delivered: to where? It didn’t matter.

They played with the air between them drawing in each other’s sustaining breath making everything else stand still, including time.

Something was held in ransom between them, neither knew what, and neither
cared.

"I feel kind of crazy tonight,” she said.

“Why,” he said.

"I don’t know, I just do. Feel like I’m a little tipsy and I haven't had a drink, a bit off balance like I'm gonna fall."

"I think we’ve both already fallen,” he said.

Sylvia looked at him sidelong, her hair partially hiding her face,

"Fallen in love or fallen from grace?" 

 

 © Scarlett Sumac. 2009
  Miles From Nowhere (
part of a larger series)

Fine Art Print/Painting: The door knob by artist, Leyla Munteanu

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Hey folks, I posted this last night, the timing was all wrong and I needed to edit some things so took it down. Thanks to Sheila, Divorce Bard and Judy Mandelbaum for coming over and reading and rating. I'll see if I can revive your comments and add them, if I can.
There's something about the doorknob. You'll know in a moment.
letting go of everything until you’ve been absorbed,
absolved and delivered: to where?
Perhaps to where
the timbre of the human voice morphed
to fit the moment only when necessary?

This is gorgeous. I simply must know where the rest of this “larger series” is
if I am to have lovely Saturday reading for many Saturdays to come.

I adore this. This story is a gift to any Romantics still left out there,
Those who are capable of . tumbling
into each other into each other's sustaining breath,
then into the electrical current and chemistry that attracts and draws two people together
….
as
one can only be engulfed into another human being..
Call it surrender, rapture, abandon: giving oneself over to another, completely unknowing where you’ll end up..

certainly not 'fallen' in any sense...
though it may feel like a fall...
into the elemental blood body,
rapturously grace-soaked,
with an intelligence all its own.
Much maligned.
Much!
James: It is your fault, you know. All those therapy sessions bordering on romance must've influenced me to take out John and Sylvia's story and dust it off!

AKA: Yes, doorknobs are intriguing and if you are having a "doorknob" moment, please share it! You know those really big old-fashioned clear cut glass doorknobs? When I was a little girl I used to stare at them, pretending they were diamonds... ah,the richness of doorknobs!
Whoa! This made me shiver, partly good, partly scary. Loss of self control can be wonderful, or dangerous.
Leyla got me on my knees - at the door knob. No need to blow out the candle.
Comments from last night:

JANUARY 20, 2012 10:35 PM
"Oh my. Do you do this all the time? The writing I mean."
Divorce Bard

Divorce Bard: Ha, this is fiction written from observation in my little corner of the world. Wait, ... am I blowing my roguish cover by admitting that? :) Thanks for dropping by.

"Wow, fantastic."
SheilaTGTG55
JANUARY 20, 2012 10:46 PM
Sheila: Thank You for giving this a jump start on Saturday night.

JANUARY 20, 2012 10:53 PM
"Lovely... I can feel it all beginning. (r)"
Judy Mandelbaum.

Judy, Funny, I have a feeling of beginning and ending at the same time -- but for now "Venus and Mars are alright tonight." Maybe.
This reminds me of my night last Saturday night. He comes by and we just fall into each other's arms but it has nothing to do with love.
Now you've got me sitting here, staring off into space, remembering...
2009?? Looks very familiar. Maybe one of the first things you posted at OS? Maybe not.. whether- or not, hooked me and carried thru to magnificent question at the conclusion.
Sensuality and passion on a Saturday afternoon. Thank you for the erotic journey. rated.
I usually skip over fiction here at OS...bu because it was you, I didn't and am so glad. This got my attention right away and now I want more. glad its part of a bigger piece!
"Sometimes her pendulum swung too far one way " - Great line.
i doubt i am entirely to blame.
for dusting off sylvia & john.
i deeply respect john, by the way...
"a bit edgy about these comings and goings for some time now
but after six months, the thrill was still there..."

the radio is on? can it be heard, or is it
pleasant incoherent background hum?
Damon: Great comment. Clapton would be proud.

"What'll you do when you get lonely. And nobody's waiting by your side? You've been running and hiding much too long. You know it's just your foolish pride."

Bleue: Thanks for indulging me. Sometimes a thin line between wonderful and dangerous, huh? Or so a former Self tells me, so ...

zanelle: You sound like quite a busy woman, on Saturdays, especially. :) Now, about ... love? I think that is up for debate here.

mypsyche: Remember and do tell, pleeezzze. We'll be all ears (and eyes).

trig: I like your new primitive look, and hey, eh? Where is this grace people fall from, anyway? Is it on some second story deck somewhere, the garden of Eden, Heaven, or the fiery gates of hell? (bbwhaaaa, bhwaaaaa)

Erika: I never considered it erotica, keeping things relatively mild here -- as a counterpoint to the porn of everyday life that engulfs us, that is. But thanks for the idea, maybe that's the way to make some pin money. Ha!

Trilogy. I respect folks only read what they feel like reading and I appreciate you coming by. I know if I wrote the very same story with my name and posted it as non-fiction, it would have a totally different reception. Those who write fiction have quite a challenge here on OS, which is why I all but gave up however the mood struck ... Hope it was worth the exception for ya.
Thank you, Scarlett. I found this extremely well-written, but sad. I see a bad moon rising!
Maybe a little of both. A good Saturday read.
zanelle took my comment...perhaps the wren as well. I go with "from grace". Well written and compelling, Scarlett.
It feels a little different, but it was late, I can't spot the changes. Something about the ending?

But my favorite phrase is still there: " playing alchemist seeking to dissolve into another."
Yeah-huh. What did I say earlier today? Shazam, and here you are.

Liked this a lot. Eerily evocative and all very real (but in a good way). Loved the last line.
Okay, Scarlett, Harlequin - You said it, I didn't. :o) It's well written, and I love the doorknob.
Just got home and saw this. I love the words' playing with air' and would love to know what happened to them. Good or bad..:)
HUGGGGG
or perhaps both? maybe one is dependent upon the other, both of those fallings. hmmm. this gives me more to think about than i might like to admit.

quite sensuous and evocative, scarlett. the scene and all that happens in it is a basket of sensory details. i like this. i think sylvia and john do too. :)
It is always fun to read your stuff. Thanks
Nice balance of that pre-routine stage Scarlett where it's a never boring mix of uncertainty and possibilities.
Wren: I think you're on to something myself, however on this one I must remain mum and speak only through my characters. In "reality" it's a new moon soon; good or bad, it's hard to tell? Thanks for coming by.

Thanks scanner: I read your FUBAR post yesterday and you are kicking ass in the fiction dept. I haven't had time to read all of the posts but you are writing from a very real and unpretentious place. I like it.

Persistent Muse: Yes, I'm inclined to agree but you never know, I'll have to see how the characters write themselves. :0

Divorce Bard: You have sharp senses. You are right, the ending did change -- the final words spoken by Sylvia now instead of John. BTW, your initial comment cracked me up!

Bo1: Thanks Pal. Gotta throw some romance in there sometimes otherwise things get pretty boring. Not that you and the TPR would know -- boring, that is. Sha-Zam!

Fusun: Thank You. Hey, I think Harlequin has some of the highest sales of all time. I guess there's a need to fill. Look out, Fabio!

Linda: We were out late this afternoon at a club about 1o minutes from here hearing live Blues today. Everything was especially extra-charged, I think because of Etta's passing. I thought you would appreciate that. Maybe this story is a Saturday series type of thing and all will be revealed. Stay tuned. ;)

Femme: I know, I know, it is said there are always 3 sides to the story: his, hers, and the truth. Maybe I'll write the unfolding ...whatever it may be. Like you I would have to think long and hard, and well, it's Sat, night. ;) In the meantime John and Sylvia are in a good, um, place ...

Sheepdog: Likewise. Happy Blogoversary.
well, it must have been very late indeed. I can't remember a word of what I said, or even why I might have said it. Dang.
♥╔═══╦╗╔╗╔╦═══╦═══╦════╗♥
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♥║╚══╣║║║║║╚══╣╚══╬╝║║╚╝♥
♥╚══╗║╚╝╚╝║╔══╣╔══╝─║║
♥║╚═╝╠╗╔╗╔╣╚══╣╚══╗─║║
♥╚═══╝╚╝╚╝╚═══╩═══╝─╚for wonderful story to make my Sunday like Saturday again.
Doorknob is a great metaphor image for this....maybe you should lead with it? Or even describe it as part of the piece. I liked what you said in the comments about diamonds and richness.
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there's nothing really nothing to turn off...(that one guy)

You got that back and forth feeling between right on and way off when one is up to things not entirely above board...it's the strange waters that pull me along...
Divorce Bard:
"Oh my. Do you do this all the time? The writing I mean."

@Abrawang: Ah, yes, the pre-routine stage, "a never boring mix of uncertainty and possibilities." A great way to put it. We should all be so lucky to know it like a globe trotter like you do. ;)

@catch-22: The elusive catch-22 is quoting Dylan on a Sunday morning. Makes me feel like going to church: the church of songs and poems. I'm hoping s/he serves up some poetry soon. "not entirely on board" is a good summation, dear poet.

@green: Oh, course, the middle as the beginning, now that changes everything! You're right, I could have started off with the door knob, ..that make sense (which is probably why I missed it.)

@Algis: How do I write "you are awesome", like that?
You are a woman of many talents, Scarlett. Your story is immediate but the past and future both loom large. These two sound like thinkers, drawn together by more than their physical attraction.

"Sylvia's world had become so shrouded in secrecy, she couldn’t imagine leaving things open for all to see." She's obviously a private person; what else is she hiding from the world? Is she also married?

I want to know more about them both and what force drew then together, steadily and compulsively, and what the future holds for them. And why Sylvia feels tipsy and crazy. It sounds like something's going to change. For better or worse, I wonder. I hope there's more on the way.
Margaret: From what I know of Sylvia she is running both away from and to ... I wrote the beginning (an alternate chapter) which was too long to post on OS. I do think however I can continue from here without going back. We haven't learned about Sylvia's life yet but we do know John is married to Patti, who is away a lot. When the cat is away, the mouse will play ... I do state Sylvia is of 2 minds; both private and unpredictable -- a wild card. Hmm, I wonder what is in store ...? :)
This may have been for a Saturday afternoon, but I’m seeing it on a Monday evening. I’m wondering what’s in store for them as well. It seems like things are going to start moving past these assignations.
I can't spot the changes either ... I still like 'They played with the air between them ...' very much.
A lovely balance of tension, hesitancy & compulsion, Scarlett.
Cold cold heart - Norah Jones
"Each fell into each other's sustaining breath, then into the electrical current and chemistry that attracts and draws two people together, despite all odds."
"He touched the tiny crevice in the nape of her neck, a small gesture that moved her."

We can feel the electricity. And want to hear MORE!!! Very enticing read, Scarlett!
the athomepilgrim is correct in our need for more.
more, more.

the weekend prompt for fiction, i see, is
sweater, tourism,capricious & window.

use all these words.

my mind goes to naughty places.

ha.

oh:i reread this, and am now swooning intellectually
& otherwise
over this
line:


"They played with the air between
them drawing in
each other’s
sustaining breath
making everything else

stand still, including time."
It seems impossible that fallen in love and fallen from grace could co-exist, and yet.
Kim &Various Artists: Thanks for coming by and noticing some of the subtleties here.

jp hart: Norah ... Ravi Shankhar's daughter. I'll look up that song.

Pilgrim & James, thanks for your encouragement. Trust me, I've been wanting to get back to this but it's slightly busy here is Scarlettville. I fear Saturday afternoon has come and gone. Maybe there is a possibility for Sunday night ...?
This is lovely. Wonderful writing.

"They both knew the rareness of the nocturnal space they had created." Wow.
Love how the story unfolds, beautiful and deliciously tortured.