Friday, June 7, 2013

Codswallop's Diary

Back when Codswallop was still just a minor character in The Witch's Key, I filled out a character sheet for him. It was full of questions like "You come to a fork in the road, which direction do you choose?" and "What makes you feel safe?" and "What do you like to do in your free time?" At the end of the list was a simple directive: "Write a diary entry about a particularly vivid memory." Codswallop wrote this:

I remember when she left the first time. It was a cold spring day, with azure skies and the faint strains of early birdsong. I was six years old and I didn’t understand.
I was still wrapped in my blanket as I made my way into the kitchen, the bitter smell of coffee guiding me. She always drank coffee in the morning. My feet padded against the cold wood floor. They didn’t hear me come in.
My mother stood in the middle of the kitchen, the morning sunlight making her glow. She is a beautiful woman. I never saw her looking more beautiful than she did this day. Her skirts were all the colors of the rainbow, and fluttered around her like flower petals. Her arms were lined with bracelets, her neck heavy with chains, and from her ears swung golden hoops -- she was so bedecked that she sparkled and she jingled when she walked.
There was an energy about her that I had never seen before. Her skirts moved back and forth -- swish, swish, swish -- as she kept in constant motion. She was excited. Her aura was bright, shocking pink like the tulips she had planted one spring. When I looked at her, I saw roads and worlds ahead of her, filled with happiness and laughter.
Her aura was bright, shocking pink
So why was my father so upset?
His aura was dark, muddy brown. He gripped her by the arm and said again and again: “Don’t do this. Don’t leave us.”
She tossed back her golden hair and laughed, the bracelets on her arms laughing along. “Don’t take it so serious,” she said. “I’ll be back.”
She kissed him then. Long. I watched with wide eyes, seeing their auras dancing together. My father’s aura changed when she kissed him. It turned as gold as her hair. Her aura didn’t change, only shifted, like it wanted out the door right then.
My mother pulled away--with difficulty; he clung to her. She patted his cheek and started for the door. His aura darkened until it was almost black.
That was when I knew. She was leaving for good. She said she was coming back. And maybe she would. But it wouldn’t be the same. She wasn’t going on a trip. She was leaving us. Leaving her life. Leaving her husband and her son.
“No!” I ran to her and I clung to her rainbow skirts. But it was like trying to cling to a rainbow itself.
“Goodbye, chikni.”
“No, Mama! Don’t leave me!”
But baxt thaj sastipe!” she smiled her dazzling smile.
And then she was gone.
My father sat at the kitchen table and he cried. I dragged a stool over to the counter so I could reach to fix him a cup of tea. All the while, I wondered about the roads my mother was exploring without us.
I wish that I could go back to that day. If I could, I would change one thing:
I wouldn’t ask her to stay.

This has now become the first page of his story. As mentioned before, the relationship with Codswallop's mother is... complicated. I'm still not sure quite the part that this will play in the story. Codswallop's mother (Aishe) may actually show up at some point... or she may not. Ah, the joy of being a Discovery writer. At this point, I have no idea what is going to happen.

I guess I should go work on that. In case you're interested, here are Codswallop's answers to the other questions on the sheet:

You come to a fork in the road and have no idea where to go. How do you feel? Which road do you take? Why? What’s at the end of the road?
I feel calm. Life is full of choices. I know there is a guiding force that will take me where I am meant to be if I only follow it. I close my eyes, search within myself, and take the path I am supposed to follow. My future holds laughter, fear, tragedy, and joy. That is what I will find.

How do you react to being lectured by someone in a position of authority?
I usually just laugh at them. Unless it’s my father. Then I threaten to break my promise.

What do you love to do most in your free time? Why?
Assuming “free time” means “time not spent Seeing,” I enjoy such pursuits as watching beryls, playing sports, and generally goofing off.

What makes you feel safe? Why?
My knowledge of the future. I know I will be fine.


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