(Bautista, personal photograph of Siquijor Island, Philippines, 2008)
Back in April of last year, I mentioned a novel I wrote during my last stint in Korea 2012/2013 – I wrote the novel in one month for an online writing movement and sought to have the ideas published after being editted by a professional. I met with the editor last year and agreed with everything she said. One story shone, the other not so much.
This past April I thought I would be separating the tale into short stories but I’ve changed my mind this first day of 2015.
Leading up to the New Year midnight countdown, I decided to read the novel front to back to see what would be salvaged into a collection but I think now that I’ve had time away from when I initially proofread in 2012 to tonight’s re-reading, I strongly believe it would still make a great book.
So like the tides, back we go. I am going to reshape it and see what the process reveals. Most likely, I will e-publish it.
It’s the story of two family members from different generations and time frames who share the same desire: to seek out a new life after waiting so long for life to begin.
I will take chapters of it and post them on their own page – you will see the tab across the top of the page – I tend to re-read my posts as I do with most of my writing to inspire future writing I suppose – to see where I was, where I am at, where I need to be – to remember how to feel.
With that being said, here is the first excerpt. Onwards to a new year!
© Copyright by Darryl Bautista 2015
Prologue: Mourning Light
The light of morning shines down upon my sleepy face as I try to adjust to the brightness upon me. Before I move after awakening, I pause for a moment and remind myself to just stay in the moment.
I am sitting in a chair just by the window and as I remain still, I try to catch all of the starts of the day taking place around me – the people coming into work, the phones ringing in the background, the voices coming off the elevator. The sudden starts and stops of people thinking about what to say, what not to say, perhaps, what to do and what not to do. People are going somewhere or they are going nowhere. As I sit in this place, I think most people are going somewhere.
There is a sense of peace within these walls at least that’s the feeling coursing through my still frame. It is a terminal of sorts. People are waiting. I guess some are frantically expecting the worst while others are waiting for hopeful news or dreams realized. Can prayers be answered? I don’t think so. Not anymore.
It dawns on me that I, too, am waiting for something. I am always waiting for something. My whole life I have been sitting in transit expecting things to get better. I am trying to stay in the moment though as I said. I am really trying to feel something, maybe even settle my nerves.
“John, come to me.”
“Good morning”, I say.
“John, come to me.”
I walk over to the bed and sit down next to my grandfather.
I remember as a child I would sit outside his bedroom door waiting for him to call out to me. My grandfather lived with us for a short while when I was a child and I was always anxiously waiting to hear him say those words whenever I passed by his door. When he did call out to me, it was just after he finished his evening prayers and I knew he was ready to play card games. During these nights, he would talk about the islands and tell me about his travels, his life stories and his loves.
But this is a different place and time.
“Take my hand.”
I do as I am told. His hands are still so strong. For awhile, he says nothing. I hear him breath. He breathes his life. He breathes my lineage, too.
He breaks the silence.
“Tell her I’m sorry, John. Tell her I couldn’t do a thing. So unhappy. So sad. Promise me you will tell her.”
I look up at him. “Grandpa, you keep saying this to me. I don’t know what you mean. Who should I tell? Who is unhappy?”
He looks at me with such concern. His eyes are so deep with regret. I can’t help but feel his pain, his history, his lineage.
“Yes, Grandpa, I forgive you.” I squeeze his hand trying to reassure him that all is well. We both know it isn’t.
With what strength he has, he moves his thumb across the back of my hand.
“Tell her, John. Tell her she was loved.”
“Okay, I will Grandpa, just get some rest.”
He closes his eyes. His breath softens.
His grip subsides. It is low tide.
I awaken to the hospital sounds around me.
The nurse enters and she walks over to him. I watch her. I know her.
Her face saddens. Is she sad? It doesn’t matter. She says I should say a prayer.
I do as I am told.