This morning I started writing the chapter where Betsy dies. I've been anticipating this for so long now; it seems strange that I'm actually at the point in the novel where it happens. And though we know from Page 1 that it's going to happen, there is something sort of heart-wrenching about actually illustrating it. All of sudden there Harper is, standing in the middle of the road, in the rain, holding her....there's a point where I start to believe in my characters. I think I'm finally there.
I put the book aside to pick Kicky up from school. Ella couldn't go for milkshakes today (or unofficial Friday ritual), so I did the lazy thing and got a frosty from the Wendy's drive-thru. Feeling high from the book and a double cheeseburger, I gave in to Kicky's pleas to go to the park. It was a gorgeous day, and there were about six thousand kids at the park. I have no idea what happened, but as I struggled to keep Esmee from eating a fistful of wood chips, I became "that mom"...you know, the one with the bossy kid. The one whose child is screaming at all of the other kids, barking orders at the slide, chasing kids off of their tricycles. All of the neighborhood moms...most of them seemed to know each other...silently watching their children being terrorized by my monster. Huddled and whispering. Conspiring, I'm certain, to ban us from the park.
So...in an effort to save face, I called Kicky over, said that it was time for Esmee's nap. Like it would be that easy. Within seconds, I'm scooping her off the slide (Madelyne Toogood, I feel for you honey) and carrying her, kicking and screaming, away from her victims.
And so, like the library (a whole other story), the park has become one of those places we can't go.
This weekend I am meeting with one of the neighborhood moms about painting a mural on her daughter's wall. Maybe I can ingratiate myself this way. Mama Frankenstein.