Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ruminations on sorrow

Judging from the signs, today promises to be a prodigious day. The bus driver greeted me with a cheerful "good morning"; far from the only person who opted to climb the escalators up from the metro — which is usually the case — everyone seemed intent on scurrying off to work despite the early hour (7:30 am); and even the homeless man who sleeps in the tunnel that connects me to my workplace appeared to be sleeping soundly, howling wind notwithstanding (poor fellow).

So today I am wondering whether I ought to continue the story, as I imagine it at least, of the two people I encountered on my way to the YMCA last week: of the weeping young woman and her chauffeur companion (whom I presumed to be her father). Actually, it is the father's slumped shoulders and otherwise defeated posture that have stuck with me rather than the young woman's misery. His pain seemed deeper, etched into the fabric of his personality; the result, not of a momentarily disappointment or even of a love affair gone awry, but of a longstanding sorrow that has bent his spirit and blighted his every day.

What could have hurt him so badly? Or who? If it is a woman — his daughter's mother, for instance — what could she have done to stamp defeat into every fibre of his being? Did she have good reasons for what she did? If given a second chance, would he be able to forgive her?

Most riveting of all, does he love her still?



Anonymous Anonymous said...


You know I'm not a violent person -- stop sniggering.

As I said, I'm not a violent person, but if you continue to tease me with this, I do believe I shall have to come to your house and do something wretched. Like steal your boots, or better yet, take some of your boytoys away.

You CANNOT write something like: "His pain seemed deeper, etched into the fabric of his personality; the result, not of a momentarily disappointment or even of a love affair gone awry, but of a longstanding sorrow that has bent his spirit and blighted his every day," and then just leave me in the lurch.

My heart is wrung from the thoughts of his pain, tears are in my eyes and I have no clue what to do with this emotion, save cheer for him to get his happy ending.

For God's sake, woman, give both of us our happy ending and WRITE THE BOOK!

1:07 pm  
Blogger India said...

Yep. I'm with Brown, Eva.

I've been patient, I've been understanding, so I'm thinking she's right. Time to get nasty...!!

(and for what it's worth, my bet is that all the pain and sorrow is daughter-related. Who knows how to find the rawest nerves better than your children?)

9:30 am  
Blogger Eva said...

I'm not teasing, girls, truly I'm not. What is painful - well nigh torture - is not having enough time in the day to write for myself. My fingers ache, my minds races, but I can't string together more words at the end of my typical 8-hour day spent writing for someone else.

I know, I know, excuses, excuses. Blah blah blah.

I'm sure the daughter is part of the torture for my male character. If he still loves her mother, the girl must be a constant reminder of what he's lost. And once she starts to experience heartbreak, how can it not bring back all his old pain, just as fresh and raw as years ago.

This is NOT teasing. Please don't take my boy toys away, girls. (The boots you can have.)

12:14 pm  
Blogger India said...

And now I feel guilty for being too hard on you!

How about you give yourself half an hour (in a hot bath with a glass of wine is my preferred location) and just write in your head? One day, when time isn't so tight, you might get round to putting the story on paper, but for the moment the best bit is shaping it in your mind. You can't leave these characters with all their issues unresolved!

12:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I suppose I shall have to be the adult and agree with India, instead of listening to my inner-toddler and yelling, "Work is big poo-poo heads. Tell me a story! Tell me a story!"

I do hope things get a little calmer for you. It's no fun being run ragged.

Wishing you a hot bath, a bottle of wine, and found treasure in the form of free time.

4:10 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

If he is so unhappy, I think he must still love her. Or, maybe, age has brought wisdom and the realisation of how much he hurt her causes him to carry the burden of his guilt with him forever.

Alternatively, he may just be a miserable old git who would really like to write a best seller but hasn't got the time. That would be enough to make anyone unhappy, don't you agree, Eva?

11:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week the Montreal Gazette ran a story about a woman who fell under an underground train, could this be what you are looking for?

1:30 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Annie, welcome back! We missed you. Yes, you're right - it takes two to tangle, and two to get into a tangled mess. He will have had a part to play in the tragedy too.

And I'll stop moaning now for fear I'll turn into a 'miserable old git'!

Anonymous, what a horrible accident. I'd hate to think it the cause of the grief I witnessed last week. Can you point me to the article?

11:13 pm  

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