An Excerpt From "The Very First Summer of Rebecca Emmons," a novel by Anthony Rosania.
NOW spoken verbally is NOW for all who hear it, but more on our own NOW later.
At the present time: goods now on sale; the now aging dictator.
At once; immediately: Stop now.
In the immediate past; very recently: left the room just now.
At this point in the series of events; then: The ship was now listing to port.
She yearned to douse with black gravedirt those jostling, eyeless, cruel persons passing by her, who could not see her. To the girl, who had surely once had a brain, they looked more like brain nodes walking by her; unheeding, silly and funny looking, though she had no notion what a brain node was, and she thought that the word did not exist until she birthed it.
She stood, becoming.
She was not frightened, but somehow more relaxed, like a flower at evening rest, knowing the warmth will stay in the earth, the rains will be gentle when they soon come, and the sun will shine tomorrow. Nothing planned. Nothing guaranteed. She was not falling off the Earth. And yet she may as well. Which gave her a curious courage in all that fear she had always known. When she had used to be someone else.
And all the blazing pain and horror that had once been her, and the environs of everything she touched and believed, had curled up in as though it had all been her dearest friend, and went away. She would most curiously miss it. For it was summer and she was a part of it, not a smaller part of it than anyone around her. In her own way.
She was cloaked in what she was, and what she was made her appear to others this afternoon as colorless glass, something that the air allowed within itself, giving her an escape hatch or illusion, somewhere in the dark spaces of her mind.
And now she remembered. The elusive pearl was found.
And that was that once upon a time, her name was Rebecca Emmons, and she had been a number, and alone. The thought, long-ago memory of her, made her feel as though she could not swallow. As though her throat was suddenly bunched up and there was a knife cut down the center, inside of it.
Oh, yes, that Rebecca, was - had been - a girl who had had the right amount of boyfriends, only boys who would allow her to be as chaste as she wanted to be, as she made quite clear she would never go beyond a certain border. Thinking these things in the warm balloon of summer atmosphere, she breathed in her world. And it was her world, and it was a world she could be visible in any time she wished. For there was nothing self-deprecating or self-involved. She just did not wish it so.
And she turned to her math teacher who had passed by her, like a calling wind, like a moment that had passed for the girl once, and not for the teacher. The girl still blushed. She did now. She felt mortally wounded by this woman in the crowd, and called her teacher's name.
"Miss Sommers", she said, softly, with her warm, rolling kind of Southern accent. Friendly, which was what she was, and she realized she had not been that before. She had always had an itchy voice, a voice that said "time was wasting" and, "what do you want". She was now balanced precariously between her world and the world out there, which had threatened to become her inside world too. She could decide who would live. She was terribly thirsty. She wished she had a Coke right now.
Her teacher, a tall thin woman with bifocals, turned in surprise, and quickly, for the woman who had not seen her there until now, turned around to see the girl beyond the group of walkers, in the moment she came to light to the woman; the girl being on a different plane perhaps, but still somehow at the very edge of the corner of the teacher's world. She was, if nothing else, a woman of precision, a woman not given to surprises, or not given to allowing anyone to know she had been surprised or disconcerted. She might be seeing this girl in another galaxy, but it was just old-hat Saturday in this sleepy little Southern town after all. And two can play the slightly amused game if they want.
At least those were the vibrations the woman gave to the girl.