Monday, July 30, 2012

Darcy and Elizabeth... a few years later.

"Have you seen my favorite writing quill? I have to write to my Aunt."

"Really? She still expects to hear from you, after all this time? After the way she scorned our three sons for 'polluting the shades of Pemberley'?

"She is my Aunt, nonetheless, and I am a very loyal--"

"Very loyal companion, blah blah blah. Yes, yes, I know. Believe me, I know."

"I don't know why you are so sour just because you have to deal with one aging aunt of mine."

"Lady Catherine is more than just an aging aunt, my dear, and you know that as well as I do."

"Well, yes, but she did lend us her carriage when ours broke last winter, and the carriage-mender sick with dropsy."

"I still say we could have hired one from town, to avoid being beholden to your aunt."

"Yes, but if you will recall, the driver from town once tracked mud into our front hallway and kicked the dog out of his way, and my good opinion once lost---"

"Your 'good opinion once lost is lost forever.' YES. WE KNOW."

"You know, I should never have overcome the inferior circumstances of your birth and married you."

"Well, I shouldn't have forgotten that you were the last man on earth I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."


"I'm going for a walk."

"Have the driver take you to town, if that's where you're going."

"No, I'm very fond of walking."


"Oh, no. I'm not going anywhere. Here come Bingley and Jane, down the lane."

"Pfft. Happy as larks."

"They make me sick. It has to be an act. They stare at each other like puppies. After ten years and ten children."

"Well, you know what, their oldest boy looks like a monkey."

"I believe he does. You know, I misjudged you. We're so much alike after all."

"I love, I love, I love that about you."

"And like you always say, 'I knew you would do me good in some way. I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you.'"

"What did you say?"

"I... I mean... isn't it about to rain? Look out there..."


"No! I.. I just, I was talking to Jane and she said it, and I just... I always prefer to remember the time that you and I were... walking in the moors, and you said to me that it was just like when we were children, and..."

"Heathcliff, too?!?? You said that was over YEARS ago."

"I just saw him in the village and we just had tea and dinner at his inn. Nothing happened."

"At the inn???!? And I suppose Rochester just happened to be strolling through town as well??"

"Well, no, I saw him in Brighton."

"In Brighton?"

"Last April. With my aunt."

"That was supposed to be a trip to have a new summer dress made, not to go... gallvanting around the countryside with that half-mad libertine."

"Well, at least he knows how to treat a lady."

"And what, pray tell, is THAT supposed to mean?!?"

"Well, let's just say he never let his aunt force me to play the pianoforte."

"I bet he didn't have to force you to do much of anything, did he."

"Excuse me?"

"He'll lock you in the attic, you know. But, then, you'd probably like that."

"No, you're the one who would like that. Sitting here writing letters all day..."

"I do not have the talent of easily conversing with strangers."

"Gee, really?"

"What do you want me to say? You knew I was like this when you married me."

"Well, for starters, how about this -- why don't you ever take me anywhere interesting?"

"What, is it time for another trip to Brighton?"

"No, it's time for another trip to Rosings. I already wrote a letter to tell your Aunt you were coming."

"You wouldn't."

"I haven't sent it yet, but I will if you don't back off about Brighton, right now. And you know what? You're lucky I don't ask you what you were doing while I was gone."

"For your information, I was off saving your sister from ruin. Again."



"Kitty has gone a little wild since Wickham has been out to sea, hasn't she. I just..."

"I... don't cry. Look, it's all arranged now. No one will know she tried to run off with the butcher."

"Oh, I think that cat's out of the bag, don't you?"

"I'd say so. Ha!"

"Why are you staring at me?"

"You know, you're very pretty when you laugh. Even when you've been crying."

"Don't try to sweet-talk me, Darcy. I know your ways..."

"Come on, I know what you need."

"A big glass of that nasty wine your gardener makes?"

"Our gardener, and no, that's not what."

"What, then?"

"A visit home to see your family."

"Oh, Darcy, do you mean it?!?"

"I've grown my hair and sideburns extra long, so I won't even be able to hear your mother talk. Come on, let's go."

"You have bewitched me, body and soul."

"Hey, that's my line."

"Well, it's mine now. Or, at least it is until you die and it gets passed down to your next male heir."

"I love you, Elizabeth."

"And I love you."

"Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?"

"What did you say?!"

Monday, July 16, 2012


On Sunday afternoon the kids were refusing to nap, so I gave up and packed the kids in the car and took the long, arrow-straight drive East along US 90, and sure enough, within 5 minutes they were asleep, snoring softly in the backseat.

I like driving, in the right conditions. When I am not in a hurry, when I am not trying terribly to get. some. where. Something about the miles just slipping away under the tires. When I can't get away by myself, this is a good substitute.

Sometimes things gather like clouds and I have to clear them out of the way. This week I have been very careful about my diet, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, wheat, dairy, and excess sugar, so by Sunday I was missing my various vices and feeling that hard edge of too-much-intensity that is hard to dull without them. But the drive was doing it. Something about that stretch of road never really seems to change. Its character is the same as it was when I was 17, 19, 20, and now 31. The crepe myrtles are bigger but they are in the same places; the boxwoods between Monticello and Greenville are still oddly placed like dropped marbles, but they are as tall as houses now instead of little dog-sized sprouts. 

The day before, I had my first physical victory: I have been dealing with problems with exhaustion, thyroid problems, and adrenal fatigue for a few years, and on Saturday I did a bunch of yard work, and made it. I have been sleeping well finally and feel myself getting better. One thing that has happened -- something unexpected -- is that as I come back to myself, more and more, I also feel my raw edges more strongly. I have so many tattered-edge ambitions, like this novel I want to finish writing (but when?) and the fact that I always want to keep my house clean, but I just can't hold all the little lists of tasks together in my head or on a piece of paper. And I never know where my phone is, and I have needed to clean out my purse for two weeks and still haven't done it. And I have been losing and gaining the same three pounds since February.

I have the energy to make things a little better every day, and it makes a difference. But sometimes the rawness gets to me and I have to "run away," even if that just means putting the kids in the car and driving for an hour or two. Yesterday I was feeling the goodness of blessing and the struggle of the road ahead as well, both in equal parts. The hazy green miles went on and on, and after a while I felt the goodness outweigh the struggle. That clench in the pit of my stomach let go and I turned around and made the trip back home.

On the way back into town, I was behind a semi truck, its giant white trailer scraping branches off the trees as it went. As it passed beneath the crepe myrtles, it knocked little flurries of flower petals down on my car: rose, coral, and white. I felt like some kind of funny bridal carriage, for miles and miles, showered in the tiny flowers. And we emerged on the other end. The children stirred awake, rested and calm, and the surroundings became more familiar.