Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 29
Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel. Our first serialized novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remains, can be found in full here.
Our current novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on the life of Alice Lott, a twelve-year-old girl who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her junior high school counselor.
Find earlier chapters in Hoodoo here.
“Tell me a secret.”
I was lying on the park bench with my head in Bobby’s lap. He was stroking my hair. I’d been leaving it loose for him almost every day.
Bobby looked down at me. “A secret?”
“I’ve loved you since the day I was born. Earlier. I knew you in the pre-existence, and I promised to find you when I got here.”
“So how come I was born so much later than you?”
“You weren’t convinced. It was a test. You wanted to see if I loved you enough.”
I played with Bobby’s hand, spreading his fingers and squishing them together. I kicked my feet against the bench.
“Tell me a real secret,” I said.
Bobby laughed. “That is a real secret.”
“Tell me something about before we met.” I folded his fingers over his palm. “Tell me about your wife.”
Bobby pulled his hand away. I sat up and turned to face him. “Other couples talk about the people they used to be with, don’t they? I don’t even know her name.”
I remembered her in the principal’s office. Just a glimpse of her, her blond hair. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know her name.
“Did you love her?” I asked.
Bobby was quiet. I looked at the grass under my feet. I could take it back. I didn’t really want to know. I started to open my mouth.
“Yes,” said Bobby. And then, “Not the way I love you. It was different.”
I pulled my feet up onto the bench, and wrapped my arms around my knees.
“We had an English Lit class together in college. She had long blond hair, and big blue eyes. She was a Psych major like me, but we met in English class. It was funny. After I met her, though, I’d see her everywhere in the Psych department. She was different from me. Very social, very outgoing. I wasn’t really sure what she saw in me. I went to this party at her dorm, and I ended up staying after everyone else had left, just talking with her. She said she thought I’d make a good father.”
Bobby half-laughed, his hands resting palm-up in his lap.
“That’s it?” I said, “She was outgoing?”
“Uh, she spent a lot of time on her manicure.” Bobby looked sideways at me, almost laughing. “Look, she was kind of boring. So was I. There wasn’t all that much to say about me before. I was a nice guy. That’s about it. Until I met you.”
“What are you saying?”
Bobby stretched his arms out, like he wanted to scoop up the whole park in them, then let them drop again.
“I’m not a nice guy. That’s not who I am,” he looked over at me, finally, his gray eyes in their nets of wrinkles. He was smiling, but the smile hung strangely on his face. “I’d do the same thing again, and more. The minute I met you, Alice, I felt the earth move out from under my feet. Everything changed, right then. I don’t know why, but I know I have to be near you. I have to be near you, or I’m nothing. I don’t exist without you.”
I climbed into Bobby’s lap, put my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes. I listened to his breath moving in and out, and I think I understood what he meant.
Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California. Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle.
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