Had a good half-hour of down time yesterday. Serious sitting in one place quiet. I happened to have a pen and some scraps of paper, so I started scribbling the first thing to pop into my mind:
Wrapped in a musty shawl, Adelaide watched from the attic window as the delivery truck pushed through the sooty mid-winter slush to park across the street. The side window of the truck was fogged until a hand reached up and brushed away the rime glaze there.
A new driver.
Adelaide’s jaw moved back and in as she chewed at her lip. He wouldn’t know what to do.
Her gaze swept the cold scene outside, spied Mrs. Martin two doors down, bundled heavy against the icy air, checking the plastic tarping over her prized plants. She would know what to do, but she didn’t seem to have noticed the truck.
Looking back to it, Adelaide could see that the man had some sort of electronic tablet perched against the big steering wheel in front of him, and she saw him check her address against it as he warmed his hands in front of his mouth. Then he turned to look up toward the house. Toward her.
Adelaide gasped instinctively, bobbed her head down below the frame of the window.
Deep breaths, she told herself. In and out.
Her hands trembled, clenching over her ears. She willed them to let go, forcing herself not to imagine what screams she didn’t want to hear.
In and out. Deep breaths.
Her hands came down. She stopped shaking. And slowly, like a child trying to glimpse a forbidden scene, she lifted her head to peek out at the world through her window.
The delivery man was halfway up the walk, the large brown box of her week’s sustenance light in his arms. Mrs. Martin had seen him and was moving, but too slow. The man’s breath rose like the steam of a locomotive. Mrs. Martin was saying something, but the man was wearing headphones. Closer. Closer. Until he disappeared under the porch roof to stand somewhere beneath her at the front door.
No, no, no, no …
It goes on from there. About 1000 words or so. It doesn’t have a conclusion yet, it might not be any good, but it’s a piece of new fiction after a couple months of none. So that’s good.
In other news, grading continues. I have until the 13th.