Thursday, June 16, 2011
Excerpt - Recovery
Read the Excerpt!
Tiresome carols from department store speakers extolled the dreaded news that Christmas chaos had once again taken over the country. Newspapers would soon be filled with stories of fights breaking out among stranded air travelers at destinations where too much snow, too much wind, or too much airport security had taken its toll. Once at Grandmother’s house, loving families filled with potent eggnog concoctions would turn on each other and use dinner utensils as assault weapons, until SWAT units arrived to stop the bloodshed. Every commercial, greeting card, and holiday display was pressuring us to have the perfect holiday, which we knew did not really exist. But every year in December we once again pulled out the stale-smelling ornaments from the attic, fired up the plastic Christmas tree, and prayed that maybe this year would be better than the last.
I was suffering though my own Christmas hell, stuck in New York City, in weather far below what any decent southerner considered utterly obscene, to satisfy the expectations of my publisher.
I had originally balked at the idea of coming to New York. The only place I wanted to be during the holidays was home. But the city I called home had been erased from the modern era, wiped out by water, incompetence, and apathy. The New Orleans I had loved had been forever changed by the winds of Katrina.
Gone were the places of my past. The corner grocery that had always smelled of spicy boiled shrimp, the restaurant that had served my favorite gumbo, the home where I had gathered for the holidays, the neighborhood where I had grown up but had never left behind. How do you begin to cope with the loss of everything that has been part of you, completed you? In New Orleans it is said we are where we live, but who are we when we cannot live there anymore?
By the time I had finally gotten through to FEMA and was able to restore some semblance of order back into my life, my publisher had called with last-minute plans for a holiday book signing tour.
So there I sat in a downtown Manhattan bookstore, filled with longing for home and a line of women waiting for my signature on their copy of my book Painting Jenny.
“Was David Alexander really like that?” one round-faced woman asked as she cleaved a copy of my book to her chest. “The way you described him in the book?”
“He was as he is written,” I said. I always gave that response when asked about David. I wrote what I remembered about him, the good and the bad, making the character in the book almost as real as the man I had loved. Almost.
“You were his muse,” a hunched over, gray-haired diva draped in all her Tiffany finery exclaimed. “I saw some of his portraits of you, the ones he called his Jennys, last month on display at a gallery here in the city. He was very talented and his love for you was obvious. He painted you with such reverence, such awe.” She sighed and smiled weakly. “What a waste.”
I reached for the book the woman handed me with her spindly fingers and looked up into her beady gray eyes. I wondered if she had ever known love or if the cold diamonds that enveloped her body had somehow managed to work their way into her heart. I then gave her my best-practiced smile.
“He was very talented, and at least the world still has his paintings to remember him by,” I answered, keeping my voice free of the disgust churning inside of me.
The Madison Avenue maven smiled. “And your book. The world has that too. To remember you both by.”
A twinge of pain etched its way across my heart as a memory of David began to cloud my vision. We had been sitting on the floor of his studio after a frenzied night of painting. In an instant, I could smell the mix of paint and sweat on his skin. David had expressed his hope that one day his paintings and my stories would stand side-by-side declaring to the world what we had meant to each other. He had told me that he wanted nothing more than to be remembered for eternity with me. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the past.
“You must have been so devastated by his death,” a shrill voice said, tearing me away from my memories.
“Devastated?” I smiled up at a chubby, eager-looking woman standing before me.
Is that what you call this, I thought to myself. Perhaps heartache is a word that can only be experienced, and once experienced, it becomes devoid of description.
“Yes, of course I was devastated,” I coolly explained. “He was the love of my life.”
“Then how did you go…” Her hungry brown eyes looked down for a moment. “How did you go on after…he was murdered?”
“I wrote our story,” I quickly replied. “It was my therapy,” I added as I tried to quell my growing desire to taser this overzealous fan.
About Alexandrea Weis
Alexandrea Weis began writing at the age of eight. In college she studied nursing and went on to teach at a local university. After several years in the medical field, she decided to pick up the pen again and began her first novel To My Senses. Since that time she has writen several novels and sold two screenplays (White River and Blood Will Tell). Blood Will Tell is currently in pre-production with Buyer Group International. Her work has been critically acclaimed and is continually growing in popularity.
Her most recent book is Recovery, the second novel in the Nicci Beauvoir series which takes readers on a Big Easy thrill ride when a lover’s murder is sohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giflved and a spy with a bulletproof bravado quickens Nicci’s broken heart.
Alexandrea is also a permitted wildlife rehabber and works rescuing orphaned and injured animals. She recently has been working to aid oil soaked birds in the Gulf disaster.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
You can visit Alexandrea’s website at www.alexandreaweis.com or connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alexandreaweis and Facebook at www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/To-My-Senses/113609858681394.