Thangst

It’s hard to look at.

The ache. The mistake. The longing. The breakup. The failure. The betrayal. The abandonment. The affair. The loss.

The sin.

When you sit down at your desk to write, it clears its throat. It’s hiding behind your lamp or tucked under an unpaid utility bill. It’s watching, waiting. It nods “go ahead.” It whispers “it will be okay.”

Instead, you turn away. You look down at your computer keyboard. You rest your fingers there.

ae ess dee eff, jay kay elle sem

You’ve done your research. You’ve read all the how-to books. You loved Stephen King’s On Writing and Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees. You’re a good writer. A damn good writer. And you’re writing a damn good novel.

Your plot is just one revision away from brilliant. You know how to build tension, how to raise the stakes. Your characters are smart. Funny. Interesting. Diverse. Believable.

But something still isn’t right.

There’s a layer missing.

You lift your fingers from the keys. You lean back in your chair. You stare out the window. You listen to an approaching siren. You sniff the air for the smell of smoke. You wonder about the neighbors – the ones with the new fireplace insert. They asked you how you liked yours. You told them it was great, “flick a switch, instant romance.” She said they’d have to get one. He said he’d install it himself.

The siren passes and fades.

Your fingers hover above the keys. You can feel the pulse in your neck. Your son will be home from school in an hour.

It clears its throat again.

The ache. The mistake. The longing. The breakup. The failure. The betrayal. The abandonment. The affair. The loss. The sin.

No.

Your ache. Your mistake. Your longing. Your breakup. Your failure. Your betrayal. Your abandonment. Your affair. Your loss.

Your sin.

The missing layer.

You move the unpaid utility bill. You adjust the lamp. You inhale. You feel your heart beating in your chest.

You realize you’re holding your breath.

You exhale.

ae ess dee eff, jay kay elle sem

This is going to hurt.

Thanks.

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