Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Eight

Well I've got one more chapter present for everyone before Christmas! This week I have Chapter Eight of My Mechanical Heart and as the characters grow closer we're reminded how grateful we can be; and should be for our friends and family. The people who support, love and care for us no matter who we are or what makes up our unique personalities. I feel that this was a strong message that came through in the relationship of Will and Helena. It was unintentional; but a wonderful thing that I have learnt from them and others too.

I know that I'm thankful not just for my stories and characters but most importantly my readers. There's something very irreplaceable in each of you and I wouldn't trade one of you for the world.


Chapter Eight

- Helena Cope -

How many times had Helena locked herself in this closet?
She'd lost count along time a go, but her mind was full of memories where she would stay there for days and read. She wasn't a human so being self-sustained made it all too easy. Back then when she was nothing more than an art piece it was simple. Helena needed nothing more than her books.
But now something was unmistakably different and the hollow place in her that had once been filled with verse would no longer yield to well memorised novel pages. Instead there was an ache within her that felt like some of her vital gears had been removed and even though her mind protested it, Helena knew that Will was the only one ho could fill those desolate spaces.
But how selfish was this?
How could Helena expect William to sacrifice his social life for her?
And in the deepest reaches of her mind, Helena spent most of her time ruminating over what their friendship would mean for Will's future. If things were to progress as Helena wished and Will too, then it would no doubt become and hindrance for his existence.
It was true, people found it too difficult to accept Helena for what she was and with Will's selfless nature she knew he would give up too much for her sake.
She cared for him too much to see that happen.
She loved him too much to watch him do that.
He needed better, he deserved so much more. Even if William failed to presently realise that.
Yes, love. What a strange and complicated thing it was.
In Helena's world where life was a simple black or white matter, love was confusing. Maybe Clarence hadn't been able to put real emotions into her steel heart, but something unculcated happened. Will had done the impossible and in such a deft way that she doubted either of them could ever figure it out.
Sitting with the thoughts of her mind made Helena feel closer to humanity than she had ever been, it reminded her of the complex emotions she would read about so often. It was while she sat amongst these strange companion thoughts that a voice broke through and pierced Helena's bitter reverie.
It was Will, he hadn't left and given up and there was a part of Helena that thrilled at this. That however didn't change how selfish Helena thought it was to cling to William.
"Helena, I'm not leaving without you." He reaffirmed in a strong yet sweet tone.
While that would have been enough reasons for most people to heed his words, Helena found it a great battle of strength.
Slowly getting to her feet, Helena felt the door knob. It quivered under her hand and Helena could hear a soft gasp on the other side of the door. Will no doubt, picking up on the subtle movement.
Fear had controlled Helena through all of her short life and even now the fear of hurting Will made her want to stay in the closet. But the stronger, more human sense of Helena that William had awoken wasn't thinking about fear, she was urged forwards by the strange and foreign sensation of love that so often made people do things that were beyond their comfort zone.
Slowly the door was pushed open by her hand and Helena stood there in front of Will with a forlorn look. She was still inside the closet and as though he was afraid she might retreat again, Will kept a respectful distance between them.
"I love you too Will...but I'm..." she was going to say frightened but before she could and amazing and unexpected thing happened. A warmth rushed through Helena as she was silenced by William's lips pressing against hers softly and yet firm enough that she didn't want to try and protest.
Both of them were stiff, awkward at first while under the influence of this sudden show of emotion. Helena of course had never experienced anything like this and the grand way books described it were nothing compared to it's true splendour. Even before they both eased into a proper kiss, her arms over Will's shoulders and his around her waist, Helena couldn't have found anything to compare with this.
It felt like little sparks were dancing on the edge of her lips and making her feel relaxed and excited all in the same wave of emotion. There were no words between them and Helena wouldn't have had it any other way. The kiss was sweeter than words and she would have traded the pages of a million novels just for this moment to stretch on even a second longer. Watching William so close to her, Helena could examine his eyes with new depth, the rich, dark brown that seemed to go on forever without any end which mesmerised her.
Everything was beautiful in that moment and fear had been chased away by William's gentle care and tender kiss; letting the rest of that day melt away in a blissful daze.

*

The next day was surrounded by remnants of that same glow which Helena and Will shared through a single kiss.
The whole school noticed it in equal parts of amazement and confusion. Of course, neither Will nor Helena completely understood how strong the power they were under was but it became something they didn't want to fight. Helena certainly didn't want to fight it.
And with the dance that evening she was bright with anticipation to prepare...
Sitting up in her room getting ready, Helena sat before a mirror with Clarence behind her, brushing her messy hair so that it would resemble the distant cousin of a tamed hair-style. He pulled it back and up; pinning it with a decorative black hair comb and sticking what looked like a Victorian hair pin in the bun so that it looked ornate.
"So Helena, what's your dress like?" Clarence asked with the trembling edge to his voice of a nervous father.
He didn't know about the escapade while her and William were Downtown and Helena planned to keep it that way.
"I let Will pick it out." She said, glancing to the bag that she had yet to open. Simply peeking in, Helena saw the colour of the dress which enticed her to heed Will when he asked her not to take it out until she was getting ready.
"I'm sure he picked out something very nice..." Clarence said, one of his curious eyes peeking towards the bag before Helena hopped out of her chair.
"No! You can't see it!" She protested, snapping it up and shooing Clarence out before he could take another look. He was chuckling the whole way out; clearly amused at how she was acting.
The very second Helena closed her bedroom door she commenced to changing from her school clothes and into the dress, very careful not to mess up her hair. She was in such a flurry of excitement that it wasn't until she looked at herself in the mirror that Helena realised what William had done.
There in front of her, staring at her in the mirror was a girl who could have looked pretty; even just a little bit. But the stitches that quilted her shoulder together and mechanical heart in her chest were like a centre piece for everyone to see. The dress didn't hide Helena and her imperfections as she had hoped. Instead it made her prominent and magnified everything that was Helena's essence.
She hated it.
Just as Helena was about to change out of the dress, a gentle knock came on the door.
"Helena, can I see your dress?" It was Clarence.
"No!" Helena protested, heading for the door.
But he was smarter and quicker than Helena. When he threw open the door, she stood like a deer in headlights. Clarence too looked stunned but that quickly shifted into marvel as he looked his piece of artwork from head to toe.
"It's absolutely perfect." He said, approaching Helena and taking one of her hands.
"No it's not!" She growled, pulling her hand away and looking at Clarence with contempt. "It makes me look...ugly! Like myself." She muttered, turning away. "I don't look normal at all." She seethed, feeling angry and betrayed that William wouldn't have chosen a dress she felt comfortable in.
Maybe he didn't truly love her, maybe it was all a big joke. Or maybe he changed his mind and would insult her like all the others.
"I'm not going if I can't be normal." She decided, not letting Clarence get in a word between her flustered statements.
"What's normal?" He finally got to ask, although it was rhetorical question. "Maybe William doesn't want what you think is normal Helena. Maybe that's why he's so happy when he's around you. Maybe, just maybe that's why he picked out that dress...to show you that you're beautiful to him exactly the way you are." Clarence's words were sage and gentle but Helena could hardly believe them.
"How would you know that? You're always wrong! You said everyone would love me before and you were wrong then too." She said behind tightly clenched teeth. Clarence however was unfazed and only looked out the window.
"If you don't believe me, why don't you ask Will?" He said softly.
And as if on cue, the doorbell chimed...

Saturday, 15 December 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Seven

In this week's chapter of My Mechanical Heart...Will does something he never suspected he would do by himself. Go dress shopping. Ah, love is a many splendid thing; it introduces us to our comfort zone and then makes us go past it. But when things like that happen for the sake of another person, maybe we're actually gaining a lot more than we're giving. There's so many ways to look at things and none more complex than love and teenage love at that.

But that's the fun in exploring these things; they're is rarely ever a clear answer. Everyone finds a different perspective, a different angle to see thinks from and each one in it's own respect can be right. That's part of what I love about writing; how it makes me see the world through a so many different minds and eyes. No matter what my opion is, my character's all have a different view and I benefit from it.

That said, enjoy Chapter Seven!

Chapter Seven


- William Auditore -

With Helena locked in a closet, an elderly woman eyeing him contemptuously, time slipping by quickly and everything about their shopping trip practically in ruins...
Will did the only thing he could.
Go dress shopping.
"Helena..." Will said her name softly, trying to coax her out of the closet just once more before he left the old apartment where Helena had once lived. He felt so horrible for ever suggesting they visit the place and now he felt personally responsible for her locking herself away.
Leaning his forehead on the door, William spoke in a hoarse whisper feeling deeply emotional after pleading with Helena.
"...I don't want to go to the dance with anyone else; I don't want anyone else for a friend. Helena, you're not a mistake." Biting his lip, one of William's hand balled into a fist and knocked on the door in vain agony.
"C'mon Helena." There were words on William's lips that he was afraid to say because he so hardly spoke them but it was like there was some sort of force pressing against his lips that couldn't keep them in again. But even in all that it came out in a weak whimper.
"I love you." The words hung in the air for a moment and for a split second Will thought that Helena would be moved enough to open the door.
He stepped away hopefully. Even the woman who had been grunting and making annoying comments the whole time was quiet.
But that's all there was. Silence. Helena didn't even make a sound.
William considered yelling, screaming, getting mad and dramatic because Helena refused to reciprocate his feelings but instead he looked to the woman apologetically.
"...I'll be back soon Ma'am, I'm very sorry for this..." He promised while slipping reluctantly out of the apartment.
Emerging from the brownstone building and onto the sidewalk, the Fall air no longer felt crisp and clean but was chilling William to the bone. He didn't feel any regret for telling Helena what he did but at the same time he was numb. His whole body felt like it was made up of nothing and even if his reason repudiated from that analogy it was the best way Will could describe the feeling.
His Aunt's Shop wasn't far and in his current state Will nearly passed it. But reliable as always his Aunt must have been watching for him. Before he could completely stray away from her store-front, a caring hand reached out and grasped his arm; holding Will back.
"Hey William, weren't you coming to visit me?" She said in her warm voice that always reminded Will of fresh baked cookies and days of being babysat at 'Zia Luciana's House'. She was beautiful and looked a lot like his Mom. In fact she reminded him of her from when he was kid. Relaxed, happy and always there whenever he needed her.
"Sorry..." Will apologised for what felt like the millionth time that day after having to tell the woman he in the apartment how sorry he was.
"Don't worry." His Aunt said reassuringly as she ushered him inside the dress shop.
"Weren't you supposed to have a friend with you?" She asked, obviously humorously surprised to have her nephew visiting her dress shop unaccompanied.
Part of Will wanted to tell the truth and whine to his Aunt. But if he did that then he knew he would certainly start to cry and didn't want to embarrass himself in front of the store's clerks. "She, uh...couldn't make it. So I came to pick it out myself." If will thought his Aunt had been amused before, she was completely floored now.
Her smile was knowing and it made Will blush. "She must be something very special." Luciana's said, a sparkle of romance in her eyes.
Of course she was more right than she would ever know but Will just agreed with a shy nod. "Yeah, I've never met anyone like her." He affirmed.
Moving further into the shop, Will felt out of his element, unsure of what to even recommend that Helena might like. She seemed to wear a lot of striped shirts at school but how would that translate into a pretty dress?
"So, what would your girl like to wear?" His Aunt Luciana asked, fingering a frilly, pink dress that probably would have looked stellar on a girl like Angela in all her gaudy ways.
"Nothing like that..." Will said, assuming what his Aunt thought the girl might be like. "Helena wouldn't like pink. She likes darker colours...and red. " Will said thoughtfully, examining the store's displays.
"Hm..." Luciana seemed puzzled and yet impressed.
"She's kind of pale, pretty tall and skinny." Will continued on explaining.
"Is she one of those popular girls you complain about so often?" She asked, an eyebrow raised.
Will shook his head. "No." He replied.
"I'm proud of you Will." His Aunt said in a pleased tone, leading him over to a rack of dresses in a style that reflected the bag he had gotten for Helena.
His Aunt had seemed to get the idea pretty fast as she held out a dress that would have looked more amazing on Helena than any dress could have ever looked on Angela.
He smiled. It was a sleeveless dress with thin black and white stripes across it which were accented by exaggerated red stitching. There was a thick red ribbon sash across it and Will couldn't imagine anything more perfect.
"It's awesome, Zia!" Will said reaching for the dress. His spirits felt like they were lifting but he stopped himself short realising something. "Sleeveless..." He murmured.
Helena wasn't likely to wear something without sleeves to cover her arm and heart but still this dress seemed so perfect for her.
"Oh, would she like something with sleeves?" Luciana asked, reaching for another dress. Of course, Helena would but Will stopped his aunt.
"She might, but this will look perfect." He decided with conviction. "I'll take that one." Was William's certain decision as he went over to the cash register and paid his aunt for the dress. Of course it was steeply discounted since he was her nephew, for which Will was glad since his allowance wasn't likely to afford the real price of the dress.
With a few more kind words of encouragement from his Aunt and Helena's new dress neatly folded in a bag William started back to the apartment. There were so many thoughts crowding his head that it was hard to get them all straight and he allowed himself to walk slowly back so he could try and get his mind in order.
How much would things change when he went back with the dress? If he was able to get Helena out of her old broom closet would she be able to return his feelings or would she shy away from him as she did with so many other people? And even so, how would that make him feel. He was already starting to feel the nerves of regret stinging the centre of his brain and it was difficult.
Then there was the puzzling way he Aunt had said she was proud of him.
Was it because he wasn't being superficial and doing what people expected or maybe it was the fact that he was becoming the person she knew was part of him; a human that William was just getting acquainted with. And while the walk to the apartment felt so much faster than it should have, William was left with a sense that he was discovering himself in a way that he never would have if he hadn't met Helena. And he wanted to repay the favour, Will only hoped that he hadn't completely destroyed their friendship by telling her that he loved her.
But it was true and he wasn't even sure how it had happened. How he had fallen for this girl whom he thought was so strange was a total mystery. Some people would argue that it was simply a matter how how protective he felt of her; but no that wasn't it. When Helena smiled it made Will feel content, when she was nervous, he wanted to take care of her and most of all there was a great part of him that wanted to complete her in the way she had done for him without realising it.
Yes, this was love and no matter what stood in the future William knew he was better for it.
And as he re entered the apartment to find the closet door still closed he approached it with a new certainty.
"Helena...I've got your dress. If you don't come out I'll have no one to go to the dance with and I'm never leaving this apartment." He said firmly, grasping onto the bag with Helena's dress tightly. Of course he was petrified but there was also a small part of him that had to crack a smile at how comically horrified the elderly woman looked at the idea of him never leaving her apartment.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sustainability Means a Future of Co-Operatives

I've been very inspired by Co-Operative's sustainable business model, there's something to be said for an enterprise that treats everyone equally in this day and age. So to express my passion and high regard to Co-Operative's across Canada I've written an article to highlight their amazing qualities which deserve be emulated by companies and individuals alike.

 
"Sustainability Means a Future of Co-oporatives"
Author: M.K.R. Mossey

sus·tain·a·bil·i·ty
fourteen letters, six syllables and ten definitions which all boil down to one impact which has had a global reach almost unmatched by any other concept. Derived from the Latin word sustinere which means "to hold up", sustainability calls to mind the idea of our current actions supporting a positive future for generations to come. Co-operative enterprises strive to hold up their communities with equality, dignity and a conscious effort to be responsible for their members. They become the foundation on which strong communities are built and set up pillars of strength to support the longevity of those who work with and for each other through member-ownership.

In a world where humans have become numbers and massive corporations base their decisions upon money it's no wonder much of society has become disjointed. Taking the typical desultory ways of decision making and turning them into a democratic practise, each person sees them self of the same irreplaceable value. Like any well-operating machine all parts are of equal need, Co-operatives make this point clear through non-discrimination and total inclusion regardless of a member-owner's social or economical status.

Granting stewardship to each person who obtains membership in Co-operatives is a type of ingenuity which should be emulated. As a model of solidarity in uncertain times, Co-operatives tackled the challenges of days gone by and are empathetically embracing their members during the shaky economic standing of modern times. Through the seven co-operative principles each brand of the Co-op companies fulfil their members' present needs while giving forward into the future.

To join a Co-operative or Credit Union means more than adding yourself to a proud number of member-owners. It states a steadfast commitment to your Co-operative family, a group of people who are in like mind on the journey of raising fortified towns and communities. Each new member-owner becomes a building block whom can be built upon and simultaneously held up by fellow members. Human value is realised greatly when people understand the significance of their actions, when they feel needed and have a true feeling of comradery. Through connecting people via different Co-operative enterprises their worth is realised and all walks of life come together in fellowship while bridging the gaps which typically would separate them. Simply put, a member-ownership is a gift which cannot be marked by mere monetary value, the investment in a Co-operative membership means a long-lasting impact which lives on in both life and legacy.

So we can understand through the scope of Co-operative's well-principled, inclusive and community sustaining business model that there is more to a company than simple accumulation of profit. Co-operative's see their profit and find gratification through the impact they can leave on individuals, communities and even reach for the betterment of the developing world. As an organization which finds it's life-blood in people, there can be observed a unique method which has yet to be embraced by the corporate world. Looking into the past we see how Co-operatives thrive, facing forward into new generations I see a model for the future where leadership is sustained by the very foundation philosophies of Co-operatives. It does not take any stretch of the imagination to find how Co-operatives can continue to build a better world. The foundation has been laid by principles, the frame-work by dedicated communities and each member, brick by brick help to build up an ever growing, never ending enterprise of legendary proportion.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Six

As we get deeper and deeper in the beautiful holiday season, we also venture further into my Vaughan Weekly Serial Story "My Mechanical Heart". I feel that this chapter is a real turning point in the story and parts of it I waited patiently to write since it contains some of my earliest concepts.

I won't say much more than read on...but know that a piece of Helena's past lies ahead.

Chapter Six


-Helena Cope-

Helena's gears were left spinning; literally, from Will's show of courage at the school the day before. He had made her so proud not just since protecting her but standing up for himself.
The first day they had met, Helena perceived that there was a whole lot more under his surface than even her own. And while he did find adjusting to people ignoring him difficult, she was there for Will.
Some students had even approached them at their lunch table and expressed that they thought he was right and that Helena was okay. Maybe William didn't have as many people staring at him, but Helena noticed that he was happy and that, to her logic, seemed a lot more important that popularity.
And now that the weekend had arrived her and William were taking the bus Downtown Toronto. Helena was excited and nervous all at the same time, she wanted to hope that Will was right and that he could prove she was beautiful.
Not just for their classmates but for her sake.
This time when she heard the doorbell ring it didn't seem like the first sound of the apocalypse but instead the cheerful greeting it was always meant to be.
"Will's here!" She exclaimed, running down the stairs and grabbing the doorknob from Clarence.
Flinging open the door there was a broad smile on her face.
"Don't worry Mr. Cope, I'll make sure we stay out of trouble." Will said reassuringly, a laugh cracking his lips.
The expression on her Father's face didn't seem to exude anything further than trust though as he waved them to go.
On that note they took their leave.
There was a great need to switch buses many times on the way Downtown and Helena was enthralled by all the people who tried to avoid one another on the same bus. Even if they were sitting beside each other.
As building after building passed by them and grew increasingly larger, so did Helena's eyes. She seemed almost too interested in visiting her old neighbourhood and when she looked over at William, it seemed like something was bothering him. Like there was something on his mind that he needed to say.
"Will?" Helena asked, gingerly prodding his side with her finger.
"Helena, do you...know what you were created for?" He asked quite suddenly before adding a regretful. "Sorry."
Helena didn't mind though, she had in fact pondered this thought many times and besides knowing she was Clarence's art project she hadn't found a real purpose for herself.
"No...I'm sorry." She finally answered.
"Don't be." Will replied. "You shouldn't have to know." He decided.
"Do you know why you were created, Will?" Helena returned the question quizzically.
There was intense thought knit in William's brow that made Helena wrinkle her nose as she watched him. But when he finally thought of an answer his face dropped a bit.
"No..." He admitted, shaking his head. "I guess I haven't figured it out yet." Will admitted, smiling ironically at Helena.
She returned the smile and squeezed her friend's hand. "Then we're not so different...I suppose." She said softly, considering the fact and feeling just a little more human for it.
It was after that moment of quiet thought between that two that a bell on the bus dinged, the vehicle coming to a halt, doors sliding open.
"Oh, hey!" Will said, looking up at the street in front of them. "That's us." He exclaimed, grabbing Helena's hand, the two of them dashing off of the bus before they could be whisked further Downtown Toronto than they needed to be.
The dress shop wasn't on the bus route, so they had a little ways to walk through the inner-city to reach it. It wasn't so far though and on a clear, crisp Autumn day it was a real pleasure.
Turning into a side street which was lined with small artisan shops and tiny artist owned galleries.
Helena watched their windows with saddened meditation.
Each little gallery they passed by made her stiffen more and Will seemed aware of her tension as he stayed reverently silent. But when Helena froze in front of one of the more impressively designed studios, he placed a hand on her shoulder.
"What is it, Helena?" Will asked with soft concern.
She wanted to look at him, she really did. But it was impossible to look anywhere but through that window where Helena could see happy patrons admiring the various pieces of artwork present.
It was a trance-like state but somewhere inside herself Helena found her voice and dragged it out for William's sake.
"This was the last place we visited..." Helena mumbled.
"Wh-what?" Will asked, taking the chance to look away from Helena and into the art gallery.
"When Clarence and I lived downtown, when he created me...I was his piece of art and he had a dream for me. I was going to live in a Gallery, I would make people marvel at the ability of modern art and they would be inspired. So he made appointments with as many places as possible. We would visit the galleries and Clarence would present me. I would walk, talk and even do...art of my own." Helena would have continued but Will cut her off in surprise.
"You paint?" He asked in excitement.
"Not anymore..." Helena said in a discouraged tone. "I remember smiling all the time in those days. Clarence told me that I would be loved by everyone...but he was wrong. No one loved me. They told him that I was hideous...unnatural." Looking down at the sidewalk, Helena sighed.
"A mistake." Placing her palm on the window Helena's tone was tremulous. "So he kept making adjustments, convinced that everything would be okay." Helena winced at the memory. "That's how my arm got this way...and my lip..." Fingers slipping down the window, Helena left no mark there as a human would have. "But no matter what he did no one would love me. No one would accept me and nothing could fix me. I was so hurt by how everyone reacted that all I wanted to do was take my books and hide in my closet." Helena felt bad for dumping her past on Will but at the same time it felt good to tell someone. Not just someone, but William Auditore who she wanted to share her history with.
"They were wrong though." William asserted, taking Helena's hand and leading her away from the art gallery. "You know that, don't you?" He asked with innocence and a great measure of belief in his own words.
The discouraged look that Helena offered in return was clearly not convinced of Will's words. Another turn lead the two teens down a street of brownstone buildings.
"We're a block away from the shop. My aunt owns it and she'll help us find the perfect dress." William explained in a cheerfully strained tone.
But his words were on deaf ears as Helena stopped once more; this time in front of a brownstone building. William was pulled to a halt alongside her, staring up at the four story historic apartment house.
"What's this place?" William asked, looking at Helena in silent understanding that it held significance.
"This is where we lived." Helena said plainly, her voice drained of it's emotion.
"You're closet?" Will pressed with an eyebrow raised.
"Mmhmm." Helena nodded slowly. Silence was their companion for a long few seconds and even the traffic seemed hushed.
"Why don't we ask if you can see it again, would you like that Helena?" Will asked tentatively.
At the suggestion, Helena felt like her gears had all frozen. She wasn't sure what to say but looked to Will, squeezed his hand and nodded in a very small way.
"I suppose I would..." She admitted.
Will smiled at her and lead the two up the steps to the building. After some convincing to the woman on the other end of the security system and a little bit of pleading on Will's part they made in it in and were greeted by an elderly woman at the door of Helena and Clarence's old apartment.
"What do you children want?" She asked in a wily tone. "I've already bought cookies, chocolate bars and given out Halloween Candy this year..." She complained with one hand on her hip and another on her cane.
"Uh no, no..." Will said nervously. "I was just hoping that my friend her could see her old...um...reading nook. She's a bit homesick." He said to the testy woman.
Grunting, the lady shookreading nook here." She said with an added. "Humph."
"It's the broom closet." Helena explained, peeking over the woman's hunched shoulders.
The lady gave them a scrutinising look before moving out of the door way. "Don't take anything." She warned, ushering the teens inside.
William let Helena go in first, walking slowly behind her, giving her some space. She wandered around a little aimlessly at first picturing everything the way it had been before. "It's not so different..." She commented under her breath.
"There's something strange about her." She heard the woman whisper to Will, but Helena ignored it as she saw her prize. The worn wooden door of her old broom closet, the one place in the world where she felt safe and content. Opening it cautiously, there was a lone broom sitting in the corner.
"Is that it?" Will asked, looking inside.
"Yeah." Helena replied, pointing out some of the illustration carvings she had made inside the door.
"They're really nice..." Will said, running his fingers along the graven images.
Helena didn't say anything, but smiled at Will. She looked into his eyes for a moment and then gently pulled the door out of his hand slipping inside the closet. She stood in there for a moment before closing it and staring up at the light bulb above her head. Her mind swam with thoughts that had been present since that day Will came after her at the Library.
And she locked the door from the inside with a soft click.
Everything was quiet on the other side until William seemed to be scuffing his feet uncertainly.
"Hey Helena...we better go get that dress now." He said in his endearing voice.
But Helena steeled her mind to it and did what she felt was best. "Go away William, it's better. I'm staying here...you're better off that way. Take someone else to the dance. Someone pretty, normal...someone human. Just go away William. GO AWAY!"

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Five

This Wednesday we meet with the half-way point of "My Mechanical Heart" and since I've been highlighting a litle something about the story creation process each week, this week I've decided to focus on music.

I'm a firm believer that music a strong drawing point for any story and without it, writing is a dry practice. I wouldn't be able to pull the proper words out of my soul or meet on level ground with my character's hearts if it wasn't for music. I always find some sort of recurring theme in each story and especially with "My Mechanical Heart" I was drawn to a very specific style of music. Because of Helena's heart functioning through gears, I found my inspiration in songs that either had a constant beat like the clicking of her heart or through a very sympathetic style of music box music. I was drawn to two of my constants in music both composers Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman. Through Zimmer's Sherlock Holmes clock inspired tracks and Elfman's music box collection. Focusing on the consistency of each beat I was easily centered into the place that I needed to be.

Of course, this vary through each story but as "My Mechanical Heart" has been a unique experince from the very beginning, I was able to feel music in a new way through this story.

Chapter Five

- William Auditore -

The day after Helena had been called out at school, William decided he was going to make sure everything was in place for his friend to go back with her head held high.
There was a trace of guilt in William's mind from making Helena stay for Dinner at his house. She had been a fantastic guest though, eating and behaving with more decorum than both his parents.
Maybe they hadn't given her a warm reception; but she shouldn't take it personally. They were like that with him too.
What William wanted more than anything is to make Helena understand that she was more human that most people he'd ever met. He had to find a way, even if it meant devoting all his extra time to Helena. In fact, he found himself wanting to spend more and more time with her either way.
It was a labour of love.
So he arrived at her house early, before she could leave. Standing at the door, he only hoped that Helena would give him a warmer reception than when he first returned her school books. And he wasn't disappointed as the surprise on Helena's somber face when she saw him made William beam.
"Will..." She said his name in stunned rapture.
"I didn't want you to have to walk alone." He replied, ushering her along down the sidewalk. He had to suppress a small laugh as he saw her carrying her books without a bag again.
What a strange yet endearing habit.
"And I brought you this." He said, producing a shoulder tote out of his backpack. It was quite fashionable or at least Will thought Helena would like it. His expectations were duly met too as Helena reached out, grasping the black fabric of the back with her long, pale fingers. William let go of it and left it in Helena's possession.
"Put your books inside it, they'll be easier to carry." He explained, helping Helena put her school-work into the bag.
Once it was full, the heart across the bag was visible. It looked like it had been paint-splattered on.
"It's lovely." Helena said, a thin smile spreading her scarred lips.
Will felt a sort of happiness swell in his stomach that he hadn't felt for a long time. Not since before his Father had taken that high-profile corporate job and forgotten he existed.
In the presence of Helena Will found a sort of pleasant warmth. They needed each other and in Will's life where he had learnt to depend on himself and avoided the pressure of socialisation this was purely sweet.
Their walk to school wasn't littered with idle gossip but it was heavy with presence. Sidelong glances shared between the two teens spoke more than the lyrics of a thousand songs and it seemed that they reached Maple High too quickly.
Being pulled into the throng or approaching teenagers, Will and Helena kept close to one another. William surprised himself by being so bold as to take her hand so that they wouldn't be separated.
Helena felt mechanically lukewarm, not quite human and not really inhuman. Kind of like a cell-phone when it was running too warm. In his mind, Will noted the irony that on account of the crisp morning air he was colder than she was.

*

Once they were inside, William warmed up quickly and Helena seemed to stay the exact same temperature. He was tempted to ask if Clarence had used oil for her blood but digressed since it seemed like an insensitive question.
"We've got some time before classes, why don't we just stick around our lockers?" Will suggested.
Helena agreed with less hesitation than he would have expected and seemed to be enthralled with examining her bag. Everything seemed so wonderful to Helena, how couldn't some of that spirit rub off on Will and make him smile?
"Thank you for coming for me Will." Helena finally said, although he certainly didn't need that confirmation to know he had done the right thing.
Since they had entered the school grounds together, no one had bothered Helena and that was important to Will. As their hands slipped away from each other and they leaned on their respective lockers, William smiled at Helena and laughed a bit.
"Did I do something funny?" She asked inquisitively.
"No. No." Will smiled and stifled his laughter. "I just haven't felt like this for so long. It's just that I used feel like this with my Mom and Dad but when I hit High School they both got really busy with work. I gave up on a lot of stuff I used to be interested in becauseseem to care anymore and they didn't seem to need me." Sighing contently, William gazed at Helena's intensely curious eyes.
"But I need you..." She said thoughtfully.
"Yeah, exactly. And...it just feels really great." He replied, looking to the ceiling and then back to Helena. "And I...kind of need you too." Will said delicately, as if he was nervous that he might be stepping on thin ice that could crack. When she smiled he felt like air.
"That makes me feel...marvellous." Was Helena's response.
But there was a look in her eyes that told Will she didn't share the exact same emotions as him. She still felt weighed down by something and Will's sneaking suspicion was that while he had memories of what being needed was like, Helena didn't. His voice faltered but he asked the question anyway.
"What's it like, you know, not having any memories?" Saying it out loud felt a lot worse than thinking it and William automatically regretted his words.
But as Helena so often caught him off guard, she did once again with her accepting demeanour and words."Oh...it's okay I suppose. I read a lot of books and take the memories that I want. There was a Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, you know. I like to read about her. She's a lot like me, not very sure of herself...but she becomes so confident and content." Examining her fingers and nails, Helena spoke softly. "I kind of hope that someday..." Her voice trailed off sadly.
Will wanted to ask her more, he wanted to tell her that she had every reason to feel good about herself but something unfortunate clashed with their seemingly perfect day.
A girl, who Will just happened to have no interest in, wedged herself in between him and Helena. Her back was to Helena and Will gave her a perturbed look. Unfortunately she was completely unfazed, placing a hand on Will's shoulder.
"Angela..." William said her name in one of those 'you can leave now' tones.
Apparently, she didn't get the message though since she smiled back at him.
"So, why do you keep waiting to ask me to the semi-formal?" She said playfully, giggling in an annoying nasal tone.
Rolling his eyes, William sighed in vexation and took a step back from Angela. "I'm not waiting." He said bitterly, walking away from her and back beside Helena who had practically shrunk in against her locker. "I'm not asking you." He said stiffly.
Turning on her heel and glaring accusingly at Helena before she smiled to Will, Angela's expressions made her look like the famous theatrical masks.
"You're kidding, right?" She asked in a pleasantly threatening tone.
"No." William replied stiffly.
Helena was silent, her eyes nervously skittering around the room and carefully avoiding the girl next to her that everyone would have perceived as beautiful.
"Don't you dare tell me your inviting that...clicking weirdo?" She asked, jerking a thumb at Helena. "Nothing's going to make her into a date like me." Angela added with lips tightly pursed.
William's hands were trembling, his head throbbing and his heart aching as he glared at Angela. "I'm going to prove to you--to everyone that Helena is beautiful!" He said in a tremulous tone. "You'll see! All you shallow, insensitive people. I don't care if you think I'm not cool anymore, I'm done with all of this. I want to be a part of building up other people, not tearing them down or intimidating them."
His voice was strained but Helena discreetly grasped Will's hand and gave him the strength to say what he had to. "I'm going to be myself whether you like it or not...and you can tell all your friends the same thing too."
Now for better or worse, William knew he had altered his time at Maple High. He wasn't sure how to feel, but numb was a good place to start and it seemed to reflect off of the expression of Angela across him.
He had just dethroned himself from the position of Prom King, Popular Guy, Every body's Friend and Golden Boy.
Now he was nothing more than 'that guy' and for some strange reason, Will felt proud of himself and so freed that he did something that stunned even himself.
He grinned.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Four

And just as the week before...we are brought yet another Wednesday. I truly enjoy my weekly blog posts of "My Mechanical Heart". This story is really an interesting project for me; there have been so many dynamics involved with each character. Though there are only a few in the whole story, as I find best in serial stories, each one has impacted me from the conception of the idea.

A major part of my story creation rests on the individual characters relaying to me in some form the greater personality qualities they display. With William it wasn't hard to grasp onto his essence, the combination of frustration and sympathy that are his hallmarks. It was however very difficult to coax Helena's personality out of her. She was almost silent; her presence nothing more than a mental wisp as I tried to reach for it. The whole process with Helena took a quite a bit of patience and in the end was completely worth it. Of course her long period of quiet proved to be a large trait that I brought over with her and Helena's shyness is something that really characterises her.

As I write the story it's my purest hope to translate what I've been given in the most eloquent way possible and that the readers will be able to understand these characters on the level that I was able to understand them.

All that said and with mild philosophy out of the way I present everyone with Chapter Four of "My Mechanical Heart" which is also available in the Vaughan Weekly.

Chapter Four

-Helena Cope-

There was a shock on Will's face that cut Helena deep. but even worse that that was his utter disbelief. Her lip trembled as he slowly pried the book she was holding out of her hands and held their fingers together.
He thought it was all figurative, the way those girls had so viciously claimed that she wasn't human.
It only hurt so badly because Helena knew it was true.
With the earnest way which he was willing to protect her, Helena was tempted to bask in it. She wanted to let William convince her that she was human, but worse than lying to herself Helena would be deceiving the one person who had shown her kindness aside from her own father.
No, even that was a lie. Clarence Cope wasn't her father. He wasn't simply her inventor.
A good man, but even he could only pretend she was human for so long.
"Helena, don't say you're not human. Don't let their lies do this to you...you're more human than any of them. You deserve the very same dignity." William spoke the words so gently that if Helena could, she would have cried.
How was she supposed to tell him the truth?
Helena wouldn't blame Will if he hated her after finding out, if he thought the same thing as everyone else. "William, it's true." She pressed her words harder, straining her delicate voice.
"Stop it! Don't say that." Will's eyes were pleading as he knelt down in the Library Hall and put a quieting finger on his lips.
"...I told you..." She said quietly. "I don't lie." And using her free hand, Helena pulled back the collar of her shirt just enough that William would be able to see the amazing mechanism that served as her heart.
Helena could feel her eyelids drooping over her dark eyes as William leaned back; frightened away. She swallowed hard, pressing against the wall and picking up the book she had been holding. "I-I'm sorry..." Helena said almost mechanically, as if she were so used to the words.
"Your...heart, t-that's your heart?" William's tongue stumbled.
Helena could only find the courage to nod behind her book. Hush fell over them and in the intense silence Helena could hear her own heart, her own mechanical heart, ticking.
It's gears were turning faster than usual and it's rhythmic clicking went quicker than normal.
William looked scared and confused, watching his own hands as if they held onto some sort of invisible answer for him. Yet fright exchanged it self for a wonder that lit William's features. He looked up at Helena like something had dawned on him.
"How do you...exist?" He asked with innocent curiosity.
Helena found it impossible to get offended and offered a soft smile to William. "I'm not sure I know..." Helena said hesitantly, putting her book back down. Suddenly she wasn't so nervous of what William would think of her, his fascination and acceptance spurred her well hidden personality.
"Do you mind that?" Helena spoke candidly.
William seemed unsure and Helena's emotions flicked like a light switch. Fear swelled inside of her and instinctively her hand reached for the security of her book again. But Will caught her hand and held it for a moment.
"It doesn't bother me." He said, so certain and strongly that when Helena looked up at him she could sense what made people gravitate towards him.
She had thought it was his complimentary looks, his eyes, his smile but shockingly enough there was something that couldn't be seen which made Helena feel drawn to him. Likely Will knew nothing about this but the effortlessness about him that had made her shy away now brought her in. His kindness was so natural that it felt like he was the sun and Helena was more than willing to soak up Will's genuine care.
Helena was at such a loss for words that she was positive her distant looking eyes must have coaxed out William's next statement.
"Come on..." He said gently. "We'll go to my house for dinner, you can call your Dad on the way."
Nodding, Helena let William help her up and after they put away her piles of novels they left the Library.
Using William's phone had to be the single most confusing thing Helena had done in her short life and while he tried to teach her about the touch screen her man-made fingers couldn't make it work. In the end, Helena gave up and let William dial the number for her. At least she could talk to her father on the phone and he was delighted to hear that she was safe and visiting with Will.
When they arrived at William's house and he let them in, Helena glanced around nervously. The girl was just starting to calm down from the rattling she had absorbed from discussing her unnatural existence. People had always judged her in the past and so meeting new people was on the bottom of Helena's priority list, but still if Will wanted her to meet his parents than she felt obliged.
"Do I have to meet them?" She asked, as they passed the threshold.
"Don't worry so much, they'll think you're great." William said reassuringly before calling out to his parents. "MA! DAD!!" No answer. "MA!!" He yelled again stepping into the house and tugging Helena along with him.
Helena's sensitive ears could hardly stand the noise but after a moment more of Will's shouting, he got his mother's attention as a woman with a cell phone on her ear and a wooden spoon in her other looked out from the kitchen.
"William! Stop it!" She growled at him, shaking the spoon at the two them. She didn't even seem to notice Helena and that made her feel much more at ease. Giving William a warning glance his mother disappeared back into the kitchen speaking to the person on her phone.
Relieved, Helena looked at William with amusement.
"She's funny." Was the only thing the girl could think to say.
"...Yeah..." Will agreed but Helena wasn't sure if he was trying to lie or not, because if he was, he was doing a lousy job.
William looked saddened by his mother's reaction but brought Helena into kitchen anyway and gave her a chair to sit on at their table.
"What about your Father?" Helena asked, watching how Will stared at his mother sullenly.
"I dunno, maybe he's working late." He said blandly.
Helena wasn't sure what she could say to this so instead she looked around the kitchen, taking all of it in and learning just as she liked to do with everything. It was a pretty kitchen, much cleaner than her and Clarence's. The smell of rich tomatoes and garlic coming from the stove made her head swim, it was incredibly appetising. Most interesting of all though was the fact that there were clocks for her to stare at. There were a couple of digital ones, on the stove and microwave but those didn't interest Helena as much as the one on the wall.
It looked like an antique clock from Switzerland and Helena could hear it's gears clicking. She was absolutely fascinated by it to the point that William had to shake her arm to get her attention when his Father walked in.
Will's father was staring at her and one thing was clear, he was nothing like Clarence Cope. This man was tall, well-built and looked seriously concentrated.
Horribly enough it was Helena he was concentrating on.
She shrank into her seat as the man's eyes burned a hole through her.
Squirming in her chair, Helena swallowed hard.
"Who's this, Bill?" His Father asked sternly.
It didn't take anyone extraordinary to see that William wasn't pleased with his father's comment, tone or even nickname but Helena was resigned to say nothing and in fact looked very much like a statue at that very moment. Sadly, Will's mother also turned around and looked at Helena in shock.
"When did she come in?" She asked in an incredulous tone.
Hands gripping to the seat of her chair, Helena spoke in a sound much akin to a squeaking mouse.
"I can leave..." She said in a small tone.
And while neither of Will's parents looked pleased, his mother simply went back to cooking.
"You can stay, William's friends are always welcome." Her hospitable words seemed forced behind a smile.
But Will was smiling at Helena and after how he had protected her, she didn't have the nerve to up and leave. Instead the girl stared at the clocks while Will's Father stared and her from his seat beside William and for his part, seemed blissfully unaware of the tension.
"That girl's not normal..." Will's Father finally broke the silence with a whisper to his son which wasn't nearly as subtle as Helena would have liked.
"Of course she is." William seethed back, defending Helena even further.
"Have you seen the way she looks at clocks?" His Father asked in disgust.
And as William's mother sat down to the table with an entertained look on her face, Helena had a feeling this would be her first lesson in learning to cope with awkwardness

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Three

Tomorrow we will be half-way through the month of November, it's hard to image! It feels like this month is rushing by. But with an eggnog latte in my hand and a writing pen in the other, I just sit back and enjoy it. There's so much running around before the Holidays that we've just got to take some time and relax. It makes everything worth the the while!

And now another Wednesday has come and I'm here to present you with Chapter Three of "My Mechanical Heart". Tension is building at Maple High for Helena and William started to feel even more pressure to choose sides when he sees how Helena is thought of by their fellow classmates.

But what would he think if their accusations were true? Maybe that is the most difficult decision he will be faced with,,,


Chapter Three

-William Auditore-

William was putting some serious consideration into the concept that he was insane.
But no. No, he couldn't be crazy. It had to be that girl, Helena who was crazy. Didn't it? If that really was the case then why was Will so unsure?
No matter who was sane, assuming either of them actually were. William wasn't able to wash away the crestfallen face of Helena Cope. His mind found it impossible to avoid the stare of her intensely dark eyes as they trailed on him in curious scrutiny.
For someone who so often found himself disinterested, every fibre of Helena failed to escape him.
It was frustratingly hard to focus as his mind explored why Helena was so adverse to her closet, how come her arm seemed so peculiar with it's industrial steel stitches and mostly how come she was so particularly different than anyone he'd ever met.
That Saturday visit had somehow felt altering to William, like something inside of him had shifted but it was a part of himself that he wasn't aware of. Which scared William and excited him all at the same time, it left him wanting to see Helena again so that he could find himself in the sheer conundrum of who she was.
But this was Monday. Monday wasn't a day to spend considering the strange phenomenon of Helena. It was a day to drink coffee and complain about being tired.
Will's circle of friends were actively complaining about staying up late because of video games. This would typically be William's own vexation too but looking back on his weekend he could only blame staying up late because of lying in bed and staring at the ceiling.
Of course while he did that he also thought about Helena.

*

Will's brow furrowed as they approached the school's parking lot, his eyes squinted as he tried to make out what was going on. There were a bunch of girls surrounding Helena in the lot but from the way her shoulders drooped William doubted she was making any friends.
"Seriously, I saw her in the gym change room with her tank top on. Her arm is all messed up and there's this weird thing in her chest. Like a clock." One girl said in an accusatory tone.
"I saw too! I bet she doesn't even have a heart!" Another spat.
Helena looked horrified, like she was in physical pain from that last comment and in made William wince. His friends seemed blissfully unaware of what was going on but to Will, it seemed like his pores had just absorbed what happened and his muscles reacted by making him run over to the group of girls verbally pecking at Helena.
"Hey, step off" He growled at the girls.
At first they didn't seem phased and Helena barely had the courage to look up but Will felt reckless abandon at telling the girls off.
"Auditore?! Are you kidding? This girl isn't even human." Said one of them who Will recognised as one of the smarter girls in his Math Class. It seemed strange that she would be the one to call down Helena, considering she was one of the more invisible girls at school.
Then again, she seemed to be gaining popularity which every comment she made against Helena. Other girls, some popular and some less were rallying into the circle giving strange, disgusted looks at Helena and adding their agreement to the accusations. There were so many things being said that it made him physically reel, but shoving between the group William manged to place himself between Helena and the other girls.
"Quit it! She is so human!" He yelled, catching even more attention.
Now almost every peer from his grade was gawking at the scene, their faces judgemental. Whether or not they were supporting his outburst or wondering if their favourite golden boy had finally snapped...William wasn't sure.
His resolve started to wavier with all those eyes on him but he did his best to look determinedly strong in his resolve.
The girls had finally stopped insulting Helena out loud but there was a whisper that travelled through the crowd like a ripple across Mill Pond. It made William's cheeks blaze red hot from frustration and embarrassment.
"How dare you..." His voice was shaking. "How dare you treat her like that..." He took a step back, realising too late the Helena was right behind him. But even more surprising than how he had suspected to trip and knock them both over was the fact that Helena was gone. He gasped and looked around but couldn't see where she had gone.
It wasn't until one of the teens standing around pointed out of the parking lot that he saw the form of Helena running as fast as her skinny legs could take her.
"HELENA! WAIT!" William cried out to her before he went to run off and catch her.
But the bell rang and William knew he couldn't go after her... All he could do was linger in the parking lot of Maple High for a moment before filing in with the rest of his peers whom he had never felt so distant from.

*

Every time it was noticed that Helena wasn't in attendance for class, William cringed inwardly. He wanted to leap out of his seat and explain why she hadn't shown up, he wanted to call out those wretched girls for what they had said but something kept him glued to his chair.
Will wasn't sure if it was fear of getting further involved or simply the mentality that he always had to impress people controlling him. Whatever it was, he didn't like it and William knew that he just had to make it up to Helena.
He would go visit her, hopefully she had went home and they could eat those horrible cookies while he convinced her that everything would be okay. He couldn't imagine why those girls would start such disgusting rumours about Helena, but she didn't deserve it. Maybe her arm did look strange and she didn't act like everyone else, but to say that she wasn't human seemed less human than Helena's oddities.
It was like waiting an eternity for school to end but when he did, William didn't let anything hold him back. His friends wanted to talk to him but he left them behind to shout questions at him.
When Carlo thew the soccer ball at him, William kicked it back in such frustration that he sent the ball across the school's field in a black and white blur.
He had to get to Helena's house and he had to do it immediately.
It didn't take long for him to reach Helena's door and ring the doorbell, it sounded strange like some kind of chime but Will's own heavy breathing drowned out the sound to his ears. He hoped Helena would open then door but when Clarence Cope greeted him, William cursed.
The man looked frazzled as usual but Will's appearance made the man look like he had stuck his finger in a high voltage socket. Every wild hair on his head seemed to stand on end and his eyes were so wide, Will could have sworn they might fall out of their sockets.
"William!" He finally said. "What's wrong."
"Tell me Helena's home!" He practically demanded.
"S-She's not...William, what's wrong?" Clarence said, his distress turning into something more emotional than physical as he looked at him with pleading eyes.
"...She ran away from school." Will said hastily, swallowing his nerves and shaking his head. "I gotta go find her. Where would she be?"
"I...I don't know..." Clarence said helplessly. "We're new here, she barely knows her way around..."
Clenching his fists in frustration, Will bit his lip.
"Then I'll just have to search." He said, throwing his backpack down on the stoop, turning and running away from the house screaming Helena's name.
He was no longer worried what his school mates would think, Will just knew that he needed to find Helena Cope.
Maple was frustratingly large though and with all it's connecting suburbs Will had no idea where to startpanic and channel it into thoughts. With the little he knew about Helena, William could recall all of the books strewn across her room. If Helena liked books than there was only one place he could think of that she might be.
The Library.
Running to the Maple Library tired William but he had to even his emotions before walking into the place of quiet respect. Taking a few deep breaths and running his hands through his hair, Will strode into the Library. He could smell the distinct scent of paper, ink and well-loved books as he tried his best to inconspicuously look for Helena.
The Library wasn't large but it had plenty of aisles, all labelled and neatly stacked with books. Most of them were devoid of people at the current moment since the Library's occupants were either reading or studying at the group tables. Weaving between the aisles, William was discouraged by the fact that Helena seemed absent and he greatly considered the fact that he had been wrong about where she would run. Still though there was the chance and Will refused to give up until he had checked every nook of the Library.
His determination came to fruition as he looked down one of the more obscure aisles, filled with older novels that he had never heard of. There at the very back, sitting hunched over with piles of books stacked around her was Helena. She seemed quiet, almost asleep as she read and so William approached her with caution.
"Hey...Helena." He said the words softly but still the girl's head snapped up her eyes staring at William for a long moment before she knew he was there. He swallowed hard but kept going towards her, dropping on one knee when they were just inches away from one another.
"Helena, don't listen to what those girls say." He whispered, pushing the book in Helena's hands down. She looked away quickly, but the compassion in William's voice elicited something that he had never expected to hear Helena say.
"But it's true..." Helena murmured in desolation.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Tea Sipping Out on a Limb

A warm hello to all my ABC Life Literacy readers, it's been a month today since you met Mari Chance and Erik Deror. They're some of the more fascinating characters I've come to write about and while Erik happens to surprise me with his philosophies on a regular basis, I'm so happy to have someone like him in my head to write about.

It's a very interesting relationship as a writer and one that I enjoy for it's uniqueness.

This week, I won't spoil the setting...but I will say this was the first time I have written characters in this sort of locale before.

Chapter Four


After that day with Erik and the quarters I shifted my writing. There are so many ways that I have been inspired by the freedom, awareness and joy Erik has presented me with that I just cannot let them go to waste.
But I can't help feeling that in between the lines of what I am writing...
I'm becoming personally involved.
Erik is honest, caring, funny and a handsome soul deep with layers I want to discover. But he's unbound, everything about Erik represents freedom. Maybe that's why I'm so attracted to Erik Deror.
Either way, I'm too far into this to ever forget about him now.
As I stroll along the wharf, I spend time eyeing the tourists as they take in the sights. Their laughing and smiling faces are alight with excitement that seems to rub off on me since I can't seem to wipe the silly grin off my face.
Along the walkway, I find a quiet place to sit and write among the late blooming flowers, their fragrance fills my spirit to the brim.
Something strikes me as strange while I prepare to write, a shadow which shouldn't be there is looming over me. Looking to my left and to my right I see no one, but a rustling noise from the tree above catches my eye and I look skyward to see a smiling, cheshire cat like smile beaming down from the branches.
"Got any bananas?" The man in the tree asks me.
"Erik!" I exclaim in great surprise, of all the places he has popped up so far there was no further reaches of my imagination that could have pictured him lounging in a tree.
"I was spying on you" He said with fake repentance and honestly it hit me as more endearing than it should be.
"I can't help it if you're such a good writer that I'm compelled to hide in trees." He said simply, as if what he's doing is entirely normal.
Maybe where he comes from it is, if only I could figure out more about him than a history under the big top.
I rolled my eyes at his comment, I couldn't find it in myself to be mad, after all it is kind of flattering in a peculiar sort of way.
"There's an absolutely delicious view up here." Erik said, extending a hand to me.
"Oh no, I'm not climbing up a tree! What will people think of me, you might not have responsibility here but I've got to face people every day!"
Erik shrugged passively. "They'll say 'Look, there's a girl in that tree! Let's go tell the neighbours!'"
Feeling my freer side, which Erik has a knack of awakening, want to entertain this thought I mount the bench on which I've been sitting. Erik bent forward and I let him hoist me into the tree. He looked pleased with himself as I found a comfortable branch to perch on.
"Mind you Mari, by the time those people make it to the neighbours the story will have changed so much that you'll be in a tree, dressed as a renaissance poet, rescuing a tiger and using ice cream to tame it." He laughed heartily at his own joke, a sign of just how certain he is of himself.
"Oh, be serious Erik!" I said in mock annoyance, playfully punching him in the arm.
"Like this?" He asked with a grim looking straight face.
"Indeed!" I approved.
"And would Miss like some tea with her serious face?" Erik asked, producing two fine china cups and saucers from behind him.
I am filled with awe at this but I took one from hm. I held it on my lap, nervous that I might drop the delicate china.
Still as grim as ever though, Erik raises his eyebrows at me expectantly, holds the saucer in one hand and cup in another, pinkie raised just like a proper english gentleman.
Mimicking Erik's movements, the two of us sit in the tree sipping tea in the silence for a moment. There are so many things running through my head to say but the quiet is nice and loud in it's own thickness of emotions.
"Oh yeah, visitors always seem to have a good time here." I agree, although admittedly I haven't spent as much time thinking about it as I could.
"Why do you think they're having such a good time Mari?" Erik asks me, his eyes trailing on me from over the brim of his tea cup as he sips away.
"I dunno, I guess because they're on vacation...they want to make the most of their trip." Was the only response I could come up with to what seems like a very silly question.
"Ah! Exactly. They want to make the most of each and every moment." Erik exclaims.
I nod in agreement. This all seems so obvious to me that I can't imagine what Erik's purpose for the statement is, if there's a point at all.
"But it makes me wonder Mari, why we as people don't try to do that all the time. Savouring the moment seems like such a smart thing to do that we should make it a regular event." He continues on.
I furrow my eyebrows and I can feel my forehead wrinkling in thought.
"LIke this." Erik explains, spreading his arms wide and almost sending his cup and saucer to their death on the pavement below.
"You mean we need to see things in an extraordinary way so that things don't become mundane." I surmise what I feel Erik is trying to express.
"Bravissima! Very good. That's exactly what I mean." He said with triumph.
I don't find it in myself to reply but manage a small giggle before going back to my tea and drinking it slowly so I can take advantage of watching Erik as he looks out on the crowd contentedly.
There's something there, in his eyes, in this moment that I know I will never let go of.

My Mechanical Heart - Chapter Two

It's hard to believe it's already been a week since Halloween, although with the Candy eaten and Christmas decorations going up...it's clear we're getting all geared up for the Holidays!

Of course, on November 11th, I would like to remind everyone take a moment of respect and silence for our veterans both young and elderly. Canada is a wonderful Country and we have these brave men and women to thank for their valiant actions.

As for me, I have a new Chapter of  "My Mechanical Heart" for all my readers! Just getting into the story, we're now presented with the story from Helena Cope's perspective...so read on and find out what the girl with the mechanical heart is really like.

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Chapter Two

-Helena Cope-

Helena watched in rapture as the lengthy, nimble fingers of a middle aged man worked expertly to repair gears and knobs. Setting them back in place, tightening and testing them separately to make sure that each functioned properly as a whole. Helena had tried this before on small pocket watches or music boxes but she would never trust herself to do such careful work as this man.
After all he was the one who had created this particular piece of machinery and Helena would hate to run afoul when fixing her own heart.
Indeed, as odd as it sounded; Helena was watching the man inserting wrenches and picking small pieces of glass out of a panel in her chest.
It was the morning after Helena's Friday encounter with Will. Unbeknown to him when he collided with Helena Will had accidentally smashed a fine window of glass which had been inserted into the left side of her chest.
Where her heart should be. But it wasn't.
Instead there was a collection of old machinery pieces put together, stained black and red and made to look like a human heart. It was typically locked behind a valentine heart shaped window but since it was now broken, Helena needed repairs.
The repairs didn't hurt, in fact they didn't feel like anything. What bothered the girl more than the inhuman qualities in her being repaired was the idle conversation. She had never liked talking but now that they had moved into a new environment it was almost impossible to get more than a word from Helena.
"Who did this to you?" The man queried, his voice mellow but scattered, each word betraying his muddled personality that Helena was already accustom to.
"It was an accident." Helena answered mindlessly.
"Yes, you already said that when you came home last night. Who did it?" He insisted.
"William Auditore." Helena finally volunteered the information after being questioned many times before this.
"So you know this boy?" He asked, with one eyebrow raised.
"No. Everyone just knows him. He's popular." Their conversation which was making Helena so ill at ease ended though with the door-bell ringing.
While in other homes this wasn't typically a catalyst for disaster, Helena always felt like that cheerful ringing was a deceptive way of letting in someone else she had to hide from. Despite her apprehension at the doorbell, as the tall, slender man repairing her heart left the den to answer the door she felt a surge of relief.
Which was in fact very short lived.
"Is Helena home?" She could hear William Auditore's voice from the Foyer.
Panicked, Helena quickly slipped her t-shirt on over the tank top she already wearing. She couldn't let him see her heart.
"Helena, there's someone here to see you!" Clarence Cope called out to her, she hesitated for a moment and considered hiding.
Still, her Father had gone to lengths in expressing his wishes for her to lead a normal life. So she forged on, hearing Will explaining that he was returning her school books.
As Helena filled the doorway, looking nothing more than a shadow in the dimly lit foyer, she watched Will. Outside of school he didn't seem as imposing but still there was something about his effortless perfection that terrified Helena into silence.
Her father cleared his throat, making Helena snap back to attention. "Thank you for bringing my books Mr. Auditore." She said distractedly, taking them from William.
As she reached though, Helena noticed that Will's eyes wandered to the sleeve of her t-shirt. From her elbow to her shoulder Helena's arm looked strange, like it was quilted together with industrial steel thread.
Her instinct was to act like a threatened animal. But the softness in Will's eyes soothed her into passiveness. Setting her books on the antique entrance table, Will lingered in the door, anxiously shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
Helena thought he looked like he was waiting to be dismissed but she knew better than that. Reluctantly the girl stepped back from the doorway.
"Did you want to come in?" She asked. Certainly it wasn't so much as being welcomed and more like she was wanting to know if Will was planning to impose on her space. Even so the young man stepped forward.
It might have been that he was oblivious or maybe just as self-assured as the rest of the school thought he was. But either way he was in the house now and Clarence was going about furiously flipping light switches on and tripping over his feet.
It only took Clarence Cope moments to arrange cookies and milk at the living room coffee table. Will sat down on the couch, eyeing the baked goods like they could potentially attack him.
"I baked them." Helena excused the misshapen, slightly burnt cookies. "Dad's are worse." She added and assumed from the frightened look on his face that Will wouldn't chance a cookie, but much to her awe he managed to not only hold it but in fact eat one.
Helena might have been quiet but she was smart and anything but slow by means of perception. She saw the way that Will was looking at her over his glass of milk, how he was studying her face like there should be more there than the scar across her pale lips. He had seen her arm and not recoiled.
So what did that mean?
"...The cookies, they're good." Will cut the silence between them which was fairly awkward with the way the two teens were studying each other more intensely than exam papers.
"You're lying..." Helena replied, her voice honest but she wasn't offended one bit. Much to her surprise William seemed bothered by her veraciousness. "Why?" Helena ventured, wanting to know what would make Will dishonest about his feelings.
"I'm not really lying...I just thought that being nice was something you would...like." William said, giving Helena a weird look.
"You mean people lie because they want to be nice?" She asked, entirely enthralled at the concept.
"Well yeah, it's called a white lie." William explained commonly.
"Are there other coloured also?" Helena asked, feeling very much like a student.
"No, just white lies. All the other ones are bad." William said shrugging.
"That's amazing." Was Helena's breathless conclusionBut a look of mischief crossing William's eyes and he continued on. "I...guess. Haven't you ever told a lie?" He asked, expecting an obvious 'yes'.
But when Helena said "No." the young man looked completely floored.
"Seriously?" He said in disbelief.
"Yes, ask me a question...I can be honest." Helena said, feeling offended at how Will refused to believe her.
"Does your arm hurt?" He said quickly.
"No." Helena replied just as fast.
"Really?" William quirked an eyebrow.
"Not really, I was just trying out a white lie. Did I do good?" Helena asked with innocence, her head tilted
"Kinda, but you shouldn't lie about stuff like that." William said shaking his head.
Helena was embarrassed, her cheeks certainly would have flushed red if they could.
"Okay, for real...why do you look so sad?" Will asked passively, acting as if he never expected her to answer.
But Helena felt she could give an honest response to him, she wasn't inhibited by truth. "I'll show you..." She said standing and leading Will to the stairs so that they could ascend them.
Once they had made it to the second floor, Helena turned to the right and allowed Will into a room which looked like a cross between a war-zone and Victorian bookstore.
Helena was mostly at ease in this space with it's boxes of old hard-cover volumes, paint brushes and general curios left about to stare at any visitors. Yet this wasn't why Helena had brought William to her room and so the young woman hesitated as she approached the object of contention in her room.
It looked like nothing more than whitewashed double doors at first glance but as Helena threw them back and took a few steps away it was revealed to be a massive, white walk-in closet. This particular closet was one that most girl's would have given up their whole house for. They would have lined it with clothes and spent hours using it as a personal dressing room.
But in Helena's room, with it's whiteness glaringly opposite from her eclectically insane abode something just didn't seem right.
"This is my closet now...I used to have a broom closet where I kept my books and read. Now this is my closet. This isn't a closet at all...it's just a big white box." Looking to William, Helena wasn't sure what to make of the expression on his face which was frozen in bewilderment.
"I can't believe I just heard a girl complain about her closet." He finally mumbled out, taking a sidelong glance at Helena which indicated to her that she had just said something strikingly peculiar.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

From Away - Chapter Three

Well, it's already the mddle of the grand month of November! So many people endeavor to participate in NaNoWriMo, "National Novel Writing Month" and of course who could forget Movember? Good luck with your books and 'staches, ladies and gents! So far I've seen some very impressive looking facial hair.

I must say I'm very proud of everyone who participates in either event, you're fantastically motivated people.

Also, the November/December issue of The G! Magazine is out for everyone to enjoy. There's so many tips for the holdays and articles to keep you stress-free and jolly! Oh...and there's one other article in there. What was it again? Ah, yes! Chapter Three of From Away, my serial story for The G!

Of course, I suggest everyone goes out to grab a copy of the G! right away but if you're away from home or want some reading on your smart phone here's Chapter Three for your convenience.

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Chapter Three


Despite the fact that I had seen Erik Deror's sailboat sitting on the water outside my condo window, Erik had been missing. I hated myself for missing someone I had just met, but it was nearly impossible not to want to see him again.
I filled my time between thinking of Erik with writing.
And so here I sit by Victoria Row on a bench with the bronzed statue eyes of Canada's first Prime Minister on me. It's kind of unnerving to have a lifelike statue there as if he wants to make light conversation. But those eyes on me were like someone expecting me to be responsible.
"Come, you can be my accomplice today." Said the savoury voice of Erik in my ear.
I didn't even mind it when he plucked my pen from my hand and pocketed it. Instead I did something completely uncharacteristic.
I laughed.
He smiled at me knowingly and took my hand as if to help me stand. Instead of getting annoyed at his curiousness I showed my intrigue openly. "Accomplice?" I asked with interest but his response was even stranger than my imagination expected.
He handed me a paper bag...full of quarters.
As I peered inside the bag Erik chuckled as he said. "Don't worry, you'll see. I promise it won't bore you."
He led me along the sidewalk, paying exaggerated attention to the parking meters in front of the Confederation Centre. Erik was mumbling something to himself and I was sorely tempted to tug at the ponytail he had made from his raven hair to get his attention.
But before I could he quite suddenly exclaimed. "Ah! Expired!"
When he said that it was the moment I started to pretend not to know Erik until I found out what he was going to do. But much to my surprise he took a quarter from his own bag and popped it into the meter.
That was when I realized what we were doing.
At the same time Erik and I smiled conspiratorially at each other.
I felt like I was finally starting to understand the way my odd friend thinks and instead of following him as I was I did something I look back on and blush but will never regret.
"Bet I can use my bag up before you do." I challenged him, ready to sprint towards as many expired parking meters as I could.
"You're on, Mari." He said with a wink.
I didn't give him the chance to be a gentlemen and let me pass but slipped by him quickly as if I were nothing more than a school girl playing a game and made my way down the right side of the sidewalk on Queen Street. There were plenty of meters that were paid but the few that stood expired I took pride in putting a quarter into and watching my reserve of coins dwindle.
Taking a right I went up the next street continued on my strange mission of paying people's meters until I passed another street with my favorite coffee shop on it where Erik and I met. I could see the Province House now so I crossed the street, with anticipation I pulled out my last quarter and prepared to spend it on one more meter, but when I reach the meter my hand meets another.
At first I freeze, thinking it's the owner of the vehicle, but I notice something distinct about this human's hand. It's weighed down with exotic looking rings and clearly different than my hand with a smooth, deep tan.
"I do believe we've been presented with a dilemma." Erick said ironically. "But as a gentleman, I'm obliged to say...ladies first." He added with a sweep of his arm.
I smile graciously and place the quarter into it's assigned spot. I felt a good triumph fill my face until the sound of a car pulling out of that very spot made the situation one of intense irony. Erik and I laughed long and hard, only stopping long enough to look at one another and laugh again.
"That was fun!" I said brightly.
"Yes, terribly fun." Erik agreed.
It was at that moment I decided something very important and which just had to be done. I whipped out my writing book and realizing I had no pen I reached into Erik's vest pocket where I would find my pen that he had taken. But taking it out I was shocked to see that it wasn't my pen at all but a different one which had a distressed gun metal surface.
"Where? How come this isn't my pen?" I asked, wanting my pen back.
"I told you I worked for the circus." He said craftily. "What's so important that you need to write anyway?" He asked as I smirked.
"I won't tell you." Was my resolute answer.
"Then you won't get your pen back." Erick replied smartly.
"In that case, I think I'll enjoy my new pen." Erik raised an eyebrow at how I said this and I felt as though I was getting snappier at my replies. With that I started to feverishly take down notes in my book, dodging Erik as he tried to see my messy handwriting. "You'll just have to wait and see what I'm writing." I said, pressing the book to my chest.
He eyed it as if he was considering his chances of getting it away from me. But I shook my head and he digressed.
"I promise you'll be the first to read it." Was all I would say.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A New Story Treat; Tricks Included

Happy Halloween to all of my readers. As a fiction writer by trade, Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. It's hard not to adore the one day out of three-hundred and sixty four where you can be whatever you're heart desires.Whether I'm dressing up for the day or spending Halloween week on my tradition of reading Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" it's always enjoyable.

But you didn't come hear to listen to my love of October 31st, I imagine you're a very intelligent trick-or-treater and really want something! Well, I just happen to have a treat in my bag and I'm very happy to share it with all of my blog readers and the readers of the Vaughan Weekly!

Today, my new story for young adults "My Mechanical Heart" begins in the Vaughan Weekly and for all those readers across the land I'll also be posting chapters here every Wednesday. It's a treat of a tale about William Auditore and Helena Cope. These two teens attend Maple High and couldn't be more diverse. William just happens to be an extremely popular introvert and Helena is the type of girl that it very hard to classify since she's completely different than anyone you've ever met.

When the two meet, things start to change in unexpected ways and both teens are faced with unexpected road blocks...

And of course, there's a few tricks thrown in for good measure. So cuddle up to your treat bag and eat a few mini chocolate bars while you take in this first chapter of "My Mechanical Heart".

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Chapter One

-William Auditore-

William was the kind of teenager that everyone wanted to be.
His hair always fell in exactly the right position, his smile was never crooked, his eyes were a vibrant chestnut brown and there wasn't a person who hadn't tried to be his friend.
Yes, everyone envied Will except for Will himself.
William didn't understand the attention that he was being drenched in constantly and yet everyday he still felt pressured to live up to his peers' standards. More often than not, the young man was sorely tempted to hide, dreading the crowded halls of Maple High. Each Monday it felt as if the school was impossibly packed with more teenagers than the precious Friday before and to Will Auditore it was like each person had at least one eye on him.
Their obsession with what he would do next, how he would act, what he would say, or wear made William smile outwardly but shudder inside. By now that awkward sensation wasn't so foreign to him, when it became too much he would duck into his book pile and try to avert his eyes from onlookers.
Today of all days seemed more of a burden than usual as the person who shared a locker beside him had transferred schools and now Will was to get a new locker mate.
William so often never got his way that he lacked any surprise when said new person just happened to be beside him. Thankfully with both their locker doors open neither could see the others face.
Practically letting his locker swallow him, Will wasted time until the new person decided to leave. Whoever it was, they were painfully slow though, which gave Will ample time to listen to his new peer, a girl from the sound of her mumbling voice. He couldn't make out any cohesive words but her syllables sounded so jumbled that it almost gave the impression she was mad.
Crazy mad, which wasn't particularly something people smiled upon.
Feeling that he might have a better chance of getting away before this strange girl noticed him, Will snapped his locker shut and planned to make a quick escape. But as providence was so rarely on
Will's side, the girl also chose to shut her locker at exactly the same moment. Will looked instantly horrified, but the girl before him stood still as a statue. She had dark grey eyes that although appeared to be on him, looked as though they were staring right through him. Her frame was slight as a rail and her hair was black and slightly dishevelled.
Now Will could have been accused of staring, a crime which he detested. But before William could realise that extreme irony, the girl gasped as if she realised for the first time that she was in front of someone. Her sickly pale face froze in a stunned expression and her eyes dropped to her shoes before she managed to mumble out.
"Pardon me." And run off.
Will was struck. She hadn't lingered to watch him or gawk like the other girls would have. Instead she seemed like her intentions were the exact opposite, she wanted to get away as fast a possible. Will smiled to himself, maybe this locker mate would work out better than he thought.
And as William turned to head for his first class, the strange image of that girl filled his mind, blinding him to the customary waves he received. Her gangly figure beneath two layers of striped shirts and that odd blank look on her face. Interesting as it was, Will had become curious of her. Who she was and why she seemed so different than everyone else. Her lack of interest in him piqued his interest in her.

*

That fascination lingered in the air like a strange fragrance which William wasn't sure he found pleasant. Yet he was mystified enough that it made Will glance over his shoulder casually in class to steal a glance at the wispy form of the new girl as she took notes.
Her pencil was held in a strange position as she wrote, Will thought she should be struggling to write with it but her dexterity shocked him. It was as though she had never learnt to use a pencil any other way.
Their classes weren't on the exact same schedule but each time William walked into a class where she was present, the girl had arrived before everyone else and he never saw her leave. He was starting to get the impression that maybe she had nothing better to do than school work, which seemed the strangest thing of all her peculiarities in such a group of social youth.
By the time classes were complete for the day and William was on his very routine walk home, he was distracted from his typical chore of avoiding people by watching for the young woman who enticed him with her elusiveness.
"You notice the new girl at the locker beside you?" Asked Carlo, one of the guys who always hung around Will, trying to get him to join the Soccer Team even when they all knew he had no interest in competition.
"Hm?...Yeah. What about her?" William tried to stay as neutral as possible, not wanting to give in and show his intrigue.
"I heard she transferred from downtown Toronto. Something about getting expelled after her Dad lost his job. I heard that he's some sort of half-baked inventor. No wonder she's weird." Carlo said, shuddering animatedly for extra effect.
Will didn't respond but meditated on what his acquaintance said. As if to prove his point, Carlo pointed across the street where the new girl was. He acted like her appearance was proof enough that she was strange but Will wasn't convinced. She did however have no backpack with her and instead was carrying all her books in her weak looking arms, so a venture to defend her would have been wasted.
Carlo didn't seem to notice that though, he had forgotten all about their conversation quickly and was running off about Soccer statistics which William new would lead to him being asked to join the team. Again.
"Carlo, I can't. I'm sorry." Will said without realising he had yet to be asked. Carlo looked stunned and annoyed at the same time.
"Since when did you become a mind reader, man? I didn't even ask you yet." He said, crossing his arms in front of himself.
Will knew a lecture about how much the team needed him was coming but he was miraculously saved by them coming upon Carlo's house . "We're at your place." He pointed out, staying humourless despite the fact that he wanted to laugh.
Huffing, Carlo didn't say anything but turned towards the house. William watched as the dejected Carlo stepped inside his family's townhouse and as soon as the door shut, he bolted across the street so that he could approach the new girl on her walk.
Maybe that was incredibly reckless considering the fact that he could have gotten hit by a car, but Will hadn't thought of that. He hadn't considered the haphazardness of his actions until running into the new girl and startling her so much that the two collided into one another.
There was a loud crack that sounded like a baseball nailing a window followed by the girl's sharp gasp. She looked at William astonished, staggering backwards as her arms let go of the books she was gripping onto.
"I'm sorry..." She hardly breathed out the words, hands trembling as she turned, escaping the opposite way down the street and disappearing around the corner. But as the girl ran off down the street, Will called out to her.
"You forgot your...books." He hesitated slightly because as he bent down to pick up her school books he noticed that they were covered in fine shards of shattered glass. As he brushed them away carefully, William noticed her name scribbled on top of the first book.
'Helena Cope' was the name that stared up at him, sunlight filtering through in rainbow colours onto it from the remaining glass.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Philosophies of Fear faced in Morning Light

Hello again to all my readers from ABC Life Literacy, I hope you've all enjoyed the first chapter of From Away. The whole thing was inspired by the concept of what could happen in a single moment when two people cross paths. But it grew from there into a series of events that my characters developed into amazingly.

For readers in Ontario, I don't want to give away too much but there will be a new story coming your way in the Vaughan Weekly next week! Don't worry, I plan on premiering it here too as a bit of a Halloween treat...or trick, it depends on the way you look at it.

For now, relax and soak in the curious philosophies of Erik Deror...

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Chapter Two

There is something utterly magical about coffee in any form, but as I prepare to emerge onto my waterfront balcony in the early hours of dawn with my pajamas on, it's an irreplaceable companion.
Sitting down I take in a deep breath of morning air and congratulate myself on the smart investment of a waterfront condo when a sound I didn't take into account breaks my reverie.
"Good Morning Starshine!" A voice calls out from the distance.
I hesitantly glance recognising that glorious accent from Erik in the Coffee Shop yesterday. I didn't see him at first but a second glance on the water showed a sailboat bobbing contently on the water with an annoyingly content Erik standing on it, waving to me.
If he was trying to make a better second impression, this wasn't it.
"Coming down?" He coaxed.
As if I would listen. Would I?
How foolish it felt to clamber back into my room closing the drapes behind me.
I wonder what kind of satisfaction Erik is getting as I step out of my condo building, but seeing him with a forest green sailboat tucked neatly against the rocks by the building I can't help but shake my head.
I realise now that I'm just as amused as he is with me and my self-consciousness starts to melt away. Of course ditching my pajamas for everyday clothing doesn't hurt that either.
"What do you want?" I finally question, shakily braving the rocks to come closer to the boat.
"Didn't you see my note?" He asked incredulously.
Of course I had seen where he had sneakily written 'See you tomorrow' in my notebook, but I didn't take it seriously. Yet here I was extending myself towards Erik's outstretched arms.
"Nothing is prettier then dawn on the Atlantic." He added as I wobbled into the boat with a secure tug from his surprisingly strong arms.
He took a sidelong glance at me and I could feel my cheeks blush like the morning light.
"Satisfy my curiosity Mari, why don't you share your stories with people?" He asked me plainly.
Most people I would lie to; laugh and tell them that I hadn't thought of it. But Erik's expression made me want to bare my soul and it was as if I would be speaking into the breeze. That once I told Erik the truth he would go back to where he came from and I would go on as if nothing had been said.
"I don't share them because I'm scared." It was the ugly truth to me and without even intending it I open up to Erik. "I'm afraid that no one will like them, that they'll think me foolish." He opened he mouth to speak but my words kept spilling out. "And if they do like them, then what? I'll feel pressured to impress them, I won't feel free to write what I want to." Releasing a stressed breath, I turned to see Erik chuckling softly.
"You're quite the mess of contradictions, aren't you?" He asked. But I mustn't have looked impressed because he resigned himself to a serious look. "Watch the horizon." He directed me with an outstretched arm. "When I sail, there are times I see nothing but that surrounding me. It's beautiful, yes, but I have modern devices to tell me where I'm going. Then I think to myself what of the days of sailors in the past. They would see the horizon before them with nothing more than a compass and map to guide them. I'm ashamed to say I would have been terribly frightened. But so would they. What made them who they were was their response. They didn't see it as fear, they saw it as opportunity."
I was mesmerised by the spot where the ocean and sky kissed, the pink of the sun reflected off of the sea water and made it brilliant.
"So you see if we turn fear into opportunity it becomes a driving force. Just like those sailors of old if we take our fear, seize the horizon and turn it into opportunity it becomes a driving force of fantastic proportion." He advised sagely.
I watched Erik for a moment, considering what he said. It made the gears in my mind turn and I received, from his words a brand of courage that although I might consider irrational it made me want to go and brave that fear which was hindering me. But one thing puzzled me still and it wasn't Erik's philosophies but him as a person.
"Erik...who are you?" I asked it without even responding to his small speech but he didn't seem bothered.
"I told you, I'm from away." He said with another charming smile.
"Okay, then what do you do?" I queried on, unsatisfied with his vague answer.
"I've done plenty of things, I drink espresso, play music, help little old ladies cross the street, enjoy cinema...and I do think I've worked with the circus. Briefly." The little smirk on his face as he spoke make me shake my head but instead of protesting I let us sit in silence and focus on the horizon as we both seemed content to do that, yet there was a little piece of me that was alighted with excitement to discover more about Erik Deror.