So this is from a book I wrote last year called, Purple Knot. This scene is after a very emotional chapter in which the main character, Rain Cruz, signed off on an emergency C-section that resulted in her best friend, Summer's, death.
Jimmy is the main character's love interest and the brother of the friend that just died. Mona made a scene upstairs not ten minutes ago...screaming and throwing medical supplies about the room in an outburst of violent grief.
Rain is not a fan.
I'll let Rain describe Mona in her own words:
"Mona was Jimmy and Summer’s mother. Big haired and perpetually tipsy, she was a southern belle of epic movie proportions. Given to sneaking cigarettes at inopportune moments, she never seemed to be around when they needed her. Mona and I never really hit it off. The only time she ever took my side was when I announced I was moving away from Seattle, away from her son."
In retrospect I should’ve seen it coming. After signing papers with the nurse, I wandered down to the cafeteria to find some coffee, or arsenic. Either would have done, really. I stood in the aisle between the hanging packages of trail mix, and the steaming soup buckets wondering what I was even doing down here, when Mona yelled my name at the top of her lungs.
“How could you do this? That baby has no mother because of you!”
I froze with a bowl full of potato soup in one hand, a ladle in the other. Again, hindsight tells me I should have kept the ladle in my possession.
I was not sure what to say to a crazy person who was now suffering unbearable grief.
“Don’t you ever speak to me again!”
Mona bellowed and strode across the cafeteria toward me. People parted for her like they knew her, and made an open path right to me.
“You are the worst kind of…of…scum.”
I watched with morbid fascination as her hands came up again. Her long coral-pink nails flashed in the buzzing florescent lights. I saw Jimmy run out of the elevator, scan right then left, do a double-take and launch himself towards us. Alas, he always seemed to be a second behind the action. Mona grabbed my sweater with both hands and shook me like bag of dirty rags. Occupied by the bowl of now wildly sloshing potato soup in my hands, I was useless against her onslaught.
“You…did…this! You did this!”
Mona heaved with the strain of throttling me and I could smell the bourbon on her breath. Where did she get bourbon in a hospital, I thought madly? Jimmy yanked Mona off of me and sent her sliding on her butt through the puddle of spilled soup. His face was tight when he wrapped an arm around my waist and pulled me toward the door.
“You need to come with me.”
He carried me out of the cafeteria into the elevator. The bowl of soup was still in my hands. I could hear Mona shouting as the doors closed achingly slow on yet another crowd of disbelieving stares.
This is one of my favorite scenes because I've experienced dealing with grief and surreal craziness at the same time. Its strange the things you notice during moments like that...the coral nails are a detail ripped from my own reality.
I hope you liked the excerpt. I encourage you to go on over to Beautiful Chaos to catch some other great "Darlings"...Until next time -- Go Write!
Photograph by mukais.