Experienced NaNoers say this is the toughest week - the week when it's tempting to throw your hands in the air and quit because it's impossible to believe you'll ever finish the darn story. It is tempting to quit, I must say. Largely because my story has gotten so dark - which is not really the story I wanted to write. I hope I can find a way to introduce a little light in the next 15 days!
In any case, as proof of my diligence, I offer these two short snippets. Please remember these are only first drafts. No editing is allowed until I've got at least 50,000 words.
It wasn’t often his daughter Lindsey called to suggest they go for a run together, but he loved it when she did. This evening, she suggested they meet at Point Pleasant Park and do an 8 km loop through the Park and around the south end of the city - one of their favourite routes. He knew it would be a challenge to keep up with her so he decided to warm up first by leaving his car at the office and running slowly to the Park gates where they’d agreed to meet at 6:00.
Since it was November it was already dark by the time he changed into his running clothes and headed south. He avoided the traffic on South Park by cutting through the side streets to the west of it. A blanket of wet, gold leaves covered the streets, glowing warmly beneath the streetlights, despite the chill in the air. Winter is coming, he thought.
When he arrived at the gates, Lindsey’s car - a beat up 1997 Ford Tempo - was already parked in the parking lot. It wasn’t very pretty but she’d gotten it for a good price and it was relatively cheap to maintain and operate. He liked it too because it was old enough that he could help diagnose problems with it. All the electronics in newer cars made it much harder for a backyard mechanic like him to figure out what the trouble was.
He’d learned about cars from his dad, who was gifted when it came to figuring out how things worked. Nothing made him happier than taking something apart and putting it back together again. MacIntyre didn’t have his father’s innate talent, but he enjoyed tinkering too and the hours he and his dad had spent in the garage working on cars together were some of the happiest he could remember.
“Not really. There’s one woman I’ve seen on and off for a few months. She great. Smart, beautiful and fun to hang out with - but, much as I like her, I really don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
“You know she’d never coming back to you, right?”
“You know who, Dad. Mom. I think she still loves you in lots of ways but she’s never going to come back to you. She’s with Tony now and she’s really happy.”
“I know that, Lindsey. And I don’t blame her for that. Your mom had good reasons for leaving me. I didn’t mean to be a shitty husband and father for all those years but I know I was. She deserved better. So did you.”
Lindsey put her hand on his arm signaling him to stop, then turned him around to look at her. “Listen to me, will you, Dad? You were not a shitty father. You weren’t perfect maybe, and - yes - I wish you’d spent more time at home when I was little, but you always - always - made sure I knew how much you loved and believed in me, which is something lots of fathers never do. Got it?” MacIntyre nodded, his throat tight with emotion. God, he was proud of her. What a strong, smart, caring woman she’d become.
“As for whether you were a shitty husband,” she continued, “when you guys first split up, Mom had lots of nasty things to say about you. But now that she’s happy herself and can look at what happened a little more objectively, she’s a lot kinder. In fact, she’s even been known to say nice things about you from time to time,” she finished teasingly. “Seriously, Dad, she doesn’t think you’re a bad person. I think it sometimes make her a little sad to think about when the two of you were together but she’s not angry anymore. She knows she made mistakes too.”
“That’s good to know, Lindsey. I was angry with your mom for a long time after she left me, but the reality is she’s a terrific person and I will always love and respect her very much. God knows, she did a helluva job raising you.”
“You both did, Dad.”
“Thanks for that, kiddo. So what do you say, shall we see who can make it back to the car first?”
“You’re on!” she said laughing as they turned to run full tilt towards the park gate. As they ran MacIntyre noticed the moonlight shining on the surface of harbour and realized he felt happier than he had in very long time.