Readers; Here is more work on the novel-in-progress. This bit is about the protagonist’s relationship with another character in the story as that relationship was born in high school. I’ve posted bits of this before, but the long middle of this post is all new. Ed
And it was the end of time just then.
The world they had known for all of their eighteen years was coming apart just as it ever has in that age. Within only days every relationship they had known – those that had enriched and enabled them and those that had held them down – would be drowned like Pharaoh’s horsemen in the sea of time. She knew that and welcomed it. It had been the focus of her thinking and desire for more than a year. So much so that she never imagined that any other so situated had not seen the same thing coming and welcomed it just as she had.
Particularly Jacob Eaton. If anyone should have welcomed the imminent social apocalypse, it was him. Jacob’s defining characteristic, it seemed to her, was his open-handed independence from every power and principality that held sway in the halls of the school. Jacob’s penetrating intellect was obvious to anyone who interacted with him socially or happened to be in the same classroom with him anytime some unsuspecting teacher made the mistake of challenging him. He was athletic, but found no home in any of the school’s sports teams. He was attractive and at ease around the prettiest and most popular girls in the school. They sat next to him when the opportunity arose and they confided in him and trusted him far more than in any of the boys they dated. And the cliques, even those that others would have given an arm and a leg to belong to, it was as if he never noticed the strategies they employed to distinguish themselves; as if he was oblivious to their rigid hierarchies. He paid no one any dues.
And yet he was no rebel. He seemed as unaware of his own particularity as he was of the anxious striving for conformity and acceptance of nearly everyone else in the place. He never wanted to be first in line. He just wanted out of the line
These traits were so well defined by the end of their senior year. He was going somewhere else; he was meant for or concerned with someplace or something else. He was not at home here. Rachel Thompson by then was very aware of the power of the light she could shine. A smile or a conversation could raise the interests and hope of just about any boy in the school. She had watched as other girls in the school employed the same powers – even if of a lesser strength than her own – to make boys fall all over themselves and end up miserable. So she curbed any show of affection and stayed clear of any evidence of preference or intimacy.
But Jacob was a different kind of guy. She could shine her light on him for this little time that was left them. It would be great for them both and when it was over everyone would just walk away
But when she said yes to him, even though it was, as she thought then and as she thought he must have understood, all conditional, all applicable only to that brief time, that twilight of adolescence, time stopped for him. He would have lived forever there. His attachment to her was as determined and as distinctive as had been his detachment from everything else.