Readers; I am begging your indulgence here. Tonight’s post has in it some of the sentences, even some of the paragraphs of last night’s post. I don’t mean to bore you, but as I have been saying all along, these posts are a part of a novel in progress and I am posting them pretty much as I write them. You can get a taste of how the creative process works for me. The bit below is a little backstory about a brief relationship that took place between the protagonist in the book, Rachel Thompson, and Jacob Eaton. Jacob will figure in the story as it develops in the book, but this bit is describing something that happened between them some twenty years before, then they were in high school. This little story keeps on growing in my head and I am adding paragraphs as the thoughts come along. I hope it’s improving and deepening. Thanks for bearing with me here. If you want to give this piece a little more context, click back to yesterday’s post and read it first. Ed.
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 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 of 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 a glowing but passing season for them both. There was a clear end in sight. Then everyone would just walk away, hearts intact.
Oh, how terribly she had misread him. Jacob Eaton had ignored the dominating, prevalent order at the school not because he was otherwise fulfilled, but because the empty spaces within him were broader and deeper than anything that juvenile order could fill. He knew this much about himself: that those belongings and achievements that seemed to satisfy others around him would be no solace to him at all. None of it was worth the effort. And so he had walked calmly through high school, aware that the longings within him would find no satisfaction there.
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. She filled every empty space in him. He would have lived forever there. His attachment to her was as strong and as distinctive as had been his detachment from everything else.
And there she was, right in the middle of the crime she had sworn never to commit. She had led him on. By any fair standard, the tokens she had shown him in that short season were encouragement. He was justified in wondering why it all disappeared. He was justified in asking her why.