Draft Opening of My New Novel

 

I have begun to adapt my screenplay, “Hold Only Good Memories,” into a novel. Here is the latest draft of the opening chapter. You feedback is welcome!

Chapter 1

Having rarely had a reason to leave his home state of Ohio, Sean was not yet jaded at the sight of clouds close up. Spread out in the airspace beyond his little window they really did look like hills of fluffy white cotton. He could imagine angels walking around on them, or blissful dead people with harps and big white wings to get them from one snowy mound to another. He smiled at himself, still a kid even after a quarter century of life.

Of course he knew better. Clouds have no solidity, he reminded himself, they are just aggregations of water droplets coming together temporarily, mostly empty air. The play of light on the droplets, blurred by the limitations of eyesight, give the illusion of some kind structural integrity to the clouds. What appear as “things” standing there outside his window are only things until the wind shifts and their forms dissipate, revealing their ephemeral nature.

“Well folks, we are beginning our descent into Portland, so please double check that your table trays are up and your seatbelts fastened. There are a few rainclouds ahead, so we may experience a bit of turbulence as we come in for a landing. Crew please take your places.”

The jet began to lower itself into the clouds, slowly being immersed in them until the blue sky disappeared. Sean’s seat bumped a little underneath him and he double-checked his belt. Then rain spattered the window and the view turned dark, the sunlight all but blotted out. Sean closed his eyes and tried to breathe, waiting for the pilot to land them safely on solid ground.

*          *          *

While exiting the airport into the passenger pick-up area a spike of pain shot through Sean’s left knee. He winced and groaned, releasing the handle of his wheeled bag and shifting his weight to his other leg. He slipped his old jacket out from beneath the shoulder strap of his backpack so he could drop the pack to the concrete sidewalk.

“Are you all right?” A middle-aged woman was standing nearby with her bags, a maternal look of concern on her face.

“Yeah,” Sean replied. “Knee’s stiff from sitting too long. Just need to stretch my legs a little.”

“Hey Mom, over here!” a man’s voice called out. A guy about Sean’s age emerged from the driver’s side of a grey Prius several yards away, waving his arm at them.

The woman looked back at Sean.

“I’m okay,” Sean assured her. “Thanks.”

She nodded and hesitated for a second, then turned and hurried over to the young man. They embraced as a young woman exited the passenger side of the car and stood shyly waiting.

“Oh, I missed you so, so much,” the mother said.

“Me too, Mom. It’s so good to see you again!”

Finally the man released his mother and presented his companion. “Mom, this is Kelly.”

“I’m so happy to finally meet you,” Kelly started to say, offering her hand, but the mother stepped in and threw her arms around her.

“Oh, come here!” she said warmly.

Sean watched this happy rendezvous silently for a moment, then realized he was getting cold. Above and beyond the overhead canopy rain was drizzling down, and the breeze going by was cool and damp. He pulled his jacket on and zipped it.

The man was now loading his mother’s bags in the trunk as the young woman helped her into the car. Soon they were all in the car and pulling away.

Sean followed it for a few seconds as it headed out into the misty rain beyond the canopy then turned and looked down the line of cars pulling in and out at the curb, searching for a white Civic. He didn’t see one.

He pulled his phone out and checked his messages. Nothing.

Keeping his eyes on the cars moving in from the entranceway, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and waited for his ride.

 

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