My grieving woman novel is taking shape. Amanda and her twenty-nine-year-old daughter Thalia are having problems that seem to antedate her husband’s death. I’m not sure why the daughter has such a problem with her mother, but perhaps we don’t need to know. It could just be more of the unfinished business the woman has to deal with.
In the scene I wrote today (keeping to my writing schedule, yay!), the daughter accuses her mother of hastily redoing her old bedroom:
“This doesn’t look at all like my room any more,” Thalia said. “There’s not a trace of me here. You could hardly wait to get rid of me.”
Amanda opened her mouth to reply, but for a few seconds, no words came out. She’d completely forgotten that when they first came to this parsonage, Thalia had been a sulky thirteen-year-old. Trying to put a smile on her daughter’s face, she’d promised Thalia she could decorate the room any way she wished. Amanda hadn’t expected pink paint and eyelet ruffles, but she’d been appalled by the black walls and red curtains that gave the impression of dripping blood. The posters of movie vampires and band members who looked as if they’d crawled out of a crypt seemed almost cheerful by comparison.
When Thalia went to college, David claimed the room for a den, but it had been Amanda who been cajoled into doing the work. “Shouldn’t we at least wait until Thalia’s out of college?” Amanda pleaded. For once, David had not been thinking of their daughter. “I need a place to work here in the house. We can put in a sofa bed. Thalia can use it during the summer.” But Thalia had never come back, and secretly Amanda had not blamed her.
“I wish this house were bigger,” Amanda said. “Then we could have kept your room for you.”
“Yeah, right.” Then, sounding like the little girl she had once been, she added, “couldn’t you have turned the parlor into Dad’s den? Nobody has a parlor and a living room anymore.”
“I wanted to, but Dad said he needed a place for receiving visitors. He always thought it was important to keep the living room for us, so we could have some privacy as a family.
“I’m glad he had a place to get away from you.”
Amanda flinched at her daughter’s words, but didn’t bother to correct them. When David had moved out of their shared bedroom into this room after his diagnosis, it had been to spare her his relentless pacing and allow her to sleep undisturbed, not to get away from her. Or so he said.
Could Thalia be right? Maybe he’d mentioned something to her that he wouldn’t say to Amanda. The two often excluded her from their conversations. She used to worry about feeling jealous of her daughter, but she hadn’t been jealous, not really. She’d liked that David and Thalia got along so well. She and her father had been virtual strangers.