This month’s excerpts are from the next stand-alone short story I plan to release (still working on the title). I don’t have a blurb yet either, but it’s about an American guy’s up-and-down relationship with a French girl.
In this scene, he’s taking the train back to Paris to catch a flight home.
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His train at the Avignon station arrives and he boards, finding a seat in a crowded car towards the rear. A petite older woman plops down next to him and he ignores her as studiously as she ignores him. It’s the French way, he learned almost immediately upon his arrival; don’t trust strangers until you know they’re worth your time and effort, and then ply them with overwhelming hospitality and love. He understands the cultural reasoning, solidified over millennia of neighborly invasions, but it leaves him feeling so isolated. He wants this woman to ask him how he’s doing, to notice his crushed heart and sympathize over the details, not to pull out a novel as if he’s not dying inside next to her.
He turns to the window as outside the station falls away. He’s hit by a sudden impulse to jump off the train before it accelerates too much, to find Mireille, to ignore his soon-to-expire visa and spend the rest of his life with her in his adopted country. Instead, he closes his eyes and lets the train pull him away from her.
* * * * * * * * * *
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Oh my gosh! So much emotion in this snippet. Well done! :)
Gorgeous writing, ED. You had me on the train pulling for him knowing he was going to leave.
Excellent, excellent scene. You sucked me right into the story. That was real emotion. Just superb writing.
Ah, what a heart-rending moment. I’m German, so I usually prefer it when people don’t bother me on the train, but his need for sympathy in that moment is universal!
Fascinating to be inside his head and get his understanding of the culture. I feel badly for him…really an excellent excerpt!
Gee thanks. Now I have ‘Sur le pont d’Avignon’ running through my head. ;-)
There’s not too many places where a stranger would console someone with a broken heart… but maybe he’ll find a kind shoulder.
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