Yet I keep coming back to this manuscript. It's a historical fiction, and I'm a total history nerd. Just ask my husband who patiently listens as I babble about ancient events. But this novel took me years to write because of all the research I put into it. And as with all historical fiction--even researched and written with the utmost care--some details will not be exactly right. I left my heart and soul in this novel, and I really want the world to read it. My friends who've read it ask me constantly when I will try to get published, and I always shrug.
Today, I shrug no more. The time has come to dust this baby off and give her a little face lift. And then I will try to find a way to share this story with the world.
In the meantime, here is the initial chapter of my historical fiction (with a big splash of romance--hey, I love love) manuscript Restore To Me.
Jerusalem 970 BC
The evening light casts an eerie glow around my room as the cool breeze caresses my skin. This gentle wind provides a welcome relief from the heat of the day. Despite my initial reluctance to move, I succeed in struggling out of the bed to stand. The weight of grief and sadness makes it difficult to move, much less breathe. He really is gone.
I half hobble, half stagger to the window and gaze out upon the chaos. Below me, people move about their daily lives as if nothing has happened, as if life has not been shattered. In my struggle to grasp this reality, I notice her. She sits on a rooftop, performing her ritual bath. My chest tightens, and, for a moment, I think it may be my heart’s last beat.
Wild emotion threatens to overtake me. Old guilt, heartache, and mourning mingle with love, reconciliation, and the sweet cleansing power of forgiveness. The scene reminds me so much of him that I must look away from it.
As I turn, I catch a glimpse of the young woman standing in my doorway. She shifts from one foot to the other while her brown eyes track my movements. We should be enemies, yet we are not. The compassion I feel for her overshadows the seeds of envy sprinkled within me and prevents them from finding fertile ground within my heart.
“May I come in?”
My old ears strain to decipher the words, though the melody of her voice soothes me. I see why she brought him great comfort at the end.
As she glides into the room, I’m reminded how old I’ve grown. Despite that, a faint grin tugs at my lips. I used to glide into a room; I still remember the look on his face when I did. I shake away the memory and tuck it deep inside where the anguish I now endure won’t taint it. When the open wound in my soul has had more time to close over, I’ll recall the memory. Only then can I relish in the light of his smile and the desire in his eyes. But for now, I fix my attention on her and why she’s here.
“Do you need something?” I make my question light to ensure she knows I mean no harm. Lord knows she’s received her fair share of biting, derogatory comments, as have I. In this way, we have a bond which both puzzles and brings me comfort. We’re like soldiers, though technically on opposite sides, bound by the experience of the same war.
As I search her face for the source of her question, I recognize the streaks of sorrow etched across her tearstained cheeks. Despair, a soul-deep suffering, has splashed its unabated rain upon us both. At that moment, jealousy and tenderness pierce my heart in tandem. She loved him too. How could she not?
She tucks her chin, and her hair falls down around her face like a veil. “I hoped you would be willing to tell me your story.”
“My story?” My forehead squeezes together until an ache thumps behind my eyes. She’s bringing up my oldest torments in the moment of my deepest mourning.
When she swallows, the sound echoes against the stone walls. “Yes. I know how much he loved you. He placed you on a pedestal, higher than anyone else could ever hope to be. I want to know your story…your love story…with him.” She lifts her head and manages a small smile. Her eyes glisten, and I realize she does not mean to hurt me. Since she only knew him for a short time, she never knew the depths of his secrets as I did.
I release a bark of laughter, more cough than chuckle. “It isn’t your typical love story. Our story is….” I search my muddled mind for the right word. “Bittersweet.”
“If you are willing to share it with me, I’d really like to hear it.”
I sit down on my bed and pat the open space beside me. No one has ever asked me to share our tale before, and I’m surprised by how much I want to send this bird of truth into flight. She sails across the room and perches herself next to me. I shake my head as a grin tugs at my lips once more. Ah, to be that youthful again.
“Believe it or not, I was once young and beautiful like you…”
And here is a picture of me and Deek...just because... LOL!