Chapter 17: Since I Last Saw You

a novel by Alice Ann Kuder

A story of love, loss and gratitude.

“How much more grievous are the consequences of anger

than the causes of it.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

Chapter 17

January 29, 2012

 “April5th?”

Ali shook her head back and forth. “I’ll be in Italy.”

Isaac searched his calendar for another possible date. “April 14th?”

“I can’t say for sure if I’ll be back by then.”

“The 23rd?”

“There’s an all-day manager’s meeting scheduled for that day,” Ali said apologetically.

“Ali, I don’t see any other possible dates for us all to go to the Tulip Festival together. In the fifteen years we’ve been together, we’ve only missed the festival once, and that was before Zoe was born. She’ll be really disappointed; really disappointed.” Isaac’s exasperation was beginning to show.

“I know, but it’s not as if it’s all my fault. Your race schedule interferes with our family time as much as my work schedule does.”

“That’s not true, and you know it,” said Isaac. “Besides, that’s only during the summer months and I don’t have any control over the dates. You do have some control over your travel schedule.”

Some is right, but not much. Why do you always make it sound as if I purposely plan to mess up our family time? I’m so tired of being cast as the villain. Stop trying to make me feel guilty about being good at my job,” Ali protested.

“It’s not being good at your job that’s the problem, it’s being gone for your job that’s the problem. My God, the Tulip Festival is two months away and your calendar is already full! You travel more every year and I’m tired of taking up the slack here at home. Zoe is almost ten years old now. She needs her mother. If I thought she only needed one parent, I’d ask for a divorce.” Isaac’s voice was rising with each new allegation.

“Is that what you want? Do you want a divorce? Sometimes I think you want me out of the way so there’s no one to prevent you from sucking Zoe into your thrill-seeking pastimes.” The tone of Ali’s voice matched Isaac’s note for note, becoming shriller and louder with each question and accusation.

“I know you, Isaac. I know you can hardly wait until she’s old enough to jump out of planes with you. You’ve already got her climbing the rock walls at REI and the Fun Center. It won’t be long before she’s begging to climb a real mountain with you.”

“And what’s wrong with that? Why is it wrong for Zoe to crave some adventure? It’s never hurt me!” Isaac challenged.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting adventure, but it’s our job as her parents to make sure that she stays safe and doesn’t take unnecessary risks.”

“We’ve always disagreed, Ali, on the definition of ‘unnecessary’ risk. I say that taking risks is what makes life worth living. You’ve always been satisfied to be an observer, getting your thrills vicariously—usually through me! You want to keep Zoe in a corner and pack her with cotton so she never gets so much as a scratch!” Isaac was waving his arms for emphasis by this time. The scorn in his words was almost palpable.

Ali inhaled sharply and was about to retaliate with more angry accusations when she looked Isaac squarely in the eye and fell silent for fear of what she saw there. It wasn’t a fear of any physical threat. Isaac had never, and would never lift a hand in anger; she felt certain of that. Rather, it was fear of the disconnection she sensed between them that made her stop. Her sudden silence gave Isaac a chance to pull back and collect himself as well.

How had they come to this point? This was a familiar argument. Why did it seem so much uglier and more serious this time?

Finally, Ali looked at her watch and announced matter-of-factly, “I have to go.”

“I know,” Isaac said flatly. “What time is your flight?”

“Seven forty-three.”

“Do you need a ride to the airport?”

“No. A coworker is picking me up.”

Their conversation was now devoid of emotion.

“You realize we haven’t resolved anything?” Isaac said.

Looking downtrodden and feeling dispirited, she confirmed his question with a nod of her head as she left the room.

The word “divorce” still hung in the air, as if it had been hoisted up a flagpole in the middle of the room and left flapping in the wind.

 

To purchase and download a digital version of Since I Last Saw You, go to: www.SinceILastSawYou.com

Paperback edition now available! Go to: www.CreateSpace.com/4529955

Posted by Alice Kuder, January 12, 2014

Steel, Blood and Fire: a new Science-Fiction novel by Allan Batchelder

A new novel by Allan Batchelder

A new novel by Allan Batchelder

I am excited to help promote this new science fiction/fantasy novel by my friend, Allan Batchelder.

I want to congratulate him on this tremendous accomplishment!

Announcing the publication of Steel, Blood and Fire: Immortal Treachery, a new Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel by first-time author, Allan Batchelder!

On the march, around the campfire, and in the taverns, they tell incredible stories about Tarmun Vykers – how he’s never been cut in battle, how he once defeated hundreds of men by himself, how he exterminated an entire people over an insult. These stories make Vykers seem like a god; he is a man, an arrogant, ruthless and bloodthirsty man. And he may be the only thing standing between the human race and utter annihilation at the hands of the mad sorcerer whose name is also his only goal: the End of All Things. Against this backdrop, smaller, lesser folks struggle to fulfill their own destinies, folks like Long Pete, the former gigolo and jack-of-all trades, and Spirk Nessno, the enigmatic, over enthusiastic simpleton. Struggling, too, is the Mender, Aoife, burdened with a secret so dark she is driven to do the unimaginable. Can Tarmun Vykers save them all, or will he simply hasten their demise?

The author does not recommend this book for anyone under the age of seventeen, due to violence and mature language and themes.

You can purchase and download this e-book on Amazon.com for $3.99.

My first novel is a new adventure in AliceLand

I’m excited to announce that I have started writing my first novel! I will be even more excited when I can announce that I have finished my first novel, but that is probably about a year down the road.

This is new ground for me, as I have never attempted to write fiction before. Fiction always felt more intimidating than non-fiction, perhaps because I feel that it reveals more about the author and requires (in my opinion) a higher degree of creativity. In short, there seems to be more room for criticism and failure in writing a novel, which kept me at bay.

Nevertheless, once the idea for this novel came to me I got more and more energized and it just started to flow. Well, “flow” might be a bit of an exaggeration. It takes me an average of about 2 hours to write each page. But so far, I am on track with my goal of writing at least a page a day.

Tentatively titled, Thanksgivings, here is the first page.

Chapter One

Ali sat looking out the window at the driving rain, one hand propping up her chin and the other absent-mindedly stroking the cracked leather upholstery of the well-worn couch. She loved this little hideaway where she could be alone without being lonely.

Ali and Isaac stumbled upon the cabin when they were hiking the backwoods of Mt. Baker. How many years ago was that? 10? 15? No, it must have been 14 years ago, because it was the year they got engaged. It was about this time of year – late November – but the weather then was dry and crisp. The trees were dropping the last of their leaves, carpeting the ground with a mosaic of gold and red and orange. It was a magical autumn.

Today, Mother Nature was showing her more dramatic side. The wind and rain had already been pummeling the area for hours and the weather forecast was for more of the same throughout the night; possibly all weekend.

 If Ali were less familiar with this place, she might have been more concerned about being alone on a mountaintop during such a violent storm. But she had arrived a few hours earlier in her ancient-yet-dependable Jeep Cherokee, fully intending to stay put for several days. Despite her family’s protestations, this is where she wanted to spend her first Thanksgiving since the death of her husband and daughter 10 months earlier.

What do you think? Does this leave you wanting to read more?