"It's just that I never have any inspiration." She said this, plucking the limbs from a weed that she'd found on the bank.
"Not anymore," she explained. "I'm waiting for some conflict to-- materialize."
George watched her toss the limbs, one by one, out into the lake. Some of them flew gracefully toward the water, where they were carried downstream; most of them flailed and struggled in the wind, petering and falling miserably down to the gray beach. That same wind which carried the others onward was quick to rile the sands, and bury the unsuccessful limbs beneath them.
“And Spain?” George suggested. Beth’s eyes fluttered, and her lips creased into a little frown, her face altogether thrown into a dim confusion. She looked up at him and, after some hesitation, formulated an answer.
“It was another little place, for me to run in loops.” She said this with spite in her voice, as if it were intended as an insult. “Was I supposed to learn something new, in Spain? Running in circles.” That last fragment was whispered under her breath, like a sort of appendix. It was difficult for her to say.
George ran a hand down his face and stared back down the river. The November clouds looked down at the water and, in their reflection, turned it black. He struggled for one more option.
“… The college in Towson?” The strain was clear in the dull musing.
“The college in Towson,” Beth parroted. “Where I could make circles. Where I could drink and **** and sleep and… drink?” She sighed, and then added, with contempt: “It’s a joke of a school.”
Now George rubbed his eyes, and took a step further.
“Or, you could find a major,” he dryly observed, passively avoiding her gaze-- still staring down the dull river, observing the violent rapids with absence of mind. Beth scoffed vulgarly.
“It’s—“ There was frustration in her voice. “You’re always like this. Why are you always like this?”
Now she stood up, folded her arms, and marched away. George sat for a moment, saying nothing. He could see Beth turn her head halfway, and stare down at the little weed in her hand, all of its limbs plucked. Her eyes were wet, and her breath, a white vapor in the chilly air, materialized at spastic intervals.
“When I was little,” she began, tremulously. “I’d get little plants like this—I’d take them from the garden, in my backyard. And I’d bring ‘em back to my mom.” A tear swam down her cheek. “And we’d pluck the limbs to pass the time, while she told me little stories. And she’d hug and kiss me, and tell me how I did such a good job plucking these weeds up from her garden.”
With this, she let out an ultimate, resounding sob. George looked on with sympathy, stood, grabbed her arm gently. They walked back to the car together.
About the House on Northwood Lane / A Night at the Moorshead / Morgan / Fog / Maiko