Commentary: Prehistoric Diving Board


"Stay Awhile"
Chapter: Are You Aware That You'll Be the Last Person to Enjoy the Pool?   

      Gomery stood. “You should change. You’ve got to be frozen.”
     “I’m okay. I’ve already chanced coming down. And our guard will see me. Alex does his rounds around now.” All hotels the size of The Wilfair have a night guard, though sometimes the night auditor keeps watch over the property in lieu of a guard. So few places where people live have guards, and fewer places have guards that work for a specific family in the building. It tickled me, a bit, to think of Fair Finley actively avoiding the person her family pays to keep watch. She wants her hotel's guard to do his best, of course, except when it comes to catching her scampering over to the motel in the middle of the night. If I was her mentor, I might wag my finger at her over this. Oh wait. I sort of am. Oh heck, how is she making all of these decisions??? Seriously, these book people.
     “I’m sure I have something. Or Monty.” Gomery already knows what piece of clothing he'd loan her as he says it. I think. My theory, anyway. :)
     “No, no, no.” As tempting as it would be to wear something of Monty’s or Gomery’s, I was sure nothing they owned would fit. Monty’s slim hips and popcorn box shape, wider at the shoulders and leaner at the waist, crossed my mind. Fair could probably fit into one Gomery's button-ups, though it might be tight in certain spots.
     “You don’t think I’m stylish enough?” Gomery play-frowned. Gomery's play-frown involves sticking out his bottom lip.
     “No! I mean. I’ll be all like. Rrowr.” I clawed one hand. Even as she's clawing her hand, Fair's urges are advising her to "retreat, retreat!" from that strange line of thought.
     “You’ll be a mastodon because I loan you clothes?” A few days ago, Gomery didn't inquire after Fair's rrowrs. Now he wants them defined. Oh my, what a night spent in a snowed-in lodge and a moving building can do for a pair of potential sweethearts.
     “I don’t know why I said that. I wanted to do something there. Like, witty. But sometimes ‘rrowr’ comes out first.” There's not a lot of glitter to this line, but it is a favorite of mine. Reason? I like how people backtrack when they talk, and over-explain, and reveal things they don't necessarily have to reveal.
     “Rrowr,” said Gomery, complete with mastodon claws. I couldn’t believe he rrowred me. It was so unGomerylike, or maybe those qualities that I had perceived as being Gomerian were cracking off him like old, dried tar. And I couldn’t believe it had been only three days since I’d stood right where I was standing now and rrowred myself. This bit was written while I was writing 'Wilfair.' When I wrote Fair's first rrowr I knew her bespectacled gentleman friend had to eventually rrowr, too. So I jotted this down.
     “Wow. You just ‘rrowred.’”
     “By the way, mastodons didn’t have claws. They had feet similar to the modern elephant, flat and able to distribute weight. So when we claw our hands, it isn’t quite correct. And the noise a mastodon made was probably more like a trumpet call, and less a ‘rrowr.’ Maybe your mastodon can have a trunk instead of the claws.” He made his arm into a trunk and swung it. We all know that nothing sweeps a potential paramour's heart away like science facts followed by a bit of mime artistry. Right? It's a million-percent true. Also, I'd like to point out that Gomery's arm is sleeveless as he does his mastodon trunk impression. He still isn't dressed from the waist-up at this point. Still rockin' those pajama bottoms.
     “Or maybe tusks?” I pointed my index fingers from both sides of my mouth. I swear to you, on a pile of orange sequins, that I make this move every time I read this line. Index fingers at the sides of the mouth. I can't help it. Though I sometimes feel less like a mastodon and more like a Tusken Raider from Tatooine.
     “Those are very realistic tusks,” he solemnly confirmed. “Textbook tusks.” Oh, yes, that's right: "Textbook tusks" was one of the last things to make in "Stay Awhile." I wanted to extend Gomery's solemnity here a little bit more, past the first thing he says, because he's playing at being solemn. Playing at it successfully and, I hope through Fair's eyes, adorably. And, of course, Fair's fingers poking from her cheeks are in no way textbook.
     “Made kissing hard for the mastodons, though.” I poked my fingers. I'm proud of Fair Finley here, because she said the word "kissing" in front of the person she wants to kiss. A big step. Not so shy. More direct. Of course, she says it because it is in relation to the mastodons and not them.
     “Especially when mastodons met under some prehistoric diving board at the tar pits,” he laughed. Gomery, on the other hand, has no issue summoning the one reference that *definitely* has to do with the humans in question and not the mastodons!
     “Rrowr!” I rrowr’d, jabbing my finger tusks. “Nope. I like claws better.”  Fair's embarrassed and DELIGHTED. That's what that rrowr means. It's the happy equivalent of yelling "yell."
     “You’re right. It’s hard to ‘rrowr’ without them.” He tried a clawless “rrowr” and it kerplunked. “Sometimes, I suppose, you have to bend scientific fact to your own pleasures and pursuits.” Something flashed across his face, and was gone. Hmm. Mysterious! This was also the end of this moment but then I was like ALYSIA. Be real. They're standing out there in the dark and Fair is soaked and Gomery is only in his pajama bottoms. Someone better touch someone in a sweet way. So...
     “Rrowr,” I whispered, gently dragging my claw across his cheek. ...I went with a mastodon claw fingertrip drag across the cheek. Welcome to the Wilfair world! Where when one character wants to touch another they resort to impersonating an ancient mammal. Oh goodness. I'm sorry, Fair and Gomery. I'm really sorry. It's me, not you. I'm the odd one.
     “Fair?”
     “Yes?”
     “I’ll miss you.”
     “I’ll be right here.”
     “That’s why.”
      I'm interested in story people who are together physically but aren't in all the important ways. And who aren't physically together but are in spirit. Those paradigms intrigue me. That's what is getting set up right there. But honestly? I just don't know how long the "people who are together but aren't" thing is gonna last. 
      Don't be shocked, but I've read quite a bit of "Fairwil" so I feel pretty confident in making that assumption. 

 cr: David Berkowitz

5 comments:

Rosemary said...

Eek! Gomery's "I'll miss you" in this chapter was...just...heartbreaking.

Wilfair Book said...

Rosemary! Hi!

I have nothing to add here, except it is a little heart-twisty to miss someone who is still around.

Oof.

do dah said...

i agree with rosemary. that was one of my favorite parts!

myrandaroyann said...

Ah! I love this so much! As I was reading it, I was giggling in a giddy manner...like a dork...a romantic dork!

Wilfair Book said...

Thanks, nice people! I support giggling in a giddy manner when life presents the opportunity.

 
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