I’m attending a creative writing course called Basics of Writing a Novel at Collin College. Last week, we had to write a scene -any scene- following the criteria we discussed in class. Although it has nothing to do with travel, I thought I’d share the scene I wrote. If you care to share constructive criticism, you’re more than welcome to do it below.
Elizabeth cursed under her breath. She should have known better than to wear suede pumps on a day like this. She shook her umbrella, opened the door to her favorite café and scanned the faces in the room. She half wished he wasn’t there but she knew it had to be done.
Later, a stern-looking elderly waiter deposited a сafetière, a timer and two demitasses on the table. Elizabeth fidgeted with a stray lock of auburn hair, checked the timer, pressed the plunger down and poured some coffee. A hand on her shoulder made her jump out of her skin.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you” said Marcel, taking a seat. “Have you been waiting long? Traffic is murder around l’Etoile.” Elizabeth’s grimace at his choice of word went unnoticed. ”So, anyway, what did you want to talk about? I hope it’s not about your job again” said Marcel with a steely voice through clenched teeth.
Elizabeth took a deep breath and cleared her throat. This is it, she thought. The moment I’ve been dreading. Just stay calm and tell him how you feel. The last time she tried to discuss her promotion with him things didn’t go down well. She hoped that now, in a public place, he’d show more restraint and they’d be able to have a civilized discussion. She didn’t have the energy to give excuses for her bruises, emotional and otherwise, anymore.
“Look, I know how you feel about my promotion. I know you think I’m having an affair with my boss. But I’m not. I’m not! It’s all in your head, Marcel,” said Elizabeth with a quivering voice. “How can I make you see that?”
Marcel poured some coffee, added sugar and stirred with deliberate movements. Elizabeth could see the veins in his forehead already bulging and his breath accelerating. He took a sip and fixed his ice blue eyes on Elizabeth. “You can’t.” Elizabeth’s face crumpled. It was useless. He’ll never overcome his jealousy.
“I want out,” she blurted out. “I can’t go on like this. You don’t trust me, you make my life a living hell, and you say you love me but sometimes I wonder.”
Marcel stared in disbelief. This could not be happening. “But I do love you. I do many things for you, I live for you but you don’t seem to acknowledge that.” He took Elizabeth’s limp hand. She shivered in disgust. “Please, don’t do this. Let’s talk about it. What do you want from me?” He looked at her with wet eyes.
“We’ve been through this many times. I’ve told you how horrible it makes me feel the fact that you don’t trust me. I don’t know what else to do!”
“All right, all right,” said Marcel in a conciliatory tone. “I promise I’ll let you go on business trips with your boss, if that makes you feel better.”
Elizabeth yanked her hand from his grasp. “What do you mean let me go!? That’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not about you giving me permission to do things. I’m an adult woman, you can’t tell me who I should be friends with, where to go, what to wear!” Elizabeth gradually raised her voice. The old waiter approached their table and asked if they needed something else. Elizabeth suddenly became self-conscious and whispered “No, thanks.”
“Let me prove to you that I can change, that I can be the person you want me to be,” Marcel pleaded. “I do love you, you know.”
“Yes, I know but I’m not sure this is going to work. I feel caged in.” all of a sudden, Elizabeth felt a confidence she didn’t know she had. I can do this. I can stand up for myself, she thought. “I’m sorry but I can’t go on like this. I’m sorry.” Elizabeth stood up.
“Please, don’t leave me. I’ll kill myself if you do! I can’t live without you” Marcel looked miserable but Elizabeth saw through his pretense. He can’t live without controlling me.
Elizabeth picked up her raincoat and umbrella and slowly made her way to the front door. A few customers watched her progress. Marcel signaled the waiter for the check. He was seething with anger. How dare she! The little whore!