Excerpt: Nita’s Story

So this is taken from a novel I’m writing. It is still in ‘first draft’ form. Nita’s name may yet change.

When Nita thought about those months now, she realised that there had, of course, been signs. She supposed that there were always signs in situations like the one she had been in, it just depended on whether or not you looked for them. She had not looked, because she had been clinging to hope, desperately, even as it inevitably slipped through her fingers as surely as cupped water will if held for more than a few moments. But she had been holding onto the hope for so very long; how could she have just abandoned it?

The first sign was in fact in the immediate aftermath of the party. He seemed distracted, not quite present in their conversations the way he had been. It wasn’t the same as when his concentration wavered due to the stress of impending exams, even though that’s what Nita told herself it was. He would switch off partway through one of her stories, smiling absently to himself, clearly lost in a pleasant thought that did not concern her. When that happened, panic would curl its unwanted fingers around her heart, but then he would drift back into the moment with an apology, sometimes even an attentive question to show that he had been listening. The fingers would relax their grip, she’d smile, and things would go back to normal.

Perhaps the subtlety of this clue was why she had missed it, and Nita still often convinced herself that this was the case. However, she could not excuse herself for ignoring much of what followed, the ever inventive excuses, the clear agitation laced through what had once been easy, flowing conversation. He had always been effortlessly charismatic, both publicly and privately, and he remained so in others’ presence – just not in hers.

On the day her world collapsed, they didn’t even notice her standing in the doorframe for a solid thirty seconds. That they didn’t see her was almost more painful that what she witnessed; she had been invisible her entire life and not minded, but she minded then. And even as they did notice, a split second before she turned on her heel to leave, even as the tears streaked down her face, she knew she had no real right to be affronted.

Feedback will be very appreciated. I have a plot in mind and am moving that along, but realised I was struggling a bit with characterisation. Part of that, I think, is understanding characters’ pasts. So, I thought I would put one of the ‘reflective’ bits I’ve written for Nita, a main character, out into the blogosphere and see what people thought 🙂

Ro x

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