September 2nd holds a great deal of importance for me. It was my great-aunt/godmother Charline’s birthday (Little C in the novel). September 2, 1945 was the official end of WWII, and it’s also my baby girl’s birthday (she just hit 3 months old!); as such, the date on the telegram that Honey receives in the prologue is not a contrived date. When I write, every detail has a purpose. The following scene happened, and though I was not there, this is my interpretation of the story. Here is the prologue to Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me, which begins the book in medias res. Please leave your feedback or tweet me.
Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion – I have shudder’d at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyr’d for my religion. Love is my religion and I could die for that. I could die for you.
September 2, 1944
I suppose that I always knew, and that’s why there was no surprise. No, I think I acknowledged it in the past, never understanding what it would mean. It starts in my chest.
Why are they being so nice?
On the drive home from Memphis, everything was fine. Suddenly, they’re delicate with me, noticeably so.
Yes, I’m different now, but I’m still me.
And it cracks. A rift opens over my heart, spreading over my stomach, into my shoulders. Walking up the stairs as the sky darkens, carrying shopping bags, I tilt my head and I know.
This isn’t how I thought it would be.
I pictured falling, impassioned: dissolving. But everything is muted. I feel light as I walk into my room, placing the bags at the foot of the bed. Calm, I turn.
“Give it to me. Give me the letter.”
I had imagined snatching the paper, almost shredding it. Instead, my muscles constrict: the cracks increasing.
Perhaps it was folly to think I could keep them both.
They utter something but I don’t hear. I can’t even see the telegram as I finger for the envelope’s opening.