“I grew convinced that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance.” from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
This quote from Benjamin Franklin reminds me of the themes of both of my novellas, A Golden Leaf in Time Revised and Warm Intrigues. In the first book, A Golden Leaf in Time Revised, both main characters, Trey and Phoenix, are involved in tumultuous relationships that are adversely affecting their careers. They are finally able to extricate themselves from those relationships before they ultimately find each other.
Once they do meet, they realize that they must ‘come clean’ and tell as much as possible about their former lives. I say as much as possible because sometimes one thinks he or she has told the whole tale but there always seems to be some forgotten detail lurking at the bottom of the well. And, those omitted details can cause huge setbacks when attempting to build something new.They seem to crop up at the most inopportune times and can cause tremors for all involved.
Here is a scene from Warm Intrigues:
“After a long pause, he said, “I want to tell you about my former wife.
You know this is difficult, but we need to get this out of the way, as soon as possible.”
She could see that he was struggling with this and sat a little closer to give him encouragement.
“Take your time, Tyre,” she said softly.
“Yes. About my deceased wife, Flora. I need to tell you this so that
I can move forward. I want to confess this to you and come clean. First, I take responsibility for my shortcomings in the relationship. The worst, first. She overdosed on painkillers. She was unhappy, and I do not think that I could have ever made her happy.
Her mother agreed. I met her right after my mother had passed, so I believe that I was in a very vulnerable state. I was eating at an Ethiopian restaurant, and she came over and sat with me. I should have sensed some of the danger signs then, but I had been guilty of having non-committal relationships in the past and letting women think whatever they wanted to think.”
He paused and took a sip from the water bottle they had stopped and bought. She waited for him to continue.
I was not looking at life straight at all.”
The conversation between Tyre (Trey) and Phoenix continues as he attempts to tell the truth, as he sees it, about his former wife and his unhappy marriage.
Phoenix, in turn, shares what she has been through as well to reveal as much as she can about her life and her known vulnerabilities.
From Warm Intrigues, Phoenix speaks.
” Phoenix spoke, “Speaking of people teaching lessons, there are some stories I would like to share. When you reach your thirties, you have a past. I have not been married, but I do have a few emotional scars from former loves. One was in college. He and I came from very different backgrounds. I have learned that some people are like peaches. Some are sweet, and some are not so sweet. You don’t know until you have taken a bite.”
“Good analogy,” said Tyre.
“He may have loved me, but it was not enough. I needed more,” she continued. “Perhaps he gave all he had, but it simply was not enough for me. Maybe it was because he had not been raised around a father. I am not sure. He liked hanging out at our house and being around my father.
There was a dubious message. He admired my two-parent home, but when they were not around; he was verbally abusive and often put me down and said I thought I was better than him.
“It was very painful, and to make up for his deficits, he would put other women in my face or not show up for dates. It was devastating and so embarrassing for my parents to see me stood up time and time again. Even though I was not a child anymore, my mother interceded and put a stop to the whole thing,” she paused.
“Good for her.Guess parents know best,” he chimed in.”
In both instances, Tyre and Phoenix go through special pains to reveal the dark experiences from their pasts. Both scenes take place at waterfronts which can often be described as ‘reflecting pools.’ They at least attempt to come clean with one another.
This new relationship is very important to both of them and they want to do all that they can to solidify its foundation. This pays off as more unexpected events occur in the book. And more surprises will continue to crop up, as they do in life, in the forthcoming third book about this couple.
Earlier Tyre reminds her that “truth is stranger than fiction.” Only time will tell if they are able to weather life’s storms as their journey continues together. But, at least at this juncture, they are attempting to apply Benjamin Franklin’s advice by being truthful, sincere and showing integrity by doing so.
Lynn September 5, 2014