Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hate List: A Novel

"Do you think I would've done it?" I cried at one point. "If I had a gun, would I have shot Christy? Because when Nick said, "Let's go get this finished," and I thought he was going to, I don't know, embarrass her or maybe beat the crap out of her or something, I felt so good. So, like, relieved, I wanted him to take care of her."


Slowly I dipped the brush into the black paint and made a stripe across the canvas, perpendicular to the purple.
"Hmmmm," she said, and then, "Ohhhh."
The best way I can describe the feeling was that it was miraculous. Or maybe soulful. Or maybe both. I don't know. All I know is that I couldn't stop at that one line or the next splotch or the tree-like dots I made along one border.


I heard Mom's voice, so staccato it didn't belong in the studio at all, float up the aisle at me: "Time's up, Valerie."
When I looked up, I was surprised to see that Bea was standing next to me with her hand on my shoulder. Time's never up," she whispered, not looking at me, but at my canvas. "Just like there's always time for pain, there's always time for healing. Of course there is."


"Will you ever forgive me? " I shot back, leveling my gaze directly into his eyes.
He stared into them for a few moments and then got up silently and headed for the door. He didn't turn around when he reached it. Just grabbed the doorknob and held it.
"No," he said, without facing me. "Maybe it makes me a bad parent, but I don't know if I can. No matter what the police found, you were involved in that shooting, Valerie. You wrote those names on that list. You wrote my name on that list. You had a good life here. You may not have pulled the trigger, but you helped cause the tragedy."