Deleted Chapters from novels Never Written
It was the first year she didn't resolve. Could not even drag herself through the pretense of breaking old habits and beginning new. This, at least, was in line with January. If not exactly fresh, it was the start of a new found laziness, not just of body but also soul. A selfishness that hurt. Her coworkers and students noticed her belly, but unlike when she was in her thirties, no one asked if she was expecting. They she knew she wasn't. Not that they thought she was too old to have a baby, they assumed she was too old to still be having sex. And who could blame them what with her shaggy hair, the wrinkled slacks and stained sweatshirts. Half the week her boss suspected that she wore slippers to work, but her pants, always too long for her and dragging on the ground behind her heals, hid this bit of slovenliness so he couldn't be sure. She couldn't muster up the energy to be kind. She'd always stereotyped plump girls into the funny/jolly/sweet and dependable category. They baked lasagnas for the neighbors, volunteered at the animal shelter, and took their nieces out for ice cream. She did none of those things.
She forgot birthdays, arrived late (or not at all) to important social events, and left the dead Christmas tree laying in the driveway for weeks. She had never in her life been depressed. Just alternately sad and vengeful. But this, this was serious. It made her want to drink. Or something. But she knew better. That wouldn't cure anything, in fact it would make her feel even less, if that was possible. She was a boring drunk. Not very bright, and certainly not the life of the party, simply sleepy and unable to control her flatulence after three beers. She didn't bother dressing up to go out any more. None of the sexy clothes from her twenties fit and she had no sexy shoes. She stuck with comfortable jeans and a pair of converse. She might exchange her old college sweatshirt for a cardigan if she didn't want to disappoint whatever friend was having the get-together, but that was for their sake. She was always the first to leave. Which was ok because no one knew what to say to her. Her quiet gaze used to be introversion and observation. She was awarded grace because she was little and a poet and assumed wise. But now everyone knew she was just a dick. She'd sit in a corner until someone was brave or kind enough to chat with her and inevitably she'd offend them. The barrier between her thoughts and her speech began to erode. Co-workers and strangers would wait on an answer that she was sure she had given, but hadn't spoken aloud. Or they'd ask her to repeat herself and she'd realize she'd spoken aloud when she hadn't meant to.
On her flight to Reno she attempted to simply sit and stare out the window, to align her body rhythms with the roar of the engines, but, the stewardess had one chunky, blonde-streaked lock of hair dangling down in her face. It swung from side to side as she handed out bags of pretzels, cocktail napkins, and tiny sodas. It began to anger Ann more and more, and she just wanted to grab the woman and pin it back. It's not sexy at all, she told her silently. It just makes you look disheveled, as if you've been working so hard on this plane that you haven't had opportunity to quickly tick it back behind your ear. It's a lie, that hanging piece of hair. Even as she half-whispered, half dreamt these words, she knew her irritation was misplaced, knew this flight attendant, and the bagger at Stater's, and Bill, the guy in the office next to hers, weren't to blame for her crumbling life. The disintegration was, in part, due to the fact that she couldn't remember how to write. A patch of black ice or a dark new mole and she could recite the Hail Mary, even though she'd only really been Catholic for a weekend. She knew every word of every song on Little Earthquakes and could breathe through pain and clean up her own blood. But she couldn't write. She knew the correct timing for soft boiled eggs, as well as the numbers one to ten in Chinese. She was pretty sure two eighths made one fourth. She even vaguely remembered her mother's young face, hidden as it was, by her hands or hair, or turned to the floor for most of her childhood. But she couldn't remember how to write.
Bio option 1:
s. Nicholas lives and teaches with her husband in the San Bernardino mountains. They are slowly replacing their grown and moved-out children with stray dogs. Nicholas has a BA in English and Psychology from Pitzer College, a Master's in Education from Claremont Graduate University, and an MFA in creative writing from Cal State San Bernardino. Her work has appeared in literary magazines such as Sugared Water, Amethyst Arsenic, and Words Dance. She invites you to join her on the Twitter @shalisorange.
Bio option 2:
s. Nicholas has, for some time now, been in a state of flux. She teaches high school freshman in Lake Arrowhead, but also a few classes at Chaffey College. She has been mothering fiercely as well as empty-nesting. She recently discovered she may be a dog person. She has made multiple attempts to poem but ends up folding laundry instead. She has not updated her website in sixth months but has run a few races.