Cynthia never felt at home in the suburbs
Cynthia never felt at home in the
suburbs. To her, they were always a prison. Which was odd,
since her parents had moved from Brooklyn, New York -- a
place they considered to be their own prison. It was where
their own parents had raised them and their parents before
them. They hoped that Long Island would be a place that
would give the kids a chance at a new life.
But Cynthia always missed the row houses
of Brooklyn, the teams of kids playing stickball in the
streets, and the smell of baked bread wafting from the
bakery around the corner. The streets of Long Island were
too wide and the sky was too dark. On cold winter nights
she would lie in her bed and think about the steam heat
radiators and how much she missed the rapping of the pipes
in the middle of the night.
Promisetown was the exact opposite of
the suburbs. Mount Pelion in the distance, with its cliffs
reaching up to the stars, gave Cynthia great comfort. At
night, the sound of the surf and the foghorns moaning
helped push her into sleep, nudging all troubles aside. In
the morning, as the sun was rising up, Cynthia loved to
awaken to the smell of the salty air, the far off mud
flats, and the screeching of gulls.
Unlike years ago when Cynthia couldn't
wait to leave this dreadful town, she now believed she
might live here till the day she died. Getting up every
morning and stumbling down the stairs, brewing coffee,
sitting out on the deck watching the sun come up,
breathing in the clean air. This was the Promisetown she
loved; and with this she could easily accept the strange
characters in town, the isolation in the winter, and the
memories she fleetingly had of Boast.
Unlike Patrick, writing had never come
easy for her and nothing in Promisetown had changed any of
that. Even though fantastic people -- surrounded Cynthia
like her neighbor, Max, and interesting people -- like
Ruby down at the bar, it didn't make it easier for her to
write. She always said that the act of writing was akin to
a dentist pulling teeth without Novocain. True, some days
the words spilled out of her mind like water running down
the side of a mountain; it was more common that she sat at
her desk in agony. Waiting for the words, waiting for the
thoughts, waiting for a sense of purpose.
On days when she couldn't seem to write
to save herself, Cynthia's thoughts always turned
backwards in time to Boast.
Patrick arose every morning at the crack
of dawn and wrote. It didn't matter if he was miserably
hung over from the night before (and he usually was) --
that was not an impediment at all. In her morning dreams,
she'd hear him rummaging through the house while the smell
of fresh coffee filled the air. Then, the sound of the
door closing as Boast went down the stairs to the beach.
Every morning, rain or shine, hot or
cold, he'd swim. He'd get up, he'd make coffee, and then
he'd swim. Half an hour later he'd return to the house
with blue lips and take a hot shower. Then, coffee in one
hand, New York Times in the other, Boast would go out and
sit on the balcony. Finally, sixty minutes to the tick,
he'd come inside, get another cup of coffee, and lock
himself in his writing room. There, the sound of his
fingers battering Cynthia's Royal typewriter would force
her out of bed.
Boast would not even break for lunch.
He'd type until about three o'clock, at which point he'd
come outside and grunt hello. Then, his last obligation
for the day would be to do his exercise regime. A former
Air Force toss out, he'd insist on doing some ungodly
number of squat thrusts and sit-ups and deep knee bends.
After about 45 minutes of that activity, Patrick Boast
would go in and shower. Then, without missing a beat, he'd
pour himself a snifter of brandy and head back out to the
balcony. There, he'd begin and finish reading the Globe --
Through it all, Cynthia had read books
and thought about writing herself. Sporadically, she'd sit
down with a spiral notepad and begin stories, poems, and
novels. Always unfinished, each attempt and failure
leaving her feeling empty and filled with a strange sense
Next: Bit 7
The owner of Corks Restaurant