The summer before Edgar began the fifth grade, an uncle asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Edgar answered with no hesitation, “A writer. I want to be a teller of stories, to weave narratives fantastic, to craft characters with depths unplumbed.”
Toward this end he attended writing workshops and read manuals of style. Some emphasized unique descriptions and many of them. Others celebrated the terse. Some wrote that one must speak truth to power. Others replied that such was not literature but editorial.
Edgar found only one rule consistent throughout: show, don't tell.
It became his law.
“I love you,” Laura, dear Laura, told Edgar years later as they sat outside the park duck pond one Thursday evening.
Every attempt prior, she had breathed in deeply to quiet her heartbeat and steady her hands, prepared to say it. Then she would hold it a beat too long. The moment would pass, and she could only release a sigh of disappointment.
As soon as the declaration left her lips, Laura lowered her eyes, turned her face away and raised her hand to hide her profile, but Edgar could see the smile in her cheek.
Edgar could want nothing more. Already this was more than he believed he deserved. She loved him. She was his muse. Every hero, every good character he wrote partook of Laura's perfection. The china shoulders of Alexis. Aunt Cameron's casual recitation of Whitman. They would not exist without Laura.
He kissed her on the ear. Her hand fell from her face, and Laura turned. Edgar kissed her mouth. She kissed his. They remained so enjoined for some time.
When they disengaged, Laura held herself close against Edgar's chest and looked up at him with expectation.
Edgar took a breath to quiet his heartbeat and steady his hands. And paused. He released the held air in a steady stream.
Sitting together in the theater through the credits until they were the last to leave. A home-made dinner of polenta and spinach frittata and red wine for two on New Year's Eve. How could she begin to think he could mean anything less?
Edgar held her close, too, and they waited. Laura continued to hold him, but it was not so tight, so earnest, as it had been.
Time passed, and they went their separate ways home.
3 years ago