Writers Studio Group Sydney : Forum : Abigail


Abigail

1 Year Ago


Abigail Longley peeled the large orange & let the sweet sticky juice run down her hands. She sat in the window seat, towards the back of the otherwise empty train carriage. The dawn light was only just starting to appear as the train snaked slowly along the track, winding its way through the tall eucalyptus trees that stood clinging to the side of the escarpment. Forgetting she was wearing a safety mask, she brought a piece of orange to her mouth. Surprised when it didn’t connect with her lips she lifted the flimsy white fabric and slipped the flimsy orange eighth into her mouth. The fabric of the mask became sticky as she chewed and feeling annoyed with the awkwardness of it all she pulled the mask down to hang around her neck, while she chewed & swallowed the rest of the fresh fruit. With no one else here she felt this exposure was allowed. Surrounded by her two large suitcases and a brown leather overnight bag she looked small in the large carriage. A half empty bottle of hand sanitizer lay on the armrest next to her. She had packed relatively quickly & therefore haphazardly in the end. She hadn’t been as judicious in her edit of what to bring, as she would usually like to have been. But there hadn’t been enough time. She had hidden the anxiousness she felt from her son, who had wanted her to come and stay with him & his family sooner. But stoically she had resisted. Not wanting to leave her apartment in the city & the life she adored, worried about the changes happening, concerned she may not make it back. Until last night, she had suddenly felt like she may be too late to leave at all and so, without calling her son she had packed at midnight and caught a cab to the train station soon after, arriving just in time to catch the first train out, heading south to the coast, away from an eerily quiet city, still sleeping, hours before sunrise. As she sat on the train, just an hour into a three hour journey, she thought about how wonderfully independent and lively she must seem for someone approaching 70. In the past few years she had managed to build a social life for herself that reminded her of her heady first years in the city as a young twenty year old when she was in the habit of staying out all night most weekends and making new friends each week in the bars, clubs and restaurants around her neighbourhood where she held down various casual jobs while trying to finish her arts degree.  She put the orange peel in a plastic bag she had in her handbag and cleaned her hands with a pump of the sanitiser. The train was steadily pulling her away from all she knew and loved and as she shifted uncharacteristically nervous in her seat, she breathed deeply trying to settle herself, so unfamiliar with this cool feeling of dread washing over her. 
- Hello! This is a very rough sketch of the beginning of a new idea I have had for a short story. I'd like it hear any thoughts on what you feel or like about it but also what may not make sense. It's grammatically a bit off! But be great to hear if any of it doesn't make sense or how it might be made clearer. Etc etc. So looking forward to reading all your work! Nic xx

Re: Abigail

1 Year Ago


Hi Nicole,
I really enjoyed reading this. Great to be working on something fresh and set during these strange times we are living right now.
I loved so much of the detail - firstly how you brought us into the story as she peels the orange and reveals she is wearing a mask- there is a humour in this too. "Forgetting she was wearing a safety mask, she brought a piece of orange to her mouth. Surprised when it didn’t connect with her lips she lifted the flimsy white fabric and slipped the flimsy orange eighth into her mouth."
I also like how we are given details about her younger days and how she perceives herself. To me, this was the most telling line... "The train was steadily pulling her away from all she knew and loved ". That heading to stay with her son is pushing her outside of her comfort zone. I am really intrigued to find out what happens when she gets there.
Looking forward to the next chapter!


Re: Abigail

1 Year Ago


Hi Nicole
This scene paints a picture of an anxious Abigail, travelling to her son, after packing hurriedly. She is anxious about a situation around her and there is a hint of strong family ties and responsibility, which also contradicts with her need for freedom. The description of Abigail is intriguing – she sounds like she had a colourful youth. The scene of dawn light and eucalyptus trees help place the scene, and the actions of her mask, eating oranges, etc make the scene come to life.
I enjoyed the descriptive snippets which all contribute to painting the character and situation.
To shape the story more, I suggest weaving into the story some reasoning and context (maybe soon or along the way) of why she is wearing mask, the hand sanitisers, the rush to move to her son’s. I can of course assume what this about, in our current climate, but it may provide more depth and prevent reader assumptions.  
I really like how are your writing is inspired by the current scenario affecting us worldwide. I think it's important, historically even, to have a time capsule of sorts for these unusual times.
For a rough sketch it has such good bones and great potential, I look forward to seeing how it evolves. Awesome sauce for posting!
CheersCat