I wanted to try something different today, so I looked up a set of challenge words a drabble community and decided to write ten short drabbles about Livvy and Theo, from a book I’m working on tentatively titled Jethro, as a writing exercise. Here are ten little insights into this pairing, in five sentences or less.
She wears a ring on a chain around her neck. He asked once about it, and she said it was her mother’s. He wanted to ask more, because it didn’t look like a wedding ring or anything, but she got that sad smile that always came when her mother was mentioned, and he decided to let it wait for another time. She wasn’t ready yet. He couldn’t blame her.
It wasn’t really a word she’d ever thought too much about, but when she did, it was about role-models. About normal men and women who did courageous things, who changed history or people’s perspectives. The word had never conjured up special powers or anything. Special powers didn’t make a hero, after all, not in the real world―but then, special powers weren’t supposed to exist in the real world. Neither was she.
Her one memory of him as a boy was that he was sweet. He was a nice boy, not like those other boys who’d pulled her hair, or put rotten oranges in her desk at break. He was quiet and watchful, like her. In that first moment, she couldn’t help but wonder. What did he remember about her?
He’s always been good at keeping himself in a box. His whole life had had set bounds―bounds he couldn’t cross for sake of seeming normal. He’d never wanted to stand out in any way, and he never had, so far as the world could see―so far as Jethro could see. Things were changing now, though, things that wouldn’t let him live inside his safe little box. He didn’t know if he liked it, but he did know he didn’t have a choice.
When the rumors started flying about her, all she wanted to do was run. People laughed about her, about her mother, until she felt like the air was being sucked out of her lungs and she had to break away, to somewhere she could breathe again. She was filled with a sudden and impotent rage, but she knew that reacting would only make her more of a target. She couldn’t afford that.
The information of the last few days buzzed in her head like a storm, taking over her whole brain. A past life, a purpose, a destiny―and she wasn’t the only one. She’d always known she was different, had always wondered if there were others like her. Now that she knew, she didn’t know if it was a relief to not be alone anymore, or if it was just more complicated.
In his dreams, he flies. That is his superpower. No wings or jetpacks, but mere flight, like Superman. Maybe what he has is better, is more helpful, even. Maybe he should be grateful for what he has, no matter how much trouble it could cause him, but sometimes he still wants to fly.
He’d never liked cold. When he was young, before he could do the things he could do, a part of him thought maybe he was cold-blooded. He didn’t know it was the energy he missed specifically, the movement of atoms, the general buzz. Cold was like silence, a little like what he thought death might be like. Even now that he understood, he didn’t like it.
They sat together looking out into the desert until the sky turned from blue to red, talking about normal things for once. About growing up and what kinds of books they liked and what it was like to lose someone. He didn’t expect to kiss her, but when it happened it was better even than he’d expected. It was coming home, familiar in a way he didn’t even know was possible. His world had gotten bigger in the past few months, but none of it seemed as important as that single, shining moment.
He becomes a new source of gravity when things start to spin out of control again. For the first time since her mother is gone she has something that feels like it’s connecting her to the earth in the moments when everything feels outside of her grasp. It’s new, this feeling, letting someone be so important to her. She likes it.