The kitchen table was covered of flour and cookie cutters when Ben came over. I had a dish towel in my hands and flour on my shirt.
“Now isn’t really a good time for…” I trailed off, seeing the look on his face.
Misery, anger, and panic gave his expression a base note but his eyes were full of pleading. Looked like this wouldn’t be a regular session.
“Come on in. Sit in the living room.” I pointed.
“Is Lisa here?” Ben looked around, first into the kitchen, then the living room. From the middle room that most people would use as a dining room that pretty much covered the first floor.
“No. She was here yesterday, though.”
His lips tightened. I suspect he might be a bit jealous of Lisa as a writer. There’s a bit of irony in this, as he’s the reason she’s doing it.
“She spent the whole time complaining. Mostly about you.” I guided him to the futon couch in the living room and took up residence in a hardback chair to the side of it.
“She seems to think I favor you.”
“Pft. That’s stupid. Why would she think that?”
“She thinks I’m punishing her because I won’t give her any feedback until she’s written fifty thousand words, but I give you feedback now. She says it’s too much of a hardship.”
“How come you don’t make me write fifty thousand words?” He sounded as though this were a treat I withheld from him.
“You want that?”
“Well, no,” he said softly. “But it’s like you don’t think I could do it. Like all I’m good for is short stories. Oh. That reminds me, I brought one for you.” He dug into his backpack. “It’s about some kids who are starting a rock band together.”
“Isn’t that what Gene and Tracy are doing?” I took the wrinkled pages from him. I’d noticed some time ago that his stories often echoed his life. Maybe he would be better as a journalist than as a novelist.
“Yeah. That’s all Tracy talks about anymore. And Gene isn’t much better. Except last night at dinner they both wanted to know what I was so pissed off about and I might have said something about Lisa coming over here without me.”
“You shouldn’t get so attached. It isn’t like she’s trying to make it so you can’t write. She just wants to write too. Aren’t you the one who encouraged her?”
“I! But… I just wanted her to see what I was talking about. I didn’t mean for her to come over here on her own.”
“Am I spending any less time with you than before?”
“No,” he said hesitantly. “But what if she gets better than me?”
“Whether she does or not doesn’t have much to do with you. In the end, writing tends to be solitary. Even if you were to co-author something with her, you’d probably end up doing most of it by yourself.”
I could tell by the stubborn look on his face that he wasn’t buying it at all. Well, releasing yourself from envy isn’t easy even for adults. I decided to let it slide.
“If you’re really that worried, you could try writing fifty thousand words too. As near as I can tell she has only written a couple thousand. You’ve done more than that in the same time. Of course, she’s trying to start off by writing an entire book.”
“I know.” He compressed his lips. “I want to write one too. How do I do it?”
Oh boy. I’d really walked into that one.
“Let me make some hot cocoa and pull the cookies out of the oven. Looks like we’re going to be here a little while.”
If you enjoy Suzie’s House and would like to see more, please leave a comment. Suzie’s House is powered by its readers. I’ll be taking Christmas week off. Suzie’s House will return on December 2nd. The Serialists will post regardless.