Sunday, June 23, 2013
Second Draft/First Rewrite: THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 (Excerpt)
I had wanted to flesh out the relationship of Jonathan and Kimimela Blake more than I had in the first draft. Actually, I find the first section in THE TIME IN BETWEEN, 1846-1931 to be rather clumsy as at the time it was written, I was simply just trying to get the general idea out onto paper (as is usually the case with most first drafts). This is an excerpt from the second draft. Of course, it will go through another revision, but it's shaping up much better. Enjoy!
THE TIME IN BETWEEN
Illinois-Iowa Territory Border
Kimimela was wrenched out of sleep. She sat up in bed, pressing her palms against the cool sheets that were spread over the goose feathered mattress as she tried to calm her now rapid breathing and heartrate. She pushed back a few strands of her hair were matted to her face by beads of sweat across on her forehead. Kimimela had seen them again, having seen the two young women repeatedly over the passed month since her pregnancy had been discovered.
As Kimimela’s breath slowed, she turned her eyes to look at her husband, Jonathan, who lay asleep next to her in bed. A small smile spread over her lips as she watched the breathing movement of his bare chest. The peaceful sleep of her husband was enough to calm her down. In fact, just seeing him was enough to do that.
Kimimela sighed, relieved that she didn’t wake Jonathan. He worried enough about her and the discovery of her carrying their child only escalated that. They had been married for a little over a year and this would be their first child together. Jonathan had been her first for everything. He had been the first boy she fell in love with, the first to kiss her, and—after they had been married—the first to intimately touch and enter her.
Kimimela gave the side of her husband’s face a light stroke as she remembered the day they met. She had seen Jonathan riding Samson along her favorite secluded trail. Kimimela had ventured out alone that day, and did so often, despite her father’s warnings of wandering alone on the frontier and once she had found that special area, she began going out even more. She was delighted the day she had discovered that trail, falling in love with it’s peaceful serenity. For almost a year, Kimimela had been the only one who seemed to know of that trail and it became her special, private place. That would end on the Summer Solstice in June of 1844.
Kimimela had gone out on that fateful day as she would have any other day. But there was something different about the air and the Earth’s energy that morning. It was strong enough to give her skin chills, despite the warm, late summer afternoon. She felt compelled to immediately go to her secret trail and she did. Kimimela had arrived at the trail, feeling as happy to see it as ever. It also seemed that the spirits were pushing her along that day. This puzzeled her, but she was at her place now and nothing could go wrong.
Kimimela entered the trail, walking along it and singing softly to herself. But her small paradise was intererrupted when she noticed that she was not alone on the trail. She froze when she saw a large black horse coming toward her. As they approached her, she saw the strong young man who rode the horse. His slightly suntanned skin was fairer than hers and he had thick, wavy, dark brown hair that ended just above his shirt collar. What really caught Kimimela were his grayish-blue eyes. They were the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen on anyone.
Kimimela watched as he brought his horse to a halt. Despite his handsome appearance, her first impulse had been to run away, back to her village, but her legs had failed to move. As Jonathan dismounted Samson and began to walk toward her. Kimimela had the sensation of her stomach felt plunging down to her knees. It was his eyes that captivated her. Part of that was because she had never known anyone with eyes of the same color or even anything similar. Unlike her father and some of the other men in the village, Kimimela never interacted with anyone outside of her village until that afternoon. Kimimela had been frightened upon her first contact with Jonathan Blake, but she couldn’t help the instant attraction she felt. And then there were his eyes, the grayish-blue eyes that reflected so much warmth. The eyes that would go on to regard Kimimela, and no other woman, with a deep love and appreciation. One could also say that she had fallen in love with Jonathan that very day. The warmth in his eyes made her feel a little more at ease in his presence. But when Jonathan had gotten close enough to be able to speak to her, Kimimela’s initial fear took over, causing her to flee the trail and return to her village as quickly as her legs could carry her.
Kimimela would stay put in her village over those two following days, feeling afraid and confused. She could feel her strong feelings for the young Irishman growing and almost felt ashamed. Then, she would be ashamed for feeling ashamed in the first place. The young man was obviously white and thought of falling for him did scare her. What if others in her village found out? What if her father found out? Kimimela’s father, Howahkan, was a respected man in their village and it was expected that his daughter would eventually marry a young brave, whether he would be someone from her village and tribe or another. Kimimela had heard of instances where a member of a native tribe would marry a white man or woman. Sometimes those instances would turn out well and, at times, not so well. It was encouraged to marry within the tribe or at least the race.
Kimimela went for those two days without telling anyone of her encounter with Jonathan. She even kept it from her best friend, Chante, and actually managed to elude her all-too-curious little sister, Mapiyah.
There was barely a second when Jonathan wasn’t on her mind and she could tell that Chante and Mapiyah both noticed that something was weighing heavily on Kimimela. There was part of her angry with Jonathan for invading what she saw as being her own special place to go to when she wanted to be alone, but at the same time, she couldn’t help her fascination with him and the gentleness in his blue-gray eyes was enough to make her heart melt. She also thought of how he had refrained from persuing her when she ran from him. There had been plenty of opportunity for him to do her harm if that had been his intention. Kimimela also found herself being slightly disappointed that he hadn’t tried to run after her. On the third day, she had decided to make an attempt at returning to her beloved trail. She couldn’t deny hoping to cross paths with Jonathan again, but there was half of her hoping that he would not return. Things could possibly become complicated if they were to end up taking a mutual liking to one another…But, she did consider the trail as being her place and if her own father couldn’t prevent her from being there, she certainly wasn’t going to let some young man she hardly knew do it either.
Kimimela had returned to the trail, entering it with her light steps barely making a sound. Her parents had been right to give her a name that meant ‘butterfly’ in the Sioux language. She had a soft but swift movement to her and this was especially true anytime she was running. She valued the freedom she felt when she explored the open plains and the many hidden jems of the Illinois-Iowa Territory border, a past-time that she would soon find she had in common with Jonathan. Kimimela wouldn’t need to go too far up the trail before she would see him coming toward her on his horse again. She ceased her steps, her heart pounding as she saw the large, black horse coming toward her. This time, she was determined resist the impulse she had to run away.
Kimimela mustered every ounce of courage in her being and she continued to walk up the trail toward him. She could see his eyes fixated on her as they became closer to one another. When Kimimela was close enough to pet his horse, her heart had been pounding so hard she thought it was going to burst out of her chest. Then, she saw Jonathan’s warm smile. She remembered his words to her that day:
“Please don’t run from me, love. I’m a man of honor and I mean you no harm.”
She had been caught off guard by the term of endearment. After all, they really didn’t know each other. At all. But as Kimimela would quickly learn that Jonathan was not only a man of honor, but one who wore his heart on his sleeve. And there was another trait of his that deepened her infatuation with him; his Irish brogue. She also knew enough English to be able to communicate with him and she would hear herself telling him her name before she would also learn that his name was Jonathan. They didn’t say much to one another that day, but simply walked together (with Samson trailing behind Jonathan) and took in one another’s company. That second time meeting would be enough for Jonathan and Kimimela to return the following day and almost every day after that. Jonathan would meet Kimimela during the week after he would leave work. On Saturdays, the would choose a time during the day to meet and on Sundays, their meeting time would be a little bit after the Blakes were finished with Sunday Mass. Jonathan would always see her back to her village while maintaining a safe enough distance to where he was out of site from anyone and would always make sure that Kimimela had entered her village before returning home for the evening.
Jonathan and Kimimela would grow to enjoy the company of eachother more than they did anyone else’s. She remembered the first time he held her hand as they walked the trail on the third day they saw eachother. He had had a rather bashful smile on his face when he asked her permission to do so. During the course of that first month, Kimimela had also begun to ride Samson with Jonathan. She would sit in front of him, feeling her back against his chest and his arms around her as he held the reigs. It would be after one of those rides, before they parted ways for that evening, that Kimimela received the first kiss from Jonathan. He had dismounted Samson and then made sure she was safely off. They had stood facing one another, one telling the other goodnight and making plans to see eachother again the following day. Their goodbye seemed to last longer than usual and that was when Kimimela saw a more intense expression in Jonathan’s eyes. He then slowly brought a hand up to the side of her face, lightly stroking it before bringing it down to cup her chin. She had nearly lost her breath when she saw Jonathan’s face slant and move closer to hers before his lips brushed hers. It was a rather chaste kiss, but it was enough to make Kimimela’s body begin to quiver. She then felt his mouth brush her ear as he whispered, “I love you. I’m falling so deeply in love with you. Each time I see you it’s more than the last.”
Kimimela responded by embracing Jonathan around his firm waist. A surprised Jonathan paused before he wrapped his arms around her.
“I love you too, Jonathan,” she had said.
That first chaste kiss would evolve into more heated, passionate embraces as they longed to be with one another publicly in front of their families and friends. There were times she could feel Jonathan starting to become aroused behind the material of his trousers as his lips would leave her mouth to trail along the side of her face and down to her neck. The sensations Kimimela would feel during those times would almost be her undoing if Jonathan didn’t stop. And neither ever wanted to, but there was still a barrier between them; the barrier of not knowing how either of their families would react to their relationship.
There was a fear shared by Jonathan and Kimimela of their families forbidding them to see one another upon being found out. There was even a time they considered running away together. But Jonathan and Kimimela both had close ties with their families and would hope that one day soon, they would have their relationship blessed.
Jonathan and Kimimeal had begun to try to come up with ways together of approaching the subject with their families, but it would turn out that none would be needed.
Jonathan had been taking Kimimela out on Samson. They had been a little more daring that afternoon, venturing away from the trail, but still taking care to make sure they would still be going unseen. Their plan would be foiled when Jonathan’s then thirteen-year-old sister, Frankie, and fifteen-year-old brother, Brendan, would go out looking for their older brother. It would take a lot of searching, but the two siblings would find Jonathan and Kimimela at the end of the trail with their lips passionately locked while Samson stood at the side of a tree. Brendan and Frankie had fled back to the house to wait for Jonathan and bombarded their older brother with questions and accusations when he returned home. Knowing that it was only a matter of time before their parents knew the truth, Jonathan begged his two younger siblings to let him be the one to tell them.
“Are you in love with that girl?” Frankie had demanded, trotting behing Jonathan as he retreated to the washroom before dinner.
“Right now, that is none of your business,” Jonathan had replied as she shut the door in the face of his younger sister, leaving her to huff and toss her dark braids as she marched down to the dinner table.
After the blessing, Frankie had wasted no time before sweetly asking her brother, “Jonathan, don’t you have something to tell mum and dad?”
Jonathan glared at Frankie, who let out a yelp when Brendan kicked her under the table. Meanwhile, Charles, Emma, and the two youngest Blakes, Isaiah and Rachel, turned their attention toward Jonathan.
“Brendan, don’t kick your sister,” Emma scolded.
“But mum,” Brendan protested.
“Brendan, it’s alright,” Jonathan said then he drew in a breath. “Actually…I’ve been meaning to tell you all…I’ve met a girl.”
Emma dropped her fork to her plate and said, “Jonathan! That’s wonderful!”
“Indeed,” Charles replied. “So when do we get to meet the lucky girl?”
“Well…” Jonathan began slowly, but before he was able to even consider what he was going to say next, Frankie interrupted him.
“To meet her, you’d have to go to one of the Indian villages,” she chirped. Frankie let out another yelp when Brendan kicked her under the table for the second time.
“Brendan!” Emma exclaimed. “One more time and you’re going to your room.”
“Yes, mum,” Brendan muttered and continued eating his meal.
“Jonathan, is that true?” Charles asked frowning.
“Actually, I’d like to be excused if I may,” Jonathan as he angrily dropped his napkin onto his plate and got up from his seat.
“Jonathan!” Emma called, but Jonathan had already stormed out of the dining area and up the stairs to his bedroom.
“Nice going, Frankie,” Brendan said as they heard Jonathan’s door shut.
Later that evening, Emma had knocked on her son’s door carrying his dinner on a tray. She had found her son sitting by the window just staring out.
“You barely touched your dinner,” she said. “Of course we wouldn’t want you going hungry.”
Jonathan gave his mother a small smile and ‘thanks.’ Emma set the tray down on her son’s nightstand and sat on the bed across from him. They were silent for a moment before she asked with a gentle tone, “So what is her name?”
Jonathan looked at his mother and gave her a small, sad smile before answering, “Kimimela. It means ‘butterfly’ in her language.”
“I see,” Emma said. “How old is she?”
“Sixteen,” Jonathan said as he turned back to face the window.
“Does her family know?”
Jonathan shook his head. Emma sensed her son’s growing sadness and touched his arm with a comforting hand. “How did you meet her?”
Jonathan turned back to her. “I was riding Samson and saw her walking along a trail two months ago. We’ve seen eachother almost everyday during that time.”
“And you love her?” Emma asked.
Jonathan nodded before saying, “I do. And I was planning to tell you and dad. But, as you saw, Frankie took it upon herself to tell you first.”
“You’re sister loves you, Jonathan. Remember when she began walking and wouldn’t stop following you around?”
“Well, she still hasn’t stopped,” Jonathan said and Emma chuckled. “I know, mum,” he continued. “I love her too. I just wish she would have let me tell you. I was trying to wait for a moment when I could sit you and dad down.”
“Why? Do you not think we’d approve?”
Jonathan shrugged. “To be honest, I don’t know. I mean I would hope so.”
Emma paused, taking in her son’s troubled expression before saying, “Well, your dad and I would love to meet her. We talked after everyone was excused from dinner and we both decided that we would love for you to bring her by.”
“Really? You mean that?”
“Well, it’s obvious you’ve taken quite a liking to her and we would like to meet the young woman who has stolen our son’s heart.”
Jonathan let out a relieved sigh, about to thank his mother when he was interrupted by a knock at the door. Jonathan and Emma turned to see the door slowly open to reveal a rather timid Frankie peering her head in.