I began this story at the Anhinga Writer’s Conference in Gainesville, Florida in August 2009. I finished work on it in December 2009. The lecturer was an animated woman by the name of Beverly. She was very good at getting us to think and to write on the spot. The difference between me and everyone else in the class is that my brain didn’t quite think like theirs. This is my story. I guess I should also add that I write nonfiction.
The lecturer stood poised behind the podium and for a moment looked as though she were about to begin her lecture. Suddenly, she pulled a butcher knife from under her notes and began wielding it at the class.
As she stepped from behind the podium and began advancing towards us, a demonic look overcame her ordinarily placid face. Her mouth was moving and from previous experience with this lecturer, I knew she was giving instructions to write, but my mind had already taken me elsewhere. As I was fading from the present I imagined what direction my fellow writers might take, already knowing my mind was taking me somewhere far different.
As I watched her advancing towards me, my eyes were transfixed by the blade of the knife gleaming under the intense fluorescent light. It was as though the knife was set on its own course and that course was my delicate heart.
The sounds around me began to vanish as the blood began pulsing in my ears, my vision receding as if I were barreling backward into a dark tunnel. I was being transported back in time to a place long since hidden away in the recesses of my very being. The knife appeared to leave her hand set on reaching its destination; and as it pierced my heart, it began to twist and the remembrance of emotional pain taking my breath away as it had that night so many years ago. I began to feel dizzy as I was transported, if only for a moment, to a place in my past and the voice I was hearing was that of my abuser, his words tearing apart my heart. As swiftly as the knife penetrated my heart, it was also withdrawn, leaving me breathlessly in the present.
As the others began to read their hastily written, humorous stories, I knew I was right. Mine would be very different.