The Day I Wore Purple – PROLOGUE

Prologue – Paris, 2385

It was ninety years ago that they parted.

Ninety years used to be a lifetime, he thought.

She said she would meet him beneath the oldest oak on The Island of La Grande Jatte, so the man found the tallest tree, spread out a blanket, removed his shoes, and waited.

The grass was cool between his toes. He raised his arm, relaxed his muscles, then laughed when gravity jerked it back to the blanket. He breathed in the potpourri of spring blossoms and rain. Real smells, he thought, then closed his eyes to focus his senses. There was a mechanical drone from the power plant in the east. Above his head, leaves brushed together like scraps of paper. The device on his arm created a rhythmic tick tick tick, and he knew they would finally share the same plane of time. (Was there anything more romantic?)

The man wondered if it would storm. He wondered if rain felt the same here as it did there. He wondered if it would be awkward when she arrived, if they would fall into their old rapport or find themselves scrambling to fill uncomfortable gaps. Would they hug? Would they kiss?

Would he call her “wife”?

When he opened his eyes, she was there, beautiful, framed by the river and painted with light from the morning sun. Her body was trapped at twenty-five. Her shoulders carried thin purple straps of a cotton dress. A sketchpad fit naturally in the crook of her arm. Her eyes were grey again.

She grinned.

“Is it really you?” the man asked (a cliché, but he had to be sure).

She glanced down, patted her waist, chest, and cheeks, then shrugged. “I think so.” She smiled again and joined him on the blanket. He remembered the times her hair was black, blond, red, or midnight blue; today it was as brown as the trunk of their tree.

The couple shared a picnic: white wine, strawberries, French baguettes with turkey, green apples, and Brie. Their usual rapport returned, slowly at first because the words felt like dust in their mouths. “’Dust’ is the only way to describe it,” she said and crinkled her nose.

When lunch was over, the woman brushed crumbs from her lap, opened her book, and sketched details from the island with a charcoal stick: the oak, the bench, the power plant on the hill… him. Despite her lavish drawings, she crumpled every page and tossed them in the basket. “It’s not right,” she said.

“It never was,” he replied, then touched the inside of her thigh.

The rain arrived an hour later and smothered the morning with a humid, grey blanket. The couple didn’t care. They huddled beneath the same tree, knees to their chests, catching droplets on their tongues and kissing to keep warm.

Night came sooner than the man expected and they marveled at the routine of here-and-now.

Her shoulder blades pressed against his chest. She pulled his arm around hers. “Do you ever think about ‘nothingness?’” she asked.

“Nothingness?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t think so.”

She squeezed his hand and snuggled deeper into his body. “Try it.”

“Now?”

“Close your eyes.”

“Okay.”

“Are they closed?” She turned in his arms to make sure.

“They’re closed!”

“Now imagine a place without life… without time or space or thoughts…”

He nodded.

“…a place without planets or stars…”

He nodded again.

The woman’s voice became a whisper. “No people. No God. Not even blackness.” She paused. “Do you feel anything?”

“I feel you.”

She sighed. “It works better under bedsheets… when everything’s quiet.”

“What’s supposed to happen?”

“When I think about it for long enough, I feel it. It’s like my mind can’t fathom the concept of nothingness, and for a split second, I die. Then my brain reminds me where I am.”

“You want that feeling tonight?”

The woman shook her head. “No. Tonight is nice.”

An hour later, the device on his wrist told him the day was almost done.

The man squeezed her tighter and ran his finger along the strap of her dress. In an age of endless memories, he used every ounce of his concentration—every molecule in his fingertip—to record the feeling of the tiny hairs on the woman’s bare back.

Relationships would ebb and flow like a lackadaisical tide—life would try to divert his attention with the promise of everything—but it wouldn’t matter. He would remember this day forever.

______________________________________

To follow my progress on The Day I Wore Purple, check out my Facebook Page.

If you have any thoughts on the prologue, good or bad, please leave feedback in the comments below!

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16 comments

  1. Anonymous

    j;ajfkdlkjfd;kjf;klJF

    OH MY GOD
    SHEER PERFECTION OKAY?
    That feeling, I think I know it. But it scares me….because its so empty.

    Anyhow, that was amazing! Can’t wait for more!

    • jakevanderark

      Hey, Anonymous!!! So glad you liked the prologue : ) And I know that feeling too… and it IS scary. That “emptiness” is one of the themes of the book, so I’m glad you liked the short dialogue!

      There will be lots more in a couple months… depending on how life goes : )

  2. Anonymous

    What was the man wearing? Was he wearing purple socks? Where did the basket come from? YOu did a good job of creating an image of some future where time has less meaning and that lives go on indefinitely.
    Grieferic from Wattpad

  3. Courtney

    Hello!

    I just read this and it’s really good! About your concerns (I’m a fan from Wattpad) I really like it and you shouldn’t be nervous about it. Judging from your previous works that I’ve read, you have nothing to worry about. I didn’t think it was too abstract or science fiction-ish. There wasn’t a lot of action, but the details make it not boring (how else do you put that? Un-boring?). It seems like one of those scenes where it’s meant to be… slow moving I guess you could say. I think it was written in a way that shows it’s a relaxed scene, but still made it interesting. To be honest, this really made me curious and I had just about a dozen questions, in a good way. I wanted to read more. I liked how it was vague enough to give it a sense of mystery but not so vague that someone would sit there and be confused. There’s really nothing that I found to really need improvement; as a reader I was pleased. You as the writer may see differently, but know that it’s good from my view. :)

    Hope this helps and assured you that your writing is fine.

    I can’t wait until this is posted on Wattpad!

    • jakevanderark

      Courtney, I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful comment! Seriously, you made me feel so much better about it. My last book (The Brandywine Prophet) is my favorite of my books, but the first couple chapters are SO BORING, and I don’t want to fall into that trap again! The first chapter of The Day I Wore Purple is set in the 70s, and I want to make sure that the prologue keeps my younger fans interested enough to get to the exciting stuff. Sounds like it might work : )

      I’m working on the rewrite every night! It’ll be on Wattpad as soon as I’m done… probably still a month or two!

      Thanks again for the articulate feedback : )

  4. Kallie

    You just got me unbelievably excited for a book I can’t read yet. I don’t know whether to hate you for that or just be excited another one is coming! Lol. Seriously though, I LOVED it! :D

    • jakevanderark

      lol! Don’t hate! More is on the way : ) Err… someday.

      So so so glad you liked it Kallie… I think you were one of the few who read the original prologue that I posted a few months ago… was this one better??

  5. Anonymous

    *hides*

    Guess who’s back after like 4 months of being gone?
    Huggin.

    And although I wish I could be totally back, I’ve got so much stuff to do it’s ridiculous.

    But I’m sort of back.
    Sort of.

    And your writing is just as I remembered… freakin beautiful. Absolutely a work of art…although slightly frightening with the thought of absolute nothingness. Like I’ve literally had moments where I would just be in bed and trying to think of total nothingness, and it scares me. Then again, I’d also think about the entire universe and scare myself again….

    • jakevanderark

      Huggin! Welcome back : ) And thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I’ve had that feeling lots of times… the nothingness thing. Creepy, but I thought it was appropriate for this opening : ) Glad you think about the same things… you’ll probably like this book!

      Thanks for coming out of your shell to comment ; )

  6. Tori Lynn

    This was beautiful Jake. It seems right up my alley; I love science fiction. Your writing is flawless as usual and slightly poetic. Reading what you write is always a pleasure. I’d love to read more of this. It could end up being my favorite of your works

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