Continuing my ficional interview with the protagonist of my novel, Jeremiah Mekler, here is the second part of this ongoing writing excerise.
I fumbled with my notepad, trying to fold the top pages neatly while exposing a fresh, new page. Each time I did I swore to dump those sheets of paper for a shiny new laptop, but for some reason the notepad stuck around. Maybe I'm old fasion.
Jeremiah looked at me with a smile. "Sorry about that," I said, realizing how much noise I made with my papers. "I'm ready." I drew my pencil and placed the notepad on my knees.
"How old are you?" I asked Jeremiah, hoping that my smile eased him. He looked relaxed as he answered.
"I'm seventy-three," his voice was clear, but not strong, and the weight of the years was audible in the way he pronounced himself.
"Are you married?" I asked, knowing the answer but wanting to see the way he'd handle the question.
His old face moved through a full spectrum of emotion. I saw a small smile, then his eyes lit up, then a hard swallow and a painful expression. He closed his eyes for a brief moment, and shook his head slightly, as if trying to get rid of a mental image that troubled him. The whole process took less than a second.
I jotted a note on my notepad. A lifetime experience in less than a second. Is that what we get in the end? Images of past experiences that we want to get rid of? Our past is there to haunt us, so it seems. I suddenly felt cold. What about my past, I thought. What about my images?
Jeremiah cleared his throat. "Well, she died last winter," he proclaimed in a soft voice. "But she lives in my mind."
I looked at him and wondered. It seemed to me that much more lived in his mind. I better get more penciles.