For no particular reason, a chapter from the WIP novel, 'Asanas.' In that I do not do 'drafts' in the normal sense, I can not call this first draft (or second or whatever). I tend to work on the whole novel, constantly revising, a la Nabokov — if anything could be called a first draft, it would be my outline where I work out any plot problems before starting on the narrative. I am hoping the book will be ready for publishing late this year but, of course, it will be ready when it is ready.
Where was the turn? She didn’t want to miss it in the dark. If she reached the spa, Karen would know she had gone too far. Pat lived at the spa. Lynn had told her that. He didn’t just teach there but acted as a handyman of sorts.
Small businesses lined the way here, interspersed with wooded vacant lots, dark trees silhouetted against clear predawn sky, before one reached Consonante Springs, proper. Here and there a security light provided stark illumination for a parking lot. An all-night convenience store, empty of customers, and the lone clerk out smoking in front, passed on her right. There was the cutoff that would take Karen out to the interstate, while Springs Road curved north and crossed the river.
A traffic light and a rival pair of filling stations, both closed, marked the crossing of Highway Forty-One. On to the east she drove, toward a promised sunrise. Karen felt she would like a cigarette but she had made it a rule never to smoke in her car. The odor would cling forever.
There was the interstate. She had not decided before starting out whether to turn south or north on Seventy-Five. Either would get her there. Well, it was decision time. Karen pulled onto the southbound ramp.
Dad would have gone the other way, she thought. He would have stuck to the interstate as far as he could before cutting off to the east. It was the quickest way, he claimed, and at the speeds he drove, she believed him.
She left the highway, turning back to the north and east at Port Charlotte. The horizon was growing lighter before her, a peach-tinged smudge on a sky of lingering stars. Who was that surfer boy who drove her this way once, back in high school? She could see his face but couldn’t come up with a name. Skip? Yeah. He had turned east at Arcadia and headed straight across state to the Atlantic. God, it had been a long time since she had seen the Atlantic.
Karen was tempted to head there instead of the farm. No, make it some other time. Flat land, farm land, lay on either side of the road. Now, cattle could be seen here and there, the humped backs of Brahmas, and the white cattle egrets stalking after them, hoping to nab whatever treats their passing might stir up. It was a part of Florida most people didn’t know, perhaps a part most wouldn’t want to know.
A tedious drive, as well, wasn’t it? And too far. She should put the property on the market; Karen was finding no more time for it than her father had. She could get an acre or two closer to home, maybe keep a horse. On she drove, into morning and the lake country of central Florida.
Yes, she did stop for a smoke, and for coffee, too, not far from her destination. It was nice here. She thought she liked it better further north, though, up toward Ocala. That was the area to have a farm. Her father’s place — her place — wasn’t really a farm at all. They had just gotten used to calling it one.
A decade and an half later, she still did. There was no longer even a sign at the dirt road. It didn’t matter; Karen remembered the way. She’d been here often enough as a teen, almost every weekend it sometimes seemed, though she was sure that was wrong. A lot less since.
If she had arrived earlier, she could have watched the sun rise over the lake. Singer Lake, they had been told was its name, but she and Dad just called it the lake. The sluggish creek on the south end carried its outflow on down through swampland to the Kissimmee and, eventually, Lake Okeechobee. Under a tarp behind the house still sat the canoe they had bought to someday explore it.
Dad’s big fishing boat she had sold after his passing. Karen could not see ever using it, of ever going out on the lake and casting for bass. But that had been the idea of this place. These twelve acres — almost twelve — could be developed into a fishing camp, a project to keep Dad busy when he handed the accounting firm over to her.
That was her father’s dream. She would never go through with it, though from time to time she thought she liked the idea. Yeah, best to put this place on the market.
Karen sat for a few moments in her sedan, looking the place over. There was work to be done. If she wanted — it didn’t matter much. She could just sit on the dock the whole weekend. Yeah, that was likely to happen.