Anna came to visit tonight while I was knitting.  It was quiet and dim.  I was bundled under my orange scarf, assuring myself that I must not be fast enough because my needles don’t make clicking sounds — the cliche that’s always used to describe knitting.

Anna sat down on the couch and watched me.  Her mouth twitched at the edges, waiting for me to make a big deal about her being there.  Her foot danced back and forth.  I looked up.

“You like the scarf?” I ask her.

“Matches my dress, don’t you think?”

I taste my hot raspberry tea, and I remember how sullen Anna has always been.  “Where did you get that dress anyway?” I ask.

“A long-lost lover.”

“Yeah,” I snort.  “He’s got good taste.”  Never mind about the sullen part.  Anna has never been sullen.

“You like it, huh?”

“I’d wear it.”

“Kinda low for you, hmm?”

When I glare, she laughs out loud and leaves a crooked smile on her face to annoy me.  She looks pleased with herself.  “So you remember me, hmm?”

I sigh.  “How could I forget?”

She doesn’t think I’m funny.  “I can’t tell you where I got the dress.  You haven’t got the time, poor dear.”

I raise my upper lip at her.  “How would you know?  Anyway, I have Isaiah now.  As much as I love you, I’m still changing diapers, sweeping floors, taking walks in the park.  And I love it, okay?  I love it.”

“I like walks.”

“Shut up.  I can’t add one more thing right now.  Did you know I ran this morning?  I ran a mile.”

Anna feigns a look of shock, just for me.  “So, you have time for a run, but not… yeah, yeah, I see how it is.”

“I can’t write, Anna.  I used to, I don’t know… pretend, I guess.  I don’t want to do you a disservice.  You wouldn’t like what I write; I know you.”

“So, meanwhile, I just sit here, withering away.  Poor me.”

But she really is ticked.  She stops talking to me and twitches her foot again.

“You don’t deserve me,” she finally says.

I roll my eyes.

“What?  You don’t.”

“You’re one to talk.  Look, I don’t want you to look fake.  I don’t want you to appear on some Christian fiction bookshelf as a morality lesson.  You’re more than a morality lesson.”

“So don’t make me a morality lesson.  Just make me me.”

“You don’t understand.  I am not John Steinbeck.  I’m not even Anne Lamott at fiction, or C.S. Lewis.  I can’t write a space trilogy.”  I let out a snort.  “Although I tried that, remember?  Ha.  That’s one for the record.”  I continue my rant.  “I’m not Tolstoy.  I’m not Amy Tan.  I’m not Victor Hugo.”

“Thank God.”

“Yeah, I know.  But you know what I mean.  I’m not any of those people.”

“You’re c.l.beyer!”  Anna waves her hand for emphasis, laughing at my look of disgust.  “Dun, dun, dun, dun!” she sings.  “c.l.beyer the great twenty-first century…”

I kick at her to get her to stop.  She’s heartless.  You see why I hate her?

“My life is hopeless, I guess.”  She sighs for emphasis.  “Who else do I have?”

“Poor unfortunate soul,” I say.  “Oh, wait.  You don’t have a soul.  Maybe that’s why I’ve decided not to spend my time with you anymore.”

“That’s not fair,” she says.  “I still have a life.  I’m still a person.”

“I know.”  It’s not fair.  I know it.  Anna’s here; she needs me.  She really doesn’t have anybody else.

“You should talk to me again.  You really should.”

I sigh.  She comes with so much baggage.  “I’ll think about it.”

“You’ll think about it?  Is that all you can give me?”

I have to push her out the door.  “Thanks for coming.”

“Yeah, yeah.  My pleasure.”  She swings down the front walk, too disgusted at me to even give me so much as a nonchalant wave over her shoulder.

“I’ll think about it,” I repeat, and I close the door behind her.

  1. I’m intrigued…

  2. Anna sounds like one of the following:

    a) A character from a book or story you have written and not gotten published yet.

    b) A character from a book or story you are in process of writing but have not done much to complete it lately, simply because of the business of life.

    Either way, I would guess that she ‘showed up’ to simply let you know that she is still around, and is waiting on you.

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