Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Nicole Locke: Who Am I?

Guess my country.

I have parcels in my hands and I’m heading to the post office. I’ve never been there before. So along the way, I ask a fellow pedestrian which way to the post. The person smiles, and points in the direction I need.  But when I get there, it’s closed.
Guess where I live? London.
I haven’t always lived here. I was born in America and moved to the UK eleven years ago.  But I’ve used this story to explain the difference between Brits and Americans. Because with certainty, if I had asked an American that same single question, they would have told me the post was closed, what the postman’s name was and that he has arthritis in his knee. Oh, and don’t ever use the brown tape because it doesn’t work as well as the clear.
At first this British behaviour flummoxed me. Always my exact question was answered, but never any further. Many times over the years, I struggled to remember this local behaviour, but eventually, I learned to ask many questions. I also learned how to shop for my favourite cheese.
But always, always it has been an adventure.
Why am I telling this? Because I’m returning to the United States. Specifically, I’m returning to the last city I lived in, and to the very house I left. Empty now of any furniture…except a few boxes of tablecloths that I have no idea why I kept.
Other things I wonder about, too. Like my difficulty saying I’m returning and my newfound fears. Such as dying while crossing the street because I didn’t look left, or blowing up in flames because I forgot to drive on the wrong (right?) side of the road.
Other changes have happened to me as well. Like word lapses which confuses every American I meet because I never lost my accent. So they look slightly alarmed when I ask what that cylinder thing in the kitchen is called (trash can), or if I say a British colloquialism that hasn’t been used in the US for 200 years.
No, I can’t say I’m returning because I’m not. I can’t.  I’m truly not the same person who left. I’ve learned to ask questions, and discovered that cheese in Europe is really really good.
So for now, I think I’ll say, I’m…continuing. And I’m okay with that.
--  Nicole
The fourth book in the Lovers and Legends series, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, is out now! 


Helplessly, he stood beside her in the early morning light. He stood partly in darkness, but she knelt on the cold stone floor at the entrance of the fortress and the sun’s light cut like spears across her huddled form.
She wept.
Tears streamed from swollen eyes and fell to clenched hands. Her fine grey gown gathered around her like shadows and her black hair, tangled, writhed to the floor. She pulled her head back, suddenly, like a wounded animal showing its jugular to its killer and the cruel light slashed across muscles strained with sobbing. She opened her mouth, but the only sound that came out was a guttural crackling deep in her throat. Then silence. Then with a sound he would never forget, he heard her scream a name he would never allow to be spoken again.
‘William!’ Her body contorted upwards, her face raised in an effort to throw her voice. The name  whipped around him as her breath came in small pants.
Teague watched his mother weeping. Watched, as she tore at her dress and as the deep jagged sounds shuddered and tore through her body. He watched and could do nothing to change the truth. No matter how long she cried for him, his father could not hear his mother’s call.
His father was dead. He had been standing by his mother’s side when the messenger delivered the news. Now, he stood behind a pillar and clenched his fists against his sides. He did not grieve. His pain came from a much deeper and darker emotion. Anger.
The anger he’d felt since he heard his mother and his aunt arguing a fortnight ago. Their voices had been soft, but discordant, and he had hidden behind the green-linen wall coverings to hear them. It did not matter that he was only a child. He had understood then, in their rushed accusations, his father was never coming back. His father was dead, but he paid no heed to the news. To Teague, his father had died when he had forgotten his son and forsaken his wife.
He did not mourn his father’s death, but he was helpless at the sight of his mother’s grief. She wept, when he could not. She loved him still, when he would not. They were both unwanted. They’d been betrayed. Yet, he could hear the love she felt when she screamed his father’s name. Teague stepped out from behind the pillar and placed his arms around his mother’s neck. He held her for only a moment before she suddenly stilled and let out a new sound. One hand clutched her heavily swollen stomach, while the other clenched his hands.
‘Teague! Teague, get help!’ she gasped.
Beneath his mother’s knees the stones darkened with water and rivulets of red. The foreboding liquid pooled and streamed towards his feet before he let go. As he raced to find some help, Teague made his heart a promise.

To find out more about Nicole Locke, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter.




Anonymous said...

Glad you had the opportunity to experience London! Enjoyed your post!

dstoutholcomb said...

My brother lived in Europe for nearly a decade with the military, and he had a period of adjustment when he came back. It's normal. Take a deep breath and one day at a time.


Nicole Locke said...

Greatly enjoyed living in London and taking advantage of the opportunities and culture there. Mostly, I wrote my books in every available museum!

And Denise, thank you for your comments. While we are juggling getting the house unpacked and the kids sorted with school, I am definitely forgetting to breathe! (-:

Laurie Benson said...

Wishing you all the best in this next chapter of your life. You may reacquaint yourself faster than you think. In the meantime, please don't get killed crossing the street. ☺️