The book is funny, sad, and grinds at you because the ending is not a win but a tragic, inescapable circle.
This book is awesome but it is sad. Be ready for an ending the leaves you sad and inspired.
You can change your industry, but life might still be the same. This book brings you to a time not long past and a problem still happening today. A must read for anyone in a labor driven industry.
Move is a multi-thematic work relating the struggles of career, happiness, and finding one’s place on the cusp of the new millennium. Move is the journey of the forgotten working class lost in a technological wave. Move is a discovery of beauty and truth when torn between faith, love, life, and death.
You will laugh, you might get angry, and you may cry, but you will be moved.
Move is the fifth book in the Memories of Emily Hexalogy. You can read these books in any order.
Fragments of the Novel Move
We often ordered from a Chinese restaurant not far from the apartment and window-shopped the strip mall’s neighboring stores while awaiting the order. Once, walking along the storefronts, we jostled in light banter, and amidst the laughter, Farrah called me an asshole, and I returned the jab, which accidentally resonated cold and sharp in a slow-motion for knowing the wrongness but being powerless to stop the thoughtless words’ escape from my mouth. “You fat-ass.”
Trying to cover the mistake produced jovial words to deflect attention from the utterance, which she ignored, stopped walking, and glared, curling her lip. She said nothing and resumed walking to the restaurant as I issued apologies behind her.
A thick, heavy silence hung in the Jeep ride home then filled the apartment upon entering. While unpacking the food, the silence persisted, which I tried to break by extending a bag of egg rolls to her. She spooned rice from a carton, appearing to take no notice of the offering, raising eyebrows and sighing, “No, thank you. I wouldn’t want to make my big, fat ass any larger.”
The silence continued into the evening and into bed, where she curled with an unusual distance between us. Thinking affection might cure the situation, I tried to place an arm across her, instigating an elbow deflection that caught my forearm, striking the muscle deep. “Ow!”
She lifted her head, not looking in my direction. “Oh, did the massive weight of my fat ass get away from me? Sometimes I lose control of the momentum. I’m sorry.”
I stared at the ceiling for some time. It’s Sunday. I’ll go to work tomorrow and let all this blow over.
Confident in time’s curative power, I gave her the night and the next day to forgive and forget. Upon entering the apartment Monday evening, I found her on the sofa watching TV, and while kicking off shoes by the door, I tested the situation, “Hey, what’s up?”
She turned and stared with the same glare unwithered by the day. Impatience stole my senses. “Alright, I’m sorry. I really meant to be funny, and it came out all wrong, and the moment I said it, I knew I fucked up. That’s why I apologized right away; it was a stupid thing to say.”
“I don’t say things I know you find hurtful.” She raised her eyebrows.
As if a chasm opened from dumb’s Tartarus beneath, and specters of stupid possessed my reply, “I’m sorry, but you know you’re not fat. You know you’re hot.”
She stood. “Had I known living with a geek would be this hard, I would’ve stuck with the assholes. Are you really this much of a dumbass?”
Not knowing what to say caused retreat. “I’m sorry.”
She folded her arms, scowling. “How can you read a new book every other day, write constantly, and still be an idiot?”
I folded my arms, looking down, not understanding.
“Me and every other girl, probably in the universe, worry about our weight and every other thing about us because everyone’s always judging. Whether I know I’m hot or not doesn’t matter because it’s the judgment behind what you said that came through loud and clear in your mean tone. Look, can we be honest?”
“I know I’m attractive. I feel the stares, but I would be nothing more than the object of those stares if I didn’t recognize the ignored girl, or worse yet, the girl sitting alone, catching stares because she feels unattractive. If I call you a dumbass, you know it’s not true because everyone isn’t telling you how stupid you are every day. Every day every girl walks out of her house and feels the stares: good, bad, or absent. You told me you know that girl? That you felt that stare when people ridiculed you as a kid. I believed you, but the way you said fat ass made you sound like another phony only interested in a piece of ass. You know me and how I hate phonies. Please don’t be a phony.”
I looked up. “I know that stare. I do. I love you, and I don’t know why I said it so mean, but I would never hurt you on purpose. Maybe I need to exercise more understanding and not be such a hypocrite. I’m sorry.”
She nodded, and we stood a moment until she shrugged, rolling her eyes. “You can hug me now, dumbass.”
We laughed and hugged a short time before she looked up. “You need to heat up the leftover Chinese.” She pointed to her face. “This beauty needs sustenance.”
Entering the liquor store, I waved to the owner, and his head turned in a slight nod, then returned to some sport blaring from the small television on the counter he sat behind. Visiting the store since ninety-three meant nothing to this new owner. The previous owner and son knew me, and we often joked and discussed life’s trivialities. They knew Farrah and kept a bottle of Sterling dark red behind the counter, knowing she purchased the brand once a week. Those owners were good people, but this guy rode the nerves with an uncaring attitude complimented by a shitty Baltimoron accent, probably from Essex.
Grabbing a vodka bottle from the shelf, I paused at the adjacent wine aisle, considering a purchase of Sterling but remembered one rested on the kitchen counter. A slight laugh rose stifled by half a smile, imagining her on the sofa listening to music while reading a magazine with the Sterling, a pint of vodka, and a half-filled glass resting on the coffee table. Entering the apartment late on Friday evenings routinely caused her to abandon the magazine and launch into a myriad of topics that followed me into the bedroom, provoking “yeses” and “rights” as I changed. I emerged plopping next to her on the sofa for wine and chips. Not a sommelier, she haphazardly tossed a half-shot of vodka into the wine glass, stirring with a corn chip while talking. Stopping abruptly to swat my arm as I shook my head, she laughed, “Hey, it relaxes me.”
Those were awesome, fleeting Fridays disappearing into longer days for me and second shifts for her. Life was supposed to get easier after we moved, supplying more time for our marriage, but all Fridays disappeared instead, leaving only the job.
Returning to the front of the store to pay, I waited at the counter as the new owner lazily stood, lifting the chiming cell phone from the counter, pulling the antenna. “What?”
Rude piece of shit. I peeled a twenty from a handful of wadded bills, placing it on the counter as thoughts of the old owner and son drifted in the curiosity of why they sold the store. When was the last time I saw them? The inability to remember fragmented their meaningfulness into fleeting moments of quick conversations and purchases. The new owner continued arguing into the cellphone, tossing the change on the counter, which I snatched with the bottle and left.
Stepping outside into the evening’s cold air, I stopped. The winter never seemed to end. What month is it? I knew it earlier because I wrote the date on freight bills at work. The realization of March-second struck me, as did the foreignness of the year. Time’s rapid shift from 1995 to 2000 left me somewhere between. A woman in the dimness of her car talking on a phone seemed to evidence the change from age twenty-five to thirty. In that time, computers like the behemoth haunting our desk at home evolved into a common sight of people lugging laptops while talking on cell phones that fast replaced the pager haunting my pocket. Images of Farrah struggling with the computer while paging her friend to ask about some digital function evoked a laugh. Many times she curled her lip, baring teeth at the monitor.
Laughing while climbing in the Jeep, the drive home ended in a minute, realizing the mistake of navigating to the old apartment instead of our new place, issuing a smack to the wheel. “Shit! I’m so fucking tired.” Eli-Sue’s approached on the left, and entering the bar’s parking lot to turn around, the empty lot and building’s darkness halted the Jeep. I exited the Jeep and walked to the glass doors, and from the darkness within peered the vacant room containing only the barren bar and glass shelves beyond. When had the place closed? I just saw some of her old coworkers at the reception on the twenty-ninth of December, but with everything rushed around the holidays, I likely forgot someone told me.
Cupping eyes with hands to see past the window’s twilight glare provided no clue to the bar’s closing. When was the last time we were here? Ninety-eight, maybe ninety-nine? Yes, we came here for her graduation celebration after the clinic hired her in ninety-eight. Lisa, classmates, coworkers, Sharem, Diek, Lil, AX, and even some of her friends from Meals on Wheels filled the five tables pushed together. There were shots, sex-on-the-beaches, and much laughter. That was a great night. She was so happy to have finally finished her degree.
She squeezed against me, sharing the table’s side, talking into the sea of conversation that crashed between people before ebbing back into separate pools of friends murmuring. In the calm of talk, she turned to me and smashed her right eye closed, clenching forehead and cheek unable to wink properly, drawing my laugh. She threw an elbow to my chest while raising a cheek, demanding a kiss as a tribute for the indiscretion. Satisfied with a kiss, she returned to the conversation’s tempest, leaving me to watch her antics.
The light’s soft glow refracted her movement, highlighting subtle lines, revealing the face and form of a different person. The lost girl who accidentally dated cheating assholes while serving drinks and fake smiles to drunks to pay for school blossomed into a career-oriented graduate with big plans to help other people. I rubbed her back, reminded of a time not so long before in this same bar when I became a working, confirmed bachelor born from divorce and failed careers. Now, born again, a loyal, struggling-author boyfriend seeking more than just a “big publishing break” but an honest, self-articulation in words, made only possible by her.
She resolved the prior life’s conflict, confusion, aesthetic mirage, and impossibility to know beauty: something all philosophy books failed to solve in her playful, silly wink that reconstructed life on new terms. The broken, goofy wink compelled into aspirations once flighty dreams, even once laughable marriage dreams. The wink clarified beauty’s power that commanded me to be different and better than I or anyone believed possible.
Stepping back from the glass, the bar’s darkness focused, shutting the memory as quickly as it appeared. The life’s resurgence washed over in the job’s grinding exhaustion still stealing our time as it had from the day we met, breaking life into mirror fragments reflecting us. Stepping back, closing eyes, warm tears rolled against my cold cheeks as I laughed, “You really can’t wink at all.”
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