“Your friend C. isn’t allowed to come over anymore,” my mom said.
I was in the 7th grade and living with my mom for the first time. And we were living with a couple–a drummer and a graphic designer. I looked up at my mom.
“C. said something inappropriate to S.,” mom said.
I looked around the room as if the explanation of inappropriate would be there.
“She followed him into the kitchen. Remember?” mom asked.
I thought about the afternoon. S. and I were usually here alone together in the apartment before my mom and his girlfriend got home from work. That afternoon I’d brought a friend home with me. C. had gone to the kitchen. “She wanted something to drink,” I said.
“She made a pass at S.”
I understood what she meant and I didn’t. C. hadn’t said anything to me. I thought harder. She had said S. was cute. “Oh,” I said.
“That’s it?” my mom asked.
“I’m sorry,” I said. What had C. said? I wanted so much to know. S. was 32. C. was 12.
“S. is very embarrassed. You should apologize to him.”
Later, when S. was home and I mumbled that I was sorry about my friend, S. didn’t look at me. He said not to worry about it. To forget it.
I never learned what C. said in the kitchen when she followed him into the kitchen and I stayed in the living room going over my homework, but I couldn’t stop feeling as if I’d said it.
The next day I ended my friendship with C. I didn’t tell her why.
Much of the time I feel that my fiction is saying something and I don’t know what that is. I brought the story into the world–seems like I ought to understand it better, but I don’t. What does my novel mean? No idea. But it is my fault it is here, so shouldn’t I have so clue?
How well do you understand what you write? Is it all clear to you? Do you leave it to others to figure out? But how then can you explain it to an agent? How do you make it sell?
And I don’t understand why I write something and then feel bad about it.