This week I’ve been exploring Thomas’ feelings towards his grandmother. While for all intense and purposes she has been his closest living relative and guardian since the death of his parents, he does not feel any emotional connection towards her, only obligation.
When considering his feelings and the news of Charlotte Dawson’s passing (may she RIP) I started to wonder, how much heartache and devastation can one person encounter, before there is no way out of the darkness? After discovering the darkness of Thomas’ past in recent weeks, I am beginning to feel that one of my original plot twists is something that would cause Thomas to permanently retreat into the darkness, something I feel is wrong for the character and the story overall. While I understand that everyone has good days and bad days, especially when dealing with grief, I feel that my original plot twist is too much to bear. I now see my character taking a different direction, telling a different story, one of the power of human emotion and human connection. As Thomas ostracized himself emotionally after the loss of his parents and the coldness of his grandmother, I feel he is showing me that his story is not just a story of darkness, tragedy and loss, but a story of human emotion and the importance and dealing with our emotions.
As I further explore my characters, I am beginning to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between Thomas and Rosie, it goes far beyond the initial physical attraction between them, it is a deep emotional bond, one that Thomas has been craving since his parents’ passing. Rosie encourages Thomas to explore his emotions towards his grandmother and his parents, something which his grandmother discouraged, with her help, Rosie is leading Thomas away from the darkness and into the light. Darkness, heartbreak and devastation still exist in the light, but in the light we are able to see and enjoy the things that give us joy and happiness that we cannot see in complete darkness.
Today I have a short excerpt where Thomas is scratching at the surface as he explores his feelings towards his grandmother, remember it is raw and unedited and will likely change many times before it is final.
“Thomas, are you ready for dinner?” That voice, I’ll never tire of hearing that voice, I shrug into my coat and make my way to join Rosie in the sitting room of our suite. Our suite on the SS Strathaird is rather luxurious, I would have preferred something less extravagant but of course my dear grandmother would not hear of it, “if one can afford luxury then one should not settle for anything less”, remembering my grandmother’s words cause me to involuntarily shudder for some reason. As I enter to sitting room I see Rosie, a vision of perfection in a long pearl coloured evening gown and elbow length gloves, her chocolate brown hair pulled back into an elegant twist. No one would believe where this beautiful creature was from, not that it mattered to me at all. “My fair lady, would you do me the pleasure of accompanying me to dinner?” With a shallow bow, I offered Rosie my hand, as she accepted I dipped her and placed a soft kiss onto her crimson lips, as the kiss deepened we were interrupted by the noise of someone clearing their throat, of course that someone was my grandmother. I quickly turned to face her and saw her eyes of disapproval, “Grandmother, you look lovely, should we head down to the dining room?” Grandmother look at me, then glanced at Rosie letting out a long, disapproving breath, “My dear Thomas, I am not interrupting anything, am I?” I could distinctly hear the tone of sarcasm in her question to which I replied to with the same tone, “Of course not grandmother, your timing is impeccable as usual.” As my grandmother pushes past Rosie and insists that I escort her to dinner, I shoot her an apologetic look, letting her know that it won’t always be like this. She understands the meaning conveyed and as much as I detest my grandmother and her stubborn ways, she has been for many years the only family I have had. Despite this cold-hard fact, I do not feel any real closeness or emotional bond to my grandmother, only obligation. I feel obliged to care for her in her older years and to put up with her nonsense as I feel it is my duty and responsibility. After all, she did provide care for me as a boy, through the employment of a long line of nannies and governesses and she did respect my parents’ wishes to raise me in Sydney, so it is expected that I now provide for her needs and indulge her moods. Yet, her animosity towards Rosie is wearing my patience. I try not to let my frustration and anger show as we make our way to the dining room. My grandmother’s false sentiment and moodiness towards myself, I can deal with and have done so for many years, but the way she is treating Rosie is becoming ridiculous and something which Rosie does not deserve. I do not often stand up to my grandmother, but this is getting preposterous, I have decided that once we arrive in England, things will be different. I will be the man of the house and she will simply have to accept that, I will indulge her silly luncheons, afternoon teas and other functions, but I will no longer put up with her ill-treatment of Rosie.
December 15th, 1932
By nothing short of a miracle, I managed to make it through dinner without telling my grandmother exactly what I thought of her and the way she was treating Rosie. Thankfully I was able to make polite conversation with the other people dining with us and I maintained my mask for society, you know the one with the polite smile and the perfectly timed compliments? Rosie is worried though, not because of the way my grandmother is treating her or worried that she might not fit in, but worried because she can see the fine lines that are becoming cracks in my mask. She is the only one who would see these cracks forming, the only person who knows the real me. Rosie is encouraging me to calmly discuss my feelings with grandmother, I told her that one does not simply discuss feelings with Agnes Heath, emotions are “utter nonsense” and have no place in her world. The woman has a stone-hard exterior with a heart of ice that cannot be melted. I know Rosie is right though, for my own sanity I need to express myself; if I can’t talk to Agnes Heath then I will express my feelings in writing. Perhaps someday I will have the courage to show her, but for now writing it down may be enough to keep the darkness from closing in.
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