The Cloyne Court Yard, Image from berkeleyheritage.com
Here's Excerpt One of Dodie's first novel, The Cloyne Court:
Experiencing a spiritual epiphany is like hallucinating from a drug overdose. Both alter your future in ways you can never imagine. While you’re under the influence of either, you’re acutely aware that something inexplicable and bizarre is occurring, but you don’t want the vision to end until you’ve figured out what’s causing you to look at your life with a surreal insight.
On my eighteenth birthday in October 1976 while waiting at the Berkeley BART station, I noticed a pretty young woman board the train several cars down from where I stood. She was dressed similar to me, wearing a blue sweatshirt with an embossed gold script Cal logo, straight-leg blue jeans, and carried a heavy book pack. From her clothes, she looked like a freshman university student. As I stood in the aisle, grasping a handhold ceiling strap in a jam-packed rocking train of silent commuters headed towards the end of the line in Richmond, I felt compelled to talk to her.
Was she commuting each day to school as I was? Would she be riding the same connecting bus to my hometown of Briones Valley, a small, middle-class suburb on the banks of San Pablo Bay? Was she also living with her parents while attending her first year at the University of California, Berkeley?Image from pinoytube.com
On this milestone birthday, I had become an adult in the eyes of the law. Yet, not a single student, teacher, person or nonfamily member noticed or cared. Except for my Teaching Assistant in Chemistry, who spoke only to impart scientific knowledge while holding a piece of chalk, no one had uttered a single word to me or conversed with me that day.
I had just endured an interminable four hours in a Chemistry lab, trying to attain some subatomic result within a minor standard deviation of acceptable answers. I had failed miserably. My Calculus homework remained in my book pack unopened.I would be spending my first evening of adulthood trying to resolve equations I would never understand.
However, I wanted to understand her and without a contrived plan of what I was going to say to her, I urged myself forward, bumping against people who were standing firm in the aisles and traversed my way from train car to train car.
“Hi, I’m Derek Marston! Are we in the same Subject A class?” I thought I would say to break the ice, but that would assume she knew what “Subject A” was.
Or perhaps, “Weren’t you in my high school photography class?” But that line would ring hollow if she had attended a school that was small enough that every senior knew every other senior, and besides, I was a college man now. Why bring up a past I was glad to escape?
In the third train car, I saw the back of her head. I hurriedly sat in the empty seat opposite her, trying not to smile at my lucky break!
As I looked into her face to speak, I was revolted at the sight. My beguiling woman wore a reddish brown shag hairdo as disheveled as a cheap wig hastily pinned to a Styrofoam head. Her wrinkled face, lined with age, was pocked with red freckles and her bulging eyes and gaunt cheeks gave her a ghoulish appearance.
Despite her ghastly look, she had a tiny-jeweled earring in her pierced left ear that stood-out like a minuscule diamond in a coal slag. She was the woman I had seen entering the train, and she must have seen the disappointment in my face.
“You must leave,” she said, staring at my brow.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the seat was taken.” I was looking for a graceful way out of my dilemma.
“No! Stay seated. You must leave your home and find happiness.”
Why was she telling me this?________________________________________________________
Excerpt Two will be in my next posting, soon! Watch for it! (TO BE CONTINUED)
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If this is your first time in this site, welcome. It has been my dream that my province, Marinduque, Philippines becomes a world tourist destination not only during Easter Week but also whole year round. You can help me achieve my dream by telling your friends about this site. The photo above is your own private beach at The Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort. The sand is not as white as Boracay, but it is only a few steps from your front yard and away from the mayhem and crowds of Boracay. Please do not forget to read the latest national, international, and technology news in this site . I have posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes on this site also. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!