Here, then, the last-given thing.

These are the first words in the last section of the book-in-progress. A section no longer than a page or two. The near-end of a long and difficult road.

I will finish the book today, perhaps…maybe tomorrow…maybe by the weekend. Depends how forgiving of myself I am over the next few days. I won’t need to  say good-bye to the work—at least not  right away: I have several pages of refinements yet to be added to the final grooming…plot-points to bolster…clarities to find. I still have time to reflect, fix, appreciate, despise. I have days of work ahead. Weeks.

For that, I’m glad. I am not yet ready to say good-bye to this particular love.

Not an easy affection, this. The finding of the story has faced major challenges, many changes, in both the story’s development and in my own. My daily life is very different from the life in which I began the writing. The act of creation in this new situation has been, at times, a Sisyphean slog, an emotional melee. And the publishing world is very, very different today from the one that welcomed my first two published books; another shadow on the horizon that I have yet to face.

At the moment, I think I am content.

I am startled, facing the end, to realize how much I adore these characters. I loved them when I started…then, for a while, I wasn’t so sure. Maybe I expected to feel about them the consuming, unconditional love I felt/feel about David Emory in The Spiritkeeper, a person I carry with me, even now. These newer folks have often played an annoying and obnoxious game of hide and seek with me. Maybe I’ve just been afraid that if I pulled them too close, if I asked too much, they would abandon me. But, as one of the characters learns in that earlier work,

Everything you love. Everything that loves you. It stays. It always would. 

Today, my love for these new-made people takes my breath. I will miss them when they go; when I send them off on their journey so other people can find them, I will probably cry.

As it is, I’ll keep working on this suitably grey, chilly, rainy day. Tears from heaven for the last-given thing.