An Excerpt: The Sweater

My sweating palms clutch her tennis sweater. Oversized white cable knit, blue and red stripes at the collar and each side of the ends of the sleeves, alligator logo, Lacoste. 1987. I saved the sweater from my summer—été—in the French countryside.

I can still smell the sweet lavender summer nights woven in the threads of her tennis sweater. Smudges of dusty maroon stain the end of the right sleeve, exposing her first love affair: tennis on clay.  

I can still see her, alarming features I’d never seen in a person before or after; features so noticeable and addicting as the pungent piles of ripe peaches pandering in outdoor market stands for consumption: a gap playfully placed at the center of her front teeth, thick brown hair any girl would die for with fringy bangs that danced on top of old soul orbs, dark olive dewy skin made up of the entirety of the sun. 

As I walked down the dusty road scuffing my hand-me-down tennis sneakers, she lounged past by bicycle. Out of nowhere, really. It was a peach cruiser. 

White ruffled lace socks hugged lean, dark calves. A white pleated mini skirt dared to ride higher. Dark hair tied back in a white ribbon bounced against a brown Prince Woodie tennis racket case strapped to her back—the same racket on my back. And the oversized white cable knit sweater. A tennis icon. She turned her head back to look at me. Oversized rose-tinted aviator sunglasses hid her eyes and cheeks. Then, gone. Past the green horizon. 

Was she going where I was going?

A Short Update

I admit that I’ve been all over the place: from filming vlogs published to YouTube and planning feature films, to posting seaside photos on Instagram. All my life I’ve acquired and pursued many interests that have landed anywhere on the scale between hobby and passion. But, nothing has ever quite stuck long-term.

Except for writing. More specifically, fiction stories.

I remember as a child spending all my summer time in nature inhabiting made-up characters and following their stories in my head, alone acting out the scenes during my outdoor escapades. When it was too cold to stand outside for more than five minutes, I hid myself away in the nook of the closet my mother cleared out for me and continued the adventures and dramas.

Perhaps we all did that when we were young?

If that is the case, that all children have the freedom of heart and mind for creative storytelling and writing, this knack has morphed into a need now as an adult.

Recently I decided to focus on one fiction novel. Though I’ve stashed away many ideas on my laptop (some partially written), I realized that I have gotten nowhere in my career as a serious writer by working on multiple projects at one time.

Last week I finished a handwritten outline for a fiction story idea (novel length) that has been following me since my husband and I arrived in Maine. It is a hybrid of romance and low fantasy with gothic elements. For now, that is all I will say about this writing project.

Regarding this blog, I plan to continue posting updates on my progress, publishing short writings, and sharing my thoughts on books that I finish.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to be able to “meet” all of you. Please feel free to comment and send an email. Also, visit my Instagram, caitlinrosestuart, if you are interested in books, nature, and cottage/dark academia/Victorian/Edwardian/romance aesthetics.