(title still under wraps.) And so is the painting.
ON THE GROUND where once flowed the Canarsie Indians’ Sacred Spring there arose a gigantic tower, a parachute ride of dark-red latticed steel. From the ride’s summit silky-white parachutes float to earth in a randomly falling ballet, while pairs of riders ascend to heaven through the cotton candy clouds, terrified, thrilled, as each parachute is hoisted up, hovers in the sky, plunges, then bursts open.
Dad puts his arm around the back of the seat. I direct my gaze up at the circular web of steel in the sky and am filled with a deep sense of longing. It’s an island of pure, blue coolness high above the feverish crowds. Suddenly the cables tighten. My pulse starts hopping, skipping, jumping for joy, as up we go. Roaring crowds, carnival barkers, hurdy-gurdy music, and thundering surf fuse into a vibrating chant, the hum of humanity resonating in my ten year old body. As we rise through the air, the noise of the world fades, until there is nothing but wind whistling through the cables. We hit the mooring with a jolt. With a final lurch the great gears lock the seat at the top, then all, save the sea breeze, is still. The vast Atlantic Ocean is flowing towards us over the horizon, rolling in on the waves, crashing to shore, its depths a dark mystery, its surface reflecting back the blue of the pure blue sky. All is blueness: blue clouds, blue sea, blue moon etched lightly in the azure heavens. Even the fresh salt breeze is blue, the blueness of vast open space, of coolness, of freedom.
Then the mooring lets loose, and we’re plummeting, falling from the sky like Icarus. There’s an explosive WOOUPH, then the parachute is billowing above us like a great white morning glory that floats us gently back to a world we left long ago.
When I first started writing this novel twenty years ago this was the first scene. Later it became the last scene. And still later, as the plot changed, my style got more terse, and subplots were laid to rest, I deleted it. The scene was drawn from a vivid childhood memory, an epiphany almost, but that’s the way of fiction, you have to, as they say, kill your darlings.