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Old 09-14-2011, 09:39 PM   #1
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No Love Lost, Chapter 1

Sorry it's been awhile. I need to do major research for this story to work and am about halfway through U2 At The End Of The World. (You may recognize a bit of the chapter description style from that; I like it, therefore I'm borrowing ideas.)

I'm going to try to title every chapter after one of U2's 90s songs...hopefully that'll work out properly...I was going to start with Zoo Station but realized that I wasn't getting to the part that needed that song yet...

The prologue's in 1999, when Ciarán is 20. This part of the story right now is in 1992, explaining 1) why he left home, 2) a little of what's going on with him.


***

Chapter One. So Cruel.

a drum heart/a call to the stranger/ali no longer the real thing


*

The drums were his heartbeat. He didn’t know how it happened, as his father didn’t drum and Larry was hardly ever there. But if he dug deep, he did remember another drum-heartbeat, hazy and familiar and comforting. Like Bono’s need to fill the God-shaped hole, Ciarán had his own to fill. He wasn’t sure if all he remembered was real, or dreams, or someone else’s stories, but he did know the rhythm came from somewhere, and that somewhere was far away from his father…

Drums helped, a little. 1992 (seven years before). There were sounds and rhythms coming at him from down the street; from what little he heard of his da’s music; from the kids at school; the airwaves; the television; across the water. They gripped him with a force and submerged into his mind. He found his fingers tapping when he wanted them to stop. He wanted to capture the strange erratic pop and shimmer and the dance beats from Manchester and the fast drums from what was changing from punk to something else across the water and the impossible electronic beats that invaded his mind…

They took his brain and focused it on something; he could feel his mind stop whirring and his muscles relaxing and his tension easing. But for now, Ciarán was not a musician. He didn’t know if he ever wanted to be one. One year before, his da and the band had released Achtung Baby. Bono was back for a rushed week, a blur in the house, hurried and captured in instants like ghosts: he was gone as soon as he arrived. Ciarán, 12, remembered the shock of looking at the sunglasses-clad, road-weary, adrenalin-pumped man from a higher angle than he was used to. While his dad was gone Ciarán had grown a bit, and Bono had changed. There was the surprise that Bono was there, the painful need to get his attention, and then…slipping away. If that time had been a color, it would have been tight and red. There was a painful squeezing whenever he thought of the man who passed through the house once and a while, and then nothing.

He remembered coming down the stairs a week after Bono had returned, and jumping when he realized someone else was up at this hour, then stumbling and scraping his knee as he fell down the last 2 steps, just as this now unfamiliar man started to ascend the stairs. Bono had looked at him with no recognition and Ciarán had stared in the same way. Who are you and what are you doing in my house?

He had assumed his father coming back would be important. That it would be gaining a parent after losing another. A few months before, Ali had changed all of the sudden; in the matter of a month she was no longer convex, and had multiplied, bringing forth another person into the world. With the birth of a second child of her own, Ali had unintentionally shifted her attitude towards Ciarán rapidly from overconcerned to busy to confused. He guessed she couldn’t help it, but Memphis Eve’s birth had announced the death of Ali as his mother and the simultaneous birth of Ali no longer his mother but parent to two other infants. He’d started thinking of her as ‘Ali’ then, and only then realized how much he’d grown to depend on her. That she’d been there all along and now she wasn’t. He was an object now in the way. Her face always strained, hands always full, eyes always tired, she too stumbled into Ciarán like he didn’t exist.

It had started then. In exchange for the screaming screeching thing that had entered the household, and the loss of one parent to a busy stranger, another stranger had returned home. Ciarán was adrift. Going through the motions of school, he caught himself wondering through classes as he stared at the faint foggy green and the blurs of dirty buildings through the windows if he was growing up fast. It felt not like he had left home, but that home had left him.

He’d been fine in 1991, his head still awhirl with the strange familiarity of Dublin, that he’d spent only passing moments of the beginning of his life in. It was a place that calmed him down, but as the year turned and ended and wore on and baby Eve’s screams grew more persistent with the cold, the constant driving rain filled his bones and reminded him he was really alone. Not in body but in spirit.

He found himself resenting the idea that he could be a musician, because his father was one. Ciarán was a musician only in his head, not even a very good one. It was a quiet concept that held him calm through the nights. Because in 1991, he had instantly rejected the idea of being like him. His father, Bono Vox, of the two conflicting halves that tore right through Ciarán—the man up there onstage with shutters pulled tight over his eyes and blinds up over his thoughts, lights and promises and television reflecting from the huge sunglasses, the shiny leather—and—his da, who Ciarán had known once, who’d disappeared a little like that drumming in his heart, vague and familiar and somewhere deep down in memory from years before, that feeling of being safe again, returning home. His da had found him when he’d been stolen away, and he and Ali had stayed with him, for a long time, existing, dependable. That was faint now but still present, that feeling, shattered easily as the reflections in the rainwater. Ciarán wanted to go deeper still, back years to the vibrations through the guitar strings rolling quietly across the California desert, the echoing drumbeat heartbeats of Bono and Ali watching over him as he sat outside and tried to understand the feel of the music. He wanted to do it on his own. He didn’t want to become…distant.

It was 1992. As he thought, the words the teacher spoke rippled around him like water, in a haze like the music constantly running through his head. His fingers rattled sharply across the desk as he remembered the apologetic, hurried smile goodbye Ali had shot his way as he made his way to school, the door closing shutting off the demanding cries of the baby girls.

He’d called his da, gripping the phone receiver tightly, trying to sound older and collected as he asked for the singer. “One moment,” he’d heard the reply. “Who may I ask is calling?” It had taken a moment for the person answering to remember who he was. “His son? He has a—oh.”

He softened the noise his fingers were making on the desk, energy going to memory.

“Da? It’s me, Ciarán. When are you going to be back?” He’d asked. The roar of backstage activity made his father hard to hear, but Ciarán caught the apologetic note in his voice.

“It’s going to be a few more months.” A shaky laugh. “We didn’t know the tour was going to be this successful.” Then concern a moment. “How are things back home? Are you alright?”

Ciarán closing his eyes, remembering the whirlwind of two other children and Ali keeping track of them and the small wake of himself unnoticed, in thought, more reflective than outraged about the situation, living in his bedroom with his ear pressed against the radio low so it wouldn’t wake Jordan or baby Eve.

“I’m fine,” he’d answered and hung up. Longing, betrayal, disappointment, acceptance ran through his head. He’d listened to the Joshua Tree record that night, pushing his covers up against the door to muffle the sound of that voice he got to hear very rarely anymore. The B-sides kept him up as he thought. “Everything will be alright,” Bono promised on one of them. Ciarán had hoped, just a little. He’d receded, with the sound of the record coming to an end, the eerie warm landscape of that many years ago reassuring, inspiring, but now with a note of sadness.

Class was over. He didn’t catch with his peripheral vision one kid jabbing another in the ribs with some whisper or other about him, nor the awe nor the disdain nor the mild appreciation. Or the ironic arch of the teacher’s eyebrow saying she assumed she knew more about his situation than he did. He stuffed papers into his backpack—not in Gaelic next time, written in red ink across the top of one; he’d forgotten—and slammed it onto his back, in an instant on the dark road again, the sky slate grey and thin with rain. There was a ring to the sidewalk beneath his feet, a promising one or a lonely one, he couldn’t tell. He realized he wouldn’t need to be home for a while, paused and took a detour into town. It felt anonymous, normal, relieving to be one in the sea of people. His eyes skimmed the surfaces of buildings as he discovered to his disappointment that this was not where he wanted to be. A faint nudge of an idea beckoned red-gold to his subconscious, but he thought, another time. It’ll be a while until I can go there.

He had another place in mind. In this country, no less, and relatively close. The rain drummed down and thoughts drummed away from his head, needles of water pricking his skin. The air was charged, the way familiar even through the rain. Buildings grew less close as he walked a few miles along the outskirts of Dublin. His shoes began to squelch satisfyingly in the rain. His papers were definitely drenched by now but something about the downpour raised the hairs on his arm and evaporated the knot in his throat. Lone blades of grass started appearing as he walked further, cracks in the road made way for green. He pushed aside a branch, water slapping his face, and opened the creaky door of the tiny building.

It was abandoned, no-one knew why, painted white haphazardly, white paint thick over the edges of the door connecting to the walls; he’d had to pry it open. There’d been all sorts of junk over the floor, but now it was relatively clean, though dimly lit a watery green-blue from the wet light outside. A stab of joy as he spied the lone drum shining, battered, but intact. He walked over and sat down on the dusty floor, angling the drum so he could reach it properly. The cool, dented metal of the edge froze over his skin.

It had taken so much work, so much time to sift through all the crap in here. He’d been sweating, his heart hammering hard by the end of it. But it had been worth it, as his eyes had found this. Her. He didn’t name instruments, not that he’d had instruments to name, but this seemed female enough. Tired old woman of a thing.

But the way the sound snapped out of it when he hit it hard. Ciarán closed his eyes. The thought of I want to be somewhere else, somewhere else, somewhere else came through angrily in rhythm for a moment then faded away as he tried to modulate the continuous hard thwack the sound had. Everything suddenly went through him. That week. That year. That being ignored, being found, being picked up into a new year, being small in a large world, being a maker of large sound in a small place, being forgotten, being told he’d have to wait even longer rushed through him painfully fast, so fast it cut and stung. Out of nowhere it became another rhythm, the emotion tensing his hands and his arms in a different way. When it was over, he blinked sharp wet from his eyes, feeling sensation return painfully to his arms. The room echoed a little still. He felt a little drained, and a little sad, and a little amazed. He knew that sound, whatever it was, would most likely never return. He felt a strange slipping sensation in his heart he attributed to the moment.

The road was silent and so much longer as he walked back. His hands felt raw in the cool air. By the time that drenched, he made his way back into the house, he stiffened at the reproof in Ali’s voice.

“Where were you?” she asked. He turned around, startled. Little Eve, balanced in one of Ali’s arms, whimpered and fussed briefly then frowned at him. The two year old made a forboding face at the food on the table that Jordan, three, pushed around her plate with her hands. Ali looked tired and about as startled as Ciarán was.

He just laughed a little, that she’d noticed this time, then he left his school things and his shoes out to dry and changed then came back downstairs to help. Jordan was demanding food then smearing it all over her face. He sighed and wiped it off, but she gave an evil little smile and threw some at him. The resulting mess and everything after wore on for hours. He felt stiff and tired when he finally came back upstairs, putting the record back on the record player, Memphis Eve’s crying downstairs a strange accompaniment. By the time he got to ‘Mothers of the Disappeared,’ he felt worn out and tired. A different rhythm and drumbeat echoed through his head and clashed with what he was hearing. A slight contentment filled him, that the baby (his sister? he hadn’t begun to think of either that way yet) was silent now. He wanted to listen to something else, anything, but there were only two records that hadn’t been lost, buried underneath things, or spit up or spilled on or worse in one of the now frequent accidents that accompanied two small children. The patchwork, multicolored sleeve of the second stared him in the face, but he refused to acknowledge it, though he liked it better of the two musically. He put Joshua Tree back on, sighing. If he heard Achtung Baby right now he would just think of months. Long months and then a stranger returned. With his da’s face, with his da’s voice, but different words and closed-off eyes.

Thinking of his da’s face, he placed a hand to his own and looked at his reflection in the rain-fuzzy darkness through the window. One of his teachers had commented that he looked so much like his father. There was that little divot like out of nowhere God or Bono himself had pressed a thumb into Ciarán’s chin. There was a bit of the angle of the nose, but his nose was smaller (not his da’s.) and his eyes were slightly rounder, less squinty (not his da’s.) And his freckles were dark, scattered evenly like watercolor over the surface of his skin (unlike his da’s). His hair was darker, the angles of his face sharper and thinner, more triangular. They belonged to someone else who wasn’t his father. Someone who was just a faint heartbeat memory, a drumbeat lifeline, looking at a faded wash of green outside a wide rainy window, some other high-pitched noise interrupting the raindrops. Perhaps it was just the tightness in his head, the sudden ache across his chest like it was the hull of a boat being compressed, that made him think he could remember that far back.

It was likely the intensity about the eyes that reminded people. Eyes so different, not even blue, but there it was, the God-shaped hole, staring back. When he looked at his da the stranger he couldn’t help but feel a connection to those eyes that looked back the same way. He missed him…

Ciarán yawned and leaned his forehead against the windowpane. It felt cool; his head felt hot and tight, most likely from headache. He fell asleep there, and remembered only hazy strange dreams.

It hadn’t been a headache. He woke up thinking the world was on fire; it hurt. For three days he lay unable to move for fear of it worsening. Ali came by to check on him as often as he could, called a doctor who said it must be that cold that’s going round the schools. He kept thinking the drums were there and reached for them but found only his record player, crumpled the black and white sleeve in his hand in frustration. T-E J-SHUA –EE showed outside the collapsed folds. With an aching intensity, he wanted to go back. He wanted to drum the cold away. The third day, as he was pulling out of it, he heard a ringing sound, frowned but no, it was there. Ali brought the phone and the receiver over, mouthing something or other. He picked it up shakily.

Ciarán listened, his heart making a fist, and replied, “Na, ‘m fine, jus’ a cold.” Heard the slightly worried reply and then the beckoning yell of the crowd and hung up, biting his lip and closing his eyes. After a moment, his mind clearing a little as his head cooled, he realized, that was Bono on the phone, he said he’d come back if Ciarán needed. Ciarán blinked tighter, knowing he’d say the same thing as he’d said if he called back even just to hear that voice again. He wouldn’t do that. Wouldn’t pull his father away from what he loved. Even though what he loved, himself, was so small and ridiculous in comparison, he understood. Even if it hurt.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:55 PM   #2
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I liked it. I think you managed to capture what it feels like to have that half-sister pull your 'not blood' parent away. And Ali with 2 kids on her hip and a teenage son that is a constant reminder of Paul's betrayal of heart and body....well done. It was less muddy and more straight to the point - but your imagery didn't suffer from being more succinct.

Christ, I sound like a writing teacher. Well done.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:02 PM   #3
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The only thing is that Eve was 1 in 1992. She was born in 1991. Jordan was born in 89.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:07 PM   #4
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Holy. That was fast reading. Glad the weird family relationship came through. It's not a very happy thing for him to have 2 younger kids around who are sorta but not really related to him...My older siblings had the same situation except my mom can somehow keep track of and be able to care about a lot of kids at once...it was interesting to try and write that perspective though, since it's not something I've had to deal with. I do remember being that little, though, and it was so easy to be mad at my parents for all the wrong reasons.

I was basically thinking that Ali was a lot more attentive/freaked out/clingy after the last story because of all that happened, and now she's just busy and of course Ciarán's interpreting that the wrong way.

I think it's because I have so much to try and keep track of in this story that the imagery's a little less than last time It's going to have a lot more happening in it than Out Of Control, if that's even possible. I think I write action or about-to-be-action better than inaction, generally...so far it's just the intro, but it's going to speed up in a few chapters drastically.

Edit: damn, I meant Jordan instead of Eve you can tell I'm tired from all this art crap...
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:26 PM   #5
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Really, Grace said it all. But I will add this: It makes me want more.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:27 PM   #6
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I hate that I have so much homework. I do want to write more, say, tomorrow, but I have to read stuff for Graphic Design, go out and photograph things, film people, go to a museum, make a thesis, do 10 huge drawings in the morning, paint, etc...gah.

Thankfully, I do have a good idea of what's happening next, though. So it'll be in my head even if I don't get time to write it for another week or so.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:54 PM   #7
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School must come first.... unfortunately.

But, we'll be waiting.

.....

That didn't come off all creepy and stalkerish, did it?
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:59 PM   #8
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Stalker.

I need a good couple days to recharge my brain anyway. And maybe even get enough time to try and finish U2 At The End Of The World. I don't need most of its info yet but it'll be coming up so I need to get through the 2nd half...
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:33 PM   #9
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Well, it's just 'cause your story is about U2 and they're so pretty...

Brain recharging: priority.

Priorities, ftw!
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:35 PM   #10
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Oh, just you wait. I'm going to be describing everything but U2. Except for some songs. They're not featured much except briefly at parts. Bono, though, has got some investigatin' to do.
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:35 PM   #11
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I it like Tara... You're doing a great job writing in an unfamiliar era. If this early 90's thing keeps up I'm going to be overshadowed (and very jealous).

Quote:
the man up there onstage with shutters pulled tight over his eyes and blinds up over his thoughts, lights and promises and television reflecting from the huge sunglasses, the shiny leather
That was an epic description, much better than anything I could have said, or others.
I really, really like that you're using the U2ATEOTW way of descirbing chapters. I loved that in the book- how it shows you what's going to come in humorous and interesting ways...
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:46 PM   #12
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I'm not going to do any onstage stuff, really (or very little at least). So you've got nothing to worry about. The whole point of the story's that it explains what went wrong with Ciarán in the prologue, and what went wrong at some other time. Another title for this story I have, or a description or whatever, is 'two journeys' since there's Ciarán going to America, and the journey into figuring out what the crap is happening.

I always think of Zoo Bono as having something protective over his eyes. Not just glasses. After Rattle & Hum he was too hurt to let anyone in...as himself, at least...

Thanks Blue
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1992, 1999, 90s, achtung baby, ali, ciaran, ciarán, dublin, no love lost, the fly, zootv

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