In Search of Kafka — A High Tech, Comical Thriller

Excerpt from Novel

by Russell Dyer
published:  sep 15, 2015;  revised:  nov 21, 2017;  readers in past month:  757

The text below is an excerpt from the second chapter of the novel, I Have No Friends. The novel starts sadly, with the main character, Lena having just lost her baby when she was three months pregnant. In these first pages of the book, the tone is more somber and reflective. The story becomes much more animated, though, and includes more dialog shortly after this scene. However, I think you might enjoy reading this bit.

The next morning, on the third day back home from the hospital, she decided to deal with the baby clothes and other things she had purchased in preparation for the arrival of her daughter. She hadn’t bought many things, just some clothes—a blouse, a one-piece pajama, and a dress—a rattle, a small spoon with a rubber coating over the bowl—it had a smiling Minnie Mouse shape on the handle—and a bib that says, “Mommy’s Princess.” She knew she was silly buying things for the baby so soon in the pregnancy, but she was secretively excited about having a baby.

She placed the items on her dining table, in front of a bouquet of flowers her boss had sent her. She could smell their sweetness as she stood there. She smiled briefly. She took a small paper bag with flat paper handles, but no writing or logo on the sides, and carefully folded the clothes and placed them in the bag. She intended to donate them to charity for some poor baby to use.

She considered as she bagged these things whether there were poor babies, poor newborns. What did money matter to an infant? Still, she was going to give them to charity since she knew she wouldn’t get pregnant again—at least not any time soon. She had sworn off relationships for two years.

As she put the bib in the bag, she wondered if she might one day see some child wearing these clothes, if she might unknowingly take a picture at the park of that child with a poverty stricken mother, maybe wearing the “Mommy’s Princess” bib, being fed with the Minnie Mouse spoon. In the grand spiritual scheme of reality she pondered if that girl would be hers, would contain the reincarnated spirit of her lost daughter. She abruptly stopped these thoughts and reminded herself that she doesn’t believe in such things as she tossed the spoon and rattle into the bag.

She began to fold the top of the bag, but hesitated after a moment. She opened it again and removed the spoon. She decided to keep it as something that belonged to her daughter, even if her daughter had never held it or used it, as a memento. It was her daughter’s spoon. She respected that and her. But there was something else to this decision.

Although she had never wanted a baby, she had come to like the idea that she would have a daughter. She intended to love her very much. They would have been the best of friends. Maybe she would never marry or have a long-term relationship with a man, or even have any true friends, but she would have had a daughter whom she would have loved and would have loved her. They would have been like the Gilmore Girls—she had always liked that television show. When she used to watch it as a girl, she identified with the daughter, Rory: she and Rory both had simple good looks; they both were intelligent and level headed. However, Rory had one thing she didn’t have, but she wanted: Rory’s mother was funny and her best friend. Lena had planned to be her daughter’s best friend and had thought that nothing would take her daughter away from her. Even though she had to let go of her daughter’s body before she had even been born, she didn’t have to let go of the dream, the spirit, the hope.

She would keep the Minnie Mouse spoon somewhere close to her, to feed her hope that one day, maybe years later, her daughter would come back to her, not materialize as someone else’s child—her daughter would never forsake her like that—but as her daughter, with Lena, where she belonged: they would be together. That, she determined, was her belief—her religion.