Writer in Residence

LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID: The writing process Part 8 of 9

By Christene A. Browne

What happens when the unexpected occurs. As a writer, I like to throw unexpected elements in when things seem to be progressing smoothly. 

The same way I don’t conceive of a beginning or middle before I commit anything to the page, I also don’t know what the ending will be or even how that characters and plot will arrive there. In the midst of writing, I thought that the story would end with Adam somehow getting the opportunity to see or even touch Eva’s large toe to fulfill his fetish. But I quickly disregarded that idea, finding it too trite. As I write, I like the reader wonder where it is all leading and where will it end up. All the elements that had come to mind during the writing process such as the tension of getting to know someone, the precarious nature of living through a major pandemic, realism all come into play.


    Adam led Eva to one his favorite spots in the neighborhood. It was a secluded private road that led to a collection of very large houses all nestled in a wooded area. The road that went through it was lined by an assortment of trees and bushes with the houses a far distance from the road. There was even a large pond in the middle of the sanctuary. Eva felt like she had stepped into the countryside.

   “Wow, this is nice.” she said smiling under her mask feeling completely at ease for the first time during their mostly silent walk.

   “Isn’t it great. I really like walking around here. It’s a hidden gem,” Adam replied. It appeared as if he had been saving the conversation until they reached their destination.

   “And your friends?”  Eva asked with a hint of sarcasm.

   “Oh, I’ll show you them when we get to the other side,” he replied with a gleam in his eyes.

    Eva recognized it as the same twinkle he had when they first met in the grocery store.

     “I've been saying to myself for a long time that this whole situation that the world is in feels like a really bad movie. One I wouldn’t even want to see,” Adam said as he led the way down the road.

    “Yeah, I know what you mean.”  Eva replied with a few nods in case Adam wasn’t able to hear her.

    “Who do you think would be the director, then?”

    “Director of what?”  Eva asked.

    “The bad movie.”
    Oh, I don't really know directors’ names.  The only ones that come to mind is Woody Allen or Spike Lee.”

    “No, that wouldn’t be their kind of film. Maybe James Cameron or Ridgely Scott.”

    Eva nodding pretending to understand Adam’s references and hoping that he would change the subject. She watched Adam as he stopped in front of a very large tree and reached out and touched it.

     “How are you doing today, sweetheart?” Adam said to the tree. This is one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Adam said with a chuckle turning to Eva. “It’s she beautiful?”

     “She?”  Eva said looking up at the majestic oak. “How do you know it’s not he?”

    “He or she, its beautiful and so ancient. Look at its circumference. It’s got to be at least a hundred years old. Maybe more.”  Adam went up and stretched his arms around the tree. “I’ve always wanted to do this but thought that someone would think I was crazy or something.”

    Eva went to the opposite side of the tree and did the same. “Me too. It’s supposed to be good for your nervous system.” Eva concurred.

   “With all this going on, we need this. Everyone should have their own tree to hug and love,” Adam added.

   “I agree.”

     As they stood hugging the tree, an elderly lady walked by and stared for a bit then moved on.   Neither Eva nor Adam noticed. They were now in full embrace of the tree with their eyes closed.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Christene Browne, originally from St. Kitts, is a well-respected and internationally acclaimed Toronto independent filmmaker and was the first Black woman to direct a feature film in Canada. In 2011 she was awarded the Visionary award by the Women's International Film & Television Showcase for her ground-breaking documentary series Speaking in Tongues: The History of Language, which features Noam Chomsky. She recently completed a feature documentary on Toronto’s Regent Park, the oldest and largest Canadian housing complex, and is working on an animated documentary on the early life of famed Canadian author Austin Clarke. Her first novel Two Women (2013, Second Story Press) is about two women who share the same soul and deals with the cyclical nature of domestic violence. Her second novel Philomena (Unloved) (2018, Second Story Press) tells the story of a woman who lives a life devoid of love and deals with issues of sexual violence, mental health, and homelessness. She currently teaches at Ryerson University in the RTA School of Media and is developing her first libretto.