Joyce Carefield-- Maiden name Blaine (SLHW)
*The blog post contains spoilers. Don't read if you have not read the novel yet.*
I've always had this strange attraction to trains. To me, they have always symbolized freedom. When I was younger, I'd fantasize about hopping aboard a train and head to wherever the line took me. If I had to compare myself to any character I have written, I'd definitely say my personality best resembles that of Joyce.
Ever since I could remember, I had to be free. This life never made me feel freedom. If anything I always felt like I had to fit into what society pictured I would be. A black girl growing up in a majority white community, I had no clue who I was supposed to be. Nothing made sense to me. The world didn't make sense to me. All I ever wanted to do was run wild. My spirit yearned for it. Joyce also could not find her footing in this world that she never wished for.
It took me a while to figure Joyce out. I never truly understood her story until I figured out my own. Now, I'm only twenty-five and have years to continue finding myself, yet I had to strip pressure of fulfilling who I should be by societal norms. Once I removed myself of all the responsibilities forced on me by the world and found my freedom, I was finally able to figure out Joyce's story.
What I found just about broke my heart.
Every day we put up a front to the world of who we are. For Joyce, she pretended to be that perfect wife and mother, yet she never was those things. They did not define who she was. Never could she find fulfillment in her role within society. In affairs and partying, Joyce was able to find momentary freedom that she needed to save her life.
As an artist, I get it. Before falling in love with her wife, Joyce had a promising future as a painter. This identity was lost over the years in the life she ended up building with Lisa. With a wife as powerful as Lisa, it's so easy to lose yourself to the strains that come with living under her shadow. Joyce stopped painting, which of course added to the pain that she started to feel when her marriage began going down the drain.
Granted, Joyce did warn Lisa that this would happen, but that’s to be discussed in another story...
When you first meet Joyce, she is in the tipping point of her marriage. The strains have been set in place for years by this point, and when her daughter comes home pregnant, Joyce snaps. Her behavior during this time seems like something a person in their twenties would be guilty of, not someone in their forties. However, Joyce finds herself backtracking a lot. Her rock bottom, of course, comes when she ends up blacking out and sleeping with a disgusting man.
Most would think by this point, her marriage is over, how can Lisa take her back, etc. Believe me when I say, nothing is as it seems. In fact, this entire novel tells literally twenty-percent of the story, maybe even less. Joyce is infamous for lying. She's lied to her wife, kids, friends, what makes you believe she isn't lying to you? Surprisingly, Lisa's a bit more forthcoming and holds pretty much all the answers because she knows everything.
By part three, everything starts to become a bit clearer. Joyce loses a considerable part of herself, which forces Lisa to have to let her go. After all, Lisa was the entire reason she hadn't left years ago.
By this point, it's clear that their love is eternal, I mean they survived a hell of a lot. But even then, Joyce had to find herself outside of her wife's shadow. So, she hopped a train and headed north, like she always wanted to do.
My way of finding freedom was hitting the publish button for each and every one of my works. From sitting in front of my computer or notepad and becoming lost in a completely different world. Now I ask, what's your form of freedom?
Joyce fell back in love with herself, the real her, not the barbie she was forced to be. But was it too late? Only Lisa has the answers to that. Find out more September 27, pre-order available now.
Mariah R. Embry