I’m lying (or is it laying?)

I haven’t thought about the difference between lie, lay, laid, lain since high school English class, but in writing a bit of story the other day I used ‘lay’ [correctly it turns out], but it didn’t sound right. So to be sure, I did a search and found a brilliant, brief explanation from Encyclopaedia Brittanica. I’ll paraphrase but all credit to them …

First of all, when I say ‘lie’ I mean lie as in ‘lie down’ not tell a falsehood. 

Simply put, use ‘lie’ when it is an action with no object. It’s something you do yourself, in other words. For example:

“I always lie down after lunch for a nap.”

“She lies down to reach beneath the sofa.”

“They lie down together to mediate.”

On the other hand, use ‘lay’ when you take action in regards to an object. For example:

“Put down the book and lay it on the table before answering the door.”

All the above examples are in the present tense, but some confusion arises when we consider the past tense. Why? Because ‘lay’ is the past tense of ‘lie’! For example:

“After lunch, I lay down for a nap.”

But ‘laid’ is the past tense of ‘lay’, so …

“She laid the book on the table before answering the door.”

So what about ‘lain’? That is the past participle tense of lie. You would use it this way:

“I had lain on the sofa much longer than I intended.”

The past participle of lay is still ‘laid’ so it would be used this way:

“She had laid the book on the table before answering the door.”

And just to finish things off, the present participle tense of ‘lie’ is ‘lying’ and for ‘lay’ it is ‘laying’. They would each be used this way:

“I am lying down for a nap after lunch.”

“She is laying the book on the table before she answers the door.”

I hope this was helpful! Happy writing and productive editing! I’m going to lie down now….

This Boot’s Not Made For Walking…

It’s four weeks today since I fell and broke the ankle. It feels like four months. I am absolutely hating all the sitting around. For the first two weeks, I had to keep the leg elevated all the time which really kept me stuck in the chair. After the first two weeks, I had the cast off and the stitches out, now the leg is in a boot. At least with the boot, I can take it off to wash and give the leg a little massage. Sleeping in the bulky boot is a challenge, though. The ankle doesn’t hurt anymore and I don’t have to keep it elevated, but I can’t put weight on it, yet. I’ve been doing exercises on the floor so I don’t get too out of shape. I’m used to walking/jogging 3-4 miles a day. I will say this… I’m definitely going to have more upper body strength when this is all through!

I have, however, been making good use of my time. I’m doing some copy editing for another writer and I have started [restarted] working on my WWI novel. I’ve got a series of sketches planned, two of which are completed and one which is in progress. And of course I am reading plenty of interesting research material.

I guess if you try to look on the bright side, this injury happened in January when the weather is miserable and the days are short. By spring time, I should be healed up enough to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and milder temperatures. Well, maybe not sunshine so much… it does rain all the darn time over here. Nonetheless, I have two weeks to go till my next follow up appointment and I’m hoping for a good report. In the meantime, I’m getting around the best I can:

In Plain Sight – A Short Story

People are oblivious. In my case, it was a good thing. As long as I kept up the normal routine, no one noticed that Marty had disappeared. Even after the sale sign went up in front of the house, the neighbors weren’t suspicious. “Where y’all headed?” they would ask. “Moving closer to the in-laws now that they’re getting up in years,” I’d answer. And that would be the end of it.

The human body has 206 bones, 79 organs, as well as muscle, connective tissue, and fat. Marty was a big man so he took a long time to dispose of. I started by draining the five liters of blood. It was a struggle to prop him up in the bathtub, but I’m a strong woman and the adrenaline was still pumping at that point. My hand shook as I severed the femoral artery.

After that, I separated the limbs and the head with my sharpest knife and wrapped them up in the freezer. That left the torso with it’s mass of organs and fat. I put my oven and my largest stock pots to work, cooking up a stew that fed the dogs for weeks. Still, nobody was missing Marty.

I kept the window washing business going all by myself. Sure it took a little longer now that I was doing it alone but I managed to keep our clients satisfied. “Where’s your other half?” someone would occasionally ask. “He’s off on another job,” I’d answer. And that would be the end of it.

Each time I went out —to work, to the supermarket, to grab lunch at McDonald’s, a small bag would go into the public trash can. That way, I disposed of a few of Marty’s bones at a time. They were dry and well wrapped so that no one would ever discover them in amongst the rest of the landfill debris.

It’s funny how fast I was able to recover our finances now that Marty wasn’t drinking away all our income. I was able to sell all the frivolous items he’d bought over the years too. The big screen TVs, the stereo equipment and the overpriced, underpowered “classic” Mustang he’d bought to restore. Even I knew the 90’s were a bad decade for Mustangs.

It took a full year. But it was time well spent. I slowly put everything in my name. It was easier than you might think. Even selling the house, I told the realtor my husband had to go on ahead to care for his sick parents and he’d left it all to me. It turns out you can have your contracts signed electronically which meant I could sign an approximate version of Marty’s signature for him. Nobody raised an eyebrow.

When it was done, I hauled all the furniture to an auctioneer and sold it for whatever I could. I packed the dogs and my clothes in the back of my old Jeep and drove west, not knowing where we’d land but knowing anywhere was better than here.

People are oblivious. No one ever noticed the bruises on my legs or the burn marks on my arms. Or how I kept my hair over one blackened eye or the other. For twenty years, I wished that someone would pay attention but no one ever did. Lucky for me, no one decided to start now.