By Doug Diaczuk
Chalk is a tender story about love and loss, following a broken-hearted thirty-something cubicle worker, free-falling from every ledge of his life. Post-break-up and blue, he feels like nothing matters, that he has become invisible, like a chalk outline on the floor, empty inside.
Living in a one-bedroom apartment with beige-coloured walls and a TV with a snowy screen, his dead-end days are capped off with solo evenings of drinking and bad TV. His phone rings, but he rarely answers. Every few days he picks up his messages after he tires of watching the red blinking light on the answering machine. It is one of these messages that eventually calls him home to mourn a family tragedy.
Certain that he will die if he gets on a flight, he somehow – with the aid of drugs and a couple of panic attacks – survives the trip home.
He decides to return by bus, rental car, or both. During his travels he meets L, a mysterious third gender runaway and they set each other off on an unintentional quest for meaning. He runs into trouble with the cops, angry gangs of roving youth, scammers and eventually falls even further down, until finally coming to realize that all roads lead back to where he started—in the flowers drawn by two little girls in coloured chalk on the sidewalk.
Chalk is a story about You.
Doug Diaczuk is a freelance writer living in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He has a master’s degree in English Literature and has worked in the environmental and communications field in Northern Ontario, as well as several years as a freelance journalist. Chalk is his first published novel.