A to Z: Feelings

I am currently taking part of the April A to Z Challenge! During this month, I am writing a single story, building each day off of the previous one. To get the story from the beginning, start here and work on up…

Annie woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to tackle the day. She felt a little lighter today, dizzy with the excitement of impending graduation, and giddy from the droll interactions of the night before, though she was still somewhat bothered by Christian’s off-the-cuff sentiments.  She determined that if given the opportunity, she would expend just a little more energy working on being a friend instead of so singularly focused. Though it was a little late in the game, she hated to leave town this way, with only fleeting memories of herself as the girl who had no friends.

The first few periods came and went, same as they ever did. No grand opportunities came to her, no chances to help someone pick up dropped books or lend an ear, no one so much as looking her way. It seemed she had done a decent job of simply existing here, skating by without too many expectations. She was sitting alone under her favorite shade tree for lunch, a monstrous oak with rough, peeling bark and a trunk so wide she couldn’t even wrap her arms half way around it. She had recently printed out a map of the Greyhound routes and was beginning to discreetly plot her destined journey when she heard a rustle in the leaves behind her.

“Boo.”

She startled.

“Mind some company?”

Now was her opportunity. She feigned nonchalance as she gestured in a way that indicated he should sit. “Come on down.”

“Hey,” he lowered himself opposite her, folding long legs upon themselves more gracefully than she’d expected him to. “I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I didn’t mean to be offensive.”

“Huh? You mean that friend comment? That’s okay. It wasn’t offensive, it just really got me thinking…”

“The friend comment? I meant everything except that! I was in a weird mood. I usually just don’t intervene so much, and then I said that you weren’t that pretty! I don’t even remember what I said about friends. I was just a little bolder than I usually am with everything. I think my adrenaline was up from that guy, and I didn’t mean to tease you so much. I hoped I didn’t make you mad!”

Annie’s cheeks pinked. “Christian, I am not offended that you stood up for me. I’ve been trippin’ over that thing you said about me not having any friends! You were right ya know. I’m leaving in two weeks and I don’t think I’ve ever made a friend in my life. It’s been about staying alive and getting out of here for so long that nothing else has mattered. I don’t think that’s a good thing.”

“Psh. You’re not the only one, chiquita. I don’t usually go out of my way for anybody. I’ve just got so many people and emotions that I’m trying to balance at home. I don’t have any energy left to even think about balancing somebody else. I just want to get done with all of this school stuff so I can get a 9-5 job and stop stressin’ about putting food on the table, ya know? Friends can only take you so far.”

“I dunno. It really got to me. I think I need to try. It seems like I’ve done a really good job of building up these walls, though, because no one has even tried talking to me today, except you. I’ve been paying attention. It looks like you, Mr. Santos, may have just volunteered to be my friend experiment.”

 

 

 

 

 

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A to Z: Easy Friendships and Espresso.

I am currently taking part of the April A to Z Challenge! During this month, I am writing a single story, building each day off of the previous one. To get the story from the beginning, start here and work on up…

She turned to look over her shoulder. “Christian! Oh my God. I didn’t even notice that it was you out there! And now you’re cackling like an idiot and the whole bus is staring at us.”

“What, did you think it was some guy you didn’t even know, coming to rescue the poor damsel in distress? You might be good looking, Annie, but you aren’t that good looking!”

Annie socked him in the shoulder. “Shut up, you jerk! And thank you. I hope that didn’t hurt.”

“Ow! That’s how you repay my heroic knightly efforts? No wonder you don’t have any friends,” Christian was still chuckling. “Honestly, I’m glad I happened to be passing by. That guy was a fool and you could’ve really gotten in trouble. Do you always come home solo in the dark? It’s not very smart in this barrio.”

“I know. I don’t have too much of a choice, though. I’ve been at this job for two years and I haven’t had many problems– it’s not like I don’t know my way around these streets. Besides, times almost up! We’re graduating in 10 days! I put in my two week’s notice a few days ago.”

Christian’s eyes widened in surprise. “Really? Why? Are you going to college?”

“Nah,” Annie shrugged her shoulders and blushed, “just getting out of this town. I don’t really have too much of a plan. I’m buying a Greyhound ticket as soon as we graduate. I’ve been researching places, I just haven’t decided yet. I want to go somewhere far away and exotic. Maybe Nashville. Or Boston.”

“Nashville or Boston? Only white people live in those places, you know. That’s actually really cool, though. I don’t know if I’d pick Nashville or Boston as my top choices, but they’re definitely going to be real different than here.”

“That’s what I want! I want to go to coffee shops and drink espresso and learn how to play the guitar. Or go watch crab fisherman and see the autumn leaves. Don’t laugh at me. I’ve never told anyone this. In fact, I don’t even know why I’m telling you, Christian Santos! This is seriously so random! I can’t believe that I’m sitting here, spilling my fantasy world to you of all people. What were you even doing at the bus stop?”

“Hey, what’s wrong with spilling it to me? I’m not laughing at you. I think its cool, for real. I had no idea that you were such a dreamer. And I was coming home from visiting my abuelita. I go to her apartment to check up on her a couple times a week after school. You’re lucky I meant to get on this bus! You would’ve ripped a hole in my jacket if I tried to get away! This is my stop, though, so you’re going to have to give me up now.”

“All right, prince charming. Thanks for coming to my rescue. I’ll see you around.”

“Hey, it was really nice talking to you. Stay safe. Maybe we’ll run into each other again before you fly away from here, bird.”

And with that, Christian dismounted the bus and left Annie contemplating the random events of her night. She had friends, didn’t she? Wasn’t he just teasing her? But as she thought about it, she realized that he might be right. Sadly, she hadn’t put as much energy into building friendships as she had into putting up walls. She’d always thought it was too draining to talk to people, and scary to let them too close. It had been easy and even nice talking to Christian tonight. Maybe it wasn’t to late to make a friend, after all.

 

 

 

 

A to Z: The Boy

Hi, there. I am currently taking part of the April A to Z Challenge! During this month, I am writing a single story, building each day off of the previous one. To get the story from the beginning, start here and work on up…

Annie was a smart cookie. She was book-smart in the way you had to be to make it through school, and she was street-smart in the way you had to be to make it through life. She was wary and cautious, more so than other folks her age, a trait likely attributed to a tough upbringing in an even tougher neighborhood. People often told her that she was going to make it far in life, not knowing just how literally she took this tidbit. Daydreams of exotic travels across continents regularly interrupted her thoughts at inopportune times, and she couldn’t wait to finish school in a few short weeks so she could load up her few personal belongings and buy a Greyhound ticket.

Annie was also smart about boys. Many of the friends she’d had since childhood hadn’t been as smart and wary,  carrying the not-so-subtle after effects of these boys in the forms of stretchmarks and toddling guarantees to never get out of the neighborhood. Annie would not jeopardize her pathway to freedom in the form of a boy. Or a girl, for that matter. She was pretty sure neither species was actually worth the pain and suffering she’d witnessed her friends go through in the name of love or lust. Nope, freedom and happiness for Annie was nothing more than quietly finishing highschool — a personal goal that meant she’d be the first in her family — and then discreetly hopping on that bus before anyone even knew she was gone. Her mom was currently indisposed at the woman’s facility a few hours to the north and her pops had been missing in action since she was three. Fighting with her cousins for sleeping dibs on the couch at her grandmothers house was getting old, and truthfully they’d be happy to have one less body in the tiny abode. No way was a boy jeopardizing her escape.

And then she met The Boy.

 

From A to Z – Meet Annie

Wow, April crept up! I joined this challenge a little while ago, and since have been caught up in various aspects of trying to grow as a writer. This challenge will be great, because it will make me write EVERY DAY. I am also determined to make it fun and creative for me, stuff that I WANT to write instead of stuff I’m trying to make money off of =) Sound okay? I hope to build a story, one piece leading to the next. I am already a day late — eek! Expect two…

Annie

Annie was an exceptional specimen, all sharp, chiseled angles with soft curves interjected in just the right places. Her face was a heart surrounded by a tangle of blondish curls that cascaded down her back and tumbled around her shoulders like a waterfall, and two pools of aquamarine peered out from under a fringe of dark eyelashes. Her pink mouth was full and soft and kissable, and the way she pouted with it gave one the impression that she used it often for expressly that purpose. It was this mouth, along with that unruly mass of curls and the soft, mocha tint of her skin that made many a passerby do a double-take, and alluded to her grandfathers African roots.

Annie was eighteen years old, freshly an adult with the world at her whim. She knew more than she should about the pain and torment that had a tendency to run rampantly through the darker underbellies of large cities, for she had grown up clinging desperately to that underbelly with hopes that she could grasp it tightly enough to avoid tumbling off and being trampled by the beast. At eighteen, Annie finally felt equipped to jump off without falling, and run like hell to put as much distance between herself and it as she could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Deaf Grandmothers

Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep

Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

The back pew of the tiny old church smelled like lemon furniture polish. Everyone in my grandmother’s neighborhood congregated here for mass, and as we waited for the rows to fill I couldn’t help fidgeting over the sickly green layer of dirt and wax that coated the antiqued wood. My grandmother hardly ever came out for services anymore; her hearing was failing and she was too proud to purchase the hearing aids recommended by her physician, but today was Palm Sunday so an exception had been made.

The church seated maybe a hundred people, just big enough for the small town she lived in when all the folks turned out. Everyone here knew each other. They had grown up together, married each others brothers or cousins and watched each other’s children grow. I always looked forward to the end of the service when the kids would play “tag” and hide under skirts and the adults would mingle and reminisce. Inevitably someone would comment on how big my siblings and I were growing, how wonderful it was to see us, and then they’d continue a brisk conversation in Spanish that I couldn’t keep up with. I was sure they were talking about us, my siblings and I — we were the only half guerros around who couldn’t follow the conversation.

As the last few people filtered in, the priest began his prominent march down the aisle, the traditional cue that the service was starting. Silent anticipation descended the entire congregation. Inevitably, my tactless, timing-inept grandmother took this moment to lean over and whisper too loudly in her hearing-impaired voice, “Did you see Mercy? That lady in the green? Boy, she hasn’t aged well,” or “Did you see Adrian? The red head over there? She has really put on weight!”

I love my dear grandmother so much. Her timing and her tact are impeccable. I don’t care if we are at a restaurant, a clothing store, or a church service, this scenario is the story of my life with her. I will forever fondly remember her awkward, impolite “whispered” remarks that everyone in a 20 yard radius can’t help but eavesdrop on.

Daily Prompt: Our House

I vividly remember short bits and pieces of my first home. It was on Bermuda Drive, and it was blue. There was a massive oak tree in the front yard that dropped more acorns and leaves than aught to be possible for a single tree. My dad would rake the leaves into mountains, then we would dive into them and bury ourselves deeply into the scratchy mounds. Afterwards, we’d be left digging leathery leaf bits and acorns out of our netherparts for quite some time. One year he decided the tree needed to go. He and my uncles rented a chainsaw and took that sucker down while my siblings and I cried, lamenting future leafless autumns.

A swing set with candy cane stripes sat prominently in the postage stamp back yard. The cherry red fence was trellised with vibrant moss colored grapevines that grew the sourest grapes you’ve ever eaten, and a shaggy white dog named Schnapps was always at our heals. Our fence was low and I remember peaking between the peeling planks to spy on the old woman who lived in the house behind us. In hindsight she was probably in her 40’s, but to me she was old.

My brother and I would use the doggy door to go in and out of the backyard — who needed doorknobs, right? One day, soon after I crawled into the kitchen through that doggy door, I was playing at the kitchen table. The wall adjacent was made out of mirrored tiles and I was hanging upside down on one of the chairs, looking at my reflection and contemplating my hair that hung all the way down to the ground. This, I remember vividly. In the mirror next to my reflection sat another little girl, and I was talking to her. She wasn’t anyone I knew; in fact, I wasn’t quite sure what she was doing in my house. She was close to my age. My mom heard me talking to her and came in to see what was going on.

“I’m talking to the little girl, mama, the one that’s right here under the table with me,” I said, but when I turned to look she was no longer there. My mom’s eyes grew wide as she sat me down and asked more questions. I didn’t really know what the big deal was, I think I just knew that she was from some other life. My mom called my dad in a panic, then they spent the next hour going through the house looking for her. They never found anything, but I’ve always remembered that little girl.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/prompt-our-house/