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This is my first batch on 100 Words. Already I feel behind. What's with this "never-write-ahead" thing? That's how I work, by trying to keep ahead of myself and my work. Like a race, I guess. But I won't keep babbling on about it forever. For the curious, this is the only prompt where I'll be talking about myself. The others are my characters talking for me, or at least me talking through them. Some are poetry, others short-shorts. Most last one day, some last two. I hope you enjoy reading my journey as I enjoyed making it. Thank you...
Children don't know a lot. They don't know how to sit and wait. They don't know how to be serious. They don't know how to think like someone else. If you ask a child what to get their Mommy for Christmas, they answer that she wants a teddy bear. Children don't know the difference between reality and fantasy. You tell them there's a man in a red suit who brings them gifts from the North Pole and they believe you with eyes sparkling and minds of wonder. You know what else children don't know? They don't know how to hate.
It was a special gift, the box, but the gift came with a price - a price that she could never open it. Initially, she had thought nothing of the odd stipulation placed on the gift, but the more she carried it, the more it made her burn. She could not stand was being told not to do something and not being told why. The wax seal tempted her like sweet fruit to a starving person's lips. Maybe... maybe if she had... just a peak? She could always reseal the box if need be. Surely just a peak wouldn't hurt...
"Thought you said you'd never marry." His ex-girlfriend tossed her ratted auburn hair over shoulder while he stood guiltily with a bag of baby supplies in hand and a ring on his finger. The silence between them was annoying. People walking by kept glancing at the awkward couple that stood frozen in time. "Is she pretty?" the auburn asked again. Still no answer. He didn't have time for this now. He had a family take care of. "Just get off my case," he muttered and pushed past her and he trudged with the brightly-colored baby store bag down the street.
He had heard the news earlier that day. An engine had blown; the plane never stood a chance. But there were some survivors, so they said. His eyes searched frantically among the people. In his mind, he bargained with God to do anything if only his son was there. Then again, maybe it wasn't a bargain he needed. Among the forest of towering people, his eyes met with those of a scared little child, large and brown, with a streak of blood down his cheek. He smiled, missing a few teeth, and mouthed the word "Daddy" to an answered prayer.
Movements felt like lead weights. As she walked up each step, behind her, the noise escalated. Was she being followed? She had only come downstairs for something to drink, and knew she was alone in the house tonight. At least, she should have been. Mother and Father were on vacation and her little sister was sleeping over at a friends'. So what was the noise that followed her so closely? Was it a robber? A serial killer? The thoughts crowded her mind threatening to drive her mad until she whirled around to face her stalker - the family dog, Ginger.
Looking out the window... I see that there are many days. Days when it's cold and rainy, and I don't want to go anywhere near outdoors. Days when I'm drowning in torrents of work, and I don't even notice there is an outdoors. Days when the air is calm and warm. Pleasant. And filled with the sweet scent of the hyisens. Then the only thing holding me down in my own awe of it. Because there are those days when I just have to look into the towering sky above me and say, "Wow, God. You did an awesome job."
They told us to go outside and write something. Write about what we saw. How should I know, I think to myself. I see the same things I always see. Grass, trees, leaves, they never change. No, maybe not. Maybe I see more than my mind is letting me think. I take out my notebook and pen and look a second time. The words flow smoothly from my ball-point's tip: "Strands of green grass peeping through minute tears in a brown carpet scattered across the landscape; a tree's stretching branches are nature's skyscrapers straining to touch an endlessly far blue."
I'm just like she is, just smaller. But she doesn't have to know that. It's her decision, after all, if I stay here or not. They can show her a picture of me moving around inside her. Or they can turn it away, if that's what she prefers. She can listen to my heartbeat, but only if she thinks it won't upset her. If she waits, she'll feel me kick soon. But even if I leave without her ever seeing or hearing or feeling me, it doesn't mean I never had these things. It doesn't mean I was never there.
I wake up first thing in the morning and wonder why. If I didn't think so much, I could probably just go back to sleep right now. But no, not me. My mind has to race around, creating words, creating ideas, creating characters, creating worlds. So up I am unable to do anything else but sit down and write. Is this a blessing or curse? I am not totally sure, but I guess God didn't put a pen in my hand without reason. So until I see reason to do otherwise, I keep writing. Who knows what might come today?
Grandma's attic was always the best place explore - full of so much. Though the casual observer might call it junk, to the children, it was treasure. And the treasure they found today was even more unusual. "Look!" the younger one called to his brother. Proudly he held up an old photograph, black and white, the brown curled edges showing its age. Curiously, the two boys stared at it, tying to guess who that lady in the picture was. It looked something like their mom, but just not quite the same. Surely it wasn't... no, Grandma never dressed like that.
As the three stood there, something fell. They could tell that it fell due to the large crashing sound that most heavy falling objects make as they collide with earth's surface. The first one, an athlete who was there with his instructor, initiated complete panic. "What'll we do?" he asked of nobody particular. The instructor, composed though nonetheless worried about this whole fallen-painting incident, did what he felt best and that was to ignore the situation completely. The last one, an artist, looked at the painting for a moment, cocked his head and said, "Ah, now it is true art!"
"Can you fix it?" the man asked anxiously, wringing his hands together as he watched the mechanic working tirelessly at his bathtub. "I dunno, maybe," he grunted back. The old stool he sat on groaned as he leaned forward. The man nodded and paced back and forth a bit, allowing his hired help to do his job. But momentarily he was back, peering over his shoulder again. "So, what's wrong exactly?" he asked. The mechanic looked at him. "It's broke," he explained. "Oh." A groan and the plumber was back at work. At this rate, he would be a while.
To anyone who cried, and knew not where to turn. To anyone who had been wronged and felt the anger burn. May I send you something special, that will sooth the aching pain. May I send you something blessing, that will make you whole again. For I once too was angry, once too was always crying. But unknowingly to all but Him, my soul in me was dying. I cannot send you gold. I'm not rich enough to dare. But I send along a message. Much too rich not to share: May Jesus be in your heart today and always.
Scribbling on the calendar again. Must concentrate. Must not get lost in thoughts. Let's see... Monday, hair appointment, sign forms. Tuesday, meet with employees to discuss budget. Wednesday meet with boss to discuss budget. Thursday answer e-mail, make excuses for getting caught behind in work on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday... make another appointment at the salon for a manicure and a self-help lesson on how to stop biting my nails like this... go out for café latte... take a nice long bath... Picture perfect executive Mrs. Johnson. Runs her own company, but not her own life. How ironic is that?
"Local Beauty Lets Hair Down for Prince Charming" read the newspaper article. Arian's eyes usually glanced over the newspaper without a second thought, but at least this one looked interesting. Like something out of a fairy tale. What was the point in reading it? It would only remind of him of what he didn't have. Against his will, his hands reached out for the paper. What? People can read things by accident. Unknowingly, his eyes found their way to the next time: "Long-haired guinea pig Beauty to be bred with owner's rival's pet, Prince." Some things were better left unread.
"I got this book here to return." The young man nervously slip the old book with the brown cover, title long worn off, onto the librarian's elongated desk. Cautiously, she adjusted her glasses and inspected the inside title page. "Name?" she asked without glancing up. He told her. Like clockwork, her fingers ran over the keyboard and the system whirred through the library records. Her eyes widened in shock when she saw the screen. "This book is fifteen years overdo," she informed the young man. He shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah, I know. Funny huh? It was one of my favorites."
Don't think I don't see through you. I've known you too long. You can't hide your fear deep enough that I couldn't find it. See, you're not so worried about how you'll get around. Despite appearances, your body is strong. You'll adjust. You're scared of what people will do when they see you and their eyes don't fall to your face anymore, but to that chair you seem to wake up cursing every morning. And they'll always smile, always laugh. Won't say a word about it. Heaven forbid they'd start an argument with such a frail little thing as you.
And they'll always smile, always laugh. Won't say a word about it. Heaven forbid they'd start an argument with such a frail little thing as you. Don't think I'll treat you so coldly sweet. If you tease me, I'll do it back. Play a prank, and you'll get the return ten-fold. Those nights we stayed up tickling each other until the tears fell. Those will never change. You see, there's no shadow on my emotions. Anytime you need someone to laugh with, fight with, cry with, I'm here. Because that's where I need to be. Because I'm your big sister.
Hello, paper. It's me again. Yes, the person who's always writing all over you. Sorry I stuffed you in my book bag so harsh the other day. I was late for class and well... you don't care to hear the story. I wish you would give me better inspiration than you do. Why is it every time I go to put my pencil on you, nothing comes out. My mind blank. Like an empty chasm. But I guess I can't ask you for help, can I? It would look very awkward for me to sign a poem, Written by Paper.
Hello, again, it's Katrina. (Yes, the actual Katrina.) In case one can't tell from my last entry, things are getting kinda hectic. I'm not sure if I can keep coming up with new ideas every day. I'm going to try and take a different approach with my entries, by starting a story and continuing on each day. This might make things awkward to not look at previous entries, but I'm going to try, though it being the 21st I will probably carry this story through February. So I leave you again with my words... and my characters who say them.
I sat on the rustic-looking couch same as it was since I was a toddler. My father sat in the armchair to my left watching the game occasionally looking over at me with disappointment hanging in his eyes.
"How come you never took up football again?" he asked. I shrugged looking down at my not-that-worn sneakers. So it was this question again.
"I dunno," I muttered. "Never seemed like much fun, I guess." This was a serious understatement, but if I made my opinion any more blunter than that, my dad would have my head. It was always like this.
I don't want to give the impression this guy was a bad father or anything; I could tell he loved me. He wanted to be at the sidelines cheering me, like the other fathers were, not being the block's one father without a son on the sports team. The thing is, I used to be really into sports when I was a kid. Then one time I fell and messed my legs up pretty badly. Nothing life-altering, I could walk okay and do everyday activities, but it scared me up; I just couldn't go back to the field after that.
Besides, while in the hospital, I found another passion, painting. I loved to paint, and got pretty good at it too. It was one of the few times I could make a total mess and be called a genius instead of a slob. But he never saw it that way. Painting was something to keep me entertained until I got back on my feet, a substitute if you will, for when my "real" life started again. There was no thrill in painting, he reminded me. No rush of energy as you cross the finish line, no blood, sweat, or tears.
I thought of telling him that I had, in fact, shed many tears when something wasn't coming out the way I envisioned it, but that would probably worsen the situation rather than help it. When are you going to see, Dad? I'm not the little kid you can direct anymore. I'm my own person, my own man now. And I've got to do what I want to do with my life.
At that point, the phone rang, and my dad stood up to answer it. Probably thinks I can't get it myself, I guessed.
"Chris, get the phone! It's Jennifer!" he yelled at me.
"Who?" I asked confused. Did he mean my girlfriend? "Her name's Jessica!" I reminded him as I picked up the phone.
"Same thing!" he called back and I heard the click of the receiver as I brought the phone to my ear.
"Hello?" I asked, more than a little embarrassed.
"Hey there," Jessica said. "Guess your dad doesn't know me that well yet, huh?"
"Don't feel bad, I don't think he knows me very well either," I replied, and she giggled lightly, her voice sounded like a music box playing.
"Anyways, do you wanna go to the art museum today?"
"Sure," I replied. It was a chance to get out of the house with Jess, which I always liked. And besides, maybe going to the museum would give me some new inspiration. I'd hit a bit of a slump recently.
The museum wasn't that far from my house. Had the weather been nicer, we could've had a nice walk. But such is life, I suppose. When we arrived, they handed us some pamphlets with building maps, pointing out what was new and where to go for help in case we got ourselves hopelessly disoriented, which I'd been known to do.
We stopped by the new exhibit first. It was a series by young artists, which I always got a thrill out of viewing. These were the people that had I accomplished what I hoped to achieve. One painting in particular showed a bunch of different colored opaque figures, broken across the canvas. Jess looked at it for a moment, then shrugged her shoulders.
"Weird," she muttered. I took a closer look, and read the inscription.
"It represents the different people of the world, and how if we don't work together, we'll fall apart," I summarized. Jess shrugged her shoulders disinterested.
"It doesn't really matter what it represents, I still have a seven year old sister who could do the same thing," she said. I laughed.
"I dunno, I think it's kind of neat," I said. "Maybe I'll take up abstract painting." Jess' face fell like she'd just been fired from her job.
"Oh no, Chris, don't," she begged. "You're actually good! You should show it off by making nice paintings. Abstracts are for people who can't do any better."
"You know you sound like my dad?" I asked her. I meant it sarcastically, but she looked a bit upset. Uh-oh.
"I'm only kidding." I added on. She didn't respond right away, and I worried she was hurt.
"Your dad still doesn't like you painting that much, does he?" she asked quietly as we moved onto the next display. I shrugged my shoulders.
"I don't think he would be nearly as upset if I tried playing football on the side."
"Hey," she said, looking through the pamphlet we'd gotten when we walked in. "It says they're having a competition for new and young artists here. You should try entering. Who knows, you might show your dad the successes of art yet."
I casually shrugged my shoulders. "I kind of doubt that," I muttered under my breath. This wasn't entirely true, somewhere in me I was kind of hoping that my dad would come around, if I just did well enough. But then something else told me that A) I was doing this because I loved it not to please him and B) Knowing my dad could be just as stubborn as I could didn't make me want to get my hopes up. "Come on, just try," Jess begged. My girlfriend asking me to do something, however, was a completely different story.
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