Exercise One (15 min)
Inspired by listening to Wonderwall, by Oasis.
I spent the afternoon sitting in the hammock on the porch trying to finish the first of four books I was assigned that summer. I wasn't really getting anywhere though. I hated my summer reading assignments. Hated!!! Who gave my fucking school the right to assign homework in the summertime, anyway?
Every few minutes my eyes would scan the slits in the porch railing. I wasn't just distracted by a task that forced me to sit still, though ... I was watching. No ... I was creepily spying. I was waiting. I was being a lonely awkward teenage boy.
She was the most beautiful girl I'd ever met. It didn't matter much that I didn't know that many girls ... I knew she was special. Sporty, a little older, red hair, and freckly skin that still holds a tan in the summer time. She smiled a lot, laughed a lot, and seems really smart, now, looking back. It's awkward really, that I'm writing about her now, but I've found the story of our relationship repeated itself many times as I've battled through adolescence.
Every half hour or so, there'd be some movement in between the weathered grey wooden posts and my heart would skip a little. I actually believe to this day that this one girl is the reason I actually have a mild arrhythmia.
When I finally saw her wander back from the beach, a new game began. Would she see me reading on the porch? Would she think it's cool that I spent my afternoon reading too?
What was she doing inside the house and why did that door have to slam so hard every time. I would always jump a little as the spring slammed it shut on her way through, and I would worry that she'd see me jump and know that I was watching her.
She'd wash the sand off her feet, then spray off her beach chair, before wandering in and out of the house a half dozen times ... finally, hopping in the outdoor shower and then disappearing back into the house for the evening.
Sometimes minutes would pass before I went over to hang out, and sometimes hours. More often, I wouldn't go over at all. It all depended on how much I felt like agonizing over our friendship that day.
Maybe she was going to be the love of my life. Maybe she already was.
Exercise Two (20 min)
Lyrics to inspire a song about someone else:
"This is how I love you, baby."
"His hands rolling down her hair."
"Why don't we drive through the night and we'll wake up down in Mexico."
"... And speculate who had been damaged the most."
Brenda laughed as she strolled through our door with a mischievous look on her face.
"What's so funny," I asked.
Well my roommate showed up ... and all I need to say is that you guys are going to be really happy when you meet her.
The next day, I met her. We'd later disagree many times on this, but I remembered her wearing a worn plaid button down and tan pants that were sort of a jean-like material. She claims she never owned anything like that, but I'm pretty sure she was wrong.
"Let's take a trip to Mexico for your birthday."
Ahh ... No.
"I have a great idea. Let's celebrate your 30th in Mexico!!"
"Why don't we drive through the night and we'll wake up down in Mexico?"
This single question / or suggestion / or idea ... or whatever it was ... just kept pounding on the high walls that had surrounded my soul. It wanted to find a way out, but it couldn't. It served no purpose anymore. Just that day ... no just that hour, I had rephrased it and morphed it, and said it a thousand different ways ... but never once out loud. Who was I going to say it to anyway?
I've always liked surprises, so when I have a good plan I purposely keep it to myself. Maybe if I had shared this one, things would have been different. Maybe I should share more. Maybe I should just talk more in general. Who knows. As usual, I'm writing about these thoughts instead of sharing them with another person.
You wrote a single line to me once that demonstrated how deeply you knew me, and it's brought me to tears dozens of times since that first time. It wasn't something we ever discussed, and it wasn't something I'd ever say directly because it's so stupid ... but hearing you say it to me ... or should I say ... imagining hearing you say it to me as I read your letter ... physically stopped my heart. I actually felt it not beat when it was supposed to. It didn't hurt, but it scared me. It scared me almost to death.
Upon hearing those words from you my mind was so overwhelmed that it stole every resource from every other area of my body and directed it all inwards to the realization that you really did know me ... and with that depth of appreciation for who I really was, and all the things I care so deeply for, you still chose to leave me.
I had done some light planning for our trip to Mexico. I'd renewed my passport in case we wanted to fly, and I had done a little searching online to find fun places to go. There's no way this simple plan would have made a difference in the grand scheme of things ... but I still wish you knew I had been planning it. I think you would have liked it. I'll never tell you now, though. Sure, I'm a little embarrassed, but mostly I'm empowered by my childishness, and I'm enjoying feeling spiteful.
Why don't we drive through the night and we'll wake up down in Mexico? Nah. Not anymore. I never really liked Mexico anyway.
Exercise Three (20 min)
Inspired by a Pop Icon: peter pan like, passionately delusional, and amazing. I don't think I followed the prompt.
Forty seven dollars just didn't seem right.
Michelle had never bought a screen door before, but she didn't imagine it would cost forty seven dollars. It didn't exactly seem like too much, but it also didn't seem like enough. Maybe the circumstances necessitating the new door made her feel cheap, and at the same time made her feel like she should have to pay more than forty seven dollars.
It was Tuesday now, and Michele's house had gone three days without a front door. Sure, she could have closed the storm door, but it was overwhelmingly hot that summer, and it was the heat that had driven her into the fit that culminated with Andrea running full speed through the old screen door in the first place.
Maybe the house was better off without a front door for a while. Besides, having a big gaping hole in her house made Michele feel vulnerable. It made her feel how she felt she should feel. Nervous, guilty, and in danger.
Michelle struggled to find the price tag while checking out, struggled to lift the door for the clerk to scan it, and then continued to struggle while pushing the big orange cart out of the hardware store. She could feel the mostly male clientele watching her. They were all wondering what she was going to do with a screen door. She knew they knew that she didn't know how to hang it, and that no one was going to come help her.
The back left wheel of the cart spun sideways and caught the automated sliding door track in the floor as Michele tried wearily to get her screen door through the exit. The cart sent a thunder slap throughout the store and into the parking lot as momentum slammed the forward wheels down to the ground.
Michele looked down at her receipt and froze. All she could see were the numbers four and seven ... pulsing ... big ... then small ... big ... then small.
Forty seven dollars just didn't seem right. She began to cry, slumped her shoulders, and continued pushing the cart with her brand new screen door out of the store, past the curb, and into the parking lot.