Archive | August, 2013

bowling

28 Aug

After being shown some wonderful “Don’t judge too quickly” commercials by my fabulous cousin Kay, I was inspired to write about people meeting for the first time for this week’s trifecta challenge. We had to use the word turkey in the bowling sense. Word count: 333
•••
Finally, some me-time. It’s been too long. But… What to DO?
The TV boasts a couple going bowling. I realize I haven’t been since that disastrous double date with Jerky Jim. I wonder if I really hate bowling, or if the game was tainted by my company.

Within the hour, I find myself donning rental shoes (thick socks: a must). I don’t let the mid-fifties man leering at me from two lanes down skeeve me out. Tonight is about me, me alone. No crappy ex-boyfriends, no work, and definitely no creepy lurkers. Me.

Clueless which ball to choose, I pick the prettiest one. I lug it back to my lane and throw it, ungracefully, with two hands. It hops into the gutter, then bounces out and touches one of the mocking white pins, which quivers for a moment (I’m holding my breath) before it, shocker, stays upright.

Sheepishly, I check if anyone saw. A dark-haired man, early twenties, looks my way; I blush. His eyes, an annoyingly penetrating green, remind me of Jim. He smiles. I grimace and turn away. Another lousy attempt (hey, I got a pin!) and I glance at Greeneyes… spotted. Crap.

“I could help you with your form if you want.” Why do I only meet guys with sexy voices on my didn’t-even-bother-to-shower, no-men-allowed-me-day? “I’m Matt, by the way.”

“Sandra. And I think I’ll be fine.” I see his smile fade and add a hasty thank-you (just too late to sound natural). I wince back to my ball, and endure endless crashes of (his) pins clattering to the ground. I’m fed-up with his strikes. He gets another. Three in a row… not that I’m counting.

“Fun fact,” he leans over a counter at me, a stupid grin across his face, “three strikes is called a turkey. Just thought you should know.”

“Why’d ya think that?”

“If I bowl a turkey again, we go to dinner. If I don’t, you bowl in peace. Deal?”

“Done.”

Turns out, bowling’s pretty fun.

a bedtime story

25 Aug

Written for this weekend’s Trifecta: write a bed-time story in 33 words.

Superprettyprincess has to marry to save the kingdom. She does everything Queen tells her will win a prince: cooks, cleans, draws… YUCK! She secretly loves dancing. Superhandsomeprince sees; they now dance together forever.

the brand

19 Aug

The following piece was written for this week’s trifecta challenge. Originally I planned to write a fictional story based off my experiences in Ghana, but I ended up with this truthful reflection instead. The views expressed are my own, and are not intended to offend.

BRAND (noun)
3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership
(2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron
(2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma

Word count: 270

Everywhere I went, people called me by the color of my skin. Children would yell out to me, “Obruni!” and I would respond, “Obibini!” White, and black.

We were different. We were separate species, almost. You’d think so by the way the children would stare and, when they got braver, run up and touch or hug my skin. I suppose they wanted to see if it felt the same, this alien skin.

Even adults called me Obruni, or at church, Sister Obruni. It was my name, truer than Chloe and truer than the name I adopted for ease of pronunciation: Gloria.

I tripped, once, and the response was “Watch it, white girl!” followed by a silent conversation.
A man held up his plastic bag containing drinking water, bought for the equivalent of five cents. I nodded, sheepish, and he poured it over my skin, darkened by mud. I watched as the man restored that awful brand of my relative wealth.

I was branded to forever be a part of cyclical imperialism, a naive but well-meaning volunteer. Questions and accusations flooded my mind. How dare I try to step in with my WHITE, and lead children and adults both to believe that they need WHITE to fix their problems? How dare I spend more on the flight out there than on the Ghanian people themselves? How dare I give money to the beggar children on the beach, setting them up to starve when the next WHITE can’t or won’t give likewise?

And yet, many want my cursed brand.

••••••••
To read more about my experiences in Ghana, you can read my travel blog I used to communicate with my family while I was there: Chloe’s Ghana

sakura trees

18 Aug

This haiku-ish poem was written for this week’s trifecta challenge, inspired by this photo:

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So much depends on
The Sakura tree; whose death
Can’t diminish life.

The petals, like snow,
Expire when they reach the ground,
Indomitable.

Time
Takes
Away
The
Vessels
Of
Beauty,
Not
Beauty
Itself.

still sick, but not so sad

18 Aug

I feel so ill. I’ve been coughing every few minutes all morning and all last night. And I’m not even talking those wimpy clear-your-throat coughs: I mean real, deep, guttural noises that burn your throat and leave greeny-yellow mucus in your mouth. Disgusting. Plus when I lie down, all the congestion goes to one side of my head, and the difference in pressure gives me a headache (and one stuffy nose). At least I get to sleep in. My dad wouldn’t hear of me going to church today, even though it’s definitely one of the last times I’d see my friends before I or they go to college.
Last night as I was trying to sleep, physically miserable, I had plenty of time to think over the emotional miserable I’d been feeling. Yesterday wasn’t great. I went to girl-neighbor’s house for a grad/going away party. While there, I gathered that Shortredhair was soon having an event that I wasn’t invited to. I think it was some classy dinner or something. I guess I wasn’t invited because I don’t have a boyfriend to take as my date. I’m tempted to say that because 1) I’m plenty classy as classy as anyone else in our group and 2) Shortredhair pretty consistently invites me to her bonfires. So I didn’t mind that too much.
But it did bother me that my friend Greece had a bonfire after Girl-neighbor’s party. I was definitely NOT invited to that, not by Greece. This is the second time I’ve heard about her hosting a bonfire without me on the invite list. Rational Me figures she doesn’t have enough room for all of her friends. I don’t know, I guess it still hurt because I thought we were better friends than that.
I know. I’m overly sensitive to this kind of stuff, but it got me down nonetheless. I spiraled into that I-have-no-friends-and-no-guys mentality, which is never a good place. So when I woke up this morning to read a drunk text from Bambi (who left for college earlier this week) saying how pretty I am and how I just need to believe it… it made me happy. I know that he was wasted out of his mind. So what? The text was sweet and it brightened what might have been a really crappy day.

I don’t need someone to tell me I’m pretty all the time for me to be happy. (It doesn’t hurt.) I know that’s how it sounds from reading this blog. It’s the same story over and over: girl gets sad and lonely, girl gets complimented or invited someplace and then gets happy. I think it’s a bit more complex than that, though.
Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that we all have triggers that can change our mood in an instant. For me, hearing my friends discuss an event I’m not invited to triggers my loneliness and my self-loathing. By the same token, someone I trust or someone with no reason to lie giving me a compliment can bring me back, snap me out of it, trigger my sense of optimism. It doesn’t mean I can’t get there myself. It just speeds up the process, like a catalyst or an enzyme. The reaction will happen over time, compliment or no.
Further, I think the reason you hear all about my bad days is that writing is therapeutic. It’s like stirring the concoction to make the reactants collide sooner. You don’t necessarily need a catalyst when you have a stirrer, and I don’t have to rely solely on compliments or invites when I have a pen.
Or, you know. Keyboard.

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Image taken from some random website.

something new

13 Aug

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Well, I went to a party and did something I don’t normally do. Don’t worry, no drugs or alcohol or anything else that might compromise my standards. Just something I don’t normally do…

I twerked a bit. Apparently, I’m pretty good for a sober white chick. It may just have been their drunkenness talking, but I’ll take it anyway. I’ve also sufficiently convinced my friends that if I weren’t Mormon I would be a fricken crazy drunk. I mean, I go wild and let loose SOBER, so who knows what a substance might do to me.

Alright, alright. I did something else I don’t normally do: I kissed someone who wasn’t completely sober. He tried kissing me a few times while he was really far gone, and I just couldn’t. I told him that I’d kiss him once he sobered up, but after he waited forty minutes or so we discovered that his parents were making people leave before that would happen. He just looked so sad… so I caved.
Anyways, I’ve discovered that the bad breath can be tolerated so long as you have at least four pieces of gum, and though a drunk kiss is sloppier than a sober one, said drunk person is bound to repeatedly mention how insanely pretty you are, and how they really like kissing you. So, while you won’t get the best technique in the world, a sober-drunk kiss turns out to be a worthwhile confidence-booster.

one night stands (diary post)

11 Aug

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They hurt. Even if they’re with random strangers, even if they’re not even one night stands in the traditional sense (Okay, okay, so you only made out.) they still are painful.
You spend hours in eager anticipation, allowing yourself to believe that they’ll text you or call you. You carefully consider the possible reasons for his late response: it didn’t go through; he’s busy; he got captured by ravenous mutant monkeys that shot him into deep space; finally, the idea that’s omnipresent in the back of your worrying mind… he really doesn’t want to talk to you.
Why WOULDN’T people want to talk to their random hookups? Why NOT make it a more-than-once type thing, if it was good? Was it good? Were you the only one who enjoyed it? Was he really saying goodbye when he said text me whenever you want?
So much confusion over someone you hardly know. I’m going back to my ‘expect the worst, hope for the best’ attitude towards guys and life (the same thing, really). He’s not gonna call me.

But I can still wish he would.

the jarring truth

9 Aug

Written for this weekend’s trifecta challenge.

I giggle. He waits on the bed, smiling as I enter the bathroom. The closet door is ajar… my curiosity gets me. Bloody jars contain a human’s heart, finger, and tooth–
HE’S HERE!

perfection (diary post)

8 Aug

Last night–this morning–whatever. It was amazing. The best night I’ve had in a long time.

I snuck out… kind of. See, I went to hang out with my friend Gee after work. I was in a crappy mood because I had to cover for my friend Greece, and there was some special event going on in the restaurant so everyone was on edge. Even the chef, who is normally so sweet and even-tempered, scolded me and straight-out YELLED at Hotwaiter. I’m talking “WHY DON’T YOU F***ING DO YOUR JOB?! A**HOLE.” He bellowed so loud I could hear it all the way in the bakery, so I’m sure the customers upstairs heard it, too. Anyway, I had to stay overtime because the new manager asked me to individually cut out little pieces of paper with the bakery insignia on it, and then tape them to about 30 paper bags. Then I had to put a bagel and a pastry, or two bagels, in each bag. I wouldn’t have minded the job had he not given it to me FIVE MINUTES before I was supposed to start cleaning up. Jerk.

So anyways, I get over to Gee’s place in my ugly work clothes. We chill in her room, and she tells me all about her summer. I was with her when she had her first kiss* (at a concert with a complete stranger) at the beginning of the year. Since then, she hadn’t really had much action… till now. Since the start of the summer, Gee has had ten hookups. TEN. I haven’t even had ten hookups total, let alone all in the space of a few months! 

We stayed at her place for a few hours. We called her black friend in Florida and chatted with him for ages. We added other randoms to the call–at least three different people–but didn’t explain why some dude with a really deep voice was talking from what they thought was Gee’s phone. Their reactions were priceless.

This was all just to kill time, though. Gee told me she had some friends she wanted to chill with. She gave me some shorts and we snuck out of her house. I drove us over to their place around 12:30 and they snuck out. Not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed. None of the three guys were cute. Plus, they all looked 16 or 17. Too young. Gee got us invited to a party, though. My old neighbor, Nickkay, was there. He’s always been a flirt. He constantly puts his arm around girls and tells them they’re sexy or hot or that he loves them. He’s nice, and funny, and reasonably cute. Plus, I’m always more comfortable when I know people at a party. Naturally, then, I drove us to the party. It was conveniently located in the building next to Gee’s apartment complex. Score!

So we go in, and the guys Gee brought seemed like idiots. They were loud and immature and just plain annoying. The “party” as such was just a couple of guys sitting around in this soon-to-be-army kid’s loner apartment, drinking and playing beer pong. I sank on the couch, got comfy, and hid into my phone. I introduced myself to the guys, following Gee’s lead. Gee then proceeded to drink most of a water bottle filled with raspberry Smirnoff. Nickkay, who knows I’m mormon, kindly showed me to the fridge, where I found my stuff: Pepsi. There’s nothing more uncomfortable to me than being at a party without a drink in your hand, so this was really a godsend. 

Still, I was bored and uncomfortable. More guys I didn’t know showed up, some of them cute. One, who I’ll call BM, sat down next to me and we started talking a bit. As Gee got drunker and drunker, though, I had to babysit her. I helped her go pee and made her stay inside… no cigs for her. Nickkay and I chatted a little about how I’ve been to Amsterdam (brought up, of course, by a discussion of weed). 

After a while, BM invited me to be on his team for pong. I told him I didn’t drink, and he explained that they already ran out of beer. We’d be playing water pong. He taught me how to play (It’s not that hard. Throw balls in cups. Oh, oops. I forgot I have no coordination, even sober.) and we got beat, bad. Multiple times. As we played, Nickkay came up behind me and held me. Soon, he started kissing my neck. In the past, I would have LOVED this. I have always had a bit of a soft spot for the kid. Only problem: I wanted to hook up with BM more (maybe because he was way more sober), and didn’t wanna ruin my chances by hooking up with Nickkay. So I shooed him away, claiming that I wanted to focus on playing. Actually, BM shooed him away first when he saw how uncomfortable I looked. 

The night went on and Gee and a few others got too drunk to function. Soon-to-be-army-kid kicked them out of his house because he had to go to work in the morning. I said I’d take them home. Before I left, though, I asked BM for his number and he asked me to come to Dunkin Donuts after I dropped off the drunkards. Win.

BM and Nickay were both sobered up at this point. I don’t think BM drank anything the whole time I was there. So, I dropped Gee’s three guy friends back at their house and I left Gee in her bed.

I was out her driveway already when I had a bad feeling and came back to check on her and make sure she wouldn’t choke if she vomited in her sleep. 

Dunkin was horribly awkward for me. Most of it was just Nickay and BM chatting about people and girls I didn’t know. I got my favorite, though, a Boston Creme. Nickkay left early, and wasn’t subtle about it, either. He signed in the window to BM, and I suspect he was either telling him to hit home or (hopefully) instructing him which body parts are mormon acceptable. We drove back after a few minutes, anyway. 

We decided to go for a walk. To my chagrin, Nickkay and two of his buddies came with. It was fun, though not romantic. Nickkay and his friend somehow found it a good idea to streak. So they ran back home, buck naked. Blessedly, I saw nothing.

BM and I took another lap by ourselves. Nothing happened–we just talked the whole time. So we decided to go find a place to sit down. Again, NOTHING HAPPENED. We talked–about animals and our parents’ jobs and my religion–until five in the morning. He said that I should try drinking, at least once before college. Again and again I refused. In hindsight, I suspect that it wasn’t so much that he was pressuring me as testing me. Maybe if I’d budged with the drinking, I might also be flexible (pun unintended) with certain other… non-mormon-approved activities. I’m glad I was stubborn about no alcohol if this was the case.

We got cold so we went back into Armykid’s place. BM snagged his keys and started heading out the door when the others started with their obnoxious “Get the berries in the basket” code again. One tried desperately to give BM a condom, but he wouldn’t take it. Bonus points for BM. 

We went to his car, and as he was putting the backseats down, the others came outside and asked me to go get Gee’s phone charger so Nickkay could use it. I checked on Gee again… still breathing, good. As I brought it out to them, they apologized for cock-blocking.

We kissed for hours. He was infinitely better than my last hookup. He was respectful–he never once tried to do something I wasn’t okay with. He was a good kisser, and he seemed into it. He even liked the same things I like, so our kissing styles meshed perfectly. He took his shirt off, which was super incredibly totally hot new for me. He didn’t try to take my shirt off: perfect. Even though I hadn’t slept a wink, I wasn’t tired.

Suddenly, disaster struck. I told him I should leave by 7:30 so I could sneak back into Geena’s house. 

But where were my keys?!

I searched everywhere. We folded and unfolded the seats in his car a million times; we looked around where we were parked; we searched through my car (embarrassingly gross, of course.); we drove the streets we walked down hours earlier, we checked Armykid’s place twice and emptied out both our bags. I considered just hitching a ride with Gee, but they were already my spares so I’d have no extra set at home. He walked with me and searched with for me for AN HOUR. Who does that for someone who they just met? Who does that for someone who will be moving thousands of miles away in just weeks? Who does that for a ditz who can’t even remember all the places it’s possible she left her keys? 

This perfect kid, apparently. If the kissing didn’t do it for me (and believe me, it did), that last part did. He was just being a genuinely good guy. I gave him opportunities to high-tail it outta there, but he stuck by me until I found them. 

Perfection to me isn’t about having great abs or a nice face or good grades. It’s about being good to people, respecting them and caring for them. 

*Okay. Sooooo she didn’t actually move her mouth. Soooooo she ran away after about thirty seconds (and made me ditch my guy, to boot). It was still her first kiss, okay?

The letter

6 Aug

Daily Prompt: Everything Changes
Walking down the street, you encounter a folded piece of paper on the sidewalk. You pick it up and read it and immediately, your life has changed. Describe this experience.

It’s thick paper, the expensive kind. It is creased and crinkled, but I suppose at one time it was embossed with roses or lilacs and accordingly perfumed. I slow to a stop, my curiosity controlling me. It smells a bit like sewage now, or maybe that’s just how the alley smells. A noise to my left– two men in dark jeans look my way as they pass my street, about a block away. As they go, I notice the tall pale man slip his hand into the other’s back pocket. I wait a moment after they’re out of sight before unfolding the paper. I couldn’t tell you why. Embarrassment? Guilt? I look both ways to make sure I’m really alone, and I feel like a little kid before I cross the big scary street. It’s been folded in half, twice, neatly. I have jitters as I open. The writing is in a curling script, painstakingly hand-written. It’s smudged here and there from dampness, but I can still make out what it says:

My darling Evangeline,
I know I should have told you sooner, but I was a coward. I was always afraid of your father: his men, and his guns. I tried to make things right with him, to get close to him so I could get close to you. Now things have gone south–you understand–and this time tomorrow I will either be dead or in some far away place as George Hinckleman from Connecticut or Steven Shaw from Oregon. You get the picture. I missed my chance to tell you in person: I love you. I always have and I always will. If you love me, keep this letter somewhere safe, and dream of me as you go on with your life. Someday, I’ll return and protect you. I swear. I will return to you whether I live or die.
With these words I enclose my entire heart. Love forever,
M. R.

I fold up the forgotten parchment and lay it carefully on the ground. I pray for M R’s sake that Evangeline never received the now sullied letter. I stand and walk back in the direction I came, in my mind practicing how to beg Carl not to leave.