Monday, July 25, 2011

Just a sleepy summer day...

    The sewing machine clatters as Mom runs the fabric through her hands. Then the scissors nibble away on the unwanted material and it falls on the carpeted floor. The machine shakes the card table when the thread jumps through the fabric.
Jessica sits cross-legged in the laz-e-boy dressed in loose jeans and a t-shirt. She’s holding William in her arms, and his chubby face is stretching with toothless smiles as he makes happy baby noises. His squirming brings his chin down, and his fingers grab hold of a loose blanket.
Legos scrape the edge of a red box when Nathanael pushes all the pieces to the side as he jabbers to himself. He starts stacking and building, and his head moves to the side as he leans on his elbows.
The fan runs slowly, the cords hanging down jiggling just the slightest bit back and forth. Pins stick out of Mom’s mouth as she nods attentively to Jessica’s conversation. The computer blows out air as it warms my blanket-covered lap, and the laptop keys push down with clicking noises.
The sun shining through the window shows fluttering shadows on the floor. The world outside is a sleepy summer afternoon in a small town, and the only movements visible are the wavering Maple tree branches.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

(Another) Study in Unsatisfactory Endings (which means... Part II)

I sat on the squishy, but still hard mat while dreading Randori and worrying about Seth. Everyone went through their rounds, and then it was my turn to get up there in the middle of everybody to try and make some random kid fall over. Oh yay, I just can’t wait.
My stomach started to feel sickly nervous, and then it was time for me to stand up. I made my way to the middle to face a boy shorter and smaller then me. But he had a green belt so I figured I would lose.
And I did. Within about five seconds. I turned an un-ripe strawberry color, and my opponent looked surprised and excited when Mike announced the winner. Mentally shrugging, I sat back down and looked straight ahead to watch my other siblings in their endeavors. At least I’ll probably never have to do that again. I hope. Next time maybe I would find an excuse in time.
Jessica stepped up with one of the newer Asian students, and they went at it. Then they were both fighting for control on the ground, and Jessica was trying to hold down his shoulders with her forearm. Some of her stray damp hair fell in front of her face from out of her ponytail.
Then the sides switched, but only for a few brief seconds, and Jessica again pinned him down. A chorus of the bystanders chanted from ten to one. Mike called out and they stood, breathing stiffly and heavily, but Jessica had a slight smile. Mike’s right arm shot in the air in front of her to signify the winner, and we gave some cheers.
Sister faced brother next as Michael  met her in the center of the floor, and he conquered soon enough. I would way rather have lost to a sibling.
Jessica seated herself on the mat, and I glanced over. A second of surprise caught my mind - she looked really bothered. Okay. So it’s not that surprising, I reasoned. Emotions are running high in our whole family- Jessica’s stressed out over wedding plans, and Seth just went to the ER.
And by the time David came back from beating two people and losing to a brown belt, I was about feeling sick from stress myself. I could picture Seth in the Emergency Room, and my mind imagined grave looking doctors and their tools. Serious as they talked in low tones to Dad and Mom.
Seriously! He’ll be fine! All he did was knock his head on the ground! But I couldn’t banish the nagging feelings. After all, he couldn’t remember. He couldn’t remember anything from the past few months they said.
My eyes were magnetically drawn every five minutes to the clock on the wall, and I was the first person off the mat after we bowed. I grabbed up my belongings and bit my lip in impatience while waiting. Come on. Let’s leave. Please! Nobody else even seemed to remember that my brother was in the hospital because of this awful sport. How was he?? How was he doing?

Age I Feel (sometimes)

I hear my friends talking excitedly about their big plans. Big smiles fill their faces when they spread their arms to hug the world. They talk with confidence about college and marriage and licenses and work and growing older. But I don’t want to think about that, because I’m not ready, so I walk away to a dark window and calm my frightened breathing while gazing out at the night. I wonder if I’ll ever feel like things are under control. I wish time would stop so I could try to smooth everything out before moving on. And that’s when I feel younger than I am, because I’m too old to be so unsure.

(But I don't feel this way all the time. ;-) This is a portion of a paper I wrote for my writing class.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Snow White (NEW! Possibly Improved!)

SW & the 7 Dwarfs 
(I didn't know this story as well as I thought I did. 2-4 yr olds know it better than me. But that's okay.)

    Once upon a time there was a girl named Snow White. She lived in a castle with her--

(NO! She didn’t live in a castle, she lived in a house!)
    No, I’m pretty sure she lived in a castle.
(No, a house!)
    Okay fine, so Snow White lived in a house. One day the evil queen looked in her mirror and said, “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?”
    And the mirror replied, “Snow White is the fairest of them all.”
    (Nuh-uh! The mirror said, “You Oh Queen are the fairest in all the land!”)
    Oh. The mirror said, “You, oh queen, are the fairest in all the land!” But one day the mirror said, “Snow White is the fairest in the land.”
    (Snow White with hair as black as-- and...)
    Snow White had hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood.
    Well, the queen was so angry, that she ordered her hunter-woodsman-guy to go kill Snow White!
    (No, to--)
    To... uh... cut out her heart with his knife and bring it back to the queen?
    Anyway. The hunter went up to Snow White and he--
    (No, he couldn’t do it!!!)
    Yeah, I know. AND he - couldn’t kill her because she was so beautiful, so he told her to run away.

    So Snow White ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran. And then she fell into some water and drowned, because she couldn’t swim.
    (... … … THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN!!! She fell and all the animals carried her to the dwarfs’’ house!)
    Okay, she fell in some water and the animals carried her to the dwarfs house.
    (Then the dwarves came back--cleaned house--thought there was a monster!)
    Ummmm, ohhhkay... So Snow White cleaned the house, then the dwarves came back and said, “WE LOVE YOU! Stay and clean our house forever!”
    Oh, whoops. Then Snow White was upstairs and they thought she was a monster, but she offered to clean their house and make food for them.
    (They had to wash up first!)
    Oh yeah, then she made them wash their hands before they ate, but they weren’t very happy about it. At least Grumpy wasn’t.
    (Then they sang the Hi Ho song!)
    Then they decided to go to work, because you know, that’s what they normally did. So they went off singing, “Fe Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!”
    (... hahahaha! NO!)
    Oops. Um... “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, off to the mines we go-ho-ho” or something like that.

    Well, then the queen asked her mirror who the fairest was, and he said, “Snow White because she isn’t dead yet.”
    Well, the queen was SOOOO mad that she disguised herself and poisoned an apple and went to find Snow White. Well, she ran and ran and an, but than she fell into the same water that Snow White did, and she drowned.
    (Nuh-uh! Thunder hit her!)
    Fine. She fell in, but got out, and the animals didn’t help her, because apparently they didn’t like her.
    So she came to the cottage, and Snow White says, “You must be tired, come in and rest your feet!!!”
    Actually, Snow White didn’t say that, because the dwarfs had told her not to let anyone into their house, because I guess they didn’t like strangers.
    The lady offered Snow White the apple, and Snow White was SOOOO hungry, and the apple was SOOOO red, so Snow White took a bite of it and choked and died and fell over, and the queen got hit by lightning or something.

    THEN the dwarfs came back and were really sad. They stuck Snow White on top of a coffin or something and put a ton of flowers all over her.
    Well, then a prince comes, and when he sees the beautiful Snow White he asks, “Who’s this beautiful maiden?”
    The dwarfs replied sadly, “Snow White.”

    The prince says, “Should I kiss her?”
    The dwarfs are like, “EWWWW, gross, NO!”
    So the prince says, “What should I do then??”
    And they said, “Put flowers on top of her like everyone else.”
    So he sticks some sunflowers close to her nose. Well, she’s allergic to sunflowers, so she sneezes because she’s not quite dead yet (I guess), and she sneezes the apple out of her mouth.
    Well, she sneezed ALL OVER the prince, and he was like, “EW, gross! Why would I marry YOU, you sneezed all over me!!” so he left.
    (... … … NOO! He marries her, he has to!!!)
    Sigh. Okay. So then she’s like, “YOU SAVED MY LIFE!” and blah blah blah
    So they got married and all the dwarfs came to the wedding.
    (But they couldn’t come because the castle was in the clouds, and the dwarfs couldn’t get there!)
    What? That’s weird. Okay, well, the dwarfs wanted to go to the wedding SOOOO bad that they invented airplanes ahead of time just to fly up to the castle to be there.

The End.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Study in Unsatisfactory Endings *

    “Kata Garuma is the name of this next move we’re going to teach you.” A line of Judo students clad in blue uniforms looked ahead to Mike as he spoke. “Another name for it is the Fireman’s carry. Ready? Dave.” A smaller man hopped from kneeling position to be used in Mike’s example. As he was thrown onto the ground I could hear the clap of his hand on the mat.
    After a little more demonstration, we were split into groups of two. My sister Jessica hauled me onto her back before letting drop to the plastic mats below. Oh, how I dislike Judo lessons. I felt unsure or my self and bored most of the time. I hit the blue mat again. The only thing Judo was good for was bragging rights; and having the third out of eight rankings wasn’t that impressive, especially if I couldn’t do much with it. I wiped the hair out of my eyes.
    “Do you want to try it now?” Jessica gave me the option.
    I shook my head, “No, that’s okay. This is fine.”
     Two claps in a row and everyone sat on the mat. “Alright!” Mike’s voice reached the corners of the room. “Let’s have a demonstration from... Alex. And how about you- what’s your name?”
    Michael shook his head. “I was riding the four-wheeler and landed it wrong, so my back is too sore to really do that. Sorry.”
    “Ah, okay. Seth? How about you.” Seth stood up and walked over. The orange belt showed vividly against the white uniform. Alex hefted Seth onto his back slowly and then flipped him off.
    There was a heavy thud and then- it was quiet. The air itself seemed to be waiting. Why wasn’t Seth moving? My breath skipped and I tensed as Mike walked over to the still white figure and bent over him. The room was still unnervingly quiet. “Seth, are you all right? Seth!”
My eyes stayed fixed on the form sprawled on the floor, but I could sense the tension in everyone around me. Unsure. Waiting. And then he moved. Relief rushed in as he sat up and pushed himself to the edge of the mat. Something still didn’t feel quite right when I watched the way he was moving, but I mentally assured myself that he’d be okay.
“All right, line up according to size and weight, we’re going to do Randori.” What?! Was this mandatory? We had never been required to do Randori before. You just volunteered if you wanted to.
    “Everyone’s going to do it this time.” Oh no. I ran through options in my head: maybe I could leave? No. Maybe I could just go stand in the bathroom until it was over. Um, no. Dad and Mom would tell me I had to do it, and besides; we were all sitting down already and it would be too obvious if I got up now.
    There was movement on the other side of the room. Dad and Mom- and Seth. They were leaving. What? Why were they leaving??
I hopped around the other sitting students and headed toward Dad and Mom. “Where are you going??”
Then Jessica was beside me, “Becky, go sit down, okay?”
“I need to know where they’re taking Seth!” Worry flooded my voice.
“We’re going to the Emergency Room,” Mom explained to me in a hurry. “Seth doesn’t remember anything that’s happened in the past few months.”
A tide of shock and worry spread in my mind. He didn’t - remember?? “Can I go too? Please??”
“No, you better stay her with the rest of the kids. Most likely it won’t take us too long.” I bit back my urge to beg to go along again, and turned back to sit down again as Jessica had told me to. I turned my head to look out the window, and I watched as Seth made his way down the sidewalk with Dad and Mom on either side of him.

*[Much thanks to Tierney for the brilliant title.] ;-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Golden Flames

 [A few descriptive paragraphs that I had to write for a writing class.]

     I envisioned the fiery gold clouds rippling and unfurling before me like the rushing Mississippi river. Then they died down and narrowed to a thin stream, glinting and flowing steadily. The scarce trees beside me were black silhouettes cloaked in dusky splendor, reaching their arms up to drink of golden water. The spacious clouds were outlined in a dusty blue that was painted over the rest of the sky. It was as if the black ground had been charred by flames and the smoke drifted as a cloudy veil. The sky burned on, and nothing would stop the fire until all was black and ashes.
    I stood then and listened, and heard the ashes blow away. Softly, ever so softly, and the wind was in my ears. I imagined music, continuing easily and perfectly, but then fading as I strained to hear the end of the melody. But it vanished, and there was no noise. I breathed with effort; soundlessly and careful not to threaten end to the silence - the silence that played on my ears like a different sort of music, something without real sound, but you could still hear it somehow.
    I could almost smell smoke in the air, faint but believable. And then the smell of summer came, heavy and hazy, like strong lavender in a garden on a humid July day.
And I could feel. I could feel the wind that cooled the world on my skin. Hair brushed my face, and my feet stood solidly on the dry, hard ground. I could feel no pain. The warm air entered my mouth and throat and lungs as I breathed in deeply. I felt so alive that dark, warm summer’s night. The golden flames that consumed the world had gone, but light would come again, brighter and stronger, but not as deep. The breeze would go on, and the song of silence would still all other noise again. Life continued.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Short Introductory Statement

This blog will be for random short writings, possible thoughts if I want to get them down here, and any other things I feel like posting. Mostly writing. It is not very likely that I will post frequently and consistently. The End.