Writing 101 Assignment #17: To Map a Purpose

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Life is never really this easy. It’s not like you can trace the outlines of a state with your finger and find out who you are. Not like you can exit I-20 and stand before a better you. “Maybe Baltimore will be good for me,” thought Jessica. In any event, she’d better hurry. She had exactly fifteen minutes to build a story around why she was walking out again. He had been surprised to see her show up to his office and a business call had been her saving grace. Jessica’s fingers scrolled anxiously through Google Maps for a logical destination as her heart sank and melted into her lap. She wasn’t a bad person and it wasn’t really Dr. Thomas fault anyway. Neither was it Jordan’s. Davids or Sam’s. Ever since the abuse she’d simply fallen in love with the road and hoped to find herself there. The men, well, they were an added bonus. Jessica felt slightly guilty. It was never about them. Just the road. The way the air smelled crossing another state line. The sensual way the wind combed through her hair. The smooth sound of half and quarter notes booming from the radio. The scenic route of a new city, and the security of a new identity. Suppressed voices vibrated through the door. “He can’t be back already! Come on Jess, think!” That was funny. Her name wasn’t really Jess. The thought made her smile and then depressed her, another change she’d have to make. She hadn’t really thought about a name. Never mind, she couldn’t think about that right now. In about five minutes Thomas was walking back through that door and she hadn’t the slightest idea why she was leaving him and where she was going. The divorce was final but Jessica could never really settle down. Instead she put her trust in new tires and gas tanks. Moving about from state to state like a professional business woman except she had no business. First she had been Angela in sunny California. She met Mike there. He was a Chiropractor (she has this thing for doctors). Then there was David from Texas. He introduced her to the country life. Or rather, he introduced Sidney to the country life. Jessica smiled slightly, and the blood raced anxiously to her fingertips at the mere thought of another change. Sweat began to roll down her face and her heart pumped outside of her chest. The combination of excitement and fear was exhilarating. Jessica’s knees bounced up and down as the door clicked and the knob turned. She put the phone down next to the magazines as the door sprung open and smiled. And hoped to find herself in New York.

***************

For today’s exercise we had to use maps as our inspiration. I had no idea what I would do! The geographic part of my brain is not as sharp lol. But I hope you enjoyed my short short.

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Writing 101 Assignment #14: Recreate a Single Day

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Age: 10

I lay on the concrete and it felt like nothing underneath my skin. Not like a bed of rocks or warm gravel. It just felt like nothing and I didn’t want anyone to touch me. Now, if only I could get the message across to someone. Anyone. Guess I should go ahead and harness those telepathic powers. “Please don’t move me, please don’t move me, please don’t move me.” Now, I’ll just lie here and keep repeating myself. That’s it everyone, walk around. Nothing to see here. I was caught in conversation with my own thoughts that summer afternoon when someone scooped me into their arms and then suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

Hours Earlier
June, 1997 – Afternoon

The bell roared its final lyric from  the interior of Scott Joplin Elementary School and finally released us. “Thanks Auntie Roslyn!”

A whole dollar. It’s official; I am on to bigger and better things now. Turns out it really does pay to get good grades. Moving on up out the fourth grade. Time to bring all the toys outside to celebrate.

As night dawned and the street lights came on, Mama yelled that it was time for my sister and I to come home.  It was a beautiful day out and the ice cream truck took advantage as it sung down the street. I decided it was time to spend.

“But mama said to come in the house,” whined my twin sister.

“Just hold my toys till I come back”, I said annoyed. Why she can’t just go with the flow?

I wasn’t interested in Twin’s backtalk, just ice cream. Did she not see that I had just been a devil for Halloween? She better get it together. I mean sure, the pitchfork is made of plastic with a cute light bulb, but I know how to use it.

The ice cream truck sang its way down the street with its “Pop goes the weasel hymn”. And being as careful as I could with anxious feet I embarked on my journey. “Yea, this will only take a minute. Life is about taking risks little sister. I’ll be back before you know it.”

***********

So here I am, floating in the air and unable to breathe.

“Told yall not to move me. Grown-ups. They never listen.” I didn’t hear screams. I didn’t feel the impact. I don’t remember anything outside of rolling from the hood of the car and being picked up from the ground and put in the grass again. “There, that’s better. I can breathe now.”

There is no pain as I lay here surrounded by the neighborhood. I don’t know what everyone’s looking at. I scanned my surroundings in awe of the large crowd and realized my left hand was being squeezed by some woman. Her tears soaked her face and she pleaded her apologies over and over again. “Oh, so your the one who hit me. No worries, I forgive you. It’s really not all that bad. Not like I feel anything. Plus, you do know it’s really not your fault right? Yup, its mine. Just don’t tell Twin. You keep secrets right? You keep mine and I’ll keep yours. Oh come on, will you stop the crying already? It’s really not that bad. I don’t feel anything. Oh that’s right, you can’t hear me. No one can. I’m liking these powers. Nice. Next time mom says—

“She shouldn’t have been running across the street,” said a familiar voice in the crowd.

It was cousin Rachel. There, take a scowl. You better be careful lady. Who knows what I can do with my new super powers.

An Hour Later – The Hospital

So I’m sad to tell you that my super powers wore off. I still can’t speak but I’m starting to feel pain. According to the voices around me I’d broken my leg, or more precisely, my femur bone, the longest bone in your body, located in the thigh area. So now I’m staring at the ceiling waiting for the doctors to come back. Mom is on the other side of me and my entire right leg is wrapped in some kind of casing that feels like its getting heavier and heavier. “Oh boy, this is it. I’m dying. I’m officially dying.” My voice opened up and I started to cry. “What’s taking them so long? This is unbearable! What is this thing on my leg?! It’s so heavy. It has to be a cast. They must know my super powers are gone. Who would be so cruel as to wrap my broken leg in a cast! It feels like a big fat man was sitting on my leg. I know he’s around here somewhere, I just can’t see him. I don’t think I’ll have a leg left. It’s sinking deeper and deeper into the bed and the mattress is starting to fold over.

So the “doctors” finally came back and wheeled me into surgery. I wonder about the evil doctor who commanded his men to try and make my leg disappear. I’m sure he wanted to do away with me and I was being taken to a secret laboratory in which this would happen. Wait, he’s trying to give me something. It’s poison. I knew it! Wait, what’s happening? No, don’t put that in my ….”

Recovery

What a day. First I get attacked by the white car. Then I get kidnapped and drugged by men pretending to be doctors and now I’m sitting up in a hospital bed. Let me check to see if all of my body parts are here. Head. Check. Arms. Check. Face in tack. Check. Good, I can wiggle my toes. Check. Left leg is fine. Right—

“Ahhh!”

I started to cry again. Someone had stapled me back together. I instantly thought of my fourth grade teacher who stapled his thumb on occasion to let us know he was crazy enough not to mess with. “Was he in on this? I wouldn’t doubt it.” I wondered what kind of technology they were using. I’d better be careful not to touch the staples. It may activate some special gadget and suck me deep into the floor. Maybe I’ll just count them. One….two…three…ten…eighteen…twenty-four! Oh my, this must really be serious. I’m sure there’s a tracking device in there somewhere. And what did they do with my real leg?

I thought about telling mama about these evil men but I didn’t want to blow my cover. If she was protecting me they couldn’t know about it. I’m kind of tired now so we’ll have to talk about escape routes in the morning. Guess I’ll get some sleep since mom’s up. She can watch the door.

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Writing 101 – Assignment #13 – The Third Eye: 203-Word Story

The Third Eye

Mrs. Labno was a small woman. Short and petite with a splash of hip. It would not have occurred to me that she was mid-wife to my third eye. That this little lady would lend it to me all small and delicate and black, and I cherished the way it hung from my neck like a giant eye engraved in my chest. I wasn’t an alien but I had transformed. One minute I was in class and the next I was at an assembly. I could record twice as much information and move between space like the wind. No one saw me coming. It wasn’t until later that they saw how I invaded their privacy, catching their mouths in the middle of conversations and freezing basketballs mid-air before they reached the hoop. Cheerleaders died when I separated their teeth and caught the gum underneath their tongues. No one was safe. The optical controls were far more attentive than my other two and the vibration reduction kept the images still that wished to crawl away. I was a junior in High School when I joined the yearbook team and Mrs. Labno introduced me to photography. I would forever uphold passion for the third eye.

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Writing 101: Assignment #7 – Social Media Inspiration: The Best of Both Worlds

https://twitter.com/BluMarTen/status/605128443475456001

“Whatever”, Tasha spoke under her breath and logged out of her twitter account. It amazed her how exactly those few words had summed up her life. Technology was a trip.

Curtis
“Hello love”

Tasha
Not a good time

Tasha slid the smart phone under the covers as her husband entered the room.

“Hey babe,” he said planting a kiss on her lips. She watched him walk away. Completely compact with everything she’d ever wanted in a man. As he slipped out of his shirt she took the opportunity to admire the dark chocolate, toned physique of her child’s father. Standing 6’1 the man had beauty and brains and had swept her off her feet ten years ago and everything else had been storybook. In less than a year they were married, Carson was born six months after that and their combined salary afforded them the luxury of the two story house sitting comfortably between two large Oak Trees in Elmhurst Illinois. Tasha hated those trees. They had somehow become the mocking occasion of her perfect life. Attorney, wife, mother, and home owner and yet here she was, stuck between two men; both just as large and overwhelming as those trees. She’d have to remember to have at least one of them cut down. Their existence, how they mocked her very life, was too much to take.

“What time you getting off tonight?” yelled Anthony from the shower.

“Nine, this case is really kicking my butt.”

There it was. Another lie. It was her fourth lie this month. She knew because she counted. It was difficult at first, but whenever she thought about rolling around on the floor with her boss it became much much easier.

Curtis was nothing like Anthony and that reality was perhaps one of her greatest fears. More so than the betrayal, the lies, even more so than the sex was that these men couldn’t be any more different. It was that, their differences, that Tasha feared even more so than getting caught. She smiled wickedly. Why did the thought excite her so? She’d built trust with Anthony and now she capitalized on that trust. Taking advantage of their years she played the men like strings. Pulling and tugging on their position in her life and manipulating the occasion.

Tasha met Curtis when she was just an intern at Curtis & Law and he was well aware that she was married. Tasha preferred it this way and often beamed with satisfaction. If ever there was an occasion to sleep around she’d found it. If ever there was a secret to deceit, she’d cracked the code. Her life with Anthony was secure and she made it clear she would never divorce him. Curtis was OK with that and vowed that their time together was nothing more than a thing.

Curtis
Tash, you there?

Tasha scrambled to mute the text alert before it became noticeable. One downfall to cheating was extreme paranoia. Tasha was sure the muffled sound could be heard through the sound of the Shower and peeking down at the screen she rolled her eyes. This was starting to get old real fast. He knew he had no right to call her that. Only Anthony called her “Tash”. But Curtis had professed his love last night and somehow thought it gave him free reign to be the first man in her life. She thought she’d made it very clear that would never happen. “Maybe I should just call off”, thought Tasha. The dread of the workplace had become intense. Any occasion to which she had to see his face in public sent her cascading through mental turmoil and she felt she would explode.

“In our universe a star explodes and dies every single second..”

“Hmm,” thought Tasha, “Is this what death feels like?”

Anthony was her everything. Her love and her heart broke at the thought of what this would do to him if he ever found out and yet, the thought was quickly erased by another lie.

“Please, I’m tripping. Men do this all the time”, she told herself to soothe the bruise of adultery seeping from her pores.

Anthony walked out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist and another one he used to dry his hair. “Goodness, that’s a beautiful man.” Tasha said to herself.

Curtis
Meet me at the spot, 1 hour

Startled, Tasha scrambled to answer her text.

“Tell Curtis you’ll be late this morning”, smiled Anthony, seductively approaching his wife.

Tasha smiled a wicked smile. Poor Ant, he would never know. It amazed her how color had such an impact on the way people saw the world. Anthony would never suspect a culprit in the proper, brown haired, blue eyed Caucasian that is his wife’s boss.

Tasha
I need a few hours. (wink)

Curtis

OK love.

Who needed worlds? Tasha had both.

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Writing 101: Assignment #4 – A Story in a Single Image

Conquering Mountain

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They say mustard seeds can move mountains. So how did I end up on the opposite side of it? Its tough exterior mocked the clouds hanging in the sky, mimicking their shape. Deceiving them like it did me the day Claire walked out the door. She didn’t take my heart with her, just some toiletries she didn’t really need. You know typical girl stuff. I wonder if she was being sarcastic again. She’d rather hold onto an old toothbrush than an old me. Claire was tough like that; tall but delicate. She had the appearance of a lightweight but I knew I could never carry her. She was a rare stone, or a beautiful picture carved into concrete. The wind blew a cool breeze slightly. I silently prayed it would rain. At least then I’ll have an excuse for why reality crawled its way out of my throat. Besides, they say men are not supposed to cry. Claire always thought that was stupid logic. Maybe that’s because she was always around water, so water on cheeks wasn’t a big deal to her. I smiled weakly. I’d always been in love with her mind. No wonder I found myself here; on the edge of the dramatic Columbia River Gorge, a steeply pitched, creek-like river chasm where the hills roll over and over like new carpet, and the water spread its body over the land like fine silk. I gave Claire silk once. An anniversary present for our six months together. She said it was too soon. That I should stop taking so much time out of my vacation to visit her. How can love ever be too soon? That is something we always disagreed on. Anyway, enough about Claire. I read somewhere that they were closing this place down. No more tourists they said. I bet it was Claire. This trip was supposed to be my celebration for finally having the strength to not care about her anymore. She may have me now but dear Mountain Claire, I will reach you soon.

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Queen

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We are south of Senegal, maybe Guinea, maybe Ghana, or maybe as far east as the Congo. In any event, there is a woman and she’s smiling; putting her body and her hands to work to the multitasking of the rhythm of hips, rolling shoulders and the calming beat of the sounds that influence them. You must not however get distracted by her dancing as if of some stereotypical performance the Africans must put on, for her tribes have always been comprised of dancers and musicians. After a wedding, and even after battle, the men assemble their drums and the women their bodies to tap into a spiritual formation of triumphant celebration. So, the woman is dancing, and showcasing the bright red and blue colors against her skin; the dyed cloths her mothers have handmade from fresh berries. Her hair is braided in plaits; it is strength like strong rope. The woman is gorgeous and the men stare as her chocolate skin glistens in the sun, soft and smooth like silk. He nods, returning her smile. She blushes, rolling back and forth to the appreciation of his hands, slamming with authority against djembe drums, a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum, as if massaging against her skin. The year is 1619, and she has just turned seventeen. Waiting this day to which he would smile at her since childhood.

Abba looks her way, it is what she calls Papa Joe, forcing her to turn off seductive eyes and transform into his innocent little girl giggling away in mama’s arms. Placing her index finger on mama’s lips she hopes she has gained enough trust in her to keep silent for daddy must not ever find out about her secret love. If so he may begin to think she no longer belongs to him, for in her village it is custom that when a woman found a man her father gives up his reign, and it now belongs to her husband. And this she can’t bring herself to fathom, that one of those fine strong men will take her away from King Joe. The one who have always protected her and was known for treating mama like a queen, yet it is what she wishes for, to be queen. For a chance to wear golden nose rings and flaring dresses— yes, to be queen is what she wants. The sounds of the village men still heard in the background of her thoughts; slamming strong hands into drums in time for her body to move in that way.

The night has come, and Papa prepares the tent for sleep, driving the stakes into the ground. The roof is thatched with reeds, the walls and floors covered with mats. She lays awake, this woman. No, better yet this princess. Her eyes wander from the plantain from which her bed is made, to the mats three feet below her. Her eyes cannot stop to think of morning when the village men will approach each tent in that they may search out their future wife. This was done every year to service the anxious seventeen year olds, young women who’d prepared for this day since infancy. Seventeen because the number seven is symbolic of perfection, and it is their belief that seventeen years represented the completeness of their womanhood, perfectly fit to become someone’s wife. For this reason alone she cannot sleep, there is just too much excitement! She would never be seen as a child again, for on this day she would officially become a woman. A man would soon leave his father and mother to cling onto her. And she would serve her husband like mama does Papa Joe and her children she would raise to be the most upright of all her country. If only upon the awakening of the sun it will rest on the heart of him, to choose her.

Yet the night is not complete. Mama screams, obliterating her thoughts into pieces of confusion as storms of men with pale faces invade the village. She cannot catch herself before falling, ropes that smell like death have embraced her space and blood creeps in from outside the tent; and then there was darkness. Pitch black darkness as if the moon, that usually sent pieces of light tapping against each tent, had suddenly run away from the men with pale faces and yellow teeth. Baby girl had never seen them before. They could have been men or they could have been monsters, she didn’t know, and had nothing else to do but wait. This woman or better yet, this princess. This semi-woman waiting in the darkness to become queen.

The Accident

“She shouldn’t have been running across the street!” said a familiar voice in the crowd.

It was Cousin Rachel and if I had the energy to throw a scowl her way I would have. I still had not felt any pain and only prayed now that I would live. I scanned the crowd, it appeared the entire neighborhood had come to see the event. Heads popped outside of windows, neighbors stopped in their places and strangers huddled together alongside family, shoulder to shoulder, as if shielding me from the outside and encasing me inside the core of the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, my fingers tingled with blood that raced toward the tips because someone was squeezing the life out of my left hand, and their tears kissed their apologies on top my skin. She was the woman who hit me and was knee deep in apologies and instant compassion consumed me. I forgave the woman over and over again while simultaneously praying I wasn’t going to die. But I was talking in my head again. The lady had not heard me, my mouth still had not moved, and my memory only went as far back as rolling off the hood of someone’s car, down the window and onto the ground. (For some reason I remember sliding down the window). Prior to this I was on a quest for ice cream and decided a quick dash across the street would grant me this prized possession. Needless to say I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I looked down at my right thigh that the full realization of what happened came to me: my right thigh was twice the size of my left one. Still, I felt no pain. I felt nothing in fact. I just lay there consumed by thought and words that had no sound. It wasn’t until the Ambulance arrived and I made the transition from the ground to the vehicle that the shock wore off and the excruciating discomfort started.

emergency-room-sign

The arrival to the hospital itself is a blur. I was in so much pain that everything seemed surreal. It turns out that I’d broken my leg, or more precisely, my femur bone (the longest bone in your body, located near the thigh). I remember staring into the ceiling, my little brown body highlighted against the white sheets. My mom was to my left as we waited for the doctors to return. My whole right leg had been wrapped in some kind of casing and the feel of it was that it was getting heavier and heavier as time passed. As I cried out in agony, I could not understand what was taking them so long to come back. I also wondered who had done this cruel thing as to wrap my broken leg in a cast, which made my leg so unbelievably heavy that I could not lift it and supposed then that it was not only paralyzed, but by the time the doctors felt like getting started I would have no leg left, for it was diving deeper into the bed and the mattress began to fold over.

Of course, none of this really happened. My leg was not wrapped in a cast and was not sinking into the bed.

When the doctors and nurses finally did return, in what seemed hours later, they started to cut my clothes off which added to my rising dislike of these people. I was wearing something really cute that now sat in shredded pieces of nothing. Meanwhile, in my head, I was explaining to no one in particular about the evil doctor who commanded his men to try and make my leg disappear and cut up my nice clothes. I’m sure he wanted to do away with me and I was being taken to a secret laboratory in which this would happen. I was just about to imagine what he was going to do when someone put a pill in my mouth. When I woke up I was laying in recovery with a steel plate replacing my leg, twenty-four surgical staples piecing me back together and surrounded by family.

check-up

I still remember when mama took me to my first check-up. I assumed the clever doctors had found me and sought to continue their plan. In my head, I’d been rescued by family who found a way to piece me back together and store me away in recovery. Now however, we were on our way to the doctor’s office and had to cross a big street that I’m sure came out of nowhere. On my journey to get across, I wondered what kind of technology they were using. I’d better be careful not to step on the yellow lines; it may activate some special gadget and suck me deep into the ground. Because my enemies had decided it was better that I use a walker instead of crutches, which I’d hoped to experience, it took me what seemed forever to get across the street. The evil doctors had done it this time, they were back and I was sure that they had somehow stretched the already wide road so that with each step I was not getting closer, I was only getting further and further away. I thought about telling mama about these corrupt men but I didn’t want to blow my cover. If she was protecting me they couldn’t know about it.

When we got to the office and they removed the staples, I was instructed by the doctor to move my leg back and forth but I couldn’t do it. My body had not all the way adjusted to the steel plate and told me this wasn’t a very good idea. Instantly, I stopped and threw a scowl the doctor’s way, “Way to go genius that hurts.” But I knew what he was trying to do. He was trying to kill me. I better not say anything, they may try to kidnap mom and throw me in that laboratory again.

*****

I would like to publish a memoir one day. While I am still undecided as to publish an entire manuscript, I have taken to writing down bits and pieces of my life story and publishing excerpts to this blog for practice. What you have read is the true story of when I was hit by a car at ten years old. Names of real persons have been changed to protect their identities.