I was going through some documents on my computer this weekend and came across some old writing projects that I had done in college. I was pretty proud of them then, and even now (a couple of years later) I think they are at least halfway decent. Since I am at a loss as to what else to write here today, I'll share a fictional short story I wrote in two parts...
The heavy rain makes a loud drumming sound on the roof of my dad’s car as we wait at a red light. The wipers slide across the windshield, pushing the fallen rain drops away as new ones come to replace them. Those are the only sounds to be heard as we drive to school. The same mundane routine, driving the 3-mile stretch to my high school in silence, has not changed for months. No words need to be spoken; his body language screams what he does not say. The light changes to green as my dad’s voice echoes in my head: “Be a man, son. A man does not show others his emotions or problems.” That’s what he lives by, because if he spoke his mind at home, the problems there would be worse by ten fold. Going to school is an escape for me, a way to avoid the troubles of being home, if only for a few hours.
As our car approaches the front entrance of my school, I gather my backpack and pull my hat down over my ears. We roll to a stop at the curb, and I turn and look at my dad. Our eyes lock, and I notice that his eyes are gray and emotionless. He turns his head slowly forward as I open my door and step out into the rain. Closing the door behind me, I follow my father’s car with my eyes as he drives away. The rain seems colder as he rounds the corner, and is gone. I shrug my backpack onto my shoulders and enter the school.
The lobby behind the front doors is flooded with people. It seems like all the popular people hang out in the front of the school, as if to show off that they are better than everyone. The jocks with their Letterman jackets gather in one corner, talking about the game tonight. Their cheerleader girlfriends stand nearby, so beautiful and perfect that it almost hurts to look at them. That does not matter. I don’t look at anyone, and its not like they would notice me anyway. I gaze at the carpeted floor, stained with wet footprints from the rain, and I make my way through the crowd of people.
Still staring at the floor, I weave my way down the hallway. I find my locker and lean my head up against it, closing my eyes. The sight of my dad’s car driving away in the rain flashes in my mind’s eye. The pounding rain, his taillights fading away. I turn around and open my eyes, watching people walk past me. They all seem to be happy, not having any troubles at all. It seems like I have all of the weight of their troubles on my shoulders. All I want is a father, hell a family, who cares for me. Not my father, who works long hours to avoid his troubled marriage and family, nor my mother, whose favorite activities range from yelling at my sisters and me, to drinking until she passes out.
I let my mind wander as I peel off my jacket and hat. My mind drifts back to last night. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of my bedroom with my headphones on, trying to tune out the yelling and screaming. Every loud tantrum that managed to reach my ears was accentuated by a crash of something breaking. I shuddered and turned my shoulders into the corner, as if that would get me further away from the yelling. The fight continued for another hour, and then faded away. I rose from the floor and ventured out into the living room. My mother lay on the couch, passed out with a bottle of her favorite booze in her hand. Whatever she had not managed to drink before she passed out was spilled on the floor. Fragments of my parent’s wedding picture lay in her other hand; it’s once ornate wooden frame now ruined, the glass shattered, the picture torn. The front door was open, and I could see my dad outside on the front porch, smoking a cigarette. His tall and strong frame was silhouetted against the night sky, wisps of cigarette smoke encircling his head.
He must have heard me coming. As I approached him, he turned around and faced me. “Be a man, son,” he said, with sadness in his voice. He took a long drag on his cigarette, and then snubbed it out in a nearby ashtray. With a heavy sigh and heavy footsteps, he walked back inside. From what I gathered from the yelling, my dad had come home late from work, and my mother greeted him at the door. She was just warming up to her favorite drink, and was upset with my father for not calling her to let her know that he was going to be late. Harsh words were traded, built up frustrations exploded, and the nightly argument between my parents had come to pass.
My reverie is shattered, gladly, by the piercing shriek of the bell announcing the start of class. I had not even heard the first bell; I did not notice the hallways had cleared of people. The bell rang once more as a warning to the remaining stragglers, and I gather my books and hurry to class. I am forced to leave all my thoughts and worries of my life at home in my locker as I open the door to my first period class.
No seats in the back are open, so I am forced to reside at the front of the class. The teacher casts me a disappointed look at my coming late, but its something he is used to and tolerates. He continues with his lesson, and I grab a notebook out of my backpack. Rather than writing down notes, I write down my thoughts and feelings, to make some sense of them before they come bursting out of the seams. So many emotions swirl inside me. Anger, desire, want of love, want of a place where I feel welcome. So many feelings of want, but no venue to obtain them. Words fill the page, and I feel less full of emotions. Peace replaces anger, and I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. The room seems brighter, and I smile.
Part Two, tomorrow...
P.S. You can still find Contest details here.